I am the Military Community Reporter at Examiner.com. I report on deployment, stress, and current issues pertaining to the spouses and families of those who continue to serve our country outside CONUS. If you're a military spouse or a loved one and have a story to tell- contact me at email@example.com.
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October 6, 2011
Tim Cherry, Belvoir Eagle
DEPLOYMENT TOPIC OF BOOK SIGNING:
The Van Noy Library hosted a discussion focusing on the hardship and
triumphs of a Belvoir Family during a book signing event, Sept. 29, in
the Fort Belvoir Community Center.
Book author Susan Oliver Nelson, author of "Trips of Daisy," spoke of
the struggle and growth of her Family during her husband Michael's
approximately 1,000 day deployment.
The Nelson's story is encapsulated in Susan Oliver's 126-page novel.
Published by PublishAmerica this year, "Trips of Daisy" is based off
headlines from the Iraq war and the journal writings of Susan Oliver and
Michael during Michael's deployments in Iraq in 2004 and 2006.
"Two tours of Iraq, three anniversaries, nine birthdays, countless
holidays and approximately 1,000 days of our lives," wrote Susan Oliver.
Michael enlisted after 9/11 serving as an Army medic at the age of 33.
The deployments were the first time the couple spent significant time
away from each other.
The living situation at home was difficult for the Nelsons after Michael
returned from his first tour of duty.
"I was the same and he was completely different," said Susan Oliver.
Constant clashing and lack of understanding took a toll on the couples'
relationship. Michael, who started displaying symptoms of post traumatic
stress disorder during this period, struggled making the adjustment to
"There is certain simplicity about being deployed," Michael wrote in the
novel. "As a Soldier the mission is staying alive; watching the other
guys' backs and to make sure we all make it back alive. But once home,
what do we do?"
At the time, Susan Oliver didn't understand the impact the war had on
her husband which gave her a sense of dejection.
"I was really trying to get away from life," Susan Oliver said.
She said writing journals, that detailed her experiences as a spouse and
his experiences as a Solider, were very important in helping the couple
understand the hardships each were enduring.
Susan Oliver said "Trips of Daisy" made her Family stronger.
"I couldn't put the book down," said Donna Ramsey, Van Noy librarian and
the event's organizer.
Ramsey, who is required to put together one event per year, said she
choose Susan Oliver because of the biographical nature of "Trips of
Daisy." She enjoys reading stories of real people enduring through
struggles and she thought the deployment was a very appropriate topic.
Ramsey finds the different perspectives in "Trips of Daisy," fascinating
and this kept her engaged throughout the novel.
Susan Oliver said she attempted to make the book read as if it could be
any person's experiences during deployments.
She believes this was important to give Families a relatable source of
information to help cope with the time apart.
Susan Oliver was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation at the
conclusion of the event.
She said 50 percent of the proceeds from her novel will go the Fisher