Endless Love and Second Chances

Medal of Honor wife writes inspirational memoir

Announcing a book by Dixie Davis and  Sherry Maves

Most VietNow members are probably familiar with the military story of Sammy Davis, Medal of Honor recipient, but there is much more to his journey than his Vietnam experience. Now Sammy’s wife, Dixie, with long-time friend Sherry Maves, has written their love story in an inspiring memoir titled Endless Love and Second Chances. Dixie is the only Medal of Honor wife to write a memoir in recent history.

Dixie was previously married to the late Tim “Doc Holiday” Taylor, a musician and Vietnam veteran from Texas. Back in the 1980s, Tim and Michael J. Martin, known as “Martin and Holiday,” led a veterans’ awareness group called The Last Patrol up and down the highways of America, calling attention to issues facing Vietnam veterans. With flags waving in the wind, and weary miles ahead of them, they were determined to keep the plight of veterans in the forefront of the public.

At the time, little was known about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), veterans were plagued with health problems related to Agent Orange, and Vietnam veterans were committing suicide at an alarming rate. A number of Vietnow members put on their walking shoes to join The Last Patrol, and hoofed hundreds of miles for the cause.

Endless Love and Second Chances chronicles Dixie’s life with Tim, touches on The Last Patrol, and she also shares some of her experience living with a spouse who has PTSD. She takes the reader through Tim’s tragic death from cancer, and speaks of the faith that carried her through profound grief, sharing life lessons she learned through her trials. As Dixie healed from Tim’s death, she expected to live her life out as a grandmother in the Piney Wood Hills of East Texas, but God had other plans for her.

At the time, little was known about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), veterans were plagued with health problems related to Agent Orange, and Vietnam veterans were committing suicide at an alarming rate. A number of Vietnow members put on their walking shoes to join The Last Patrol, and hoofed hundreds of miles for the cause.

Tim and Sammy had been friends, but Dixie had only met Sammy and his wife briefly at an event in Chicago. Sometime after Tim’s death, Sammy Davis also lost his wife, Peggy Jo, to cancer, and he never expected to love again.

But life has uncanny ways of bringing people together, and Dixie found out that teenagers don’t have a corner on the giddy market. Grandmas know a thing or two about flip-flopping hearts, too, and she wasn’t referring to a pacemaker. From the twists and turns in their e-mail courtship, to a fairy-tale engagement, (and an uninvited goat for a wedding guest), Sammy and Dixie’s lives are filled with the stuff of movies.

Dixie shares Sammy’s horrific experience in Vietnam that earned him the Medal of Honor, and she introduces the fun-loving Sammy who makes her world go round. Together they experience their own joys and trials, including the theft of Sammy’s Medal of Honor in Indianapolis. Exclusive interviews with three key figures in the investigation of the theft reveal dramatic behind-the-scenes stories of perseverance, patriotism, faith, and love that never made the newspapers.

Traveling with Sammy, and living with a public figure and national hero, has a different set of joys and challenges as the couple mesh their lives together to serve others. Dixie takes readers on a journey that includes heart-wrenching visits with wounded soldiers, honest questions from bright-eyed school children, and gala celebrations with celebrities. Despite the overwhelming negative reports in the media, she speaks of the positive things she and Sammy see in their travels: People working together; bright, respectful students who are tomorrow’s leaders; and teachers and others who sacrifice every day to make a difference in the lives of others.

Through the writing of this book, Dixie came to a clearer understanding of her purpose in life, and she hopes readers will be challenged to connect the dots in their own lives.

Dixie was an interior decorator who once owned her own business, and readers get to join Sammy and Dixie at the comfortable home they built in rural southern Indiana. Describing the country life they love, they also share their favorite recipes with readers.

Endless Love and Second Chances is a journey of self-discovery as Dixie reaches back to her rural roots on a dairy farm in northwestern Illinois to realize that her family, teachers, and others were instrumental in shaping her Midwestern values and preparing her for her role with Sammy today. It also became evident to her how much her life with Tim was a foreshadowing of the life she would live with Sammy.

Through the writing of this book, Dixie came to a clearer understanding of her purpose in life, and she hopes readers will be challenged to connect the dots in their own lives, perhaps making discoveries about themselves as well. It is a story about gratitude, reaching out to others, and about the endless circle of love in our lives. Together, Dixie and Sammy share a mission to reach out to others, especially veterans.

Many of the same problems still exist as they did when The Last Patrol was in its heyday. People need to know they are not alone, and Sammy and Dixie share by example that love opens the door for miracles, hope, and second chances.

Actor Gary Sinise, who wrote the foreword, said, “God brought Sammy and Dixie together. By sharing their story they can help other people, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Endless Love and Second Chances is available for purchase at Amazon.com, or you can contact Dixie at dixiedavis1946@gmail.com to order autographed copies.

 

Sherry MavesA freelance writer, Sherry Maves is the co-author of Endless Love and Second Chances. Members of Sherry’s family have served in Vietnam, World War II and as far back as the Civil War.