RaeLynn Ricarte is an experienced journalist who won a first place award in 2008 from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association for an article titled “From the Homefront to the Front Lines.” The story about her visit to a military training center was written as a letter to her son, USMC Capt. Jesse Atay, who was then on his second deployment to Iraq. That article planted the seed for a book about the true meaning of service to country and Ricarte, who founded the Gorge Heroes Club, a troop support group based in Hood River, Oregon, was able to gain the trust of warriors for the project because of her own family’s connection to national defense. Although Living the Oath is her first book, Ricarte has earned many awards for news stories that ranged from her fascination with pigs at a local fair to addressing the challenges of overcoming methamphetamine addiction and surviving domestic violence. She lives in the scenic Columbia River Gorge and rarely a day goes by that she is not packing a box of comfort and care items for the troops. In 2011, Ricarte sent “combat” gnomes (of the garden variety) to infantry units in Iraq and Afghanistan and challenged them to submit the most creative photos in exchange for extra goodies, a morale boosting contest that gained international attention.