NC family asks for help after veteran stranded in Bosnia


CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) – A central North Carolina veteran who loves to travel the world is now stuck on the other side of it. 

Michael Groissl’s family says he’s is in a rehab facility in Bosnia after suffering a head injury in a fall. 

Even when they are thousands of miles apart, Michael and John Groissl manage to remain close. Michael fell in love with travel while serving in the Navy.

“Once he finished with the Navy, he was kind of touring around the world. (He) lived two years in Vietnam teaching English to elementary school children,” explained John.

When he isn’t abroad, Michael lives in Clayton with John and his family. He’s a beloved uncle with many stories of other countries and cultures.

While Michael was in Bosnia last month, he had a bad fall.

“He fell down the stairs, and the way it happened, he just landed the exact wrong way had a bad brain injury (and) was in an induced coma for nine days,” said John. 

“It’s scary. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know who to talk to. Immediately we tried to call the hospital where he was. The nurses there don’t speak English.”

“His medical insurance is through the VA, which is only going to help him stateside, so everything happening over there is all out of pocket.”

Costs are mounting and so are concerns. Their mother made it to Bosnia earlier this week, but the family still feels helpless. They’re grateful for family and friends who have contributed to a GoFundMe page for his treatment, but what they want most of all is to bring Michael back to North Carolina. 

“Just want to get him home that’s it,” said John’s wife, Lauren. “The kids want him home and we want to go from there.”  

“Getting him here is the hard part,” added John. “He hasn’t been cleared to fly, and even if he was, just his current condition, it’s going to be very difficult to get them on a regular jet and get him home.”

They aren’t sure how they’ll get him here, but they’re hopeful they’ll find a way. 

CBS 17 reached out to Senator Thom Tillis’s office. They’re aware of the situation and are working with the family.

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