War Bonds

‘My brother was there….’

A year after the publication of War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, the book signings and speaking events start to blur together.

I’ve met so many wonderful people– many of them WWll veterans, who share their memories of their time of service.

But at this week’s event something amazing happened. At every reading I share from Chapter One: Band of Gold. It’s the story of Jerry and Nancy Gleesing.

When they were expecting their first child, Jerry, who served with the 15th Air Force, 459th Bomb Group, was shot down and had to bail out over Hungary. He was quickly captured and spent 3 months as a prisoner of war in Mooseburg, Germany.

It’s a moving story that often prompts tears– including my own. As I read, I noticed an older gentleman take of his glasses and wipe tears as they streamed down his face.

He waited in line to by a book. “My brother was there,” he said. “At the POW camp in Mooseburg. He was on that plane.”

Unbelievable! He looked at the picture below, to see if he could pick out his brother, but his eyesight if failing. He had me sign the book for his 90-year-old brother, who’s still alive and resides in California.
I only wish Jerry Gleesing was still here, so I could tell him I found one of his crew.

Gleesing

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Columns, War Bonds

War not a word to be take lightly… especially today

Today is Veteran’s Day. Tomorrow’s Front Porch column is already available online at the Spokesman Review, so I thought I would share it here as well.

I am heartily sick of the so-called “war on Christmas.”  Read below to find out why.

Words matter to me.

I make my living crafting them. Whether writing a column, a news story or a book, I spend my days weighing and measuring them – searching for the best turn of phrase to communicate a thought, an idea or a fact.

Sometimes I play with them. Juggling them, nudging them to create content that elicits a reaction, a smile or a tear.

Even when handled lightly, I understand their power on a printed page. And while not all words are meant to be taken literally, I think some should be.

War is one of them.

Yesterday was Veterans Day – a day we as country set aside to honor the men and women who have served or continue to serve in our armed forces.

I’ve lost count of the veterans I’ve interviewed over the years, but their faces and their stories are seared into my soul – especially the stories of combat veterans, those who faced loss of life and limb during their time of service.

I’ve lost count of the veterans I’ve interviewed over the years, but their faces and their stories are seared into my soul – especially the stories of combat veterans, those who faced loss of life and limb during their time of service.

So just to be clear, here’s Webster’s definition of war: A state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations or a period of such armed conflict.

Other definitions may have made their way into our reference books and cultural consciousness, but the original meaning of war is armed conflict.

The kind of conflict Wes Hixon faced in 2008 in Iraq when the Stryker vehicle he was riding in hit an IED. “Four people were killed outright,” he said. “The rest were injured. Me and another soldier were paralyzed. Most of them were pretty good friends of mine.”

I interviewed Hixon, then 24, in 2009 as he sat in a wheelchair. He knows what war is.

Read full column here.

War Bonds

War Bonds and the Mitsons on Spokane Talks Online

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Charlie and Mable Mitson and I were featured on the program Let’s Talk Spokane produced by Spokane Talks Online, today.

The Mitsons’ story is told in chapter 31 of War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation. They celebrated their 73rd anniversary in July.

The video of this adorable couple will be posted on YouTube soon, and I’ll share that link when it’s available. The Mitsons are both 91 and witty, sharp and beautiful.

Such a privilege to share their story.
Here’s a link to the podcast. You can download it or listen online.

Mitson wedding photo low res

War Bonds

Sharing Hearts AND War Bonds: The Results

I was delighted to receive this newspaper clipping in the mail. The Davenport Times and the Wilbur Register, reported on an event I recently spoke at.

The Sharing Hearts Luncheon netted $22,000 for the Lincoln Hospital Foundation. The funds will be used to purchase extra long beds for acute care and transitional care patient rooms.

The generous attendees also scooped up every copy of War Bonds I brought– 46 in all.

What a wonderful thing to be part of such a worthwhile event.

Sharing Hearts Luncheon

War Bonds

War Bonds at Spokane Veterans Forum

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Cindy Hval with Myrt and Walt Powers and Harold and Shirley Tucker.

Last night, two couples featured in War Bonds Love Stories From the Greatest Generation were guests at Spokane Veterans Forum.

The Veterans Forum is a group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers who serve as mentors to men and women coming through the Spokane Veterans Court.

The Spokane Veterans Forum (SVF) provides training support, fellowship,
camaraderie and help to veterans from  any Veterans Enhanced
Therapeutic (VET) Court.

Organizers showed the Northwest Profiles video featuring the two couples and then I facilitated a discussion about relationships during and after military service.

The veterans and their mentors proved to be a warm and responsive crowd and gave the Powers and the Tuckers a standing ovation at the conclusion of our discussion.

How wonderful to see these members of the Greatest Generation honored, respected and valued for the wisdom they have to offer us.

War Bonds

A funny thing happened on the way to the Google

I admit it. I Googled myself. Don’t tell me you haven’t!  But what I found today, delighted me! Two reviews that I’d never seen.

