It’s part of the nature of my project of interviewing some of our nation’s eldest military veterans so I should expect it. With many of them well into their 90s, I have to face the fact that they will all someday be deceased.
Still, it is hard to receive that kind of news.
Recently, I learned that two veterans from my latest book, They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans, had died.
Lorraine Hook Davis (1920-2018) was a kind, quiet lady whom I interviewed two years ago in her apartment.
As a college graduate, she automatically became an officer upon joining the Coast Guard. That made her an extraordinary veteran to me because she was
- a) female- really rare to find these days,
- b) Coast Guard—really hard to find in Indiana!
- c) college graduate—it’s amazing she had the funds and determination to attend and graduate from college during the late years of the Great Depression.
She didn’t consider her military service during World War II as any great achievement. My word for her – and every other female who volunteered to serve during that ‘Man’s War’– is plucky.
I don’t know if I would have had the courage to sign up, leave home to live across the country for several years and live as a soldier.
I was thrilled to visit with Lorraine at my book launch party in November 2017. Her appearance belies her age of 97! She signed dozens (maybe hundreds) of copies of books for people and looked happy while doing so.
She just reached her 98th birthday a few weeks ago, leaving a long legacy of military service to be proud of among her family.
Oren Huffer (1924-2018)
This was one of the quietest, sweetest men I’ve ever met. I thought he was reserved during our interview but as I got to know him I realized that was his way. He never hesitated to tell me about his work with gliders during World War II.
You don’t have to know anything about gliders to imagine how dangerous these things could be with no motor to guide them. Landings were especially hazardous. When I asked him about them, he admitted that they were but looked as though it didn’t faze him. He had never been injured which is quite a miracle, in my book.
After the war, he worked as an educator in the Fort Wayne area, which made him extra-special as I’m from a family of teachers.
He also attended the book launch in Nov 2017 which made me very happy. The book launch was designed for the veterans so they were seated around a large room. The public was invited to come and meet them and thank them for their service. If they wanted to purchase a book, the veterans could sign them.
Among the 17 veterans present was Oren, who appears relaxed in this photo. I think he enjoyed the day and I hope he had good memories of it for weeks to come.
Oren and Lorraine were both very special people and I’m honored to have known them. I don’t always hear about the deaths of the men/women I’ve interviewed. Thanks to those of you who notify me with updates.
A few weeks ago Fort Wayne Community Schools (IN), purchased enough copies of my two World War II books to put one in each of their middle/high schools. As this is one of the largest school districts in the state, you can imagine my excitement.
I have worked in a middle school library so I know what kids like to read. I’ve also written 15 children’s books (here is my Amazon page listing).
My books could be understood by students in grades 6 and up. My goal is to promote patriotism among readers – what better age group to learn about patriotism than students!
If your group would like to order 10+ copies, please contact me for information about bulk rates.
As always, thanks to every veteran reading this for your service. This wife/mother of Air Force airmen appreciates your dedication to our country.