Army veteran, author visits Charleston library


Rob Le Cates

Author and army veteran Jennifer Hobbs speaks at her book lecture at Carnegie Public Library Wednesday morning. During the lecture Hobbs talks about the struggles she has overcome alongside her husband who was also a combat veteran in the same unit.

Ryan Meyer, Multimedia Reporter

Jennifer Hobbs, author of “CALMED: Growth after Trauma,” was Eastern’s Academy of Lifelong Learning’s most recent guest, presenting her story at the Charleston library Wednesday afternoon.  

The book came out in 2021 and was in the works for nearly two decades. It’s a dual memoir by Hobbs and her husband, who served in the same unit.  

Marita Metzke, the program director for the academy, said she put on the event because of the discussion of trauma, which she said can stretch beyond the field of battle.  

“I think the topic of trauma, whether it’s from military service or some other cause, is very prevalent in our society,” Metzke said. “And I think it’s important to bring it out into the open, discuss it, learn about resources and not sweep it under the rug anymore. Particularly with trauma people are feeling from COVID and the Ukraine situation.”  

Carolyn Stephens, from Westfield, Ill., was in attendance and said she had met Hobbs months prior and vouched for her to Metzke to present in front of the Academy of Lifelong Learning. 

“I was so impressed with her enthusiasm and her energy that I talked to Marita about her coming to talk to the academy, so that’s how I knew her before,” Stephens said.  

Stephens said the presentation would stick with her and that she learned a lot. 

“I think it’s going to stick in my mind for a long time,” Stephens said. “She presented well, she knew what she was going to say, she encouraged people, she talked a lot about how the mind works and how to overcome things.”

Metzke also enjoyed the presentation, saying Hobbs acted as a strong representative for the topics being discussed, which included some of Hobbs’ personal stories.  

“Her presentation blew me away,” Metzke said. “She was honest, authentic, real and really I think an excellent spokesperson for her cause.” 

The audience’s participation was encouraging to Hobbs, and she said it acts as a reminder for why she does what she does.  

“When people get my passion, when they understand why I’m on this mission, and then have questions (or comments), that just reminds me why I set off on this journey, and why I’ve made all the decisions that I’ve had to make, both easy and hard, it reminds me of why I’m doing it,” Hobbs said.  

Focusing on one’s self and then helping others do the same is one theme Hobbs addressed that she hopes people walk away from her presentation having learned.  

“I feel like another message that I hope people takeaway is being of service to others, that we’re here on this earth for a purpose and it’s not just ‘you do you, boo,’ it’s not that,” Hobbs said. “It’s to, like I said, go back down that mountain, focus on yourself, get you in a right spot, and then help other people, and I feel like that’s the purpose that all of us have and only some people find that.”


Rob Le Cates contributed to this article.


Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].