Born in Lorain, Ohio, to parents who believed in serving others, Gerald Kochan was raised to have the same belief. As a young man, this sense of responsibility increased and he began a series of projects to tell the public about issues he believed were very important. His favorite subject was informing people about Polish military units whose stories seemed to have been forgotten by historical scholars.
Kochan served as a commissioned officer in the United States Armed Forces. His three degrees from prestigious universities helped him in his career and in teaching and training both national and international officers. He is fluent in many languages and continues to serve the Defense Department.
To keep with his passion of sharing Polish military history, Kochan has produced and directed many documentary films. White Eagle in Borrowed Skies is the most notable of these documentaries it describes the story of the Polish Air Force and showcases their battle while in exile from Poland. This happened after Nazi Germany and Russia attacked the country. The history of the armed forces in Poland is missing from many textbooks and Kochan is using his talents to make sure this history is never forgotten.
As the head of the Polish American Museum, he is using his position to record and share the stories of World War II veterans before they pass away. He also plans to mark the 70th anniversary of many of the important battles from that war, including Operation Market Garden, D-Day, Monte Cassino and many others. Since many movies either don’t mention Polish troop involvement, or lump them together with other troops, he plans to highlight their strength and bravery in these battles.
Mr. Kochan wants to educate the young people of Poland about their history. He believes knowledge of the past will lead to pride in their heritage and has many events planned to further their knowledge of Polish military history.
He is a decorated veteran of both the Iraq and Gulf wars and was awarded the Bronze Metal Star and the Humanitarian Service Medal. Kochan continues to support many charities such as the Disabled American Veterans and Food for the Poor.
In 2014, Kochan marked forty years of running in marathons. Because of his military and humanitarian efforts, he’s had the opportunity to run marathons in Jordan, Austria, England and Germany. His passion for helping veterans has helped make the Rockwell Patriot Half Marathon one of his favorite races. It is affiliated with Carry the Load. Their mission is to remind Americans that Memorial Day is a holiday designed to honor the sacrifices that law enforcement, firefighters, rescue personnel and the military have made to protect each of us and our country. After running more than forty years, he now relishes the satisfaction of finishing each race and is unconcerned about the time it takes to do so.