NEWPORT, Delaware (WPVI) -- "I'm a Vietnam War veteran. Combat, got the Purple Heart," said Dennis Skirvin of Wilmington. "A lot of my friends never made it home. Some of them did, some of them were ripped up pretty badly."
Skirvin, blessed to be home, married his high school sweetheart and started a family. A long career with DuPont led into his retirement, where he focused on honing his skills as a writer.
"I wanted to tell people, explain in a way of what it was like for soldiers," he said. "So, I wrote this book and I called it, 'The Short-Timer.'"
"The Short-Timer: A Story of Love and War" tells the fictional tale of a Vietnam War veteran's haunting memories and his woman's quest to save him from danger and despair.
"This is a fictional piece, but I could have never written it without being a ground soldier in Vietnam," said Skirvin.
Published in 2022, the book has climbed its way onto the 2022 Hemingway CIBAs Short List for the 20th Century Wartime Fiction award.
And today, friends, fans, and fellow veterans came out to meet Skirvin at Dom's NY Style Pizzeria in Newport. There, the author signed autographs and donated his book sales to a local veteran's home, Warriors Helping Warriors.
"June 2019, we took in our first homeless veteran," said its Interim Executive Director, Marsha Conley. "We have had 107 gentlemen stay with us now."
Warriors Helping Warriors has the capacity to shelter eight veterans at a time but also helps to facilitate permanent housing opportunities. Their next project is to build an ADA-compliant addition to support veterans with physical disabilities.
Conley says every little donation makes a difference and is thankful for Skirvin's support.
"Denny is an old childhood friend. He and my brother went to Vietnam at the same time," she said. "And he came down to our center maybe about two years ago. He fell in love with it and has since been supporting us."