Veteran’s Day-Opp to Honor Our Heroes

241 Remember sign

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for us and many other military families around the nation. Veteran’s Day is perhaps the biggest day of the year for all vets. It gives the public the opportunity to honor them in so many ways.

Vet Day bus

John & I participated in Fort Wayne’s Veteran’s Day Parade. He rode the Air National Guard bus while I walked with the Blue Star Mothers. I had more fun handing out candy to children along the mile-long route, but guess who was more tired at the end of the parade?

Thanks to everyone in the Fort Wayne area – Boy Scouts, school bands, military groups and supporters – for going to the effort of showing our vets how much we appreciate them!

Lineberry class

Speaking opportunities for me to tell people about my World War II book of veteran stories abounded. These are pictures of some places I’ve been.

Belmont Lineberry K

Brian Lineberry allowed me to speak to his class at Bellmont High School in Decatur. The class is studying World War II and preparing to write profiles of fallen World War II soldiers from the area. Cool! I gave them tips on research and what they might discover.

Lani 2015

Lani Mahnensmith asked me to speak to a grief support group that meets at Kingston Retirement Center in Fort Wayne. Met some vets there I’ve interviewed and ate lunch with them. Double cool!

K display

The Allen County Public Library Author Fair was well attended. Several people stopped by to ask about the book and we chatted about World War II vets in the area.

Laurie Gray auth fair

It was fun seeing author friends Laurie Gray (above) and Doris Rapp (below).

Doris Rapp

We all were asked to speak on panels about writing.

Amn 241 fallen heroes display

one last thing to mention—the American Legion 241 Post in Fort Wayne hosted an exhibit that I’m sure moved everyone who viewed it.

It displays names, photos and mementos from family / friends of fallen soldiers from Indiana. The display was organized by a father who feared the public would forget his soldier son after his death. It is respectful and maddening to think of our loss because of their sacrifices on our nation’s behalf.

Hiester

The display is especially meaningful for me as there is a photo of a man who grew up in my church. See lower left.

Master Sergeant Michael Hiester, 33, was killed in Afghanistan in 2005 by a mine explosion. He left behind a wife, son, daughter, parents and two sisters, a church who loved him and many, many friends. I love them and respect them so much for carrying on. I don’t know how family get through those painful experiences. The least we can do for our fallen heroes is to show respect for every veteran we meet.

Learn more about this unique exhibit here.

If you have a chance today, thank a veteran for his/her service!

 

 

Spreading the Word about WWII Vets

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In TV studio of WANE Channel 15

Last week was a busy, fruitful week for spreading the word about honoring our nation’s World War II vets!

Not one, not two, but three speaking engagements! One was even on TV! That’s a trifecta for this small town girl who enrolled in Toastmasters to learn how to speak to a group!

On Sunday August 30 at 8:30am WANE Channel 15 in Fort Wayne interviewed me for a segment about my book and my quest to interview as many World War II vets as possible. The link is WANE 15 WWII author

Those three minutes go fast! The hosts were friendly and professional. It was a pleasure working with them to tell my story.

Roth K Seniors 9-3-15 good

On Thursday, September 3, Peggy Roth invited me to speak to a group called LIFT (Living Information For Today). It is sponsored by Dignity Memorial for those who have lost spouses.  We met at Don Hall’s Factory in Fort Wayne. The first hour was a social time to meet other people and have fun in a comfortable setting. Then the group, which meets monthly, has a speaker.

Several in the group of 44, including a female, were veterans so we recognized them for their service. Then I told them about my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans, and my goal to interview as many World War II vets as possible to help preserve our national heritage. Several people purchased copies of my book. I wish I had more time to get to know these kind, friendly people!

Edwards K Sara Wagner

That evening, after a break of a couple of hours, John and I arrived at Dupont branch of Allen County Public Library for yet another event. Branch manager Rebecca Wolfe (right) and I began the first of what we hope will be many monthly World War II veteran talks at the Allen County Public Library Dupont library branch.

