Memoirs turn into charitable contributions
April 6, 2010
- Manchester, Enland native joins the U.S. Army
- Soldiers captures basic training experience
- Soldier donates the proceeds of book sales to the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund
WIESBADEN, Germany - One Soldier's colorful Army orientation experience has been written off as benefits for a military charity that contributes to the recovery of severely wounded Soldiers.
Spc. David Jones, of the Wiesbaden Health Clinic, is donating all proceeds earned from the sale of his basic training journal, "The Red White and Blue Diary" published by Publish America, to the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund.
"I didn't expect to do anything with it. ... It was just a way for me to record my experiences. ... It was my way of getting through each day," said the 41-year-old Manchester, England, native, who said the ritual started with writing only one page daily but grew to about nine by the 25th day of a 63-day experience.
Concerned about health insurance for his wife at that time, Jones began considering enlisting in the military and the nearest recruiter happened to be Army, he said.
He said it was only after sharing his private thoughts with friends that he considered publishing the book.
Jones takes readers along as he experiences U.S. Army basic training in Fort Sill, Okla., as a 38 year old among young trainees whose average age is half his own. Jones shares anxieties, convictions, and grievances among a number of other emotions as he records his progress through the three phases of American military boot camp along the way poking fun at elements in a dynamically charged environment.
And while Jones initially only planned to use the practice of journaling as a means for coping, he said he hopes it turns out to be much more.
"I hope it will help someone else who may be going down the same path ... There's probably plenty of people who have joined the Army over the age of 30 and had similar experiences or emotions and didn't know how to express them," he said adding that the book would probably appeal to anyone who had ever gone through basic training and would probably prove beneficial to anyone who thinks they want to join the Army. "I would rather someone join the Army after having read this book."
And while he admits some of the text may get a bit colorful or abrasive, Jones said he thinks any willing reader will enjoy it.
"Overall it's a testament of the determination of if you're going to do something how you get through it," he said. "It's funny. It's honest. It's a guy who is almost forty's account of basic training."
"I make kids cry for a living," said Jones as he began to explain how he first became aware of the Combat Soldiers Recovery Fund.
It was during training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where Jones said he was moved to give back to the many Soldiers returning from combat with diverse injuries and afflictions and changed lives.
"I learned that the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund was doing a great thing to help these Soldiers and their families," he said, adding that he met Garland Miller, Combat Soldier Recovery Fund founder and president, and told her of his intention to donate the book's proceeds if he got it published.
A skeptical Garland Miller, thought, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," but would eat those words about a year later when Jones contacted her to give her the news. And a humbled Miller flew for the first time outside of the United States to give her support at the book launch party March 26 at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield Community Activity Center.
According to Miller, 100 percent of the fund goes to wounded Soldiers in increments of $300. "We want everyone to feel like they are giving to a Soldier," said Miller.
The foundation has been helping Soldiers for three and a half years and has given $275,000 to Soldiers and their families, and has an annual goal of giving at least $100,000.
"I'm going to get more money for the wounded Soldier," said Miller, who said she keeps books for other foundations and thought she could do the same thing. "My goal for the rest of my life is to give 100 percent of my foundation to wounded Soldiers."
"The Red, White and Blue Diary" is available online for purchase at various places on the Internet. To learn more about the foundation, log onto the Combat Soldier Recovery Fund Web site at www.combatsoldiersrecoveryfund.org.