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Author seeks to support veterans

The inspiration behind Falls Church-based author Dr. Michael Kruger first three children’s books were from a game he used to play with his two daughters.

Kruger read the series of three books describing the whimsical Lunko and Footsie, socks who come to life and learn about the world around them to kids at Vellie’s Boutique on 223 N. Main St.

Four area elementary-school aged kids laughed at the voices Kruger gave the two socks — a deep voice for Lunko and a squeaky voice for Footsie — and imitated the voices themselves.

Kruger said he was inspired to write the books from a game he used to play with his two daughters, in which he would call the sock on one daughter’s foot “Lunko” and a sock on the other daughter’s foot “Footsie.” Footsie and Lunko would try to keep their place as “King of the Mountain,” on top of his knee or a pillow, and would tickle each other to knock the other down.

It was when his oldest daughter encouraged him to play Footsie and Lunko with his grandson that Kruger was inspired to write the books, which he published on Amazon.

His most recent book, on a more serious subject, uses simple text and colorful illustrations to bring awareness to an important cause that supports veterans from across the country.

The book, “Welcome To Our Neighborhood: A Combat Hero Shares His Story” follows a Virginia family whose father lost both of his legs from injuries sustained while in service.

The book follows the Beatty family as they move to Fairfax, and are welcomed by the community. The story is illustrated by David Pfendler.

Proceeds from all of Kruger’s books and royalty sales will go to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing to military families across the U.S., Kruger said.

Kruger said he spoke to the family the story is based from.

He said he enjoyed the event Saturday, noting the kids enjoyed mimicking the voices of the characters.

“The kids were very interactive,” Kruger said. “(They) took over telling the stories, which I thought was really cool.”

Dee Fisk, founder and president of Global Assistance, Management and Training (GAMT), said the organization, which partners with different organizations to work on humanitarian projects, said the book seeks to not only bring awareness to military families, but to support organizations that can help them.

“One of our mission and goals is to raise funds for the Fisher House Foundation,” Fisk said.

Vellie Dietrich-Hall, owner of Vellie’s Boutique, said Kruger and his wife stayed at the bed and breakfast she and her husband own in Charlotte Court House. She said she heard about Kruger’s new book, and wanted to support the book and cause as her father was a veteran.

“That’s why it’s dear to my heart,” Dietrich-Hall said. “My dad was a U.S. Veteran.”

“We’re giving it back to the military who are doing everything to keep us safe,” Dietrich-Hall said.