Friday, December 19, 2008

Pittsburgh Magazine Reviews WWII Radio Heroes!

I just got it in the mail yesterday! Pittsburgh Magazine's January Edition has several book reviews. World War II Radio Heroes is one of them!

I want to thank Stephen Knezovich for his thoughtful review.

I am unsure if this review will appear on the website or just in print. The website is

If you are in or near Pittsburgh the magazine should be widely available. I subscribe to it, and have for years, because it always features some very interesting articles and things to do in the burgh.

I continue to be very appreciative of the positive attention we're getting with this book. Thanks to all!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Lincoln Highway Connection to WWII Radio Heroes

I first met Brian Butko in the summer at the Bridgewater Book Festival. He is the author of a half dozen books, the editor for the Western Pennsylvania History Magazine, and an all around cool guy. He has great interest in history of course, but his areas of interest are more obscure than most historians. He writes about the roadside landmarks you remember as a kid, the places and faces that we love but often take for granted.. until there gone that is.

Brian and I kept in touch over the months and he volunteered himself and his son, Andrew, to read for World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion (2008). Andrew was our youngest reader and read for our most prominent hero in the book, Flavius Jankauskas (who wrote to my family in 1943 as a 16 year old short-wave listener).

Brian and I most recently came together again at the Heinz History Center's Holiday Book Fair. It was perfect timing for me to give him his copy of our work- the audio book was completed a week prior.

I'm privileged to know Brian Butko. He's a very fascinating man with great stories- and road trips to tell you about.

Check out his site and latest book here: Take a stroll down memory lane.

After hearing Brian talk about the Lincoln Highway, which I drive frequently, I look at it differently. I'm eager for the spring so I can take a road trip of my own!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving Back for the Holidays

When you are making out your holiday card list this year, please include the following:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

Many thanks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today and Everyday We Thank You!

Thank you to all of our veterans, their families and support systems! On Veterans Day, and everyday, I wish to send our most heart-felt thank you to those who served and those who serve- in all capacities.

You are our everyday heroes! We salute you!

Happy Veteran's Day 2008!

Lisa Spahr
and Family

Friday, October 24, 2008

Review in CQ Magazine!

Hello everyone!

I am delighted to share CQ Magazine has featured World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion (2008) in their Review Section this month!

Thank you Bob Josuweit, Editor of Public Service for CQ!

Check out CQ at

Happy reading!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Heinz History Center Welcomes WWII Radio Heroes!

I am so excited to share this news with all of you. So many great things have been happening. We are finishing the audio book and expect it to be available for Thanksgiving and the gift-giving season. We are writing an article we hope will appear in Western PA Magazine (thanks to Jay Speyerer and Brian Butko). We are expanding out book tour by reaching out to other cities to offer talks and signings (York and Philadelphia are on the radar). ... the list goes on.

AND- I've just been told that World War II Radio Heroes will be a featured book in the Senator John Heinz History Center (a "must see" in Pittsburgh).... and... I will be one of the honored guests at the History Center's Holiday Book Fair on December 6th! Visit to learn more. Thank you Nan Best-Vitullo, Lee Heckman and Andy Masich.

I am really looking forward to all of the events and milestones that I noted. Thank you for helping us share this great story!

I hope to see you and your family and friends at the History Center on December 6, 2008 from 10-2!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Many thanks to you!

As we are finishing up the audio project- putting World War II Radio Heroes on a set of 3 CDs with bonus tracks- I have so many people I want to thank over, and over again... Here are some of the wonderful people who have been working on this project.

