Catch Jerry Barnes on the #PirateBroadcast
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Russ Johns 0:07
It's Friday. It's been a hectic week and just full of excitement and activities and wonderful things taking place. Jerry Barnes is attempting to join us, there is a little bit of a technical snafu this morning that created a little bit late. Also, Jerry, if you're out there, if you're, it's one of those things that happens on occasion. After doing a few hundred shows, it's absolutely inevitable. So, I want to do a show to allow the opportunity to get the streaming going and then, hopefully, Mel and the team can get him in here and talk about some of the combat stories and some stories he's been writing about. He's been talking to veterans and people that have served our military and talking about the brotherhood and the camaraderie that takes place as a result of that process. I just want to recognize some of the people that serve and there's Jerry right there coming into the room. Jerry, how are you my friend?
Jerry Barnes 1:34
Doing well, brother, doing well?
Russ Johns 1:37
You're really low in your audio. Let me see if I can adjust my audio.
Jerry Barnes 1:43
Russ Johns 1:44
Let's see.Testing. One, two. Yeah. Okay. Your audio is low. Jerry a little bit low.
Jerry Barnes 1:55
I can speak louder.
Russ Johns 1:57
Can you hear me loud and clear?
Jerry Barnes 1:59
I can hear you clear, brother. Hmm.
Russ Johns 2:02
Not sure why you're so low.
Jerry Barnes 2:05
I can see you clear as a bell. I'll check my mic.
Russ Johns 2:10
Test your mic a little bit.
Jerry Barnes 2:12
Testing. One, two. Testing. One, two.
Russ Johns 2:16
Yeah, you're very, very low, Jerry. I want to see...mute mic, unmute mic. Do you have a volume on your...
Jerry Barnes 2:32
Yes, on my computer? I got to volume on a computer. How is that?
Russ Johns 2:41
It's still the same?
Jerry Barnes 2:44
Yeah, I've got it up high now.
Russ Johns 2:48
Let's go with that then.
Jerry Barnes 2:50
Okay. Very good.
Russ Johns 2:51
Jerry, thank you so much for your flexibility and your ability to stick with us this morning on these technical challenges. So how are you doing my friend?
Jerry Barnes 3:04
Well, for an old man, I just turned 75 yesterday.
Russ Johns 3:08
Oh, you're still a youngster.
Jerry Barnes 3:10
But I'm happy to be a pirate. I'm happy to meet you electronically. Yeah and to chat today?
Russ Johns 3:18
Well, you've been doing some exciting things and as I always tell other people, we are an accumulation of our experience. I know having been through my years of experience that you probably have a few more, but not that many more. I just want to welcome you to the show and kind of share what you're doing. So, I know that the stories that you're writing, and some of the things that have taken place have evolved over time. So kind of walk us through that journey that you had, and in what's taking place today.
Jerry Barnes 3:56
Well, I'm pleased to do that. Thank you again for allowing me to chat with you today. I retired from the Army Corps of Engineers, after a long and wonderful career and basically just stayed retired and raised tomatoes and just enjoying life, frankly. My wife and I were doing a little traveling. Three years ago, I had the chance meeting to come in contact with a literary agent. He and I were talking and he asked me a question that's basically changed my life. He said, are you a veteran? Yes, sir. I am.Well, he asked me, would you write me three stories of veterans in near death, combat survival? I said, well, I don't know any but I'll look around. It took awhile because many veterans are not at least excited about reliving the combat that they were glad to be free of, most of them. So after I found those, I wrote those three stories, one of which is my own and sent them to him. He's now young man of 90 and very coherent and a great friend. It's wonderful to have a senior literary agent to answer your mail every time you send it. He's a friend, he may be listening this morning. I think two of my veteran buddies, one from each of the books, he's probably also listening, but he said, I think we got something here. His vision was write stories in the spirit of Reader's Digest. Tell them fairly briefly, so people don't have to read a long time to get to just what the veterans experienced. So that was the idea behind the book. We kept working at it, he kept encouraging me. I still had to get it published. The publishing game is not for the faint of heart. I went and met a lady at a writers conference, kind lady. And Russ, this had to have something really special going on, because first person I talked to, was a lady named Deb, won't call her last name, but she owns a publishing company. She said, what can I do for you? I say, well, perhaps read my first story in this book that I'm writing. So she read the very first story in the book, it took her about five minutes. She said, wow, what a story. She says, well, I don't normally do this, normally I take a lot more time, she says, but I'm interested in this, send me a proposal. So I sent her proposal and about three weeks later, she sent me a writing contract.
