Empowering Military Kids: Navigating Challenges with Courage, Trust, and the Coast Guard Adventures of Dolph and Gwen
My name is Darcy Guyant. My military history began when I entered the Army in 1980 under the “High School to Flight School”. I graduated from Army flight training at Fort Rucker, AL in December 1981 at the age of 19. I flew the UH-1H “Huey” for 7 years, then I left the Army and entered the U.S. Coast Guard in 1987. I was involved in Coast Guard Aviation for 18 years, flying the HH-52 and the HH-65 Dolphin, retiring in 2005 after 25 years of service.
My inspiration to write began in 2019 when I was asked to be a Guest Speaker at a high school Veterans Day assembly. The theme for the school assembly that year was “Legacy of Service.” I had plenty to share on that subject being a 7 th generation descendant of an American Revolutionary War Veteran. Additionally, members of my immediate family have served in one of the 5 branches of the Army Forces. My son and daughter are war veterans, both having service in Afghanistan. So, it was easy for me to talk about service legacy.
My Great (x5) Grandpa, Luke Guyant, immigrated from England in the 1760s and fought in the Revolutionary War. We know this from an Application for Veterans Benefits he completed in 1833. He was 83 years old at that time. But that’s all we know about him. No other letters, books, or documents about him or his life, which leaves lots of unanswered questions.
So, I decided to write a Memoir for my granddaughter and any other future descendants who might be interested, 200 years from now, about relatives. My memoir, To Seek and To Save, includes 12 chapters detailing events and people that have been significant to the direction of my life.
Many people who enjoyed my Memoir suggested I write a Children’s Picture Book using the stories from my Memoir. So, I thought it would be fun to write a children’s story for my 3-year old granddaughter, who already loved books. The result of that endeavor is Into The Storm: The Coast Guard Adventures of Dolph and Gwen.
What message or themes do you hope to convey through your book, particularly to fellow military families and individuals?
First of all, I wanted to provide my granddaughter, and other young girls, with a female heroine which they could look up to and emulate.
Secondly, I wanted the underlying theme of the story to be about the virtues of Courage, Trust, and Teamwork. When I do school visits I talk with kids quite a bit about Courage.
Thirdly, I want kids, and their parents, to know more about what the U.S. Coast Guard does, day in and day out. Search and Rescue is just one of the many responsibilities of the USCG, but it is certainly one of the most important.
How has your personal military experience influenced the stories you choose to tell?
Having flown helicopters and been involved in search and rescue for 25 years, I have an extensive list of stories to choose from. I choose stories that tell others about the awesome achievements of the men and women of the USCG. All of the real-life stories I tell in Children’s books, and speaking engagements, involve Courage in the face of adversity, Trust of your teammates/crew, and Teamwork to accomplish a mission successfully.
In what ways do you believe your book can resonate with and provide support to other military families facing similar challenges?
Courage is the major theme of this book and is a main topic of my discussions with kids. Winston Churchill said, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.” Fear is a natural response; it’s a protective mechanism that helps to keep us from harm. However, fear can be crippling if not faced and dealt with. My children’s story provides an example of how to be courageous despite anxiety, nervousness, and fear. Military kids are faced with situations (PCS moves, parents deploying, new schools, leaving friends and trying to make new friends, etc.) that will require courage.
Were there any specific challenges or rewarding moments you encountered while writing your book that you would like to share?
Self-publishing a book is fraught with challenges and disappointments. As an author, you know you have a great book, other people even tell you it’s great, but getting it into the hands of people who don’t know you is hard. However, I once had a 7-year-old girl come up and ask me to sign her book, which I did happily. She then said, “I want to be a pilot just like Gwen when I grow up.” Comments and reactions like hers are what encourage and motivate me to keep plugging away. Only God knows how the seeds planted today will sprout and mature in the years to come.
Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives related to your book or future writing plans that you would like to share with our audience?
I have begun work on the next “adventure” for Dolph and Gwen. The title of the story will be, “Through the Flames”, which is based on another real-life rescue mission my crew and I performed. You won’t want to miss this exciting adventure!