Tag: Veteran

Deep South Creations

Meet Brandon and Nicole Prince

After serving in the Marine Corps for 8 years and as a police officer for 2 years, Brandon Prince received the unfortunate news that, due to a service-related disability, he could no longer serve his community as a police officer. Brandon took the news in typical Marine Corps fashion and simply turned to another of his passions – creating art pieces for people to enjoy. His wife, Nicole, is a partner in this wonderful enterprise.

Located in Upstate South Carolina, Deep South Creations offer personalized, custom woodworking, beautifully crafted and sure to last for years, becoming family heirlooms.

Veterans Referring Veterans

I met Brandon while presenting at one of the Veterans Referring Veterans’ Thursday night virtual “Happy Hours.” I joined the VRV several months ago as a veteran author. The VRV is a great online directory and networking tool for validated veteran-owned businesses of all kinds. It turned out that Brandon likes to read, and I ended up shipping him a copy of one of my books.

Loyal For Life

My stories are action-adventure yarns involving military or retired military personnel and being a dog lover, include K9s. One K9 character, a Belgian-Malinois Trident dog, named Ajax, has become a real favorite for many readers. Ajax is quite a heroic animal and saves the day on many dangerous missions. After seeing some of Brandon’s work, I decided I wanted something special as a tribute to Ajax and other “non-fictitious” K9 service members. I talked to Brandon and what he came up with really blew me away. I absolutely love it!

Once he was finished with the piece, Brandon contacted me for my shipping address. But after being socially-distanced for over a year and learning he was only a couple of hours away, I asked if he minded if I picked it up. He didn’t mind at all. It was an excuse for a nice little “road trip” and a chance to meet two wonderful people and fellow VRV members.

Brandon and Nicole at Deep South Creations turn out some stunning work. There are wooden flags, duty racks, cut-outs, signs, etc., all created onsite in the shop behind their house. Unfortunately, I can’t display them all here in this blog post, so you need to visit them on their website, Facebook page, or Instagram! Deep South Creations offers discounts to active duty, veterans, law enforcement, and other first responders.

Do yourself a favor and check out Deep South Creations, and support this amazing veteran-owned small business.

Montagnard: Another Home Run

Montagnard just received another 5-Star review

One thought behind Serpents Underfoot and Montagnard …

Over the past years, it became “fashionable” to bash US service members serving worldwide while making saints out of the other side. Nowhere was this more apparent than during the war in Vietnam, when we had Hanoi Jane posing for pictures with North Vietnamese artillery units and passing a POW’s hopeful message home on to the commander of the Hanoi Hilton prison, a place where so many American servicemen (including John McCain) were imprisoned and tortured. That was a national disgrace!

And it is not always intentional. The Vietnam War film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, in my opinion, tried to give a truthful picture of the Vietnam War. However, we can rarely escape inserting our own views into what we create. While most who viewed this film praised it for its neutrality and fairness, and accurate portrayal of the war, many Vietnam Veterans I have spoken with, are still left with a bad taste in their mouths when watching this film because, at least in their view, it still portrays the American servicemen in a somewhat undeserved negative light.

Yes. Bad things happen in war. We all (well, at least those who bother to learn a little history) remember the My Lai Massacre. Unfortunately, war can bring out the worst in people as well as the best. But I would venture to say that at least 95 percent of American servicemembers serve their county honorably. That fact seems to get lost.

It was my intention, starting with Serpents Underfoot and continued in Montagnard, to write stories that would portray American servicemembers in a positive light because that is what the vast majority of them deserve. Being an old veteran myself, it still upsets me to hear some schmuck bad-mouth the very same people who fought for that schmuck’s right to bad-mouth them. And, far more often than not, the bad-mouthing is undeserved. Anyway, that was my goal. Readers will notice, I included all branches of service in Serpents Underfoot and several of them in Montagnard. There are even references to the British SAS, SBS, and the Israeli Defense Force. These are those who fight to preserve freedom around the globe.

I am happy when readers pick up on this …

And several of them have. There are comments in reviews like …

  • This story gives insight into the bravery of men like these who risk their lives to save others. (Montagnard)
  • You will find an astounding emotional impact as you walk beside men like JD and his K9 partner, Ajax, risking their lives to protect other people. (Montagnard)
  • A good job of describing the real Vietnam war and the inhuman crimes committed, not by US servicemembers but by the Vietcong and North Vietnam army. (Serpents Underfoot)

That is why a review like this one from DeeDee means so much to me!

