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Bongberg's Vietnam letters at Depot book signing

Shafter resident and veteran Barry Bongberg has written a book of memories from his time spent in Vietnam. He will be signIng his book, "Dear Mom and Dad, Letters Home from Vietnam 1967-1969," at the Shafter Depot Museum, 150 Central Valley Hwy., on Saturday, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The book follows Bongberg's experiences in Vietnam through his 268 letters written home during his 23 months of duty there. His mother saved each letter and stored them in a box in the basement of the family home in Shafter. The letters stayed stored for 50 years. Bongberg is a Shafter native and graduated from Shafter High School in 1966.

Bongberg's only daughter, Erica, went through the letters and decided they be put together in a book. He transcribed them into manuscript form for Erica before her death from breast cancer in 2020. She displayed the manuscript on her coffee table at home. Her friend, Sara Olsher, a children's book author, noticed the manuscript one day after Erica's chemotherapy session. Olsher, author of self help books for children experiencing cancer, recognized the quality of the book and insisted it be published. She worked with Bongberg through the process of publishing and the book was finally published in 2020. A true labor of love.

Bongberg has dedicated all proceeds from the book to charity. His first donation was to Kern County Honor Flight. Bongberg and his daughter were able to travel on the Honor Flight before Erica's death in 2020. Bongberg's next donation will go to Kern County Links for Life to honor Erica's legacy.

The book is available to purchase on Amazon in paperback and e-book format. Readers are invited to bring a copy from home or purchase the book at the Depot reading.


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