Russ Johns 6:42
Jerry Barnes 6:43
So I don't know if I was just living on the right side of the moon or being blessed, but who knows what. But I became a published...I have the ability to be a published author, after I wrote my first story.
Russ Johns 6:55
Well, first and foremost, thank you for serving, and thank you for supporting all the veterans and people that have served alongside you. I know that there are a lot of stories in there, more and more, there are going to be a lot of stories that are going to go untold, as we exit the stage and move on. It's important for us to understand because storytelling is critical to our history. It's the fabric of what we do and how we do it. Everybody truly believe that we all have a thread of...there's a connection between all of us in these stories that we tell
Jerry Barnes 7:37
Russ Johns 7:38
So what has your experience been after you got that publishing contract and reaching out? Are you reaching out to other veterans, too?
Jerry Barnes 7:47
I am, I am. Now that I'm involved in it, I get the stories easily, like I have people on social media as I was blogging and, and so forth. Last night, I had a veteran from South Carolina, found me on social media and asked me if I'd write his story. So now I'm getting more stories than I can write. Russ, I've written 62 stories, published one book, it's on Amazon. Then the second book is ready to be published. It's finished and being edited. It'll publish towards the end of the year. Deb told me, she says a very kind thing, I'll publish anything you write. I'm so appreciative to her. I'm really recording stories for books three and four right now.
Russ Johns 8:39
Jerry Barnes 8:40
So I can see five, maybe six books. I could probably go on and on, but I'll probably stop it because I am getting to be an older guy here a little bit. At 78 or nine I may call a halt for this new career. But the blessing is to write these stories and as they sell, Lauren and I, frankly, we don't need the money. We can go on trips and have a nice life. So we give the money away when we sell the books to a veterans cause, one of which has just got my heart, a place called New Freedom Farm here in Virginia. A kind lady, a veteran named Lois Keith, who is a Navy veteran herself and a medical professional, she had a vision to start this farm using rescue animals, some of them down for the slaughter house to help rescue veterans with PTSD. It's such a special place.
Russ Johns 9:37
Jerry Barnes 9:38
So it's my joy to give her money. And I hope to give her a lot, but we'll see.
Russ Johns 9:43
Yeah. Well, there has to be a certain amount of satisfaction and healing that goes along with telling your story and letting people know that it did happen. It did take place and people did have a challenge, at some point in their life. Telling stories and getting it out there is, for me, kind of therapy That's what the #piratebroadcast is about #nterestingpeople doing #interestingthings. It's really great to be able to share this story with the Pirate community. Thank you for becoming a pirate as well.
Jerry Barnes 10:20
Well, Russ, I write more stories. I mean, I have gone and spoken and I just literally will read a story to people and they just sit and want to hear that. In fact, people want to hear the raw copy when a story is transcribed. Before I even write it. People want to read that stuff. So they're just hungry to see this material and to reconnect with the veterans that are serving this country?
Russ Johns 10:46
Why do you think these stories are so compelling, and so inviting for people to read? What is it that people say? What kind of responses have you had?
Jerry Barnes 10:59
I get lots of wows, I get lots of, I had no idea that veterans had to deal with that kind of danger. Literally, every mission, every day, worrying if that's going to be the day that you're running into a suicide bomber. So the fact that men and women volunteer to serve their country and experience that kind of danger willingly, voluntarily, and then they are willing to share their story without embellishment. Literally, none of them want the recognition. They just want to go back and go to work and and then recover and some of them, it takes a while to recover. Probably two of my buddies that are listening to this podcast, one of them had a hard time. Albert's had a hard time. But I call him my friend. And he is my friend. And he went through a lot of mess. Then Ned is a wonderful friend, who I'm sure he is listening. Ned served in the Navy as a nuclear weapons officer. With that and handling nuclear weapons comes damage. From that damage to his body physically. So he's coping with that. He's a dear friend. So just knowing these veterans and sharing their story is a privilege. What's happening is they talk to friends, and I've got folks now looking for stories to me and for me, so it's a joy and I really don't have to work hard to get the stories anymore, they come in to me, plenty of them.
Russ Johns 12:37
That's amazing. Yeah, my, my dad served in the Korean War, and he served the supply line for the front. He had some amazing stories that he shared before he passed, and his was a fairly positive experience. He didn't have a lot of trauma or anything like that. That he shared. So, you know, we don't know everything. We don't know all the stories, and we don't hear the stories often. So it's important for us to learn from others about... and I think there's a certain amount of compassion that kind of is taken away from these stories. You cannot read a story like that, Jerry, without feeling a little empathy for the situation and the people that are involved in that.
