Gold Star Mother and Military Author Forge Friendship

September 21, 2015

I couldn’t stop sobbing after I received a cardinal print from Gold Star mother Beth Karlson of Wisconsin.

Kathleen M. Rodgers with gift from Gold Star mother Beth Karlson

It took me about five mintue before I could even read the inscription on the back. Inscription on back of cardinal print form Beth Karlson


Beth’s oldest son, Army SGT Warren S. Hansen, was KIA 11/15/2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Beth and I met on Facebook about five years ago. We have never met in person. After reading my second novel, Johnnie Come Lately, Beth started leaving photos of cardinals on my FB timeline. A cardinal plays an important role in the novel. In a flashback scene in the story, Grandpa Grubbs tells a young Johnnie, “That’s not just any bird, young lady. That’s an angel bird, flown straight down from heaven.”Gold Star Mother Beth Karlson

About an hour after receiving Beth’s gift, I called her on the telephone to thank her. That’s when she told me she’s had the print about fifteen years. She said one day after reading Johnnie for the second time, she walked by the print and thought, that belongs to Kathleen. When I asked her if Warren had passed by the print while he was still alive, she said, “All the time.”10676417_10203286131369662_9211511580700386707_n

To receive a gift from a woman who lost a son in combat…well, you can imagine what this means.

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Author of the novels The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately & Seven Wings to Glory. Former contributor to Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. Future work represented by agent Diane Nine, Nine Speakers Inc.

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