Executive Producer
Darryl Grandy

Dave Williams

Readers (in no particular order)
Donn Nemchick
Rob Lowery
John Sommer
Flavius Jankauskas
Morton Bardfield
Dave Williams
Morry Feldman
Jill Cueni-Cohen
Jay Speyerer
Brian Butko
Andrew Butko
Brian Nuckols
Beth Caldwell
Sandra Rebholz
John Herington
Jill Cueni-Cohen
Samantha Bennett
Mary Beth Kratsas
Randy DePaoli
Mel DePaoli
Kelli Burns
Nannette Best-Vitullo
Dave Capan
Miyoshi Anderson
Suzanne Heintzinger
Emil Heintzinger
Joanne Quinn-Smith, Publisher,
Lori S. Bridgett
JoAnn R. Forrester
Louis C. Rizzo, CFP
Jamie L. Johnston
Gregg Mathis
Mary Pam Kilgore
Gregory Robert Kuntz

Intrigue Publishing, Denise Camacho
Co-Author, Austin Camacho
Renda Broadcasting Corporation

Last but not least, the named and unnamed heroes who gave us a story to talk about for decades and hopefully centuries.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Whew! An update on World War II Radio Heroes

Hello good people.

My apologies for being so quiet for a few months.

We are in the recording studio now finishing up the audio book version of World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion. I have had the great pleasure of working with so many gracious volunteers lending their voices to our letters from 1943. And, I have been so fortunate to have a great executive producer, Darryl Grandy, leading us in all of the right directions. We should have the audio books available by the end of October- just in time for the holidays. The audio book will only be available via my website and at the various speaking engagements that I go out on.

We have discovered the hamfest circuit! Rob and I attended our first hamfest at Skyview Radio Society, K3MJW, in New Kensington (near Pittsburgh) on August 24, 2008. We had a great time! It was one of our best book promotions yet! (Thanks to the good people of Skyview that had spread the word before we even got there!) We had a wonderful day with beautiful weather and met dozens of radio heroes. I was interviewd by Dennis Woytek of Skyview and you can see the interview here:

We hit another hamfest the following weekend, in Uniontown PA, W3PIE, and saw many of the same radio faces as the week before! Its a following like I haven't seen in ages. Now, we are toying with the idea of joining our radio friends in Kutztown PA on the 19th and 20th of September. And, we'll definitely be in Dayton in 2009! How could we possibly miss that monster radio event?

I have a busier speaking schedule in the coming months than I have since earlier this year. I hope to be at a location near you. Check my website for the latest information

Thanks for tuning in. I hope to see you soon.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

"I Can't Tie My Shoes, But I Have a Great Memory!"

I am rarely at a loss for words.

The other day I was giving a talk at a retirement home, on my book World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion (2008). There were two "Spahr's" there. Wow. I've not met any other Spahr's in the Pittsburgh area until then. But my surprise didn't end there.

The lady of the pair took my breath away after my talk, as a few of us were conversing. She was born premature, 2 lbs in fact; lives with cerebal palsy; lost all of her family members with one exeption; and has been in a wheelchair all of her life. But her mind, is as sharp as a tack!

I commented on her memory at one point as she mentioned someone else's birthday (in a facility with more than 100 people!) and she said, "I can't time my shoes, but I have a great memory!" And, on her cue we all laughed.

This woman is ON! She's GOT IT! She has greater spirit than most people I meet on a daily basis. She has not allowed any handicap to hinder her life or the quality of her life. I learned so much from her in a mere hour.

She is happily married and has found wonder and amazement in each moment in life. She takes nothing for granted.

Wow. What an amazing woman! If I can be half that in this lifetime I'll be satisfied!

Who have you learned a valuable lesson from lately?

Visit a retirement center near you today! Take the kids! You'll be amazed at what you learn

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

I had the distinct honor of being on The American Entrepreneur Radio Show this past weekend for their Memorial Day Program. Ron Morris and Darryl Grandy were phenomenal hosts.

Ron interviewed me for about an hour on World War II Radio Heroes: Letter of Compassion. The interview can be found here

I am delighted to have the opportunity to thank the men and women who serve our country in all capacities each day. I am sorrow filled to think of all those we have lost along the way. I try to remind myself each day of the ultimate sacrifice of so many, so that I may live the life of my dreams in a land I love so much. Thank you to all of our service personnel and their families. We are indebted to you.

Happy Memorial Day- every day.

Friday, May 16, 2008

June 14th- Flag Day. Where will you be?

