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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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