UPDATE:  Happy Thanksgiving! We have heard from one of Mr. Parker’s two grown daughters. (Between the two girls, Mr. Parker has four grandchildren.) We are working on getting them all together before Christmas. Watch for more updates–and please pass this on to your own readers/followers, will you? Blessings!!!

This is the cover for my 2012 Christmas novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, releasing from New Hope Publishers in mid-October. It is a story about a family (mother and two small children) who become homeless when their husband/father dies unexpectedly and leaves them in terrible financial straits. The family is befriended by a homeless Vietnam vet who becomes their “unexpected Christmas hero,” despite his own precarious position. I just learned from my publisher that the man on the cover (Willard Parker) truly is homeless but graciously agreed to pose for this photo. He told the photographer that he is separated from his family and would like very much to be reunited with them (particularly his grown daughter). So I thought about all you wonderful blog followers and social networking friends and decided, Why not band together and try to make this happen for Mr. Parker? I am posting the story from the photographer below so you can see how Mr. Parker ended up on the cover. If you recognize/know Mr. Parker and/or have any information about his family, please leave a comment here with your contact information or email me at ezyrtr@ca.rr.com. Meanwhile, please pass this information along to anyone you can–via your own blogs, social networks, email loops, whatever way possible to help get the word out. Let’s make this go viral and bring this family back together!

Story from photographer/designer:

We (designer and photographer Michel Lê and spouse Christine) were Christmas vacationing in Asheville, NC.

I had Kathi’s book cover to design and needed photos of homeless people. Christine remembered seeing homeless people under some bridge in town. I grabbed my camera and off we went.

After unsuccessfully circling around for an hour, I decided to call it off and head back.

That’s when God told Christine to persevere, and to go in a different part of town. And there he was, Willard Parker, the perfect physical representation (in my opinion) of Kathi’s Unexpected Christmas Hero‘s main character. We stopped the car and asked him if he was homeless and willing to pose for a few photos, after explaining to him the book story.

Willard said yes and was very accommodating. While driving to a suitable place for the photos, Willard offered us a glimpse of his life. He lost his house a few years back. He has a daughter somewhere north (maybe Detroit?) whom he lost touch. Willard also believes in our Lord Jesus Christ.

We had a sense of great sadness in his life, that it didn’t turned out the way he hoped for. WIllard had a very humble and kind spirit. But we sensed a quiet yet powerful sparkle and desire for life. He longed to see his daughter, and we felt how hard that would be for him in his present situation. He is basically illiterate as I found out (when I asked him to read and sign the Model Release).

I wanted to buy him lunch in a restaurant but he politely declined (maybe for fear of not being “part of the crowd”). We gave him some money and left, with a heavy heart and deeply moved.

While designing the cover, I prayed that the one with him would be chosen (there were others being considered), so I could send him a few copies, that in turn he could send one to his daughter (assuming we locate her). I prayed that God would make this happen, that He would flood his daughter with new love for her dad after seeing him on a book cover, that she would be proud of him, that she would have a great desire to reunite with him, just like we long to reunite in love with our Father. I hoped and prayed for it to happen. It would be the greatest Christmas gift of all for Willard.

Then the cover with Willard was chosen and the author decided to launch a campaign to find Willard’s family and reunite them. Thank You, God! We hope/pray that many of you will join us to spread the word. Sooner or later, someone out there will recognize Williard’s picture and/or name and know how to contact his family. Thank you all for being part of this! Now let’s get to work and see what God can do!!!

By | 2016-12-20T19:30:06+00:00 September 9th, 2012|Easy Writer|35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Jessica K September 10, 2012 at 12:43 am - Reply

    This just brings tears to my eyes. I will be praying that he will be reunited with his family.
    And, I can’t wait to read the book.

  2. Carley Cooper September 10, 2012 at 1:28 am - Reply

    Hi Kathi, This is such a touching story. I’m wondering if it would be OK if I reprint this post on my own blog (I would link back here to your post of course). I would love to do my part to help spread the word about this story.

    • kath7805 September 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Absolutely, Carley! Please note that I’ve tweaked it a bit since its original posting. Share it anywhere/everywhere, please!

  3. Kathie Fong Yoneda September 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Aloha Kathi: Am putting a link to your blog on my FB page!!! xoxo k

  4. Cathy Gohlke September 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    I’m so glad to share this with readers, Kathi! Prayers going up for this reunion, and for the ministry of your book!

  5. LeAnne September 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    May God do something really special with this book, the cover and Willard Parker.

  6. Kathi Macias September 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm - Reply

    Thank you all so much! What a blessing you are!!!

  7. Kathy Howard September 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Kathi, I’d like to share on my blog as well if that’s okay.

    • Kathi Macias September 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm - Reply

      I encourage any/all of you to share this anywhere you can–social networks, blogs, whatever. Let’s get the story/picture out there (and the info on how they can contact me if they know something) everywhere we can!

  8. Joy Hannabass September 12, 2012 at 7:30 am - Reply

    This is incredible Kathi. Thank you for letting us help you. Ihave several blogs I want to post this on. I will also FB and tweet it. And will send it to my email groups. I can’t wait to hear the details of how he finds his family. What a special Christmas gift we will all share with Willard Parker.
    Blessings….Joy

  9. Eva Maria Hamilton September 12, 2012 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Amazing. Spreading the word 🙂

  10. Vonda Skelton September 13, 2012 at 2:17 am - Reply

    Just Tweeted this important post! Thank you!

