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Local author finding success with Bar Stool Anthology

(From Right to Left): Kathy Cacini, Joseph Brooks, Terry Martin, Johnnie Gilpen, Richard Hofstatter, Paulette Statler, Jay Gonzales, Wally Hubbard and Rick Cacini (seated). The event took place at the Yukon Veterans Museum. (Photo by Jacob Sturm)

By Jacob Sturm

One person’s therapeutic work is making an impact on countless veterans, all starting in the
friendly confines of Canadian County.

Johnnie Gilpen Jr., a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant and author from Union
City, has produced a short story anthology remembering many funny and good moments of his
time in the military. Gilpen said he had changed the names of the characters in the stories he
can recall that may or may not have happened.

“I started writing, and I wrote it for myself originally just to get through,” Gilpen said. “…
There’s a section in here (the book) called ‘A Battalion Surgeons Reflection 25 Years Later’… I
sent it to a lot of people.”

Of those who he sent the stories to, his old battalion surgeon who was the first doctor Gilpen
worked with stood out in his response to the book. Gilpen said the response didn’t mention the
book at all, instead reflecting about the time in service and the memories of some of the
corpsman lost.

That’s when Gilpen had the realization that his therapeutic writing could impact more than just
himself. Shortly after the release of the book ‘Tales from the Green Side Volume #1: A Bar Stool
Short Story Anthology’ on Dec. 6, it became the No. 1 new release and the best-selling medical
fiction among other notable honors.

Gilpen also shared that a friend who read the book felt like he could talk about his military
service for the first time in 50 years.

Other conversations with readers opened Gilpen to the opportunity of speaking to a group of
150 people in Kansas City regarding the book.

“I think the book has twofold effect,” Gilpen said. “One, as I talked about in here, I first help
veterans remember the good, hysterical and most often stupid moments of military life.
Second, my stories, while exaggerated, might provide a different insight for the family members
and civilians who only seem to hear or see the hard and sometimes the serving aspects of
military life.”

“…It had an effect that I didn’t intend to (with) it,” Gilpen said. “I didn’t know that was going to

Terry Martin, who was present at the Yukon Veterans Museum during Gilpen’s visit, also
elaborated on her thoughts on the book.

“It’s very helpful to veterans’ spouses,” Martin said. “Most vets have PTSD, and (in) reading this
book it gives you a lot of insight into why they feel they are the way they are, and it really helps
you cope with some of the things that happen because of their PTSD. It helps you understand
where they are coming from in how to live and cope with a vet with PTSD.”

Gilpen was available at the Yukon Veterans Museum, where he sold copies of his book. People
can purchase the book and access additional content, including a podcast on his website at

Gilpen has plans to make a series of books, including a Volume #1: Tales from the ER and
Volume #1 for Tales from the Back of the Bus (Fire and EMS) before recycling.

Additional cartoons will come out with the books down the road.

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