The first was this lovely mention of War Bonds from a blog called Doodles and Words.

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“War Bonds– Love Stories of the Greatest Generation by Cindy Hval is a collection of beautiful and loving memories of couples who met during World War II. She recounts how these men and women met and stayed together for decades despite many obstacles. Who doesn’t love a good story? Well, what about 36 of them?

“Everything’s built on friendship. He’s been my best friend for 77 years.” – Betty Schott”

And the second came from Pearl Harbor!
Pearl Harbor Survivor Couple – Betty and Warren Schott

“We first heard about the Pearl Harbor Survivor Couple, Betty and Warren Schott, in an article in the Spokesman-Review by Cindy Hval. This remarkable couple was living on Ford Island when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

They heard an explosion and Warren quickly recognized that Pearl Harbor was under attack from an enemy. Many others on Oahu at the time thought that it was a drill, but Warren saw the rising sun on the wing of a Japanese plane flying overhead.

Warren Schott watched as the USS Utah was torpedoed. He then took his wife and another family living below them to safety. Warren did not seek safety himself, instead he returned to Battleship Row to help victims of the attack.

“I took one of the boats and picked up our fellows who were in the water,” he recalled. The men he pulled out were covered in oil.

Betty Schott did not sit idly by herself.

“They put us to work immediately, Betty said. “We unloaded guns and filled fire extinguishers.”

This Pearl Harbor Survival Couple was married for 76 years before Warren Schott passed away in May 2014. Betty lived another year and passed away on July 5, 2015.

We appreciate the excellent story from Cindy Hval about this fascinating couple and the impression they left on her. You can read Ms. Hval’s stories about the Schotts here and here or in her book below. We salute you Cindy Hval for your story and we salute the Schotts for their service to our country.

For more stories about love during wartime, read Hval’s highly rated book: War Bonds.”

Moral of the story? Don’t be afraid to Google yourself– you might find nice surprises like these:-)

War Bonds

Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show

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I had a wonderful time at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show in Portland, Oregon this weekend. My publisher invited me to join their Northwest sales rep and sign copies of War Bonds.

I met many wonderful booksellers from across the area and got to see my friends from Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane and from The Well Read Moose in Coeur d’ Alene.

The show was packed with vendors, representatives from all sizes of publishing houses, authors and most importantly– independent booksellers.

These are the folks that get our books into the readers’ hands, so it was a wonderful opportunity to be able to personally introduce them to War Bonds.

Seeing booksellers’ eyes light up when I explain the premise of the book and show them the fabulous photos within it was great fun, and Portland is a fabulous city to visit.

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War Bonds

Sharing Hearts– and War Bonds!

War Bonds Sharing HeartsI had a wonderful time in Davenport, Washington, where I was the guest speaker for The Lincoln Hospital Foundation’s annual Sharing Hearts Luncheon.

The organizer had adorned the stage with  her father-in-law’s WWll uniform and her mother’s wedding dress.

War Bonds Sharing Hearts Book Table

They had this beautiful book table set up for me and I ended up selling every copy of War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Genereration, I had!

War Bonds Sharing Hearts 2

The people of Lincoln County are gracious and generous. It was a delight to be a part of their yearly fundraising campaign.

War Bonds

Night at the Library

Night at the Library

Really excited about this upcoming FREE event! Enjoy short readings by six local authors, including myselfSharma Shields, Bruce Holbert and Shawn Vestal. Mingle among the stacks, have some tasty treats,grab some wine at the no-host bar and purchase selected books from Aunties Bookstore.

Hope to see you September 17, 7 PM at Spokane County Library, Argonne Branch, 4322 N Argonne Rd Spokane, WA

War Bonds

Greater Love

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Ken and Carolyn Lewis

War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation tells the stories of WWll heroes both at home and abroad. But those aren’t the only heroes I’ve met.

Last week I met Ken Lewis.  He was wounded during his first tour of duty in Vietnam and scheduled to be flown out. But before that happened the unit of South Vietnamese soldiers he was serving with was ambushed 400 yards from the base. Caught in a crossfire every single soldier died. “Eighty seven men, wiped out,” said Ken.
And he wept.
“He’s never talked about this before,” his wife, Carolyn explained, shocked by his openness.
But that’s not the heroic part.
After Ken got home, their 18 year old son enlisted and called to tell them he’d received orders for Vietnam.
“You aren’t going,” Ken said. “Absolutely not!”
He been there, you see. He didn’t want his son to live through what he’d endured.
His son balked. “Dad! I’ve got orders!”
“No,” said Ken. “No.”
He called a friend in the Pentagon and said, “There’s no way I’m going to let my son go to Vietnam– send me instead. I will go back.”
And he did.
His son was sent to Alaska and Ken did another tour of duty in Vietnam.
And I know I’m supposed to be a hard-boiled professional journalist, but tears filled my eyes and I sat in my car and wept after this interview.
“Greater love has no man than this….”