Uncommon Bonds: A Journey in Optimism is an inspiring story of love and faith, strength and determination – and community and country.
This epic journey begins in World War II, where our biological parents find forbidden love. Our mother is the daughter of a German farmer and Nazi sympathizer. She falls in love with a Polish prisoner of war who is working on her family farm. The two young lovers refuse to end their relationship, are turned in to the authorities, and dispatched to work and prison camps, respectively. They survive the camps, amazingly find each other after the war, and work their way to New York. They eventually end up with a family of 14 children and settle in northern New Jersey.
In 1963 the Banach family of 16 (mother, father, and 14 children) is torn apart by a house fire, which eventually results in three of the boys being placed in the same permanent foster care home after a short separation. Though financially pressed themselves Alan and Stephanie Tooley, our foster parents, prove to be incredible role models in raising us and provide a stable family setting – and would do their best to raise three rambunctious boys during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. Although they were close to being poor themselves, our surrogate parents would pass along basic lessons of daily accountability and a necessary work ethic. Our future coaches and mentors, all of whom would contribute to our future accomplishments on the world stage, amplified these essential lessons.
This book describes stories from our youth, and our daredevil antics, along with mentorship by some of the best junior high, high school and college coaches in the United States. While Ed and I would represent our nation in the LA Olympic Games, our brother, Steve, a U.S. Army Ranger Battalion Commander, would lead the October 19, 2001 parachute attack in Afghanistan as our Nation’s first publicly released response to the 9/11 attacks. He also led a second Ranger parachute assault into Iraq in March 2003. Provided below are two book endorsements from Senator Joni Ernst and Admiral William McRaven (Retired).
“The story of the Banach Brothers is an inspiring journey of three University of Iowa graduates who throughout their lives have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds through faith, perseverance, and an uncommon level of resilience. It is a testament to each of us that the impossible is possible. But this is not just a story about these three brothers—it is also a story that exemplifies the American Dream!”
The Honorable Joni Ernst, United States Senator (Iowa)
"All men die but, not all men truly live. Uncommon Bonds is the story of three brothers who have truly lived. The fact that three brothers could achieve so much, not just for themselves, but also for their country, is amazing. The idea that they achieved these things from such turbulent beginnings exemplifies that the American Dream is available to us all. The example set by these men and their parents is pure Americana! It would seem like a fable if it were not for the fact that it all really happened!"
Admiral William McRaven (Retired)—Former Commander of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is directly responsible for the successful planning and mission execution that resulted in the termination of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011. He is now Chancellor at the University of Texas.