After a few hours’ searching, we finally catch up with master sergeant Stefan Huss. He says he wants everything complete in his mind, then things will go more smoothly. In conversation with the strong man and ambassador of the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023.
I catch him in a passageway, he’s in a hurry. But he is likeable at first glance, has watchful and friendly eyes, and his forearms are covered with Invictus symbolism. Stefan asks in a cheerful, strong and natural manner: “Hi, it is quite okay here, isn’t it? First my bad news: I’m not allowed to compete anymore, that’s the rule here. And I’ve put on weight. So, fire away!”
Even among civilians, rumour has it that sergeants are a special breed. If you ask them, you’ll usually hear: “Quite possible. And what is it you need?”
All you need to know about Stefan here is that he is also like that. He is a doer, someone who calls things as they are. It can be read everywhere what he has experienced between heaven and hell.
Moreover, he has a very rare talent, which the ambassador uses for his messages. He uses clear words, not too many or too loud, words that mean a lot.
But Stefan can also hold his tongue and annoy people. Even when asked the first icebreaker question as to whether he enjoyed the Games. Anyone wanting an interview with him must assert themselves. There are also icebreakers that do not involve small talk. For example: “If you had all the options in the world, what would you do for our servicemen and women at a stroke?” This is a question he can readily answer. He is someone who was almost beaten to the ground and rose from the ashes.
“That’s very easy. And concerns all of us. Millions of our fellow countrymen and women put their heads on the line for our society. Day and night, worldwide, and not only our soldiers. And every day some of us are physically and mentally wounded. Or worn down and killed.” He lets the sentence fade away before he continues.
“And that brings us back to the operations, the dirt and the dying. I was unaware of it, but a part of me, please believe me, was dead,” he says so clearly that it hurts.
“I will now answer your question, OK? I would do anything, and I really mean everything, for those who come back broken from operations. Please feel free to write these words down. There is only a single moment when we need your commitment. Because we simply cannot go on. If we as a society can learn this, then we will all be winners. And that’s what I will fight for as long as I can.”
That hits home. And then he adds: “We will only find out afterwards whether or not these Games here were good or achieved something, when we realise that our society cares and itself becomes servicemen and women. This is what we will judge you by!”
Autor: Emil Salzender
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