Journalist Joan Lunden notes in the introduction to "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice and Bonding," that 46 million Americans are in the position of providing care for others. But because many don't yet identify themselves that way, they don't recognize related caregiver issues.
The ABC's Good Morning America co-host from 1980-1997 has authored eight books, including this one, which she co-wrote with Amy Newmark. In it, Joan discusses providing and caring for her mother, who was advancing into dementia, and her brother, who suffered from severe diabetes issues.
In a series of books, the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" franchise typically offers a collection of brief inspirational stories and motivational essays.
And that's where a Walla Walla writer fits in, herself a family caregiver for more than 30 years.
Laura "Laurie" Bradford's grandmother blazed a caregiving path. She looked after her own father, a Civil War amputee; her siblings' children; and then as a single parent to her own three youngsters after her husband died young.
Laurie remembered her Granny as being bent over, with a "big gnarly nose. She was embarrassing! I promised myself I'd never be like Granny."
But things changed for Laurie, who was pregnant and just five years into her own marriage when husband John was handed a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Laurie's piece, "In Her Footsteps," remembers Granny's efforts in the book's "All You Need is Love Chapter."
After John learned MS is incurable, he crashed into depression. He was physically incapable of working and fueled his rage with alcohol.
To cope, Laurie sought ideas from everyone she knew, but it was a book from a neighbor that impacted her most. "It spoke of a love that's not about self, career, or ego, but dedicated to serving others," Laurie wrote.
Laurie's focus went from herself and John's expressed anger to John the person, and "I discovered the joy of putting the needs of others ahead of my own."
By telling her husband every day why she fell in love with him, the dynamics changed and he quit drinking. "Instead of using alcohol to drown his pain, he got high on being loved, respected and accepted for the man who remained inside that failing body."
John earned a master's degree, then became an advocate for the disabled. He took charge of household matters and became a "stellar father," Laurie wrote.
And her own ambition to work outside the home lost its luster. She gained a different perspective and felt her husband positively impacted possibly thousands of others during his three-decade-long battle with MS. "I'm exceedingly glad I made a career of caring for my husband," she said.
She looks upon her Granny differently, too, honoring her "self-sacrificial love in action," and her eyes, which "beamed with faith and twinkled with a love she couldn't contain."
The bottom line is a legacy of unconditional love Laurie hopes to pass on to her grandchildren.
She is in good company in this volume. One-hundred-one contributors share their experiences, including journalist and author of the stellar book "Passages in Caregiving," Gail Sheehy. She composed "The Caregiving Labyrinth" for the new "Chicken Soup." In the "Acceptance" chapter, TV journalist Leeza Gibbons wrote "Make Your Wishes Known."
Compositions by Laurie include: "Why Me?" in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings: 101 Stories of Gratitude;" "Class Act for a Major Clown" in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting In ... to College;" "Mommy's Hero" in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Mothers;" and "Cinderella Descending" in the May 15 release "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride!"
However, Laurie's contributions stretch far beyond the "Chicken Soup" collection. Her works appear in about 20 compilation books, including five "Guidepost" books, five "A Cup of Comfort" books, and two "Love is a Verb" books by "Five Love Languages" author Gary Chapman.
She mainly writes for Christian publications, from magazines to devotionals. "In fact, nine of my pieces are in this quarter's Gospel Publishing House publications, which are currently available in Assembly of God churches around the world, including Bethel Assembly and First Assembly here in Walla Walla."
"Actually, God called me to this work ... right out of the blue. I laughed and informed him he was calling the wrong woman -- a genuine literary dunce ... let me tell you, we must never laugh at God. Just look at who's having the last laugh now!"
Walla Walla native John Delaney received the Outstanding Mortgage Professional of the Year Award for 2011 during the Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals Leadership awards.
He was honored for "leadership in practicing the craft in an efficient manner to meet needs in the marketplace while positioning the independent mortgage professional as the first choice for today's consumer."
His accomplishment was written up in the Central Washington University's College of Business Beacon's winter 2012 issue.
John earned a degree in business administration from CWU in 1970. The father of Johnny and Lisa Delaney, he is president/CEO of Central Banc Mortgage, a multistate mortgage-banking firm headquartered in Mercer Island, Wash. He also graduated from Northwestern University's Graduate School of Mortgage Banking.
He founded Cityfed Mortgage Co., which was the largest mortgage originator in the United States, according to a CWU profile on him. He designed and implemented the first adjustable-rate program sold to the Federal National Mortgage Association. Prior to Cityfed, John was vice president of Seafirst Mortgage Corporation of Seattle.
The 1966 DeSales High School graduate served the Mercer Island Boys and Girls Club as a fundraiser, coach and board of directors member. He also serves on the CWU College of Business Advisory Board and its executive committee. It honored him as 2004 Distinguished College of Business Alumnus.
He is the son of Anne Delaney of Walla Walla and the late Sam Delaney, and the brother of Sam Delaney of Spokane.
In hot pursuit of fingerprinting badges, Cub Scout Pack 333 members honed their sleuthing skills after learning how to recover latent fingerprints for use as evidence.
Walla Walla Police Department Detectives Marlon Calton and Marcus Goodwater gave the Scouts a tour of the police department lab on March 28, then demonstrated fingerprinting techniques for the eight youths.
Each Scout had an opportunity to lift a set of fingerprints from a piece of glass to earn a merit badge.
"All the boys had a great time and asked lots of questions of the detectives," police spokesman Officer Tim Bennett said in a release.
