Trigger, a baby goat…

greeted me as I walked in the door of the barber/ beauty shop.

“Don’t bother the customer, Trigger”, Helen said, while completing a lady’s blow-dry.  

As soon as I sat down, Trigger started butting my leg.

“Where did you get this critter, Helen?”

“Well, his mother had four of them, but only nursed two at a time. Trigger and his sister were not able to get enough milk to make it. We lost his sister and I got to Trigger just in time to rescue him”, Helen responded. “With me feeding him by bottle every couple of hours, it looks like he is going to survive.”

I picked Trigger up and started holding him.

“You want a goat, Jerry? I got three available”, Helen said.

“I can’t imagine what Laura might say if I walked in the door with a pet goat.  But I don’t think it would be that positive”.

My mind raced to a GI who picked up a stray puppy in Afghanistan and brought him back to base. Despite misgivings, the commander could see how the critter helped improve morale and gave a reluctant “OK” for the soldiers to keep him. Over time, the dog became the pet of the entire unit and did wonders to perk up the morale of young soldiers. The little guy reminded them of home, and diverted their minds from the horrors of war, if only temporarily. 

Then one day, the dog, traveling on patrol, was killed in a battle skirmish. There is no way to describe how this incident affected morale. Grown men were crying in the combat zone as if one of their best and closest friends had been lost.

In a measure of reflection, that is exactly what happened.

This story will appear in one of my future books.

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If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Be among the first 1,000 people to receive an advanced, signed copy of Angels on the Battlefield. You can contact me for details by clicking the button below.

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can also click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

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Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found on the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

 

Above: Jerry nuzzles Trigger the goat.

 

 

Our daughter…

and her son Kaiden were feeding these beautiful sand cranes in the backyard of their Florida home while I was visiting. “Noah” (the male bird) and Allie (named after my mother) stop by for a snack pretty much every day.

We were able to see them take the food directly from our daughter’s hand a couple of times. Very trusting, these beautiful creatures teach us much by their habits. They “speak” in a friendly manner, saying “thank you” (in crane language) for the food and protest when our daughter is a couple of minutes late in showing up for feeding time. Sometimes they just fly by, stop in for a snack from the feeding tray and fly off.

Normally inseparable (since Sand Cranes mate for life), this time of year, they stop by individually. Therefore, it must be hatching time and one of them is near or sitting on the nest, protecting the little baby cranes who will “peck out” and show up soon. I imagine we may see Dad, mom, and kids a few times before babies select their mates and start the new lives together (for life)!

Kindness, caring for each other, and friendship for life are virtues the men and women combat veterans we write about, demonstrate for life!  Caring for each other is a must in the combat zone. Doing what it takes to bring every buddy home is a commitment that soldiers risk their lives to honor. We write about these and other virtues in our next book, Angels on the Battlefield. Book two publishes later this spring and has 30 terrific stories. See you in the next blog.  Author, Jerry Barnes

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If you know a veteran who would like to share their story with me for a future book, just ask them to visit the contact page of my website, or click the button below. 

If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Be among the first 100 people to receive an advanced, signed copy of Angels on the Battlefield. You can contact me for details by clicking the button below.

You can also use the link below If you would like a signed copy of my first published book of combat survivor stories When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found under the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

Cover Image: Sand Cranes from pixabay. Above: Our daughter and her son feeding Noah and Allie. 

Laura…

my brother Gordon is going to the auto auction in Richmond. Want to tag along? I see there are some state vehicles we may be able to buy for a decent price.”

“As long as you promise me we won’t buy something we don’t need”, she conceded. 

“I’ll do my best to avoid bidding”, I promised.

She responded that she would be watching me like a hawk.

Upon arrival, we soon discovered that state cars were going to sell for way more than we were willing to pay. I resigned myself to a quiet bench in one of the bays, watching the sales proceed. There was a constant stream of bidding chatter. “How do these guys talk so fast?”, I wondered.

Meanwhile, Laura was nowhere in sight.

Sometimes, I have the right to remain silent, but not the ability. A shiny, gold Nissan Sentra was entering the sales booth. There was stark silence. No one made a bid on the car. The words “$200” burst from my mouth. “$200 is bid, will someone give me $300? 300, 300, 300.”, the auctioneer quickly said.

Silence.

“Sold to the man in the Virginia Tech hat for $200″, shouted the auctioneer.

I sat quietly in my chair as a lady approached me and said: “Sir, I represent the finance company who owns this car. I am not willing to sell the car for $200, but will take $600 for it”.

