WELD COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) – Lou Kinzli is watching closely as the war in Ukraine unfolds. He can relate to what’s happening there, because he too fled his home country in Europe due to war, nearly 80 years ago.

“When I look at the television at what’s happening in Ukraine right now, I feel eerie. I feel, is this what my parents and grandparents faced when we fled?” Kinzli told FOX31.

It’s what Kinzli did when he finally made it to America that has earned him the honor of FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month for March 2022.

By the time he was three years old, Kinzli had already seen more adventure than most of us do in a lifetime. Born in Romania in 1941 to a German family, he was just a young child fleeing the bloody battlefields of World War II.

“The convoy he was traveling in was bombed,” his daughter, Kareen Kinzli Larsen, told FOX31. “Everybody was told to disperse, and he got separated from the woman he was traveling with and his sister.”

A soldier from the Netherlands picked up Lou and dropped him off in a nearby town.  He stayed with a refugee family until a local woman named Leni Puchner discovered him and asked if she could care for him. She became his foster mom for months but he was eventually reunited with his family.

Kinzli’s family immigrated to the United States in the 1950s, and a few years later he found himself in Colorado.

“Felt like home,” he said.

Now that he was in a new country, he wanted to serve. So he spent eight years in the Marine Corp.

“You know I lived a wonderful life but the most exciting is right here in America. The land of unbridled opportunities,” Kinzli said.

He has seized those opportunities every day since, as a successful farmer, real estate agent, family man, and if you ask us, a hero too.

“A hero is defined not on the football field, and not on the baseball field. A hero is defined on the battlefield. When you sacrifice your life to fight for something that you believe in. That’s a hero,” Kinzli told FOX31.

But a hero is also someone who is willing to serve their country and put their life on the line, just as Kinzli. That’s why we’re naming him the FOX31 Serving Those Who Serve Hero of the Month for March 2022. He was nominated by long-time friends because of his service to a country that welcomed him as a refugee. A country that changed his life.

“You know I’m not necessarily a hero, I’m just an American,” Kinzli said.

In addition to a Hero of the Month plaque, Kinzli gets a $500 Visa gift card from our Serving Those Who Serve sponsors, Plumbing Services, your local Ford dealers, and the Leo Hill Charitable Trust.

To nominate a veteran, active-duty service member, military family member, or volunteer for Hero of the Month, visit the nomination page.