Great story; very well written. Loved all the characters. This book, like your last one, had me from the beginning. JD is amazing and is an Isshin-ryu expert to boot. This book has it all. It makes you proud to be an American, has believable love stories and great action throughout. Loved it.

DeeDee

Feel free to check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and please, check out my books on my Amazon Author’s Page! They do get great reviews!

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A Woman-Owned Veteran Business: Regal Reflections

A High Quality, Professional Mirror Photo Booth Experience!

Meet Jenna Ridenhour

Mom, Regal Reflections CEO, BBA, Entrepreneur, Veteran

Jenna Ridennhour is an Army veteran. She served a two-year enlistment with the United States Army as an optician. After completing her service period, Jenna continued working as an optician for 12 years in the civilian sector. Deciding to jumpstart her career, Jenna went back to school and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration in 2015. With her new BBA in hand, the entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and a new business was born in February of 2020.

What this business offers …

Regal Reflections, LLC is based in Savanah, Georgia, and offers a unique way to create and share special memories of your events. Experience the ultimate “selfie” with the Mirror X Photo Mirror, a stunning 6-foot tall interactive, voice-guided photo booth that can be set up at your location. Packages include many options such as a personalized touch screen, a personalized overlay, a backdrop (if requested), props (both physical and/or digital), unlimited 4×6″ prints, a uniformed attendant, signing and stamping features, and texting/emailing capabilities.

Sample Overlay

Jenna has spent years researching the industry and designing a system that ensures her clients receive a delightfully high-end experience. She takes great pleasure in providing an entertaining, memorable, and shareable experience for each client and their guests.

Whether you provide Regal Reflections with a list of your “must-haves” or you are drawing on her team’s wealth of experience, this veteran-owned business will make sure every single detail is perfect for your special event. Regal Reflections specializes in providing that personal touch that makes your event one that will be remembered and talked about for years to come.

So whether for a wedding, a birthday party, a holiday celebration, a conference, or a bar mitzvah … Regal Reflections has the tools to help easily capture and share those wonderful memories with all your friends and family … even virtually!

The Virtual Experience …

This is an amazing option and one I do have some personal experience with. Several weeks ago, the Veterans Referring Veterans network raised funds for a little boy named Lukas. Lukas, the son of a Marine veteran, was recently diagnosed with Leukemia. Regal Reflections played an amazing role, allowing those who contributed to the fundraiser and other well-wishers to send Lukas pictures created online “virtually,” so Lukas could see those who were pulling for him from his room in the hospital. I could not attend the actual event held at Four Brother Meadery in Festus, Missouri, because of a previous commitment. But I was still able to send Lukas a picture using this virtual photo booth. It was an amazing thing to see and be a part of.

This virtual photo booth experience can also be just the thing to share special memories with friends and family unable to share in activities during these uncertain times or those over extended distances.

So, please take a minute to check out Regal Reflections and see what this amazing lady veteran has to offer her clients. And support businesses run by those who were willing to put their lives on the line for us.

Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RegalReflectionsLLC
Website: www.regal-reflections.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/regal_reflections/


Check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and be sure to check out all my books on my Amazon Author’s Page! They do get great reviews!

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Remembering a WWII Veteran

I got an email from my dad this afternoon telling me his Uncle Bob passed away today. He was 95. My Great Uncle Bob was a WWII veteran, serving in the Army Air Corps on Okinawa at the end of the war.

In the email, my dad mentioned that when he was born, the whole Widmer clan lived in the same house in Herkimer, NY. By the time my father was a toddler, he’d identified Bob as his favorite uncle. Bob would take my dad to the playground and kept a watchful eye on him as he grew older. All the time Uncle Bob was in the Army, he would send my dad a dollar each month to put in a bank he had given him. When he returned from overseas, Uncle Bob took my dad and the money, bought my dad’s first bicycle, which he taught him to ride.

Uncle Bob was not drafted until July of 1945, and Japan surrendered in August of 1945. Hence, the war was over before he arrived at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, where he served as an aircraft mechanic. As I understand it, he worked on B-29s and P-47s, which continued to fly air defense and other missions during the occupation. Bob received a commendation signed by President Harry Truman for his service.

I still remember going to my Great Uncle Bob’s house as a very young boy and playing with his two girls, Ellen and Ruth. We would also see them at Raquette Lake in upstate New York and at family reunions. I guess Ellen and Ruth would be second cousins. Uncle Bob and Aunt Lillian were wonderful people, and these are such great memories. American has lost another one of its heroes.

He was truly a wonderful man.

