God Bless Our Veteran: John Arens

What an honor to be pictured with 91-year-old retired Navy Captain John Arens at the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library in Cape Coral, Florida.

Every Tuesday, the SWF Military Museum offers lunch for veterans and family members. Up to 200 attendees enjoy the lunch and camaraderie each week.

Bob with vet in white suit- mem museum

Captain Arens, a Toledo, Ohio native, born in 1926,  has an impressive military career.

He first served in the Merchant Marines near the end of WWII. As a teenager he joined this non-military organization which protects transportation of commercial goods and passengers during peacetime. However, in times of war, Merchant Marines can provide assistance to the US Navy.

While in the Merchant Marines, he was drafted into the US Army and served as an Airborne Ranger in the Korean War with the Army Rangers 187th Airborne.

In the 1960s, he trained for and became a Navy SCUBA diver and worked for a number of years in the Arctic. After that, he skippered a Navy spy ship during the Cold War years.

He retired at age 59 from military service in 1987, but the Navy called him up in 1991, along with other retired captains, to serve in Iraq’s “Operation Desert Storm.”

John Arens has stories to tell about his time in the Merchant Marines, the Army, and the Navy. His stories are the stuff I see in the movies.

God bless you, sir, and thank you for your patriotic services.

If you want to go to the lunch for veterans, show up at the museum, sign-in, and enjoy lunch. If you have a group, call first. Look for the man in dress whites and shake his hand. He has served our country well. And don’t forget to visit the museum. It is one of the best in the country.

Bob at veterans museum cape coral

Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library 

4820 Leonard Street, Cape Coral Florida 239-541-8704.

While you are there, look in the September 11th exhibit. You will find my bookCC Veterans Museum 1 TOT in display (coauthored with Janice Hall Heck) Triumph Over Terror about my experiences serving as chaplain at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Thanks, Bob Ossler, Chaplain

You can find me on Facebook at Bob Ossler Chaplain

and on Twitter at @bobosslerchaplain

You can order Triumph Over Terror on Amazon.

Article by Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck




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Last Chance to Vote for Triumph Over Terror

jan-and-bob-at-ground-zero.jpgLAST CHANCE to vote for

Triumph Over Terror

by Chaplain Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck

in the Christian Indie Awards


(Christian Small Publishers Association-SCBA)
Category:  NONFICTION: BIOGRAPHY category

Vote here:  www.christianpublishers.net/18votes/            Deadline is March 31

Triumph Over Terror is about Bob Ossler Chaplain‘s experiences as a chaplain at Ground Zero after 9/11. This book will touch your heart.

Triumph Over Terror is an award-winning book. bookfest finalist

Read an EXCERPT here: Excerpt: Triumph Over Terror

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Excerpt: Triumph Over Terror

We invite you to read an excerpt of Triumph Over Terror, a book coauthored by Chaplainbob-ossler Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck. The book relates Chaplain Bob Ossler’s experiences at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York City on 9/11.

Triumph Over Terror has been nominated for the Non-fiction category award in the Christian Indies Contest. Please help us win First Place recognition by voting here:

VOTE here: http://www.christianpublishers.net/18votes/

Here’s an excerpt from Triumph Over Terror which is available for purchase on Amazon.

Hard Shells, Soft Hearts

“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” –Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Every day at Ground Zero, we experienced emotional pain and discouragement along with anxiety and anger toward the sheer vastness of this mass murder crime scene and its perpetrators. Our inability to better manage our work and emotions frustrated us.

Recovery workers handled emotional pain in a wide variety of ways. Some who recovered human remains stood for long moments frozen in respectful, reverent silence. Seasoned firefighters saluted fallen buddies as tears slipped down their faces. Unabashed, others wept and embraced each other. No one ever mocked others for crying, a normal response to the deaths of several thousand people.Stan Honda Associated Press

Other stoic workers didn’t pause in their work. They plugged away, moving beams, hauling trash, investigating crevices. Did they suspect if they stopped, they’d nosedive into an emotional heap? I don’t understand how this last group managed to hold themselves together for so long. A matter of emotional survival, working was their way to respond to intense pain. For the most part, people on and around Ground Zero wanted to talk about what bothered them, about their memories, or about the difficult recovery they’d made. Talkers who wanted to share a burden sometimes sought out a chaplain.