Flag Day is a significant day to many Americans. Unfortunately, some people are oblivious to what it means, when it is and what its for. I urge you to share the message with your friends, families and neighbors.

My education on the Flag began back in grade school. Our class would say the Pledge of Allegiance each morning with our hands over our hearts. In history class we learned about the addition of stars on our Flag over time.

When I went to work for The American Legion in Washington DC in 1998, my education on our Flag was enhanced even further. I learned that the Flag should be illuminated if you fly it at night or else it should be brought indoors. I learned that the Flag should not touch the ground. I also learned that it should be retired in an appropriate way, never thrown away.

Buying a flag pole and flying a Flag was an exciting part of owning my own home. I took great pride in my expression of honor for my country, our service men and women and the history of our Flag.

I take even greater honor as I prepare for Flag Day 2008 and the awesome ceremony that will occur at South Park (Pittsburgh, PA) as we retire dozens of our country's Flags that have flown all over the world in one of the only public ceremonies available. I have sat on the Committee preparing for this event for several months now. The other Committee members have been involved for years in building this event to what it has become. People from all walks of life will join together to honor the Flag. Media and politicians will take their place to be a part of the gathering too. We have singers and dignitaries coming in from all over the country.

I invite you to join us as we respectfully retire some of our nation's Flags. The event is June 14th, a Saturday, at South Park (Pittsburgh PA) at 6 PM.

Consider what the Flag means to you. When and how did you learn about it? Quiz others (in a friendly manner) and see what they think of Flag Day. Use this as an educational opportunity and a way to connect with others.

Feel free to email me for more information:

Monday, May 5, 2008

Coaching For Writers- at the MWA

Wow. I've just returned from an energy filled weekend of fun AND education. I was a speaker at the Maryland Writer's Association Annual Conference.

I made an entire weekend of it. As I had lived in the DC Metropolitan area for several years, I decided to stay in Baltimore one night and then Annandale (VA) the next. I reconnected with some of my dearest friends, Austin and Denise Camacho at the conference, and Rebecca Neuburger and Michelle Lanier at their cool new home in Mt. Pleasant (DC). I also met dozens of new friends, all budding or accomplished writers who attended the conference.

I spoke to a standing room only crowd at my session titled, "Coaching for Writers: What keeps you up at night?" We began the session networking (something that many authors find REALLY hard to do) and then launched into identifying challenges AND resolutions to writing- and FINISHING your writing projects.

I must confess, this was one of the best talks that I've been a part of all year. Really. The audience participation and candor was tops. The energy to learn more, do better and achieve was awesome! I am guessing this session will become one of my greatest contributions to the writing world- outside of my own book World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion.

Thanks Austin, Denise, Ann Arbaugh (President of MWA)... you guys put on a great show.

Off to see a client.....
Author, Speaker and Coach

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thank you Radio Operators, Listeners and Fans!


This year has been a whirlwind one. They say that writing the book is 1/3 of the work. The real hard work comes in promoting it. Boy, were they right!

However, hard work does pay off. Not only have I had some really fulfilling book discussions this month but I've also been featured in two national magazines. Yes, TWO national magazines.

Both were cold calls. (Entrepreneurs will find that really exciting.)

The first is the Amateur Radio Relay League's QST Magazine. They were kind enough to review WWII Radio Heroes in their April 2008 edition. Humbly, they reminded me it was a small review. I braced myself. It was a huge (okay, so it was 1/4 page- I believe that is huge)! Thank you ARRL! I'm really looking forward to going to my first radio conference- Beltsville, MD June 5-7.

The second is America in WWII magazine. WWII Radio Heroes was one of three books featured in their review section, due out in June 2008. We received nearly a whole page of review! I was beside myself. This was a real honor.

What's next? I'll tell you- The American Entrepreneur Show on AM 1360 Pittsburgh with Ron Morris! The fun never stops!

