In Celebration of Veterans' Day

A big treat for my students last year was having my dear friend, Micaela Bensko, share her soon-to-be-published book, The Soldier and the Squirrel. It is about a wounded warrior, newly home from war. Little does he know, a squirrel lives on the hillside behind his house. And this squirrel has been watching over his family each time the soldier was deployed.
My kids LOVED the book and were even more captivated by her two guests: (Written from Micaela's blog):

 announced, "We have a wounded soldier of our own to speak." LyVell Gipson stands and rolls up his pant-leg. Deep and checkered wounds patchwork the muscles of his calve; A remnant of what it was when he left for war. Forty-five surgeries later, he shares his scars like he has so many times before. But today is different. This time children will touch his skin and know that war is real. We do this so they will one day remember the soldier who came to share his scars. And when these children are adults, they will support this next generation of our wounded veterans and carry on the work that will need to be done. 
LyVell begins his talk. The enlistment. The suicide bomber. The shrapnel that marked his life. And the speaking that opened his world to one of healing. 
Sgt. Anthony Valentine from the Los Angeles Army Battalion joins our Question and Answer session with humor and wit. We close our session with unity. No walls remain between the children and the uniform. Our work is complete. But now it is us that doesn't want to leave. 
A magic occurs when hearts come together for a common goal. 
You can read more about their visit here.  I'll let you know when the book is published!!

Amazing women run in Micaela's family. Her mother, Maggie Lockridge, is the founder of Rebuilding America's Warriors (R.A.W.), a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery to recently wounded and disfigured active service and veteran status warriors. Maggie is more than a philanthropist. She is a former Air Force nurse who tears up at the sight of the American flag, she has adopted over a hundred sons and daughters over the years who have changed lives with their determination to be pro-active when they discovered that someone truly cares about who they are - not just as troops at war, but warriors in life.

Happy Veterans' Day!! For all our veterans, thank you for serving our country!


  1. Hi Kathie! I was just nominated for the Liebster Award and now I am nominating you! Click this link and follow the directions to accept the award. If you've already had this award, sorry! :)
    Heather from Mrs. Renz’ 4th Grade Class

    1. Heather, you are so awesome!! Thank you!! Reading your answers to the Liebster questions made me feel like I was reading my own!! Lol! I will post later today! XO