While on the Pile I heard cussing and fussing and all kinds of foul or obscene language–a normal response to intense pain. Even though profanity offended me, I ignored my discomfort and stayed close by, ready to offer an ear for someone who needed to vent. Little things triggered these angry outbursts of cursing, opening up the emotional floodgates to liberate deeper pain. One guy whacked his hand moving heavy debris and discharged a wild string of obscenities. He turned, noticed me standing nearby, and said, “Pardon my French, Father.”

I smiled. “I don’t remember those words in French class.”

He laughed, breaking the tension. We both returned to work.

After a while, the mountain of debris grew smaller. Slowly but surely, things started looking better at the Pile. Workers rallied with new energy, refusing defeat despite the remaining months of backbreaking endeavors. As we conquered part of this tragedy’s darkness, we sometimes heard laughter.

The ash and smoke-filled air started to clear. Families visited the Ground Zero viewing platform to conduct dedications and memorial services for lost love ones, and I smelled their flowers. At times, instead of death, I smelled food cooking at makeshift eating places. Now I tasted grit-free lasagna and savored the taste of the coke I drank when parched.

Workers and volunteers shook hands and hugged in the joy of overcoming harsh tragedy. History proved once again: When a powerful blow knocks Americans to their knees, we pray, rise again, and go back to work–more powerful, resilient, and stronger than before.

Used by permission. Blackside Publishing.

Please vote for Triumph Over Terror here: http://www.christianpublishers.net/18votes/

Please order Triumph Over Terror on Amazon.

READ another excerpt from Triumph Over Terror at https://janiceheck.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/vote-for-triumph-over-terror-nominated-for-christian-indie-awards/ “Sweeper Man”

VOTE for other quality books on Christian Indie Awards:

Candy Abbott, I’ve Never Loved Him More

MaryAnn Diorio, The Dandelion Patch and Return to Bell Terra

Kathryn Ross, The Gatekeeper’s Key

Michele Chynoweth, The Peace Maker


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A.D.D. and Doing What I Do Best: Talking with People

So I’ve owned up to being A.D.D./A.D.H.D, and that explains a bit of my poor performance in school in my early years. It may also explain a bit of my impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity as a child and as an adult.

When I was a kid, I was Trouble with that capital T. I couldn’t seem to control my inattention, my off-task behavior, my risk-taking behavior, my failure to learn as fast as the other kids, my inability to complete tasks, and my penchant for taking up new interests when old interests quickly faded.

As a kid, I was a mess. But I did squeak through high school, thanks to my supportive parents and a few teachers who seemed to take special interest in me.

Along the way, I discovered strengths that have helped me become successful in life. In fact, I might even call those strengths “my superabilities.” Once I identified them, my life changed, perhaps not in a way my teachers or parents wanted, but in a way that enabled me to take charge of my chaotic life.

I was neither a good reader nor a good writer in school, but I was a good talker. I could talk to anyone about anything, anytime. My friend Tony and I spent hours shooting the breeze, meandering all over God’s creation in words.

That ability has helped me throughout my life.

Today, for example, as a U.S. Air Force veteran, I went to a special luncheon for veterans at the SW Florida Military Museum in Cape Coral, Florida. What a ministry of sharing with these men and women! I engaged with about a hundred different folks gathered at the museum for their popular free Tuesday Lunch for Veterans.

CC SW Florida Military Museum

Talking to retired military personnel gives me a boost. They wear their labeled hats with medals, shirts with their branch of service, and even full military uniforms with medals and service bars. I hopped from table to table, eager to meet and greet each one of them.

CC Veterans Museum white suit general

I loved hearing their stories about where they served, about the friends they served with, and the things they will never forget. Above all they expressed their love for the military and the country they proudly served. And they are so open and honest about their faith in God.

These veterans wear their uniforms, caps, and identifying tee shirts with great pride.  One 91-year-old Navy Captain with over thirty years total service in the US Army first, then the Navy, joins this group every week wearing his dress whites complete gold shoulder stripes and campaign ribbons. He has stories to tell about World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam. What a wise and dedicated man, and so proud of his country.

