Launch day has come! Today is the official release of my new book, “Home of the Brave.” Get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1785356364
And this seems like a good time to mention some upcoming book talks:
--Friday, February 9, 2018 at 7 p.m. at BookBar, 4280 Tennyson Street Denver
--Saturday, February 17 , 2018 at 2:30 p.m. at Park Hill Branch Library, 4705 Montview Boulevard Denver
--Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 at 6 p.m. hosted by Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, Colorado (site TBD)
--Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 2 p.m. at Tattered Cover Colfax, 2526 East Colfax Avenue Denver
--Saturday, March 3, 2018 in Montrose, Colorado where the book is set. Time and place TBD
--Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 6 p.m. at the Bookworm in Edwards, Colorado
--April 12 i Portland, Oregon. Details TBD.
In the book I describe the leadership style of Melanie Kline, who founded a grassroots project for vets in Montrose, Colorado.
The project, now called the Welcome Home Alliance for Vets, had its own launch day on September 11, 2012 -- the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. At the volunteer-run drop-in center opened that day, vets can get a cup of coffee along with counseling and advice on jobs and training. Men and women who made the choice to volunteer to fight in strange lands can start to feel at home again at the drop-in center, where civilians step up to welcome them.
Welcome Home also hosts a biannual outdoors festival that brings vets from across the country to hunt and fish. The non-profit helped Montrose develop a white water river park they hope will boost local tourism. It organized internships that offered young wounded vets a chance to consider what they would do with the rest of their lives now that they were no longer fit to fight.
Kline was able to accomplish so much because she not only welcomed other ideas, she pestered people to bring their initiatives to Welcome Home and made sure those people felt welcome to stick around to see their pet projects realized. Among her collaborators was Jared Bolhuis, a Michigan native who had to retire from the Marines at just 24 years old after sustaining head injuries from a bomb blast in Afghanistan. Kline got Bolhuis to move to Montrose to help create and run Welcome Home. The internships were his idea. He also proposed that the white water river park be navigable by those with disabilities, helping build support for the park. Montrose rallied around military vets, and those vets showed they still have a lot of service in them.
Two years after the grand opening, Kline and I were headed to lunch on an autumn afternoon. She paused in the lobby of the drop-in center to ask the volunteer receptionist to take over the duty of ensuring each donation to Welcome Home was recorded so that thank-you notes could be sent out. Kline had been doing that and so many tasks herself.
By the time I returned with Kline from lunch, the eager volunteer had made her way through a file folder of checks. With that, Kline made progress on what she saw as a crucial task: disentangling herself. She firmly believes that if her effort to help vets and her town was to live on, it could not be dependent on any one person.
“Home of the Brave” is my second book. My first, “It’s a Black-White Thing,” is about race relations among young South Africans. It takes place on a university campus that is an ocean away from the setting of “Home of the Brave.” But the two books aren’t far apart. Both are about leadership.
In South Africa, a university president offered a troubled campus a vision for confronting an entire nation’s fractious past. He urged students to imagine themselves as his collaborators and as leaders in their own right.
The working title of my first book was “Choosing to Lead.” That could easily have been the title of “Home of the Brave.”
Leadership isn’t just knowing you can’t do it alone. It’s not wanting to do it alone.