This weekend the Michigan Historical Society bestowed upon me the State History Award for my book Lost Eagles. I have known about this for about three weeks but couldn't say anything per agreement with the Historical Society. They didn't want to let the proverbial cat out of the bag so I played along. The award ceremony was at the Grand Traverse Resort in Traverse City Michigan.
Let me start by saying this is an incredible honor. To be acknowledged both as a writer and a historian is something that is fantastic on many levels.
I didn't earn this alone. Jean Armstrong who helps with my research deserves a lot of credit for the hard work she does behind the scenes. There are dozens of libraries, museums, and historical societies that contributed to this book as well. Most people never see the hard work that goes on doing the research on a project like this.
This is not so much about me but about the man I wrote about, Frederick Zinn. Getting this award solidifies his place in Michigan history. Fred was a remarkable man that changed how our nation dealt with service personnel that were missing in action. He was a distinguished military officer, aviator, Legionnaire, OSS counter-intelligence officer, humanitarian, state representative and public servant. Fred was a humble individual. I am merely the person that brought his story out. This award is as much to Fred and the rest of the Zinn family as it is to me as the author.
The entire team at the U of M Press deserves some credit as well. The Press doesn't do a lot of military books but they had the foresight and vision to see this for what it was…a story about a Michigan hero. I love writing but it's folks in the editing department that make me look good, not to forget the public relations people.
I wasn't the only award winner. The Battle Creek Historical Society (where Fred lived in his later life) won for their educational program. A number of Central Michigan University grads won (three of us that we discovered all sat together at the ceremony) won awards. Overall it was a great night for Battle Creek Michigan and for Central Michigan University.
On a personal level, I love the idea of calling myself an "Award Winning Author and Historian." Being acknowledged by your peers is something that is hard to ignore or downplay. I appreciate the support my family gives me in indulging this hobby of mine.
Alright, my five minutes in the limelight is over. I have a true crime book coming in the spring and one being written right now that needs my attention.