Joseph Sudar, one of Walla Wallan Joanne Ross Drumheller's grandchildren, will be inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society at Washington State University in Pullman this month. Joe is also the grandson of Joanne's late husband, John Drumheller.
The senior psychology major is minoring in creative writing, according to his parents, Robert and former Walla Wallan Lisa Drumheller Sudar of Longview, Wash.
Joe shares Phi Beta Kappa honors with his mom and brother Sam Sudar, who is currently enrolled in a doctoral computer science program at the University of Washington.
At WSU, Joe has been a percussionist in the marching band; is a varsity rower on crew team; is in the honors program; and is a member of Raptor Club. Lisa rowed while at the UW, prior to her own graduation in 1978.
Joe grew up in Longview, where he graduated in 2008 from Mark Morris High School. Lisa, a 1974 Walla Walla High School alumna, is a first-grade teacher at Mint Valley Elementary in Longview. Robert is an engineer at Longview Fibre Co.
"Joe plans to attend graduate school in psychology, but wants to work for a bit first," Lisa said. He faced a bit of a challenge recently when his computer crashed the Friday before he did his honors thesis presentation. But he was able to carry on by using Lisa's computer in a pinch.
Joe's and Sam's married sister Kate Sudar Sprague teaches in Mill Valley, Calif. Their uncle Dan Drumheller, Lisa's brother, lives in Walla Walla.
Pheasants Forever members took wing for a second year on a habitat improvement project.
This time, nine local chapter members were joined by 17 Walla Walla Community College students and three others on land owned by Mark Small along Woodward Canyon Road just outside Lowden, said PF member Lindsey Williams in a release.
On a recent weekend, they planted 354 trees and shrubs for pheasant habitat, such as Ponderosa pine, blue elderberry, antelope bitterbrush, silver buffaloberry and Rocky Mountain juniper.
With so many hands enlisted in the volunteer project, the planting was accomplished in under two hours. Altogether, the group has planted 496 plants this spring and 2,179 since last year.
WWCC instructor Matt Williams coordinated the student help and Larry Boe is PF Habitat chairman.
"We were very excited to have such a great turnout of both PF members and WWCC students. Most of these students are in one of three programs: watershed ecology, agriculture and enology and viticulture. This is an especially great project for them to be involved in, as they get their hands dirty, and see what they could really be doing in the future," Lindsey said.
WWCC student volunteers included Kylee Justensen, Gary Brumsfield, Chuck Hundley, Soren Domitru, Jack Claphan-Oeder, Adam Toliver, Kayla Buckley, Kyle Sjurset, Mitch Perry, Travis Wilder, Stacey Huett, Dan Bakes, Nick Haight, Jennifer Chapman, Harmony Anderson, Julianne Bethke, Ivan Rozumny Jr. and Jacinta Jennings-Wahner.
PF members and others helping out were Larry and Lindsey, Matt, Carl Bisgard, Jim Sonne, PF president, Gene Weinmaster, Randy Snyder, Gary Benson, Dave Beebe, Nattilie Jackson and Caitlin Rozumny.
If walls could talk, especially old ones. Take, for example, the Milton-Freewater Community Building, which has seen plenty of action under its roof during its lifetime.
Chris Burlingame talked about its history during a presentation to Milton-Freewater Rotary Club members recently, said Rotarian Robby Robbins in a weekly report.
The first Apple Show was held in 1921 at the Grower Storage Building, a showcase for local products by the agricultural community in Umatilla County.
It was a huge success and inspired a plan to build a covered building suitable for future shows, Chris told the group. More than 100 booths were featured at the first show and several thousand people attended.
Tum-A-Lum Lumber Co. got the contract to build a 75- by 120-foot enclosed building, based on a 1928 drawing for an Apple Show Pavilion estimated to cost $10,000.
Several community groups helped promote the project. The Garden Club raised funds to improve the building. Another group built a floor to be used for dances and other social events. "In that era the economy was in bad shape and in 1931 the Freewater Amusement and Investment Co. leased the building and used it for local entertainment."
A 1931 picture of the Pavilion with a reference to a "Walk-A-Thon" indicates that the building was completed sometime in that time frame.
Another major building remodel was tackled by the Freewater Garden Club in 1939. Freewater School used the site as a gym in the 1940s and when Milton and Freewater consolidated in 1950, the Community Building became a busy activity center.
At least by 1961, the Rotary Club was meeting there, based on a photo of the building with a group of community leaders celebrating the city's award as "All American City" that also shows a Rotary banner flying from the flagstaff out front of the building. Rotary was chartered on Jan. 11, 1929, and initially met in the Federated Church's basement. Soon after that, Rotary relocated to gather in the dining room at City Hall.
Again the meeting room in the Community Center underwent a major remodel, courtesy of Rotary Club, in 1975-76.
Three years ago, Wheatland Village resident Gerald Hixson began offering free violin lessons to youngsters in Touchet.
The Walla Walla Symphony provided the first seven violins and two Walla Walla University students gladly instructed the children, ages 7-15.
Gerald sought funds from individuals and businesses around the Walla Walla Valley to support the effort. Classes began in the library, but moved to the Community Church when more room was needed for the expanding number of students.
The first spring recital included eight students; the second had 11 students and the third recital is coming up in June, said Tamara Gordon, marketing director at the Village.
"The students are grateful to Gerald and many sponsors who have made this project a fun reality," Tamara said. And it all started with Gerald's dream to make a difference.
Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at email@example.com or afternoons at 526-8313.