When the time came to find someone to bring Amanda to life, I knew the task would not be easy. I assumed that finding a talented illustrator who would be amenable to a children’s book project with a new author would prove challenging. To my delight, the moon lined up with the stars, and I was fortunate beyond belief to find the perfect fit in an unexpected way.
I was reading BRAVE Business Leadership by Jeff Foley, retired Brigadier General and current leadership coach. (https://loralmountain.com/) Randomly nestled in the pages of leadership best practices gleaned from 32 years in the Army, were small illustrations, perfectly concise and simple, yet charming. I asked General Foley who did the drawings, and he told me the story of how Bill Wood was recommended to him, and how delighted he was to realize that it was the same Bill Wood who used to work for him in the Army.
After I met Bill, it was clear he was the right partner for this venture. There was no deadline for the project, so he could take his time and work on drawing the Amanda story at his own pace. He would periodically send pages to me and my friend (and marketing guru) Samantha Bodie, but we knew early in the process that it was going to be a home run. The only guidance I had to offer was after the first Amanda drawing, when I asked Bill to make the rabbit look more like a girl. A few adorable eyelashes later, Amanda was born. Despite Bill’s many responsibilities with work and family, and the distraction of a pandemic, he completed the project of illustrating the 32-page tale in the spring of 2021.
Next on the agenda was the selection of a non-profit organization, with whom we could share part of the proceeds from book sales. Amanda: Tale of a Rescued Rabbit is a story about healing, so choosing a charity started with that thought, but the fortuitous introduction to Bill from General Foley was also in my mind. A military component to the partnership seemed appropriate. I had recently learned about Mission 22 from John Granado-Smith, an active duty solider with the U.S. Army and a volunteer for various causes in the community. John connected me to people who could tell me more about Mission 22, and I learned that this national organization is dedicated to healing American’s veterans with programs for Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as other issues veterans face today. (https://mission22.com/)
We submitted the application to align with Mission 22, and received approval on May 12, 2021. We are honored to support this organization, both with financial donations and also awareness for their programs. We encourage you to follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@Mission22) and learn about additional ways you can connect with their mission to support the veteran community with treatment programs, memorials and community social impact. Mission 22 also has an Ambassador volunteer program for people to get involved, who educate the public on veteran issues, help get veterans into Mission 22 treatment programs and create resources in their communities.
Mission 22 is not a crisis organization. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs to speak with someone immediately please call 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1), text 838255, call 911 or proceed to the nearest ER.
Mission 22’s federal ID number for donations is 46-2750726