On Thursday afternoon, September 8, I was fortunate to be in good company with the residents of The Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH). Some months ago, Christine Baldwin, Librarian of AFRH reached out to me and invited me to share my most recent book, Courage From The Heart (Our StoreLink). I didn't hesitate in accepting this opportunity to spend time with America's Finest, because it is one of my favorite things to do. The Armed Forces Home is one of America's oldest veterans' retirement homes The Soldier's home was established in 1851 as an "asylum for old and disabled veterans." Four of the original buildings still stand and are listed as national historic landmarks. My fifth and most recent book, Courage From The Heart evolved through years of inspiration from children, those individuals who had a lifetime of memories to share, and America's Finest...the men and women in uniform who serve in the United States Armed Forces. The presentation in this book remembers and pays tribute to the United States Army and Navy Nurses who were stationed at several U.S. base hospitals in the Philippines from 1941-1945. These women nurses that were sent into combat were strong, confident, and kind-their kindness was framed in courage. Beginning at 1:30pm, on the afternoon of September 8, I was greeted by residents of The Armed Forces Home, Washington, D.C. in their lovely theater where guest speakers often present. I knew only too well that my audience were experts in regards to the "time in history" of what I was intending to speak about. Because you see...they have lived these times and were a part of "The World War II Era." The two "R's," Reading and Research that were very much a part of my fifth book were indeed put to good use this very afternoon. The comments and questions from the residents that followed my presentation / discussion were precise, genuine, and so familiar to all who were in attendance. The dialogue that we shared about people and places from some seventy-six years ago was vivid, timeless, and very heartfelt. We so enjoyed this afternoon together.
At the close of my presentation, I shared with the residents of AFRH that I hoped they would like to take a copy or two of Courage From The Heart with them. Signing my books for the residents is always a gift for me, because it is a time to listen to their personal stories and further understand the lives of America's Finest. Elizabeth Lloyd introduced herself to me and I immediately knew that I was in for a treat! Elizabeth was born in Johnstown and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Two of her brothers joined the military in World War II, and she wanted to enlist as well. She joined the WAC in September of 1944. In 1948, Elizabeth helped train the 1st Regular Army Company of Women. After almost twenty-six years in service and the beginning of the "All Volunteer Army" Elizabeth retired. Elizabeth Lloyd is 94 years young. At 4 feet 11 inches and weighing in under 100 pounds, her nickname of "Little Bit" that was given to her in 1948, is a perfect fit! Each week, I will be spending time on the campus of The Armed Forces Retirement Home and I am looking forward to my volunteering with America's Finest!
Glenna C. Orr
Reading Specialist & Director of The Kind Kids, Inc.