Nebraska Center for Writers

Nebraska Center for Writers

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About Valerie Lee Vierk


Winter of Death
Copyright © 2009
by Valerie Lee Vierk
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In October 1918, World War I was coming to an end, and the weary world was eagerly anticipating the peace. Sadly though, an even more lethal enemy was about to burst upon the unsuspecting world. The enemy did not march to drumbeats with sabers flashing, but came quickly and quietly onto the battlefields and into the homes to claim its victims. This faceless enemy was called influenza, and before its reign of terror came to an end, millions of people worldwide had died. It came to the great cities and to the little towns such as Ravenna, Nebraska.
This book documents the epidemic in the authorís hometown of Ravenna. In a six-month period, 28 people, almost all under forty, died of the disease. Three more died of pneumonia, which was often the secondary infection after influenza. Additionally, four soldiers died, plus a young physician and his driver. These all combined to make it a "Winter of Death." The author lists biographies of all the victims, and also photos of them if available. Where photos of the victims werenít available, photos of their grave markers were substituted. There are forty photos in the book, and two charts. Additionally, the author includes an epilogue, bringing the reader up to date on the old scourge that is still very much with us — influenza. Available at

Gold Stars and Purple Hearts:
The War Dead of the Ravenna, Nebraska Area
Copyright © 2005
by Valerie Lee Vierk
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The book spans from the Spanish-Ameircan War to the Vietnam conflict, spotlighting individual soldiers. ... The book includs photos of the soldiers and their burial places. It should be of interest to Nebraskans in and around the Ravenna area. Vierk has an easy writing style, occasionally going into first person to talk aobut her research. — John Keenan, Omaha World Herald

Sailing the Troubled Seas:
A Nebraska Boy Goes to War
Copyright © 2007
by Valerie Lee Vierk
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This book documents the United States Coast Guard career of Herbert E Nolda, from his enlistment in April 1942 to his discharge in December 1945. The book also encompasses his early life before the war and his life after the war as it relates to veterans' matters. On the morning of December 7, 1941, Herbert was living in Santa Monica, California, where he was employed at the huge Douglas Aircraft factory. He arrived at a boarding house for lunch to find the landlady hysterical with the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Several other young men were there too. Within minutes one of the young men stood up and announced: "Our country's in trouble and needs our help. I'm going down to enlist. Is anyone else coming with me?" "I am," Herbert replied. His time in the service was varied, from patrols on the East Coast, to four major invasions in North Africa and Europe. On June 6, 1944, D-Day, he was manning the #1 gun on his ship, LCI(L) #92 as she plowed into the maelstrom of Omaha Beach. Her sister ship, LCI(L) #91 had hit the beach a half hour earlier. She had been Herbert's home until a month before D-Day. The two small ships became famous in the annuals of D-Day. Later, in mid-August 1945, Herbert was aboard the troop transport, USS Admiral HT Mayo anchored at Ulithi Atoll in the South Pacific when the guns of the neighboring ships started firing, but there were no enemy planes in sight. ... This book is filled with the grim and the humorous incidents of war as experienced by a young sailor from landlocked Nebraska. Also interwoven are shorter biographies of some of Herbert's crewmembers. It is richly illustrated with 185 photographs and other historical documents.

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Valerie Vierk's [poem] "New Moon" is particularly moving. As she deals with the very real emotions of feeling people at the death of a son and brother, she manages to make their feelings touch those of the reader.--Lincoln Journal Star

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