In my book, Bringing Delaney Home, an Army nurse and runner is wounded in Afghanistan. When her rehabilitation stalls eight months after the explosion, it takes the love of her sister, a stubborn cop, and a whole town to help her find the strength she needs to try again.
The inspiration for the story came from my time volunteering with wounded soldiers at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. The Center for the Intrepid at BAMC has become a premier medical facility for our returning Wounded Warriors. They provide rehabilitation for soldiers who have sustained amputation, burns, or functional limb loss, providing the full range of amputee rehabilitation along with advanced outpatient rehabilitation for burn victims. The men and women recovering there blew me away with their positive attitudes during their treatment and recovery. Delaney represents that spirit.
But just as my ideas began swirling in my head, I remembered an expose the Washington Post ran on the terrible conditions for our Wounded Warriors at the original Walter Reed Hospital in D.C. And this quote from the article shaped my story: “These soldiers will withdraw and stay in their rooms. They will actively avoid the very treatment and services that are meant to be helpful.”
I couldn’t get that quote out of my mind, and I saw my heroine in that space- that quiet lonely place and I needed to help her get out. So this is where Bringing Delaney Home begins. And because the military people I know often use humor to handle the unimaginable and I believe in the healing power of laughter, I wove a thread of humor into the story.
On a personal note, as the wife as a former AF pilot, the mother of both an Air Force Airman and a soon-to-be 2nd Lt, and the daughter of a Naval man, this story is near and dear to my heart. I am humbled and inspired by the stories of our Veterans and Wounded Warriors. Delaney’s story is my way of honoring them and a reminder that their sacrifice doesn’t always end when they come home.
Also, while writing the story I saw photographs of some of our recovering soldiers becoming athletes and Delaney’s story took another turn.