Amazing Dad: Bill Krissoff

Filed under: Amazing Parents

William B. Krissoff is officially commissioned as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. Credit: James Coyle, United States Navy

Amazing Dad: William B. Krissoff, an orthopedic surgeon, who, at 61, gave up his private practice and joined the military in his son's memory

Bill's Family
: Wife Christine; Kids: Austin, 26, Nathan Krissoff, forever 25

Bill Lives In: Rancho Santa Fe, California

Why Bill Is Amazing:
After his son, Marine 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff, was killed in Iraq in 2006, Bill Krissoff made an unusual request to the then President George W. Bush.

The then-61-year-old orthopedic surgeon asked to be allowed to enlist as a Navy medical officer. He believed lending his own talents to the cause would be a way to honor his son's sacrifice. Nathan, who was 25 when he died, felt called to serve his country after the Sept. 11 attacks.

But Bill needed a waiver to join the service because of his age. So during a meeting with Bush in Reno, Nev., in August 2007, he asked the president to help him expedite the paperwork.

Bush told senior adviser Karl Rove to assist Bill. Rove immediately went to work on the request, delivering the paperwork to the Joint Chiefs of Staff two days later.

"I thought it was a prank when we got the call from the White House," Bill told the Sierra Sun, a newspaper in Truckee, Calif. "We did a year's worth of work in two months."

Within months of the meeting with the president, Bill was commissioned into the United States Navy Medical Reserve. The determined doctor dad closed his medical practice and began preparing for a military career.

"When we lost Nathan, that put us on a different path. I'm not looking for closure," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm just looking to do my part."

Bill's other son, Austin, is a marine, who also has served in Iraq. "In the natural order of things, sons are inspired by their dad," Bill told "In our family, I've been inspired by my sons and their commitment and dedication to service and Marines."

The Californian, who is currently deployed, chose the Navy because Navy doctors treat Marines.

"I recall thinking that joining the Navy to take care of deployed Marines would be a challenging and a rewarding new task for me; something completely different than the private practice of orthopedic sports medicine at Lake Tahoe," Bill told Marines magazine. "It would also give me a chance to serve my country."

Last year during a seven-month deployment, Bill spent time at Camp Al Taqaddum, Iraq, tending Marines, soldiers and sailors. He also taught orthopedics to other medical personnel.

"I'm just a doc doing what I'm trained to do," Bill told "We're just here to support our Marines and sailors ... they put themselves on the line and they deserve our best care, I'm just happy to be able to do it."

While serving in the Navy, the newly minted military man discovered he preferred military medicine to private practice.

"The focus is on taking care of the patient and not on contracts and financial issues," he told Marines magazine. "Navy medicine works as a team to take care of injured sailors and Marines. It's very collegial and supportive."

Bill's Brother Joel Krissoff Says: "I think it's something he wanted and needed to do," he told the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan. "He and Nate were extremely close. It helps him to deal with Nate's being gone to get into this."

Former President George Bush Says: "We see America's character in Bill Krissoff, a surgeon from California. His son Nathan, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq. When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news. He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son," Bush told the nation during his farewell address, according to the Los Angeles Times.

2007 People Magazine's Heroes Among Us; President George W. Bush mentioned him in his farewell address to the country.

Related: Amazing Dad: Orrin Hudson

Want to see who else made the list? Click here for the rest of AOL's 2010 Amazing Dads!


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.