Knock Em Out John

Jerry Clower: The Mouth of the Mississippi

As a youngster, I had several Jerry Clower records, then later, cassette tapes. A story-teller extraordinaire! His tales would have you laughing until your stomach hurt. I had just about forgotten about old Jerry until a friend sent me a clip he’d stumbled onto on the internet. I got such a kick out of listening to it again, I decided I needed to spread the love. I posted a few of my favorites here.

Knock Em Out John

Howard Gerald “Jerry” Clower was born on September 28, 1926. He passed away on August 24, 1998. An American stand-up comedian from the Southern United States, Clower was best known for his tales of the rural South. He became affectionately known as “The Mouth of Mississippi.”

The New Bull

Jerry Clower studied agriculture at Mississippi State University, where he played college football and was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. After finishing school in 1951, Clower worked as a county agent and later as a seed salesman. He became a fertilizer salesman for Mississippi Chemical in 1954. By 1954, Jerry had developed a reputation for telling funny stories to boost his sales. Edwin “Big Ed” Wilkes and Bud Andrews in Lubbock, Texas heard some tapes of Clower’s speaking engagements, and they were quite impressed. They had him make a better-quality recording, which they promoted. The Coon Hunt earned a platinum record for sales above $1 million at the retail level.

Wanna Buy A Possum

Jerry Clower made 27 full-length recordings over his 27-year career as a professional entertainer. This total does not include “best of” compilations. With one exception, all the recordings were released by MCA. The exception was Ain’t God Good, which Clower recorded with MCA’s blessing at a worship service. Word Records promoted and distributed this title in 1977.

The She Coon of Women’s Lib

In 1973, Clower joined the Grand Ole Opry and continued to perform there regularly until his death. He also co-hosted a radio show called Country Crossroads with Bill Mack and Leroy Van Dyke, aired in syndication for 40 years. A television version of the program was also produced beginning in 1993.

The Last Piece of Chicken

Clower died in August 1998 following heart bypass surgery; he was 71 years old. He had been married to Homerline (née Wells) Clower (1926-2018) since August 1947. He was survived by a son, Ray (1953–2011), three daughters, Amy, Sue, Katy, and seven grandchildren.

The Lion In The Yard

Jerry Clower was a comedian from the days when comedians were actually funny, rather than just resorting to using obscenities or political name-calling to embarrass you into laughing. Sometimes, I sure miss the good old days.

Check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and be sure to check out my books on my Amazon Author’s Page! They do get great reviews!

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Four Brothers Mead

Veterans Referring Veterans

As you know, I recently discovered an organization called Veterans Referring Veterans. This group exists to help veterans support and promote each other’s business and reach new customers through online networking. I have been delighted with what I have seen so far.

Thursday night “Happy Hour”

Each Thursday night, we have a Happy Hour with a veteran presenting something about his or her business, followed by open questions and discussion. I have met veterans who run companies selling maple syrup, clothing, metal-working projects, jewelry, and wood-working products. I met the author of a series of children’s books. And I have met financial, marketing, business consultants, personal coaches … you name it.

I even met a veteran who’s father is a famous wood-worker who did a great deal of wood carving for Disney and who has carvings all over the world, many ordered by well-known celebrities. He did not follow in his father’s footsteps, however. He is the children’s book author I mentioned above. The point is, I have meant some fascinating people.

Last week, the presenter was a member of the Four Brothers Mead business partnership. This team, consisting of two blood brothers, a brother-by-marriage, and a brother-by-combat, decided to make mead for family gatherings. They really got into it and came up with an excellent product. Demand increased, and they decided to go for it. It is a great story.

These guys, at least two of Nordic ancestry, follow the same recipe that has been used to make mead for over a thousand years. They use all local honey and no artificial ingredients. They do offer flavored varieties, such as blackberry, to which they add a few, you guessed it, actual blackberries. They offer a maple version, the one I ordered, to which they add just a little maple syrup from a veteran-owned maple farm in Vermont (but that is the subject of a future blog post). And it is simply outstanding!

They will soon be offering a bourbon-flavored version. Nothing added – just aged in old charred-oak bourbon barrels. Being an aficionado of good bourbon, I can’t wait for this one to come out.

Anyway, if you want to try something different, I can definitely recommend the YGGDRASIL SAP! And, if it is any kind of an indicator, the other versions will be excellent as well.

Sign up for my monthly newsletter …

Yes, I do have an author’s newsletter! Would you like to keep up with new releases, writing tips, upcoming events, freebies, and bonus content? Then you can sign up by clicking here! And, I promise, no spam!

Check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here, and be sure to check out my books by clicking here! They do get great reviews!

POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day was established in 1979 by a proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter. Since then, each subsequent president has continued the tradition, commemorating the third Friday in September as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

A national ceremony is held on every National POW/MIA Recognition Day at the Pentagon featuring members of each branch of military service and the participation of high-ranking officials.

In addition to the national ceremony, many observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day can be found across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools, veterans’ facilities, homes, and private businesses.

No matter where they are held, these National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those held captive and returned, and those who remain missing.

According to the Department of Defense, approximately 83,114 Americans are still missing today.

In past years, I have seen Missing Man Honors tables set up in restaurants I have visited on this day. It never fails to bring a lump to my throat.

Missing Man Honors

Let me take a moment to explain the significance of the Missing Man Honors to those who may not understand. This is how the table is typically set at military and veteran clubs, and private businesses and homes.

The tables I have seen are typically set for one, with the single empty chair representing all missing American servicemembers. It will sometimes be done with a setting for six, with each chair representing the missing Americans from each of the services, including the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and civilian.

There is great symbolism in how the table is set.

The table is round to symbolize our everlasting concern.

The table cloth is white and represents the purity of motive in answering the call to serve.

A single red rose is placed on the table to remind us of the lives of these Americans and their friends and loved ones who keep the faith.

The yellow ribbon represents our continued uncertainty, hope for their return, and determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured or missing in a foreign land.

A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of the missing and their families.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return.

The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.

The glass is inverted, symbolizing their inability to share a toast.

The chair is empty … because these great Americans are missing.

Traditions such as these honor those who fought and sacrificed so Americans today can live in Freedom.

Freedom is such a precious gift, a gift paid for by blood during the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and other conflicts.

Politics is for politicians. The American fighting men and women put the politics aside and just do their job. All Americans should remember the brave men and women who answered our nation’s call and served in defense of freedom, and it is especially important to remember those who have not yet come home.

Veteran To Veteran

So what is Veteran’s Referring Veterans?

Founded by a veteran, Justin Clark, after being medically retired from the military, the mission of Veterans Referring Veterans is to become a trusted partner with veterans who own businesses and to provide a web-based directory where consumers can connect with and select veteran-owned companies. But it is so much more than that!

How does it work?

I have been intrigued by this organization for some time seeing their posts on both Instagram and Facebook. Justin Clark hosts “Happy Hours” every Thursday night via the group on Facebook, where veteran-owned businesses are highlighted. This week the featured company will be Four Brothers Mead. These four veteran brothers based in Missouri make a Viking era honey-based wine known as Mead. They wanted to produce the best Old World Mead by using only superior, locally harvested pure honey. I have yet to try it, but by several accounts, they have succeeded.

I joined after participating in a happy hour in which a veteran who now writes children’s books was highlighted.

Veterans Referring Veterans is very active on social media including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. There is also a VRV podcast.

If you are interested in learning a bit more, here is a video clip explaining what Veterans Referring Veterans is all about.

So what is the catch?

Well, there really is none. Joining is very affordable. You can design your own profile and upload images. You join in on “happy hours” and other events, meet other veteran business owners, and help spread the word for each other. If you choose you, you can also travel to larger events in other locations. VRV is now in 24 states and even Germany. The growth has been incredible.

Current member veteran-owned businesses include:

  • Automotive
  • Business and Law
  • Entertainment
  • Financial
  • Health and Beauty
  • Home
  • Marketing
  • Medical
  • Pets
  • Recreational
  • Restaurants
  • Technology
  • Yard
  • Miscellaneous

Please go to the Veterans Referring Veterans website if you are looking for help in these areas.

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of the other posts on my blog by clicking here!

If you enjoy a thrilling, fast-paced, award-winning action & adventure thriller, check out my newest novel, Montagnard. It’s getting great reviews … even from Kirkus!

A “Beary” Nice Review!

Adirondack Bear Tales just received another 5-star review.

This review is from someone named Sarah. I have no idea who Sarah is, but this review is special to me. I have displayed the review in its entirety below. To read other reviews on Amazon, click here!

Great!!

My husband and I have our own Adirondack bear jokes and I was so very excited when I found this book! He is deployed and missing out on all the summer fun. I sent him a camping themed package and this book was the perfect addition. The short stories are charming, simple, and fun.

Sarah

Sarah, I don’t know if you’ll ever see this blog post, but thank you for the thoughtful review. It is fantastic to discover other lovers of the Adirondacks in the world, especially those who are serving their country.

I also want to thank your husband for his service and for your sacrifice. When one spouse serves, so does the other!