Retirees reflect on military and family experience in publishing ventures

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MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — Who says your retirement years have to be dull and boring? In Martinsburg, a group of retired veterans has taken to creative writing, a rewarding way for many eastern panhandle seniors to enjoy their twilight years.

Bruce Waldron is a Vietnam vet, happily married for 50 years, actively involved in his community and the Berkeley County senior center where he loves to hear stories about the lives of his friends, many of whom happen to be veterans. He believes these stories are so compelling he wants to put them to paper.

“We have a writers’ group here and our whole mission is to get other seniors to come in sit down and tell their story and hopefully work toward getting a book published that they can pass on to their kids,” Waldron said.

Randy Underwood hails from Salem, West Virginia in the north-central region of the Mountain State. He spent more than 20 years in the Army reserves. Reflections on his hometown are very special, and with encouragement from Waldron, he’s started writing his own works.

“I had written a manuscript of memories of growing up in a small town here in West Virginia with my daughters and nieces and nephews,” Underwood said. “I came to the writer’s group to get some ideas how I could publish that.”

As far as Bruce Waldon is concerned, everybody has a story. It’s just a matter of helping them convey it in writing.

“Most everyone has stories in their brains things that have happened to them that they’d love to be able to share and to be able to share to actually get that down get that written and be able to hand it to someone,” Waldron said.

Waldron has his buddy Underwood at the senior center hooked.

“I’ve kinda gotten the writing bug and I’ve written five other books 4 mysteries and a novella, and all with the help and encouragement of the writer’s group here,” said Underwood.

The group meets on the third Wednesday of every month. If interested, contact the Berkeley County Senior Services Center. The writer’s group actually started eight years ago, but with COVID, they went a full year without meeting until last month.

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