By Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
Tart was the actual architect of their involvement in the book.
He was the one who initially found out that the book’s publisher, Judy O’Beirn, were looking for true, inspirational stories and was told by friends that he needed to get in touch with the publisher. After he contacted the publisher and gave a brief synopsis, she called back intrigued and asked him to send his story.
“After she read it she asked if she could use it and I said absolutely. She said, ‘you need to be in the book,’ and explained how the proceeds would go to help families deal with cancer. I was glad to contribute to help others. There was a divine purpose in being a published author. I always wanted to do it. My church and my family noted the potential,” said Tart.
Tart attests that his goal sharing his story is that even though unfortunate things sometimes happen, people have a choice in how they deal with them. It can take a lot longer at times to deal with a situation that is mentally, emotionally and physically draining.
“How we choose to handle ourselves when bad things happen is something we need to deal with. It can make us have bad habits and impact our family or we can get good habits and make positive changes and show others they can make it,” Tart said, explaining that traumatic events can happen to when least expected and are not just confined to combat scenarios.
Taft deals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He wakes up every day with it. He labels it the elephant in the room and used to have the perception that PTSD was just from hand-to-hand combat. Extreme emotional trauma is known to happen almost anywhere to anyone at anytime.
“But I refuse to be defined by it. Some days are easier than others. Others see you but don’t know what you battle. Overcoming that is one of the biggest challenges,” explained Tart, citing that what has helped him handle PTSD is his faith and love for family, as well as the positive and inspirational help that has reinforced his personal convictions and enabled him to help others cope with difficult life issues.
Tart’s chapter, ‘Matters of My Heart: True GRITT’ has him explaining how he has been able to work through life’s challenges is with what he calls, ‘true ‘GRITT,’ an acronym for ‘Godly Resolve in Troubled Times.’
A Laurinburg, N. C. native, preacher’s son and 20-year Air Force veteran, Tart was taught how to find strength in troubling times marked with failure, sickness, sadness, and death by resorting to GRITT.
“I encourage anyone that if they have an issue to confront that issue and not just skim it.”
If what you’re doing isn’t working, I strongly support seeking others to help – pastoral care, social workers, counseling with mental health – It takes someone strong to step back and admit there’s a better way to handle things and check their pulse, pause to reflect and assess feelings,” said Tart, adding that he considers himself a little more transparent now.
“I didn’t believe in opening up and sharing, especially with a counselor. Sometimes people put themselves in a box and only allow certain others to help them. I refuse to restructure myself like that as I am committed to personal growth process and also helping others,” continued Tart.
Tart focused most of his story on dealing with three significant issues concerning loved ones. He has had to struggle to come to grips with health emergencies of his wife, a life-threatening condition with his father, and the huge spiritual and emotional challenge of losing his son.
“Jaquan was just 25 years old and struggled with kidney disease. I really didn’t know something could hurt so badly when he passed away. But the message I have learned is that when hurting, we have to heal ourselves and pick ourselves up and not let that hurt keep us down. We can’t let that hurt linger, especially when we’re vulnerable. There is strength in survival,” related Tart.
The reviews of the release have been favorable. Nied notes that the book has been a best seller in six countries. It has also sold out of a national book outlet on the Seattle side.
“It’s amazing. My wife and mom cried reading the stories. I do feel blessed by being in this book. This is a whole other level. There has been so much support, it has blown me away. Even before I actually saw a copy, Capt. Thecly Scott (Director for Surgical Services) came up one day and said, ‘I need you to sign my book,’” Tart said.
“I had always wished to be able to do something like this but never thought it would happen and then take off like it has. My family is very excited,” added Nied.