The meeting began at 6pm. Al Edwards, a Navy veteran whom I had interviewed for the News-Sentinel WWII stories. This column has run every other Monday since February. Al served as our guest of honor. We had an audience of all ages, including one little guy who was around age 10!

Edwards boy 9-15

The crowd was so interested in listening and asking questions that we went past the 7pm time frame, but no worries as the library stays open on Thursday until 9pm.

Edwards Al grson Wagner

A special bonus for Al is that his grandson showed up to honor his grandfather’s special night. Another young lady was there—Sara Wagner. She served as Al’s guardian on his Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana.  You can see from Al’s expression that he was delighted to see both.

It was a great night and one we plan to do again on the first Thursday of October which happens to be October 1.

We plan to hold these meetings on the first Thursday of the month, weather permitting. Call the library to confirm the date and time.

Here’s a clue for the next month’s meeting: The World War II veteran who has agreed to be our guest was in the Army. He not only helped liberate a concentration camp, but has sobering photos of what he saw there. It’s sure to be an informative evening. He may bring another veteran so we’ll have double the military impact! Please keep in mind that circumstances may influence our choice of speakers.

The Dupont library is located at 536 E. Dupont Rd. 260.421.1315. This is sure to be an educational and poignant series as we learn from our nation’s oldest vets what it was like to serve 70+ years ago!

As always, take the time to thank a veteran for his/her service!

WWII Radio Interview: Success!

Relaxing with Nelson Price (L) after being interviewed on his live radio show.

Relaxing with Nelson Price (L) after being interviewed on his live radio show.

 

You can tell by the expressions on our faces that World War II vets Bob Foster & Don Shady and I enjoyed our time on the air last week with talk show host Nelson Price. Nelson is the host of a long-running live history talk show —Hoosier History Live!

 

Hoosier History Live is the nation’s only live-with-call-in radio history show. It airs noon-1pm ET on WICR 88.7 Indianapolis or online. The studios are located on the campus of University of Indianapolis.

 

Nelson has written several books on the subject of Hoosier (the word ‘Hoosier’ refers to someone from Indiana, for those of you not familiar with our state’s colloquialism) history.

 

The topic of my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans, appealed to Nelson. He graciously invited me to bring two World War II vets profiled in my book to the studio for a live radio interview.

 

Talking on live radio was a new experience for Bob and Don. They did great!

Talking on live radio was a new experience for Bob and Don. They did great!

That meant driving 2 hours each way from northern Indiana where we live and where most of the vets from my book live. It was sure to be a long day, especially if weather was a problem.

 

I was thrilled when Army Air Corps pilot Don Shady and Army vet Bob Foster consented to the trip.

 

You don’t know how many prayers went up for good weather!

 

Thankfully, it was a glorious day with sunshine and clear driving conditions. My wonderful husband, John, drove us to the campus.

 

We were all a little nervous but Nelson’s professional attitude put us at ease. He had questions and a show format prepared and went over them with us before the show. The hour sped by and I was proud of Don and Bob for speaking well on the air.

 

Lunch at Santorini Greek Restaurant with owner Jeanette Sawi was fun and delicious!

Lunch at Santorini Greek Restaurant with owner Jeanette Sawi was fun and delicious!

It was a delight to meet the show’s producer, Molly Head. (That’s her peeking behind my shoulder) She and Nelson dined with us after the show at a nearby Greek restaurant. Santorini Greek Kitchen (1417 E. Prospect St, Indianapolis) was beautiful and a wonderful experience. I had never eaten Greek food except baklava and was not sure what to expect. The food was beyond our expectations.

 

This photo shows just our salads, but we later ate delicious main dishes that I have no way of pronouncing or spelling here. Suffice it to say, we left the restaurant with full, happy stomachs!

 

The restaurant owner, Jeanette Sawi, sat with us for a while and chatted with Don and Bob. I think we created lifelong memories with our visit! Thanks Jeanette and her husband, Taki, for a delicious meal and hospitality!

