The editor of The American Legion Magazine will return to his hometown of Clarkston Saturday, Jan. 29, to sign books and discuss the documentary film about a French woman who dedicated her life to the memory of Allied soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion in June of 1944.
Jeff Stoffer, a graduate of Clarkston High School and the University of Idaho, will be joined by American Legion National Adjutant Daniel S. Wheeler and special guests from France and New York. The event will be from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Quality Inn, 700 Port Drive in Clarkston. It is free and open to the public.
Stoffer wrote a coffee-table book and the script for “Mother of Normandy: The Story of Simone Renaud,” which had its debut at the GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C., last May. The book and film chronicle the life of a little-known French woman who survived the earliest hours of D-Day and spent more than 40 years corresponding with families of fallen U.S. troops, as well as veterans. She also helped establish an annual D-Day anniversary commemoration draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Normandy each year.
Maurice Renaud, the son of Simone Renaud, who was a toddler on June 6, 1944, will also attend. Maurice Renaud is now a retired businessman who has coordinated return visits to Normandy by U.S. veterans every year for all of his adult life. The battle at Ste. Mere-Eglise, where Renaud’s father was mayor, was depicted in the 1962 blockbuster Hollywood movie, The Longest Day.
In addition, Cathy Soref of Locust Valley, N.Y., will participate in the event. Soref will represent Operation Democracy, which gave birth to the Sister Cities program, pairing U.S. communities with war-torn counterparts in Europe after World War II.
Also scheduled to attend is Ken Olsen, a former reporter for newspapers in Moscow and Spokane, who wrote Lasting Valor, the 1997 biography of Medal of Honor recipient Vernon Baker of northern Idaho, who died in 2010. Lasting Valor was the basis of the 2006 NBC documentary by the same name. Olsen, who now lives in Portland, is a frequent contributor to The American Legion Magazine.
Stoffer has been with the 2.4-million circulation American Legion Magazine since December 2000, for the last four years as its editor and director, managing a variety of print and electronic media programs for the nation’s largest veterans service organization.
Books and DVDs will be available for signing by the author. Copies may be reserved at And Books Too!, 918 6th Street in Clarkston. The event is co-sponsored by American Legion Post 246 and VFW Post 1443 and Auxiliary, both in Clarkston.