Part time Parkite pens book about the plight of veterans’ wives
Dolly’s will host signing event for McNally
Part-time Park City resident and author Barbara McNally decided to write her new book, “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife” after she witnessed a suicide in Coronado, California.
“I was driving across the Coronado Bridge and I saw this young man jump to his death,” McNally said during a Park Record interview. “I later found the man was a veteran, who had left behind a mother, wife and children. He had post-traumatic stress disorder and felt there were no other options to help him with his post-traumatic stress disorder.”
After witnessing the suicide, McNally wanted to turn the tragic event into something positive. So, she interviewed a group of veterans’ wives.
Their tales of challenges and struggles led to McNally’s published book.
“Who better knows their veterans than their mothers and their wives?” McNally said. “The wives are the ones who usually know what resources their husbands’ need to help deal with the isolation and depression. These stories share how these wives found hope and ways to help their families to find meaning and enjoyment in life again.”
McNally will do a book signing at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St. She will talk about her experience talking with these women and gathering their stories.
An estimated 22 veterans a day commit suicide, she said.
“The sad thing is that there are options and help out there, but a lot of times people don’t know about them,” McNally said. “Sometimes veterans hear about the options, but don’t know where to turn.”
McNally, who also established the –Mother, Lover, Warrior, Sage Foundation — which offers workshops, seminars and scholarships that enhance the lives of women wanted to direct families to the right options and also give people hope.
“I’m actually the messenger for these women,” she said. “I give them a voice because the book is made of their stories. I wanted to give them a chance to share what they have gone through, but also give them the opportunity to share different resources that they’ve used to help them heal, and not only survive, but thrive.”
The first chapter, for example, is about a woman named Julie, whose husband served in Afghanistan.
“She told him that she wouldn’t give up on him, and that she wouldn’t give up on herself unless he gave up on himself,” McNally said. “She told me that it was really important that she took care of herself to do that.”
Julie took advantage of the G.I. Bill, which afforded her to go to college. She got the education that helped her lead by example.
“She also found the resource called Project Healing Waters, which many people in Park City would know about,” McNally said.
Project Healing Waters is a national nonprofit that is “dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly-fishing and associated activities including education and outings,” according to its mission statement.
High Country Fly Fishers, a local branch of Trout Unlimited, sponsors a Utah-based Project Healing Waters program at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Salt Lake City.
“Project Healing Waters was something that tapped into her husband, because he liked to fish,” McNally said. “They were able to bond again and found a renewed joy in life through fly-fishing. They also helped other veterans and realized they weren’t alone anymore.”
McNally said she wanted her book to help the National Ability Center in addition to allowing these women to tell their stories.
The National Ability Center is a nonprofit organization that, according to its mission, “empowers individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs.”
It’s military programs are supported through partnerships with the Wounded Warrior Project, Salt Lake City Veterans Administration, Veterans Administration Adaptive Sports Grant, University of Utah National Center for Veterans Studies, Brother’s Keepers, Edwards Lifesciences, Boeing, U.S. Olympic Committee/U.S. Paralympics, Disabled Sports U.S.A., to name a few.
“I wanted to give some focus on them because of what they do for our veterans,” McNally said.
The author said she is honored to help veterans’ families through the book, and she hopes people who come to the signing will feel comfortable to share their stories..
“There is healing in storytelling when we are able to bring things out into the open and break away from the isolation,” McNally said. “A lot of us don’t understand the toll that war has on all of us, even those who are at home. Our whole society is affected. Maybe someone who reads my book will find a way to help.”
Writer Barbara McNally, author of “Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife,” will do a book signing at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 1, at Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St. Proceeds from the book sales will be donated to the National Ability Center. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit http://www.dollysbookstore.com.
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