Jerry Barnes 13:33
Yeah. I have people, excuse me, I have people now that tell me, I can't wait to get the next book that are veterans. It's like they become friends with the new people that they're meeting through these stories.
Russ Johns 13:49
That's a kindred spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood. Because there's women combat veterans that I have met that served heroically and were injured. I'm getting their stories. They'll share their their stories with me too, not for recognition. virtually none of them want the recognition. But they know what they felt, what you feel, that these stories need to be told. One man told me he hadn't talked for 50 years. His wife is in bad health and I know them personally, they are personal friends. He hadn't talked, even to me for the first two years I was writing. One day his wife says, Doug, you need to tell Jerry your story. She says, our children need to hear these stories. That touched his heart and he started sharing that story and I went and he just poured his heart out to me and I wrote a story down. That'll be in the book, second book. So it's healing for them and healing for his family.
Yeah, how soon before the second book is gonna be out Jerry,
Jerry Barnes 14:55
The book, second book. Well, I'm at the mercy of an editor who I'm married to and another editor who is kind enough to...she's coming up to do it. I'm an engineer and engineers are notoriously bad writers. My editor, Andrea says, Jerry, you just write what's in your head and I don't care if the words are spelled wrong and the tense is bad. We will make it sound like a book. Yeah. So that's what I do, brother. I'm actually getting a little better. Engineers are terrible writers, but my wife said, why don't you do something novel, like go take a course on how to write, my friend. So I probably will do that. Now this is gonna be a little more serious.
Russ Johns 15:42
I write like, I talk. So I don't know if that's good or bad.
Jerry Barnes 15:45
So I hear the stories, I record the stories, I get a transcription, some kind person listens to the transcription. One of the veterans that volunteers for Lois has given me three stories that'll be in a future book, like book four. He talked to me for about two hours, well turns into actually three stories. About a half an hour, 45 minutes is a story.
Russ Johns 16:12
Jerry Barnes 16:13
And so the stories keep coming.
Russ Johns 16:16
Because of the snafu this morning, we have an opportunity that I'd love to bring you back a couple of times, and maybe actually share a few stories and build some audience up around that because I think it's important. I think it's important knowledge to share. Also, when you launch the next book, since you're a pirate, you should probably come back and share that it's out and we can talk about it and the process, again.
Jerry Barnes 16:45
I will gladly do that. I want to thank you again for inviting me to be on and it's just an opportunity to spread the word because I know the hunger is out there. I've been told that there's 20-30 million people in this country, that are veterans, former veterans or just love veterans. That's a large audience to connect with.
Russ Johns 17:08
Absolutely, absolutely. And anything we can do to support our veterans is absolutely a positive movement in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned. So I want to make sure that we have the support for the veterans, we understand that there's a lot of challenges that are coming back. Unfortunately, not everybody makes it back and not everybody survives being back. So I just want to recognize the fact that there's challenges out there, and well, health, mental health and wellness and things like that. We need to pay attention to these things and support anyone that's out there that needs help.
Jerry Barnes 17:50
You're so right.
Russ Johns 17:52
Jerry, I truly appreciate everything you're doing so you find the book on Amazon, what's the name of the book?
Jerry Barnes 18:02
The first book is called, When Heaven Visits and I wrote it around the last four words of the oath of enlistment. I didn't make faith any kind of litmus test. But about a fourth of the veterans would mention faith occasionally, when they're just spontaneously telling a story. The second book will be called, Angels on the Battlefield, because these guys are angels. They just are angels. There's a combat medic story where guys are saving children injured by combat. So those are just truly healing angels.
Russ Johns 18:32
Yeah. Well, I love the opportunity to have a conversation with you. Again, it's one of these gifts that keeps on giving and worked magic with the community and and the people that get an opportunity to share that information. So I'll go to Amazon, I'll grab the link and find the stories and we'll share this out with the community, Jerry.
Jerry Barnes 18:59
Thank you, brother. I'll email you offline, about how to connect in the future and the timing and that kind of stuff. We can talk offline.
Russ Johns 19:06
Fantastic. I appreciate it.
Jerry Barnes 19:08
Thank you for the time.
Russ Johns 19:09
Well, Jerry, as always, you know, we here at the pirate broadcast we we know that #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. You bet you can #enjoytheday.
Jerry Barnes 19:22
Hey, my friend, have a good one.
Russ Johns 19:24
Jerry Barnes 19:25
You too, brother.
Russ Johns 19:30
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