Monroe County local Richard Lesh always found himself in the right place at pivotal moments in history:
• Weathering a hurricane in the famed Bermuda Triangle as a young sailor, his ship was tossed about and nearly lost at sea.
• Suffering life-threatening injuries while battling a fire aboard ship, he was given last rites and expected to die - only to miraculously pull through
• Defying death in a high-speed chase as a local police officer, bullets whizzing past his head.
• And the ultimate brush with history: leading the first D-CON team into the reactor room of the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear facility just days after the partial meltdown in 1979.
Lesh reveals what it was like to place his hand on the doomed reactor and live to tell about it.
But fate was not done with him yet. Thirty-two years later, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster resulting from the tsunami of 2011 prompted reporters from that country’s top newspaper to travel halfway around the world to interview Lesh about his own nuclear meltdown experience.
Like a real-life Forrest Gump, Lesh is a keen observer and superior storyteller whose sharp thinking and photographic memory saved his life and the lives of those around him time and again, all while influencing the course of history.
In his newly released memoir, "The Uncommon Life of a Common Man,” Lesh reveals how growing up poor and neglected honed his sense of self-reliance and proactive problem-solving.
Living throughout the Poconos, Lesh recounts a bygone era that locals will find nostalgic and familiar. Having grown up in all corners of Monroe County, including Analomink, Delaware Water Gap, and East Stroudsburg, walking the beat as a local police officer and dealing with squatters as a Met-Ed power lineman in the wake of the government’s failed Tocks Island land grab.
"The Uncommon Life of a Common Man” unleashes a sense of wonder at one man’s ability to enact positive change in difficult times.
Lesh’s account of how divine intervention changed the course of his life and brought true love is uplifting and inspiring.
Whether you’re a lifelong Poconos resident, a newcomer, or have never been to Small Town, Pennsylvania, "The Uncommon Life of a Common Man” will touch your heart and challenge your assumptions about our place in the universe.
Book signings will be held May 14 at the Eastern Monroe Public Library at 1 p.m. and May 15 at the Castle Inn Shoppes, 20 Delaware Ave., Delaware Water Gap.