I told her that I would check it out and let her know. A few moments later, the engine running quietly, and no tears on the upholstery, I said, “I’m willing to pay the $600″.

About that time, adult supervision disguised as Laura returned, looked at me incredulously, and said, “Why did you buy that ugly thing?”

“Because it is worth more than $600”, I retorted.

“Well, I am not going to ride in it. I hope you plan to sell it”, she insisted.

“I do”, I said.

Laura followed me home in our Honda,  just to be sure the Nissan would make it. I stopped at my buddy’s filling station in Daleville and asked, “Do you care if I leave this here with a For Sale sign on it. I marked the sign with $2500 or best offer. Two days later I got a call and went to meet the fellow. He drove the Nissan and said, “Would you take $2200 for it?”   

 “Yes”, I said, and we drove to the Bank of Botetourt to settle the sale.

Twenty minutes later, I had a certified check for $2200. Laura grabbed the check and said, “this is going in the book account”. We can use the money to pay book editors!

On the way home from the sale, Laura and I stopped at the Wendy’s in Farmville. A fellow walked in the Wendy’s and we struck up a conversation. He gave me a terrific story of his service at Liberty Bridge in Viet Nam and led me to a second story, from his son, who was also a marine, and fought in the bloody Battle of Fallujah, Iraq. Both stories are in our first book and will be mentioned more in a future blog.

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If you enjoyed this blog, please like and share it with your friends on social media to help spread the word about Combat Survivor Heroes. A portion of all book proceeds is donated to local veteran causes. 


Be among the first 1,000 people to receive an advanced, signed copy of Angels on the Battlefield. You can contact me for details by clicking the button below.

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can also click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

Details of the two wonderful veteran causes we support can be found under the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

 

Above: Jerry Barnes, Author of Combat Survivor Stories, and wife Laura Barnes

 

In 2011…

Julian Stood wrote an informative piece of work entitled, Small can be beautiful. Why short, powerful stories can be more effective than novels in the learning process.

Stories and storytelling sit at the very heart of effective communication. Stories build rapport and empathy, creating and sharing ideas of shared understanding. They give understanding and knowledge in a structured and predictable way.

Our friends at Readers Digest built an impressive following based on the premise of the effective tool of communication we know as the “short story”.

I will share with you the powerful words my friend Les Stobbe said to me nearly three years ago. He said, “Jerry, I believe a book of combat survivor stories, some of them near death accounts, each story written in a format of say, 1,000 to 3,000 words can be a powerful means to inform and give honor to these heroes. Will you consider bringing these stories to light?”

My dilemma was simple. Comfortable in retirement, the first thoughts popping into my 72-year-old mind, were: “you are 72. What in the world are you thinking? Beginning a new career at the age of 72 may well be viewed by some as total lunacy!”

My dear wife Laura, ever helpful, wisely offered, “you are an engineer, have little concept of how to write, and even less experience in writing. Why would you ever consider that? Besides, you got a ‘C’ in English in college.”

Her true words rang in my ears, but I did have a lasting thought. Laura did pay attention in English class and got a good grade. Perhaps she can help me.

As I drove home, Les’ words rang in my ears. Then the thought hit me—where will I find a book of combat survivor short stories? Well, I do have one story of near-death survival—my own. That’s a start. With ideas floating in my head, brilliance attacked me.

“I will ask Rita, my friend from church. She works at the VA. I’m sure she knows some veterans with stories”.

God’s providence is so wonderful. A couple of days later, Rita offered: “well my cousin Ryan served in the Army Green Berets. He shared his story with us at the family reunion. It was exciting, to put it mildly. Let me ask him.”

Ryan’s story, The Ambush, the lead story in book one, was so good it snagged a publishing contract, and I was off and running, but that’s another story for a future blog. 

                                    ********

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Be among the first 1,000 people to receive an advanced, signed copy of Angels on the Battlefield. Contact me for details by clicking the button below. I promise the cost will not break your spending allowance.

If you are interested in a signed copy of our first published book of combat survivor stories, When Heaven Visits: dramatic accounts of military heroes, you can also click the link below. For a discount on your purchase, leave a review of the book on Amazon, take a screenshot of your review, and email it to combatsurvivorheroes@gmail.com.

 

contact me

               

As a reminder, we donate a portion of all of our proceeds to two veteran causes.  Details of these two wonderful causes are described under the Resources page of the Combat Survivor Heroes website. 

Above, Jerry Barnes, Author of Combat Survivor Stories