Monday, August 5, 2013

A Sergeant in the House

Today's guest blogger is Betty Turnbull, author of the book A Sergeant In The House, a children's book that shares the heartwarming story of a boy's love for his father, a man serving in combat.  Proceeds from the book will benefit Hope For The Warriors®.  Thank you to Betty for sharing her thoughts and for choosing Hope For The Warriors® as the beneficiary for her hardwork.

The author with her son

In a time when we hear more and more about our service men and women and the battlefield injuries they sustain––be them psychological or physical––I felt called to write a story that would explain the sacrifices of our heroes in a way that children could connect to them. And I wanted to do it in a way that would give back to our nation’s warriors. So it was an easy decision to donate 100% of my author royalties to Hope For The Warriors ®.

A Sergeant In The House is the story of Lenny, a young boy whose father joins the military to serve his country. Lenny desperately wants a puppy. But the family must move frequently and Lenny is still very young to care for an animal. So Lenny strikes a bargain: When his daddy becomes a sergeant, Lenny can have a puppy. When his father is deployed to war, Lenny learns what it means to be responsible, to care for his family, and to help around the house. A dreaded phone call brings the news that Lenny's father has been injured and is being sent home. When Lenny's father explains that this means he'll never become a sergeant, Lenny realizes that what he truly wants is his daddy––puppy or no puppy.

I grew up in what I would call a very patriotic home. My dad was a veteran of WWII. He met my mom at Wright Patterson Field in Ohio, where she was working as a secretary to a general. I grew up proud of my country.

I spent most of my adult life outside the United States in Haiti, where my husband and I worked in education and rural development. Our three children were born and raised in Haiti.

During this time, I grew to appreciate the United States and the freedoms I grew up with even more. I remember how surprised I was when a Haitian friend insisted we talk in a whisper in the open yard. He was fearful that someone would hear him speak against the government and retaliate by hurting his family. No longer did I take the First Amendment for granted.

When our oldest son announced at age 12 that he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy, I wasn’t surprised since I knew he shared our patriotism and appreciation of the United States––plus I suspected something about cool airplanes had caught his attention. I was surprised, however, when at 13, 14, 15 and onward he held onto this dream. In 1991, he entered the Academy. Today he is a Lieutenant Colonel and currently deployed to Afghanistan.

Family Together
Because of his service, my great respect for our military has grown from cheering on the branches of the military as groups of people to realizing that these groups are made up of individuals. These individuals are sons and daughters, wives and husbands, and fathers and mothers. And my son, himself a husband and father, is just one of the thousands who puts himself in harm’s way to protect my freedoms. EVERY. DAY. And there are thousands of other mothers, fathers, spouses and children who wake up every day with a prayer on their lips for protection and go to sleep every night with a “thank you for another day.”

I’ve also learned firsthand, that when one member of the family serves, all members serve. With each move, spouses get the job of creating a home out of a house all over again and changing or giving up careers; children have to make new friends and adjust to new schools. Long hours and deployment leave spouses holding it all together. And it’s the family who steps up when a loved one returns, because too often our heroes return with physical and psychological injuries.

The ongoing battles that our warriors continue to fight are our ongoing battles. Organizations like Hope For The Warriors® make it possible for us to be a part. I’ve had a burden for years to find a way to pay tribute to our heroes and their heroic families. A Sergeant in the House is that tribute. My hope is that it will warm the hearts of those who read it and bring awareness of just how much families sacrifice for the rest of us. May we all start each day with a thank you for our freedoms and may we not take for granted the price paid to keep them.

I feel privileged to be partnering with Hope For The Warriors® by donating my royalties, and I invite you to join me in supporting our nation's heroes through this worthy organization.

Purchase the book today.

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. This touches my heart and soul. I live in some confusion as a pacifist about how to appreciate our service people and still believe in non-violence. Thank you for such a precious gift you are giving. I am an old friend of Deborah G. Hining. Look forward to meeting you when we come back to visit N.C.
    Peace for the whole world.