I once heard a four-star general say that the difference between a regularÂ story and a war story was how they started.
A typical story might begin, “Once upon a time …”
While a war story starts with, “Oh s—, there I was …”
On Dec. 6, six military members and veterans will take the Des Moines Storytellers stage to share their experiences.
The live storytelling night will explore the range of emotions and events that wearing a U.S. military uniform can bring.
Their stories cross generations, from serving in Vietnam to Afghanistan, from arriving at basic trainingÂ to connectingÂ with older veterans.
Regardless of their rank, their branchÂ or their service experience, there’s a uniting thread in their stories.
I welcome you to come, open your heart and to listen to their perspectives.
Brian Lenz is a retired Air Force fuels officer who became an environmental scientist. He jokingly says he polluted the environment and then had to clean it up. He and his wife enjoy entertaining, spoiling their dog, and supporting local restaurants â but apparently not enough to keep them all open.Â
Sara Maniscalco Robinson isÂ a first sergeant, a mom, a sister, a daughter and a veteran. She is also the founder of The Iowa Veteransâ Perspective. Her mission is to raise awareness about veteran specific issues in our community. She works with local students to records and preserve our nations history through the eyes and stories of our military veterans.Â
Jodi Marti is a major in the Iowa Army National Guard. She was born and raised in Adair and still has family there. Jodi loves to travel and has been to fourÂ different continents and more than 15 countries. She currently lives in Knoxville with her husband, youngest son, two Irish Wolfhounds and a stray dog from Kosovo.
Miranda Pleggenkuhle isÂ originally from Fredericksburg in northeast Iowa. She works full time on Camp Dodge as a training officer, and serves in the Iowa Army National Guard along with her four younger sisters.
James SuongÂ serves as a staff sergeant in the Iowa National Guardâs 671st Troop Command. Before immigrating to America, he spent some of his youth in a Cambodian child labor camp. He joined the Guard in 1996 to protect others from the horrific things he saw there. He lives in Des Moines with his wife,Â Khem, and has aÂ son and daughter.
Larry Wohlgemuth has been a student, an athlete, a husband, a father, a salesman and a manager. As his finale, he uses his wordsmithing skills as a purveyor of hope. Failing that, heâs good for a few laughs.
Tickets for the Des Moines Storytellers shows are on sale at DesMoinesRegister.com/Storytellers. General admission tickets areÂ $10 and VIP tickets,Â which include a free drink, are $25. Ticket prices, subject to availability, increase $5 at the door.
Subscribers can earn a discount on tickets by using their Insider credentials to unlock a special promo code at checkout.
Anyone needing assistance can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 515-619-6548.
War Stories: Battles on the front line and back home. Dec. 6 at the Tea Room, Des Moines.Â Shows at 5:30 (sold out) and 8:30 p.m.