 

World War II: Legacies of Northeast Indiana Veterans

World War II: Legacies of Northeast Indiana Veterans

I’m booking speaking engagements now about my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans.

 

If you know of a group that would like to know what it has been like to interview 75+ World War II vets and write a book about some of their experiences, contact me. xxxkjreusser@adamswells.comxxx (remove the X’s which are there to prevent Spam). The book is available now at the Paypal button on my site’s home page at top. It would be a perfect gift for a history lover, Baby Boomer or veteran.

Take the time today to tell a vet thank you!

 

 

Meet Distinguished WWII Vets at Free Event!

Ruth Licking

Ruth Licking

Homer Bates

Homer Bates

If you’ve wanted to meet a World War II vet and ask questions about his or her service, you’ll have a unique opportunity to do so on Sat, Jan 24 at River Terrace Estates in Bluffton, Indiana.

 

Ruth Licking married while in service.

Ruth Licking married while in service.

Two vets from my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans, have agreed to talk about their military service and answer questions about it.

Homer Bates flew as an aerial gunner in B29s, F47s and F51s. He flew 33 bombing missions over Japan in 1944 and 1945. His planes were often involved in combat and received heavy flak from the enemy.

He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross medal. He also met American president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

 

Another World War II vet from my book who will attend is Ruth Licking. She was enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) assigned to a clerical position at Kelly Field in San Antonio. “I kept track of paperwork for officers’ transfers and those headed overseas,” she said. Her assignment at HQ earned her the rank of corporal and later, sergeant.

 

In December 1943, Cooper received a special honor when the other WACs at Kelly Field chose her as their representative for ‘Miss Victory’. “I was thought to be the female counterpart to the male soldier,” she said. “The other WACs saw me as someone who was willing to work hard, sacrificially and with little fuss.” Cooper and two other WACs from neighboring bases were recognized at a military ball during which the acclaimed Andrews sisters sang.

 

The hour-long meeting will be held in the River Terrace Independent Living front room at 10am.

 

World War II: Legacies of Northeast Indiana Veterans

World War II: Legacies of Northeast Indiana Veterans

My book will be available for purchase ($20) and as a special bonus, you may ask these vets to sign it!

 

Please come and honor these vets with respectful questions and comments about their military service.

Wayne Center Elementary School Enhances Students’ Interests with Visit from Medusa!

Reading excerpt from my book to Wayne Center Elem students during author visit.

Reading excerpt from my book to Wayne Center Elem students during author visit.


I love visiting schools to talk with students about the importance of reading for success in life. I may not look successful in my Medusa costume, complete with a wig of rubber snakes, but I’ll swallow my pride to get kids excited about books!
Wayne Center Elem students enjoy hearing Greek mythology stories.

Wayne Center Elem students enjoy hearing Greek mythology stories.


Recently I spoke to all 400 students in Grades 1-6 at Wayne Center Elementary School in Kendallville, IN. It is a beautiful building that was constructed just a few years ago. Our sessions were conducted in the spacious and sunny library! Thanks to the Wayne Center Elementary School librarian for allowing us use of the space for the morning.

It was great fun addressing all 6 grades at intervals. I tailor my talk to their maturity levels. Here are comments from one Third/Fourth Grade teacher:

Our school was treated to a visit from Medusa dressed Kayleen during our end-of-year reading celebration. Kayleen was wonderful to engage each group of students, no matter the age group, and talk about her books and what it is like to be an author. The students had a great time asking questions and learning more about her too. What a great visit!

I heard many good things from the staff after her visit and they all said Kayleen engaged the students at each grade level. Thank you to Kayleen for taking time out of her day to come join us. It was wonderful meeting her.

Dawn Jackson
**
The school also purchased copies of my books for their school library.
My thanks to Wayne Center Elementary Principal Karen Gandy, and teachers Patrice Abbee and Dawn Jackson for arranging my visit.

Patrice Abbee (L) and Dawn Jackson (R) helped arrange my visit to Wayne Center Elementary School.

