A Veterans Day Read Guaranteed to Inspire
Not only is Randy's Way the name of one of Emerald Isle, North Carolina's beach accesses, but it's also the title of an inspirational true story and the latest book written by Tom Gill based on the the life of Major Randy Hebert—both of whom are Emerald Isle locals. If you're in search of a motivational read filled with themes of hope, encouragement, faith and overcoming, then pick up a copy of this book. It's the perfect read for Veterans Day or any day where you want to learn about the triumphs of the human spirit over some of life's greatest challenges.
So who is Randy Hebert and what is his story? We're so glad you asked.
In the spring of 1995, Maj. Randy Hebert went for a run with two fellow officers stationed at the Marine Corp Detachment in Fort Leonard Wood, an Army base stretched across the Missouri Ozarks. Just over a steep hill, the men paused for a water break. Back on the pavement, Randy’s legs suddenly felt like molten lead, barely able to maintain a shuffle. Until then, he had been trying to conceal how much his body was failing out from under him. He would wear a T-shirt and shorts into work, with the excuse that he was working out first thing. In truth, his hands had become too wilted to fasten buttons and zippers, so he couldn’t get dressed without another officer’s help. Within months, he would receive an official diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and given three years at most to live.Laura Beil, people.com
"For more than twenty-three years, Randy Hebert has lived as a physical prisoner of war with a disease that ravages his body but can’t touch his soul, writes author Tom Gill. "If you meet him today, you will observe his spirit radiate until your eyes no longer notice the highly decorated Marine officer is a wheelchair bound, physical shell of the hero he once was, a man who now lives with the life-threatening, debilitating effects of one of the worst diseases known to man. But Major Randy Hebert refuses to surrender to self-pity, doesn’t whine, and doesn’t give up."
So how does Randy maintain a fighting spirit filled with hope, perseverance and even joy? Well, that's why you have to read the book. It's definitely a testament to the phrase "courage under fire".
Set in our little beach town of Emerald Isle, North Carolina, Randy's Way illustrates how people can overcome any challenge through faith, hope and courage. Chock-full of humorous and serious anecdotes covering nearly fifty years, readers are inspired by how the residents of our small town band together to ensure Randy, Kim, Nicole and Kyle are included in all aspects of the Emerald Isle community.
ALS provides the unique vantage point for viewing the world from a different position, according to Randy's own words.
"Often quickly, in less than a year, its victims ultimately die. I am one of the lucky ones in that I have beat the odds by surviving this long. But, it is not without help and pain. As you read, you’ll visit with Kim, my soulmate, and I, as we fight the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, ultimately testifying before Congress, to win medical benefits for myself as well as all other similarly afflicted Gulf War Illness (GWI) veterans. Friends from childhood, college, the Marine Corps, and beautiful Emerald Isle, my island home for the past three decades, along with my loving family, will recount serious and light-hearted experiences that play a part in my being able to share with you now."
You've heard the saying "it takes a village," but in this case it takes an island (which is the title of Part Two in this book) to share this story, support this family, and give voice to this hero's journey—which the author does quite well.
One rainy December morning I visited Kim at her house to pick up a Neighborhood Watch report and keep her from having to come out in the storm. Like many places on the island, the back door is where you go if you are friends, and well, I wasn’t, so I climbed up the front steps, stepped over the locked gate, and rang the bell. In what I know now as typical Kim fashion, after inviting me to use the back steps in the future, she invited me in and asked if I would like to meet Randy. Frankly, I was busy, it was rainy, and I said, “Of course.” Seriously, five minutes later I fell in love with Randy Hebert. If you get the opportunity to meet Randy, I bet you will too.Thomas P. Gill, Author of Randy's Way
You can pickup your copy of Randy's Way locally at Emerald Isle Books and Games, Atlantic Beach Book Mart, Island Encore in Atlantic Beach, and Pass It On Consignment in Swansboro, as well as online at Amazon. Tom Gill's previous two books, The Bridge and Return to Emerald Isle, are both set in Emerald Isle also and are available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Happy Reading!
Did you know that Sun-Surf Realty in Emerald Isle offers a Military Appreciation Discount? We do! We highly value our military both retired and active. This discount applies to Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Upon receiving a military ID, a discount of 10-15% (depending upon the property) will be applied to the reservation. A special thank you to all our veterans. We appreciate and celebrate you this Veterans Day and every day.