Be inspired by the radio conversation with Carol Varner, author of Where Valor Lies ,,, and the copy below of the Varners’ story … that Carol wrote herself. And don’t miss the part about their ministry to Russian orphans, wherein Carol and Gary individually made 60 trips to help them!
“Gary and I met in Hawaii in 1979 while we were both serving on a summer mission team with Campus Crusade for Christ. Gary grew up in Topanga, California and I grew up in central Illinois.
We married May 23, 1981and have two children, Clayton (1985) and Jessica (1989).
Cancer took Gary’s life September 25, 2010
We lived in West Plains, MO 1986-1992. Gary was the University of Missouri Extension Service Livestock Specialist for the region. He had a weekly newspaper column with the Daily Quill – I believe it ended up being syndicated. He also had a weekly radio program and made periodic TV appearances with the CBS affiliate in Springfield. And was published in several agricultural periodicals and magazines.
In 1992 Gary and I decided to make a significant career shift to fulltime ministry work with Campus Crusade for Christ’s high school ministry which led to a move to St Louis, where I continue to live.
Our work with Campus Crusade gave us many opportunities to travel to Russia (Soviet Union). As a result we again felt the need shift our focus and efforts more intently on that part of the world. So in 2005 we left fulltime work with Campus Crusade and created Portage Perspectives [www.portageperspectives.com is the developing website for the ministry to Russian orphans.] – a non-profit intent on helping Russian pastors and ministry workers with the resources and help they need to serve and help Russian orphans in their region. Primarily giving them help and hope to live a productive life after leaving the orphanages at the tender age of seventeen. Close to half of Russian orphans turn to organized crime within a year of living on their own. Our efforts provide programs and services that help them beat those odds! Gary and I collectively have traveled to the former Soviet Union more than sixty times. I continue to lead this non-profit and we continue to send teams annually to Russia.
In 2008 Gary published The Great Hour Struck. The first in the On Eagles’ Wings Series. Gary’s research took him to WWII battlefields, landmarks and historical sites. Many of which I traveled to as well. Gary’s writing was based on historical and military accuracy. Gary’s personal library has over 300 books written about WWII, numerous periodicals and over 20,000 personal photos.
Where Valor Lies was in the works when cancer entered our lives. Gary had hoped to finish the manuscript before things got bad for him but was unable to do so. I promised him I would see it through to publication, never dreaming I would be the one to finish it. In fact, it was never my intention to be the one who finished it. I had approached our editor about a year after Gary’s death to discuss the role he could play in putting the finishing touches on the manuscript. He very gently but firmly told me that I was the one to finish it. “No one can possible tell Gary’s story like you can, Carol.” And after the initial shock of hearing this, I knew he was right.
I began with nine months of research in Gary’s personal library—poring over his books, maps, notes and photos. I paid closest attention to the areas he had highlighted and marked. I watched dozens of documentaries and movies, read soldiers’ personal stories and scoured websites. Our son, Clayton, is a former US Army captain, answered my military protocol and tactical questions, plus provided and invaluable source of WWII historical information. Our daughter, Jessica, read and conferred with me over multiple manuscript rewrites and proposed plot ideas. Six secluded writing trips and three years later, Where Valor Lies was finished.
Then just two months after finishing the manuscript, I discovered more than thirty pages of Gary’s notes outlining Where Valor Lies—written well before he had started the manuscript. I was astounded to find that almost everything I had written lined up with his original direction and plan—down to the smallest detail. … . The cover holds extreme meaning to us as it is a photo of one of our son Clayton Varner’s Airborne jumps. Gary captured the moment as he, Courtney and I watched in awe.
Finishing this work has brought healing and joy in my grieving process. We experienced a very rich and deep love in our marriage-I will miss him until I see him once again!
Both novels have received The Editor’s Choice and Rising Star Awards from our publisher.
Did I mention there will be a third novel?” Carol Varner