  11. Michel Le September 16, 2012 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Blessings all,
    I’m the lucky one who had to design the cover and photograph Willard Parker. I am overwhelmed by all of your responses!! For one I KNOW that God has a plan for EVERYONE. In a nutshell, I have been an ardent atheist who believed God was an all-man-made “thing”, and that the bible was the biggest “lie” in mankind history. When I turned 40, God revealed himself to me in a powerful vision and I was converted. How wrong was I all theses years; how I wish I knew the Lord earlier in my life; how I longed for God’s incredible blessings and love. Our timing is never God’s timing and this is one of the millions of proofs. He brought me and my family all the way from Hawaii to Birmingham just 2 years ago, He had me meet with New Hope Publishers, and He assigned me the incredible honor to design Kathi’s book cover, and HE had me cross paths with Willard Parker. I firmly believe that was NO accident, and I am so excited to know what’ God’s plan in this case. In God’s absolute glory!!!

    • Kathi Macias October 2, 2012 at 1:14 am - Reply

      Wow, Michel, thank you for the wonderful post! I knew about your connecting with Mr. Parker, but I didn’t know the rest of the story. Now I do. Blessings!

  12. Judy Burgi October 4, 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Kathi, what a story! I really hope the man on the cover gets reunited with his family. Some how I just know he will! Too many things have happened for the cover and book to come together for the reunion not to take place. I will do my share in getting the word out!

    Blessings!

    • Michel Le November 22, 2012 at 2:30 am - Reply

      Judy,

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I just had n email from Kathy today (day before Thanksgiving), where she just have spoken to his daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Kathi is working on how to reunite him with his daughter….
      Bless the Lord!!!!!!!!

  13. D'Ann Renner October 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    This is so cool! I’m praying Mr. Parker’s family will be found, posting the link on my author page, and tweeting it. Please post when your book is available to purchase online.

    • Kathi Macias October 10, 2012 at 1:06 am - Reply

      D’Ann, the book is now available at all major online venues. Thank you!

  14. Maxie Anderson October 6, 2012 at 6:59 am - Reply

    I think this probably really good. I would love to help you, But I don’t know how to share it when there’s no SHARE button. I pray he finds his family. Maxie

  15. Stacy Harp October 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Hi Maxie –

    There are share buttons below this post. There’s Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Digg. Just use one of those icons. 🙂

    • Kathi Macias October 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Just to clarify on the “share” buttons, they’re below the post about Willard Parker but above these comments. Thanks, everyone!

  16. Juanita Cook October 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    This book sounds really good. Can’t wait to read it.

  17. Kathi Macias October 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    For those who have asked, Amazon and Barnes & NOble are now shipping, CBD is about ready to do so, and it is available on Nook and Kindle (for a limited time) at $2.99. Blessings!

  18. […] for the book’s cover is trying to find his family, so we have mounted a campaign to help him (http://kathimacias.com/help-reunite-a-family/). Will you stop by and read the “story within the story” and find out how you too can help? […]

  19. Kim November 5, 2012 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Hi, I just read the book. I LOVED it.

    Do you know what’s going on with Willard, now? What other information is out there about him, in order to get his story out? Is there a Facebook/Twitter account dediated to helping him find his daughter?

  20. Margaret November 13, 2012 at 12:47 am - Reply

    This is powerful and such a wonderful act of helping the men who have served and keeped us a free country. Could you please email me an update on this, I would like to help through our organization too.
    Thank you so much for reaching out! Definitley anxious to hear from you on this

    In Faith
    Margaret C.

    I would like to leave my personal email for you to contact me as well

    carol12cook@gmail.com

  21. Kathi Macias New Book « arceaser3 November 21, 2012 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    […] September 9, 2012 By kath7805 24 Comments […]

  22. […] Many of you met author and former military wife Kathi Macias last week, as she donated a copy of her new book, Unexpected Christmas Hero, in our Veterans Week Give-away. If you had clicked on the cover of her book, you would have learned that the gentleman who was the model for the cover was a homeless man in search of his daughter, and that Kathi had launched a campaign to help find her, and reunite them by Christmas. (Read about this in more detail here.) […]

  23. Kathi Macias November 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    UPDATE: Happy Thanksgiving! We have heard from one of Mr. Parker’s two grown daughters. (Between the two girls, Mr. Parker has four grandchildren.) We are working on getting them all together before Christmas. Watch for more updates–and please pass this on to your own readers/followers, will you? Blessings!!!

    • Charlotte from Kansas November 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Kathi,

      What an amazing, heartwarming story! UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS HERO is a remarkable novel. I’m reading it now and I know it will add much meaning to my Christmas season. God bless Mr. Parker and family in full measure. God bless you.

  24. […] here to read the inspiring update about Kathi’s search for Willard Parker’s […]

  25. amber Hayes November 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm - Reply

    My mom has my dad I’m Ohio. I’m so happy. I can’t wait to be together again. You never know how long you have on this earth and all he wants is his family together. I’m excited.

  26. […] for the book’s cover is trying to find his family, so we have mounted a campaign to help him (http://kathimacias.com/help-reunite-a-family/). Will you please stop by and read the “story within the story” and find out how you too can […]

  27. mitchell,b December 24, 2012 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    very touchlng,story.I really feel god had his hand on book.can’t wait to read book.

  28. nude August 20, 2013 at 2:30 am - Reply

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    This works for pretty much any candy muffin recipes.

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