Stay tuned. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Most Enlightened Talk To Date

Last week I had the privilege to talk to the World War II Prisoner of War Survivor's Group at the VA on Highland Drive (for our Pittsburgh readers). There were about 50 survivors and their family members gathered in a room at the VA dedicated to them and their comrades who are no longer with us. This was a very well established group who meets once a month for updates, to share time together and to hear a speaker. This month I was that honored individual- and the honor was all mine.

I am used to talking with people who know "a little something" about World War II. I am used to also talking with people who know very little- especially about my topic- POW monitoring or the use of short-wave radios to hear and share messages of our POWs. But, this group was entirely different for me. I only hoped I could keep their attention- after all, they know everything I was about to share with them. They are... my grandfather- the amazing man that I lost at the age of 11. They were the prisoners. The postcards and letters that radio listeners were writing were about them. I was merely one who stumbled upon my families letters two years ago and decided to write a book about it. This was fairly new to me. But, to them, this was history- a very personal part of their own history.

I've been around veterans long enough to know my role. I was there to share what I could with them, as a grand-daughter of a POW, about my book... but I was there first and foremost to thank them for their service- and thank their family members for their support of our nations veterans. Then, the most exciting part for me came... I was to listen. Listen to all that they wanted to share with me- the author.

These men were beyond kind to me in their attentiveness and appreciation for how lovingly I spoke of my hero- my grandfather. They cautioned me that as I read letters from him to and from family members, namely his girlfriend (my grandmother-to-be), that I be aware that letters were censored. I shouldn't just read what was on the paper, but between the lines. I should know that alot couldn't be said that was desperate to be. Also, I couldn't believe that all was well even if my grandfather said it was. After all, if the Germans didn't like what you wrote it was thrown away before it could ever be mailed.

The former prisoners also were interested. Where was my grandfather's prison camp? Which Stalag? They gave me a few leads as to where I could post information to find anyone who might have known him. They were part historian and part detective. They were what makes our veterans so special.

I am honored to have been a small part of their gathering. I am honored that I was able to say thank you.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Veterans History Project

How many of you know about the Veterans History Project?

I am constantly meeting people who say that they've thrown away war letters, uniforms and other memorabilia because they didn't know what else to do with it. As generations pass these items become lost to a box in the basement, attic or, most sadly, the garbage.

Well, the Veterans History Project, a program by the Library of Congress, is interested in many of the collections and other items that you may find in boxes, attics or at yard sales.

Their website is very informative about what they accept and what they don't. Visit for more information.

I am planning to send 10 letters from my POW-relay collection to the Veterans History Project to ensure preservation of the materials far beyond my years. Join me in preserving our veterans history.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Putting life in perspective!

Book signings are not the fanfare that you'd expect them to be. For small-time authors like myself there are no lines of fans waiting anxiously as you enter the store. There is no applause. No cramping in the hands from constantly writing a note in books being taken home by wide-eyed readers.

There is usually a coffee involved. And, some nice book store staff to converse with over the course of 2-4 hours. And, there is always my favorite activity- people watching. After all, I'm a psychologist. I love to observe behavior. And, my years of customer service are revisited as I yell out "Hello! How are you today?" as someone comes into the store.

Now that I have a dozen or so signings under my belt I've decided that documenting the people I meet would make for an interesting read. Perhaps even another book someday!

There are the young people that come to my table for the candy- and I get to tell them a little bit about WWII and/or preserving old letters in their families.

There are the widows who spend at least 15 minutes with me reminiscing about their service-oriented husbands, brothers and fathers. One person I met this week was the child of a WW ONE vet! How fascinating! The stories are endless.

There are the bored and tired that just stop off at my table for a breather- and someone to talk to- about anything. Sure, they try to take interest in the subject but often fall short.

There are the ham radio aficionados who are drawn to the table because of the word "Radio" in the title. They always teach me a thing or two.

There are those who want to be more in touch with what their families went through during WWII because they were too young to really understand it all. They almost always purchase a book with eagerness to read and absorb it for all that they can.