I was so excited to talk to each one of these men. I felt like a kid in a candy shop. My eyes were wide and my heart burst with pride as I looked around the room and saw these role models of bravery, loyalty, commitment, and determination. I wanted to hear all of their stories, but time wouldn’t allow that. I will just have to come back for another visit.

I thanked these fine men for their service and offered to pray with them, which they graciously accepted. Our veterans worked hard and sacrificed much to guarantee our freedoms in America. God bless them.

The Veterans museum proudly displayed our book Triumph Over Terror about myCC Veterans Museum 1 TOT in display experiences as chaplain at Ground Zero after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York City on display. I was so moved by this lovely gesture. God bless you and all our Veterans.


Triumph Over Terror available on Amazon.

Readers Choice Book Competition. Vote here for Triumph Over Terror, Category 6/16, Memoir.

Posted in A.D.D./A.D.H.D., Triumph Over Terror, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A.D.D./A.D.H.D and Readers Choice Book Competition

So what does A.D.D./A.D.H.D have in common with the Readers Choice Book Competition?

Me. Bob Ossler.

That’s right. Me.

Ages ago, I was one of those kids that teachers argued over: “Don’t put that kid in my class.” My reputation was well established in the early grades: poor achiever, poor reader, poor articulation, poor behavior, poor peer relationships. I was inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive, and these qualities got me into lots of trouble.

I was the dummy in school and managed to find myself the brunt of teasing. My size (tall and skinny), red moppy curly hair, and legions of freckles added to my troubles. Other kids delighted in calling me names: Beanpole. Reds. Freckles. Dummy.  Stoo-pid.  Retard. I didn’t always take kindly to these names as you might expect.

Mothers told their children, my classmates, “Don’t bring that kid here ever again” after I left messes of games and puzzle pieces scattered around their family rooms. I couldn’t help it if I was curious about all those games but didn’t have the attention span to finish one game. I was an explorer and wanted to check out everything.

Even my mother despaired at times. I was the kid who slid to home plate in my new Sunday church confirmation pants, who managed to get in trouble before school on the playground on the very first day of kindergarten, and who made teachers cringe in anticipation of the difficult year ahead with me in their class. The principal established a hot line to my house to report on daily infractions.

All of this was well before A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder) or A.D.H.D. (Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder as it is now known) came to the forefront in educational circles.

Despite my difficulties throughout my school years, I did scrape through high school. I did fly through the U.S. Air Force. I did become a certified paramedic, a certified Chicago firefighter, and a certified air-sea rescue diver. And I did get advanced education in pathology, and then advanced degrees in theology. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I used my A.D.D. strengths (oral communication skills, public speaking, memory, creativity, and compassion for those who suffer) to accomplish all this, despite my A.D.D. weaknesses (distractibility and impulsivity).

bob-gz-helmetAfter years in emergency services with the Chicago Fire Department, I became a pastor and a chaplain and ministered to the hearts and spirits people wounded by life’s tragedies.

Long story, short, I volunteered as a chaplain at Ground Zero in New York City  after the September 11th terrorist attacks, then carried deep, dark memories in my head and heart long afterwards. Fifteen years after 9/11, I decided to clear my head of those horrendous mental images of sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes at Ground Zero, and I wrote a book with the encouragement and help of my writer friend, Janice Hall Heck.

Triumph Over Terror, already an award-winning book, is now in third place in the Readers Choice bob at millville 9-11 (2)Competition. Imagine that. That little dumb second grader is an author whose book is now in the Readers Choice Competition. Not only that, our book is now in 3rd place, coming up fast on second place with only five days in the competition.

You can help me snag that 2nd place by voting here:
Readers Choice Category 6/16 Triumph Over Terror. 

Please help me prove that a person with ADD/ADHD can be a success in life and can even write an award-winning book!

bookfest finalist

Vote here:

Readers Choice Competition

Category 6/16 Memoir

Triumph Over Terror

by Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck

Thank you so much.

