Four years after publishing the compelling story about the life of his son who died in Iraq, Tamaqua native Joe Baddick, former lieutenant with the 82nd Airborne, has penned riveting stories of some of America's Purple Heart recipients.
The introduction in Baddick's newest book, "All American Hearts," was written by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North, USMC, Ret.
The work is a collection of true stories that were brought to Baddick's attention following the September 2003 death of his son, Sgt. Andrew J. Baddick, whose life is captured in Baddick's earlier work "My Hero, My Son."
The publication of that first book served as the catalyst for the newest work when feedback from readers led to amazing stories that Baddick felt needed to be told.
Responding to hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls after releasing "My Hero, My Son," Baddick realized that many of those reaching out and consoling him in his hour of need had suffered tremendous hardship.
They were wounded warriors, young soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. The courageous men and women had lost so much yet their spirits remained unbroken. Baddick was inspired by their will to move forward in the face of great adversity.
"All American Hearts" was born of their courage, and the moving stories are told in their own words. Their brutal honesty will astound, their courage and will inspire, and the graphic description of their injuries will shock.
The book shines light on the power of the human spirit to love and protect, and the power of the human being to destroy.
From start to finish, "All American Hearts" presents itself as a labor of love.
"For nearly the last two years I have made numerous trips to Bethesda Walter Reed to interview our Wounded Warriors and the 21 stories contained within the book will, I hope, inspire the reader to know that anything is possible as long as one has the desire to forge ahead and carry on," Baddick told the TIMES NEWS.
"I am especially honored to have Lt. Col. Oliver L. North do the introduction to the book," he added.
Plans for the proceeds from the work also reflect Baddick's devotion to our men and women in uniform.
"I could not see myself taking the stories of our brave men and women in uniform and making a profit from them, so proceeds from the book will go to our Wounded Warriors and the Freedom Alliance. The Freedom Alliance was founded by Colonel North and Sean Hannity, and they make it possible for children of our fallen soldiers to attend college."
Although he now lives in Reading, Berks County, with his wife Sheila, Baddick grew up in Tamaqua and is a frequent visitor back home.
He is a life member in the 82nd Airborne Association, the 504th Parachute Infantry Association, and the 82nd Airborne Division Museum. He holds membership in the National Rifle Association, the American Legion Post 0934, Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, and the Reading Liederkranz.
Baddick has devoted time to the Miller-Keystone Blood Center and spends leisure time golfing, making wine, playing with his grandchildren and volunteering in service to the community.
He is involved with the restoration of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum's P-61 Black Widow Nightfighter, recovered many years ago from a mountain top in New Guinea.
Baddick also is closely associated with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS. As a peer mentor, Baddick assists TAPS by making contact, when needed, with other fathers who have recently lost a loved one in the military.
Baddick will appear at World War II Weekend at Reading's Mid-Atlantic Air Museum at the Reading Airport on June 7, 8 and 9, where he will sign copies of "All American Hearts" inside the hanger.
The book was published by Aperture Press through the efforts of Sharon Wells-Wagner and Steve Wagner.
More information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org.