But, the one man who has stood out during all of this was the man who patiently talked with me for about 10 minutes about WWII, a war he served in proudly. After a while he mentioned that his "buddy" had brought him out to get him out of the house for the day. He then paused. Tears welled up in his eyes and he told me about loosing his wife of 60+ years the week before. He was lost without her. He didn't know what to do with himself. He apologized to me for tearing up and for dampening my "big day".

I should have thanked him for reminding me what life is all about. The important pieces. He helped to put my "big day" of book signing in perspective. My life isn't about my book or my few hours spent at a signing to share my book. Its about the relationships we have with people- those we love. Although this book is about them in many ways and shared an amazing story of helping each other- I, the author, have to keep perspective on my own relationships to those I love. After all, we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.

Here's to the book store visitors everywhere! You never know how you may touch someone.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

York Sunday News Highlights WWII Radio Heroes!

Thank you Gloria Jean Fogal for highlighting WWII Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion in the Sunday news and on York Blog! This hometown author appreciates the love that York has shown for this amazing story!

Visit the story at

I'm always looking for new and creative ideas for marketing this awesome book! If you have an idea please share it with me via email or via this blog (public access).

Thanks again York PA!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

York PA was Outstanding!

On Saturday February 2nd, WWII Radio Heroes was premiered in York PA at Borders, across from the Galleria.

I have to thank the Borders crew who took such great care of us all. The posters and press for the event were the best I had seen thus far.

In true fashion, my family put the alert out to our small town of Wellsville, their coworkers, and spread the word throughout York PA! Thanks to all! We saw some great people at the booksigning and sold a near record high number of books!

People seemed to really like the era-candy that I had on hand, modeled from the candy of the 1940's. We had the KDKA feature on the laptop and original letters for people to view. Also, we had POW Bulletins put out by the Red Cross for people to review.

As with all of the stops that WWII Radio Heroes has made, everyone has a WWII story to share. I am so fortunate to get to hear so many of them. Who knows... that may be the next book.

Thank you York PA visitors for your warm hospitality for this hometown girl. I hope to welcome you to Pittsburgh one day soon!

-Lisa Spahr, Author

Friday, January 25, 2008

WWII Radio Heroes is Launched! Welcome!

One of the most incredible stories of a time before mine has been released. In December, I, along with a tremendous team of talented people, released WWII Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion, a non-fictional account of humanitarian greatness during WWII.

WWII Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion (2008) is a story about ham radio operators and others alerting families of POWs during a time of war. The book features more than 30 letters and postcards sent to the author’s family in 1943, notifying them of her grandfather’s capture and status as a prisoner of war. Upon discovering these letters I began researching the people who did this, and why, and reached out to find them or their next of kin, more than 60 years after the fact. My journey is detailed in WWII Radio Heroes.

The Foreword is written by John Sommer, Jr, Executive Director of The American Legion. Contributions to the book include: Flavius Jankauskas (K3JA) and Morton Bardfield, both authors of postcards and letters from 1943 to POW families.

Contact: Lisa Spahr (412) 867-9991 or
Publisher: Intrigue
ISBN 978-0-9762181-7-3
List Price $15.95; 76 pages
Copyright 2008

*Original letters are available for loan to museums and libraries. Author is available for speaking engagements.

I wish to thank:
John Sommer, Jr.
Austin Camacho
Denise Camacho
Craig Fischer
Dave Williams
Flavius Jankauskas
Morton Bardfield
All veterans and their supporters
All ham radio operators and the people who support them

The book launch was held January 15, 2008 at The American Legion in Washington DC. The event was a wonderful success. The Radio and Television Museum was on hand to demonstrate how radio operators and listeners would have pulled in this information from enemy radio.

From the launch I wish to thank:
Brian Belanger
John Sommer, Jr.
Rebecca Neuburger
Kristin Kappelman
Michelle Lanier
Oscar Hernandez
Joyce Faulkner
Pat Avery
Sandy Brown
Vince Brown
All veterans and their supporters
All ham radio operators and those that support them

For more information about WWII Radio Heroes please visit I welcome your comments and personal stories about WWII.

The author-Lisa Spahr