Local veteran writes children’s book with the hopes to inspire others
HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (WECT) - A Wilmington native’s book about an army helicopter is soaring to new heights across the world.
David Watters grew up in the Wilmington area with two parents who served in the military.
“I was pretty well oriented to be kind of a military brat, but also one that was inspired by what they had achieved. And what I might achieve,” said Watters.
He says his parents inspired him to pursue a military career. Watters participated in the ROTC program at New Hanover High School. He then went to the Army and served in the Vietnam War.
While serving, Watters was a helicopter pilot, achieving over 8500 hours of flight time and serving for over 40 years. Watters says he wanted to share his love of flying with others.
Watters was given the opportunity to read to a kindergarten classroom for Veterans Day in 2013 during his time working in Hawaii.
“But nobody wanted to take the kindergarten group, but I was very comfortable sitting on the floor talking story with the younger ones. So I asked my wife, who’s a librarian to please look up and see what book might parallel Veterans Day in a child’s mind,” said Watters.
With no luck finding the right book, Watters says he decided to make his own. Watters created the book “Scout, A Little Helicopters Story.”
He says the book was created to teach young children about helicopters, military life and what it means to be a veteran.
“It went over very well. I sat on the floor with a kindergarten group, read the book, page by page. And so Scout was born at that point.”
Watters says that Scout is based off of his real adventures as a pilot, though he changed some of the details to make the stories appropriate for young kids.
“It was the smallest of the helicopters in the inventory. So I thought what better way in dealing with children at the time to impress to them, that you don’t have to be big and large and powerful, but you got to be very flexible and do a good job.”
Watters says he was inspired to send over a copy of his book to the Royal Family. He says he knew many members of the family also flew as pilots, and also had young children.
“A letter came to me in two weeks acknowledging the book thanking me for it from the personal secretary Prince William and Kate.”
Although Watters says he was not looking to gain popularity from the book, he is happy it brings joy to children throughout the world.
“Using aviation terms, the sky’s the limit.”
The book is also on display at the Army Aviation Museum Foundation, helping to teach kids about the job military parents may do.
“Your dad’s doing this, flying helicopters, your mom is working on them. So it was a wonderful addition for the community to have the book.”
Watters says just knowing children find joy from the book is enough.
“A humbleness of knowing that they liked the book. That was all that I had expected out of it was it I wanted them to like, hopefully like the book and see a parallel as far as helicopter flying.”
As the book continues to inspire readers across the world, Watters has gone to write two others. The books follow the helicopter’s story through retirement.
Copies of the book can be found in libraries in New Hanover and Pender counties.
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