Patrice Abbee (L) and Dawn Jackson (R) helped arrange my visit to Wayne Center Elementary School.

What is your school doing to promote students’ interests in reading? An author visit might do that!

If you are an educator or know of a school that would be interested in an author visit from me, I’d appreciate your letting me know. I want to connect with as many students as possible to let them know the value of reading and writing.

Medusa Visits Bluffton Elementary School!

Speaking to 2nd graders @ Bluffton Elementary School.

Speaking to 2nd graders @ Bluffton Elementary School.


When a principal at a school asks you to attend because she believes in you and your books, it’s really an honor. Julie Meitzler, principal of Bluffton Elementary School sent me a request earlier this year, saying that she had contacted teachers in her school with the recommendation that they invite me to visit their classrooms for an author visit.
2nd graders at Bluffton Elementary School loved their visit from Medusa!

2nd graders at Bluffton Elementary School loved their visit from Medusa!


The 2nd grade teachers followed up and the result was a successful and exciting visit! The second graders at BES are great! They were good listeners as I, dressed as Medusa, introduced them to my ‘friends’ – Hades, Hephaestus, Hermes. These are of course, books that I’ve written.

Keep in mind, I’m wearing a long flowing peach-colored gown and a wig of rubber snakes, very Medusa-like! I also speak in a gravelly, creepy voice as only Medusa would do.

Medusa de-wigged, student teacher Stephany Derengowski, teacher Lindsay Schroeder.

Medusa de-wigged, student teacher Stephany Derengowski, teacher Lindsay Schroeder.


At one point I take off my wig (yay! It’s hot and heavy!) and then tell the students about the rest of my books. At the end we had a Question and Answer time.
2nd grade teacher Kim Bitner & me.

2nd grade teacher Kim Bitner & me.

They were attentive and the teachers were helpful and supportive.

2nd grade teacher Allison  Krinn's class sent me thank you notes that were precious!

2nd grade teacher Allison Krinn’s class sent me thank you notes that were precious!


A few days later I was delighted to get a packet of thank you notes from Allison Krinn’s class. They were delightful and made it all worthwhile.

If you’d like ‘Medusa’ or Kayleen Reusser to visit your class, please contact me at xxxkjreusser@adamswells.comxxx (Remove the x’s).

Southern Wells Elementary School Hosts Medusa!

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Great kids, beautiful building, friendly staff—Southern Wells Elementary School has it all! After receiving an invite from Laura McKinney to speak to her second graders, I gladly accepted (Thanks Tricia Tucker for the recommendation!)! I walked into their group with my Medusa costume which you can see here. By the time this photo was taken, I had removed my snake wig but you can see it below w/ another class.

I always ask the young students if they’re afraid of me. If they say, “Yes!”, Then I say, “Good! Then you had better sit near the back.”

Some of them actually move to the back! I thought they were kidding!

Anyway they were all sweet students and great listeners. Ms. McKinney was there with her class and 2 other classes—I’m sorry, I didn’t get the other teachers’ names. We had a great time talking together about books – they had questions about how long it takes to make a book and do I get to choose the photos inside the biographies.

Medusa sans her snakes talks to students at Southern Wells Ele.

Medusa sans her snakes talks to 2nd graders at Southern Wells Ele.

I explained that it took me longer to write the first book because I had so much to learn. The other books went faster. And no, I don’t get to choose the photos – the publisher emails them to me and I write captions for them that appear in the book.

Then I spoke to the school’s 4th graders, thanks to the invite from teacher Brittany Atkins. They were a great group also with more great questions. I love talking to kids about books!

Speaking to students at Southern Wells Elementary School.

Speaking to students at Southern Wells Elementary School.

Do you know of a school that could use an author visit? I’m still scheduling several visits for the end of the year and into next year. Please contact me at xxxkjreusser@adamswells.comxxx (remove the x’s to prevent spam). I’d love to hear from you regarding an author visit. My goal is to encourage as many children as possible to read! Their success in life depends on it!