Former educator honors his dad on Veteran's Day with a book for kids missing a family member

Posted at 10:43 PM, Nov 11, 2016

Our Person of the Week is a former educator turned author.

He's using the gift of writing to pay tribute to our veterans who are often away during one of the most important holidays of the year.

It's almost the season to celebrate the holidays, but when a loved is serving in the military, there's often an empty seat at the dinner table.

That's why Bill Smith, who spent 13 years in the classroom and 20 years as a principal, is now an author.

Bill says, "I loved being a teacher and just decided to take it a step further to become a principal, but even as a principal I wrote plays for kids and loved story telling."

Bill is a senior who self publishes his own books. His latest one, Four AM December 25, was written as a tribute to his late father who served in the Air Force.

Bill says, "He was in the military during World War II and he was one of those quiet guys though. He came out after the war ended and never talked about it."

Bill would learn after his dad's death through a letter from one of his dad's Air Force  buddies what they accomplished while serving.

He told Bill they flew over the North Sea and made weather reports for bombing runs and attacks in unarmed airplanes and it was really dangerous.

Bill's book takes wide eyed kids, like some at Eastover Elementary in Bloomfield Hills, through a journey around the world.

Bill says, "Thought to honor him I would write something that honored veterans soldiers coming home and the end of this book honors the idea of hope and joy and love and the Christmas spirit."

They have to look at each picture carefully to understand the message about a soldier, a dad or simply a loved one returning home after a journey away.

Bill says his book will help military families across America - 100% of the profits are going to one in four veteran's charities.

Bill says, "One of those charities is Our Military Kids, which helps kids that are in this school whose parents are overseas and they feel anxiety or depression."

"If you so choose to buy this book as a gift, you will likely not only help military families, but others as well." Bill says, "Whether or not they have someone actually deployed overseas every child feels the anxiety when a parent is away for whatever reason and they're so happy to see them come home."

And that's why we choose former educator and current author Bill Smith as our Person of the Week.

4 AM on December 25 can only be purchased at select stores in our area, It's $19.95 and again every dollar in profit made will be donated to military charities.

The book stores that carry 4 AM December 25 are Veterans & Toys in Detroit, Book Beat in Oak Park, Wild Birds unlimited in Grosse Pointe, Schuler's Book Store in Ann Arbor and Nicola's in Ann Arbor.