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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Like many, I was mesmerized by reports during Hurricane Harvey which showed the rescue of residents stranded by flood waters. Among the most dramatic and dangerous rescues were those of our Coast Guard helicopters. The Hurricane Within: Hurricane Harvey Through the Eyes of a Coast Guard Flight Mechanic is a two-part memoir by Ashlee Leppert. The first part describes her personal and professional life in the years leading up to the Harvey mission while the second focuses on the mission itself. Laced throughout are themes of duty, teamwork, toughmindedness, and faith. Several color photographs are included. An afterword by USCG Chief Petty Officer John Jamison reflects on Hurricane Katrina. Links are included for hurricane preparedness, PTSD and veteran crisis awareness, the Coast Guard, and other topics.
I enjoyed reading The Hurricane Within. Air Medal recipient Ashlee Leppert gives a frank, entertaining, and inspirational account of her personal and professional adventures, struggles, challenges, and achievements up to and including participation in a harrowing four-day search and rescue mission and the diagnosis immediately afterward of an incurable chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease which would bring her military service to a close. Her writing style is approachable, detailed, and well-paced. A sense of humor and great joy in life shine through. While the most intense action takes place during Hurricane Harvey, the events in Leppert’s life, which prepare her both mentally and physically to do her part in that mission, are just as engaging. We come to know who she is as a person with all her flaws and foibles as well as her wonderful strengths. Highly recommended.