And next year around this time, look for our new book, Make Your A.D.D./A.D.H.D Work for You. (working title)

Click on this link to order Triumph Over Terror on Amazon


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A Dog, A Cat, or a Hero

Which topic would you rather read about?

I know. Everyone loves dogs and cats, so those books snag my attention, too. Always cute, touching stories.

But, here’s another.

Chaplain Bob Ossler volunteered at Ground Zero in New York City after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He talked with suffering people day after day. He talked to the heroes who worked on rescue and recovery, then in the cleanup of the massive seven-story high debris pile. Dedicated men and women, workers and volunteers, committed time and energy to raising the spirit of New York City from the ashes. Their individual stories are touching. Their heroism is unmatched.

Stan Honda Associated Press

Ossler’s stories in Triumph Over Terror chronicle the aftermath of 9/11 events. Many stories are sad, but some stories show how humor restores spirits of physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted  workers and volunteers.

Triumph Over Terror has 51 5-star reviews on Amazon. It was a Finalist in the Best Books of 2017. Now it is up for votes in the Readers Choice Book Awards competition. buff.ly/2zYMgjJ.

At this point, the leading book about a special needs dog has well over 500 votes. The book about a rescued kitty has 200 votes.

Triumph Over Terror has 186 votes.

We would like to move our book about our American Heroes up in this queue. Will you help us. You can vote at buff.ly/2zYMgjJ   Readers Choice Book Awards

Click buff.ly/2zYMgjJ , then click on the black bar and the 1/16 category. Wait a second…it might be a bit pokey. Click on the right arrow on the bar five times, until you get to category 6/16 Memoir. Scroll down til you see the blue and silver cover of Triumph Over Terror by Bob Ossler and Janice Hall Heck. Click on that row. A spinning circle will tell you that you vote has been counted.

bob at millville 9-11 (2)

Please help us and vote. This is a book that honors America and all of our hard-working, committed heroes.  Thanks.

Order Triumph Over Terror from Amazon.


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Daily Post Prompt: Underdog

So this prompt I can write about: Underdog.

My coauthor (Janice Hall Heck) and I have written a book entitled Triumph Over Terror, a book about my experiences as a volunteer chaplain at Ground Zero after September 11. It was a hard book to write because of the painful memories of suffering that flooded back into my mind. But, to once and for all, clear my head of these memories, I enlisted the help of my writers critique group friend, Janice Hall Heck.

It took us a year, but now Triumph Over Terror has been published and available on
Amazon for just over a year where we have 51 5-star reviews.

Now we are in a Readers Choice competition, and we are an UNDERDOG, trailing a book about a special needs DOG by about 450 points. I don’t know how the author amassed so many votes. We have been working hard to get our 140 votes. (Although we did join this contest a month after it started.)

We started at the dead last position 54 in the Memoir category (6/16) about ten days ago. But thanks to our readers, friends, family, we have moved up to 5th place.  Still an underdog, but moving up. Unfortunately, after our initial run-up, our numbers have stalled.  We have been in 5th place for about a week.

We are behind four other books:  A Spot in My Heart  (special needs dog), 508 votes; Great Peacemakers, 161 votes; The Kitty who Rescued Me after I Rescued Him, 201; Literally Unbelievable Stories of Oakland Classroom, 278; and Great Peacemakers, 161.

I am sure these are touching books. In fact, I may read several of them myself. Our book is dedicated to all those who lost their lives at Ground Zero and to the heroes who working in the rescue and recovery and clean-up operations in the aftermath.

Can you help us move up a place or two in this contest? The deadline is December 10. There is no reward, just the privilege to past a gold or silver sticker on the front of the book. But, of course, there will be some book promotion, too.

You can vote here: buff.ly/2zYMgjJ   Category 6/16 #Memoir  Thank you.

Click on right side of black bar (1/16) til you reach 6/16. Then scroll down til you see Triumph Over Terror and click on our names. A whirling circle will tell you that your vote has been counted.

Please vote now.  buff.ly/2zYMgjJ Category 6 #Memoir Triumph Over Terror. Help us become the Top Dog.

Thanks again. God bless all of you. Bob Ossler Chaplain Janice Hall Heck.

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