TR Robertson –An enthusiastic crowd gathered in the auditorium of the Veterans Association of North County in Oceanside on Saturday afternoon to take part in their Book IV Launch Party and to honor writers who contributed stories in the book. Master of Ceremonies Paul Krueger welcomed those in attendance and explained the agenda for the presentation. Book IV for the Writing Group is called At Ease. It contains forty-seven stories from twenty veteran writers with tales of courage, combat, memories, struggles, history in both prose and poetry. Several of the writers would later read excerpts from their stories.
Photos TR Robertson
Krueger introduced several dignitaries in attendance – Dr. Matt Doyle Vista Unified Superintendent, Esther Sanchez Mayor of Oceanside, and several representatives from various government agencies. Mayor Sanchez expressed her gratitude for the service these veterans had performed, and the close relationship and connection Oceanside has with the military in the area. Gary Garretson explained to the audience the importance of the Writing Group as they have donated over 3,000 copies of Books I-III to homebound veterans, nursing homes, those in hospitals and other veteran groups. The stories cover all levels of service, incidents, memories, feelings, and experiences.
Next up was Joe Ashby who handed out the 1st Ernie Pyle Mira Costa College Scholarship awards. Ernie Pyle was a Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent from WW III. Those receiving awards had stories published in Book IV. Receiving stipends from the Writing Group were Tyler Adams who wrote “The Disappointed Marine,” Trish Collins who wrote “Change is Coming” and Telly Solomon who wrote “The Culminating Point.”
A representative for Assemblymember Tash Boerner Horvath presented a certificate to the Veterans’ Writing Group recognizing the contribution of all writers in Book IV. Gabriela Ochoa, District Representative for Congressman Mike Levin gave an update on several bills the Congressman has authored or supports to assist veterans in a variety of ways. She also had certificates for the writers in Book IV. Adrienne Cisneros-Selekman, Community Relations Liaison for Supervisor Jim Desmond also presented a commendation from the Supervisor for the Book IV Launch.
Next on the Agenda was a series of presentations from several of the writers who read short portions from the stories they had contributed to Book IV. Glen Foss read from “Two Lives in a Global War” talking about WWII from the perspective of a Japanese woman living in Japan and an American woman who served during WWII leading to a point where their different paths would cross. Charlie Wyatt read from “Small Hinges of Fate,” the story of a young Japanese man, in the mid-1800’s, who would work on an American whaling ship eventually returning to Japan in a different role. Randy Davis, Mira Costa English teacher proudly introduced one of his students, Telly Solomon, and they took part in enthusiastically reading from Telly’s story.
The Book Launch ended with audience members greeting many of the writers, purchasing books and exchanging stories with one another. The Veterans’ Writing Group of San Diego County encourages veterans, spouses of veterans and active-duty members to submit their stories to the group. The Writing Group regularly meets each month at the VANC on 1617 Mission Blvd. Oceanside. Members are passionate about writing and sharing their stories. The sales of the book, and other activities like the Car Show this summer, helps in the publication of the books and distribution of the books to various organizations and veterans. The web site for those interested in purchasing any of the books is www.veteranswritinggroup.org . A Women’s Writing Group is also available at www.G3Vista@gmail.com . “Veterans – all conflicts, all writing skills – helping one another tell our stories till we get it right.”