Celebrating a WW II veteran
Local author’s ‘In the Presence of Greatness’ tribute to William Apesos
MAY 26, 2017
WEIRTON — As Memorial Day nears, one local author celebrates the special friendship and admiration she had for a World War II veteran she met through the monthly Tri-State Writers Society meeting she leads.
Karen Garrison, whose pseudonym is Karina Garrison, will be one of three inspirational authors on hand for an author event and book signing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the activity room of the Mary H. Weir Public Library at 3442 Main St.
Joining her will be Carolyn Bradley and Susan Spencer-Smith, all of whom will discuss and sign their latest works. The guest authors share stories dealing with life’s difficult challenges with hope and courage and mastering those challenges with the help, mercy and love of God.
Garrison is an award-winning author, speaker and creative writing instructor who in 2015 was nominated for Author of the Year by the Artists Music Guild Heritage Awards. For 15 years, her work has appeared in publications including Woman’s World magazine, Barbour Publishing, Nelson Publishers and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
Her newest story, “In The Presence of Greatness,” is featured in May’s “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families” and centers on the late William Apesos, a Weir High School graduate and an Army veteran of World War II.
The Steubenville resident, who died May 10, 2016, at age 91, was assigned as a detached service combat medic serving with the Third and First Armies in Europe. He was among the D-Day forces that landed at Normandy.
Garrison met Apesos when he became a part of the fairly new Tri-State Writers Society that holds meetings open to published and aspiring writers of all genres.
“I sensed that I was in the presence of someone completely different from those in my usual social circles,” Garrison writes of her first impression of Apesos, who would share with the group stories about World War II “that seemed long suppressed,” stories of the atrocities of combat and the death of his brother Mike, with whom he communicated during the war with their own private code.
As Apesos shared his stories with the writers’ group, Garrison noted in her latest “Chicken Soup” offering, “When he finished his stories, I couldn’t find my voice to move the class forward, and looking at each member’s face, I knew that they were internalizing what had just happened. We’d heard of loss, love, and grace under pressure. We had seen the brutality of hundreds of bodies of fellow countrymen strewn along foreign shorelines. This wasn’t some Hollywood war movie production, but the true spirit of America — personal and intimate as only a surviving veteran could tell.”
Her opportunity to become acquainted with Apesos is something Garrison highly values.
“I loved Bill and miss his sharp, witty presence in our group very much,” Garrison said. “The void he’s left has not nor could it be filled again. I still remember his words at our last class where he said in reference to being a paramedic in WWII and the atrocities he faced at that time that he was ‘neither a hero nor a coward — just a man.'”
At Saturday’s book signing, Garrison also will be promoting “Tempting Faith,” her first full-length fictional novel that tells the story of forbidden love, faith and ancient secrets and has a five-star rating on Amazon.
Carolyn Bradley has written the children’s book, “A Gingerbread Heart,” essay collections “The Seeds of My Love” and “Sundays, Dreams and Souvenirs,” and the devotional “In the Comfort of His Arms,” featuring 23 guest authors.
Weirton native Susan Spencer-Smith is author of “The Preacher Lady’s Cookbook for the Hungry Heart” and two inspirational cozy mysteries set in West Virginia, “Death in the Parsonage” and “Corpse in the Cookery.” Her third mystery, “Murder on Muddy Creek,” debuts in October.
Spencer-Smith graduated from West Liberty University and United Theological Seminary in Dayton. She worked in newspaper journalism for 28 years and served as a United Methodist pastor for 16 years. She lives in Weirton with her husband, Grant Beamer.