A Tea mom of two and former military wife has written a book and will speak at the American Legion’s Memorial Day service Monday morning.
Chantel Olson-Quissel will talk about not only honoring soldiers for their sacrifice, but also honoring the spouses and children.
That’s the story she tells in Homefront Warriors, coming out in mid-June.
“The book is our story about being the family left behind while they’re overseas,” said Quissel. “It’s our journey: what we endured versus what he endured and the homecoming.”
The idea for Homefront Warriors occurred her when John, her husband, returned after 15 months in Baghdad, but she needed time to process her thoughts and focus on readjusting as a family with Dad back.
“And now something said it’s time to just put it out there and let people know the other side of the story. A lot of times the families who are left behind get lost in the shuffle,” she said.
Being left behind was hard – from potty-training a toddler on her own to buying a plain gold wedding band that John could wear overseas – just in case he never returned.
“We always wanted Preston to have it, but it was very hard to do,” said Quissel, who also has a daughter, Mary Louise. “It was heart-wrenching.”
She also grew up in a military family. Her father, Tim Olson, is a longtime member of the Air Guard and Tea American Legion.
The Memorial Day program is set for 9 a.m. May 30 at the Legion, located at 245 S. Main Ave.
The members thought Quissel was just the right person to speak, said Legion secretary Kyle Huinker.
“We thought what better than to have someone local speaking about supporting veterans, being that she has been through this herself and is a Legion member’s daughter,” he said.
Though Hometown Warriors is her first book, she’s no stranger to public speaking. Since beginning her book last fall, she now speaks at area events about her personal journey.
The paperback will be available for $14.95 on Amazon and chantelinspires.com. Her website also features customized dog tags inscribed with the words “Hometown Warrior,” which she had designed by an artist in Tea. Her kids wear them, and many military families have purchased them, too, as a symbol of awareness.
“We were lucky we got our soldier back. Not everyone’s story ends like ours,” Quissel said.