Thursday, April 30, 2009

FCCW Members Spellbound by Chestnut & Son

Bobbie Jean Chestnut and her son Kent kept the FCCW members spellbound with their incredible story at the April 30th meeting.

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Whew, how did I ever do it?─ might be a question we ask ourselves, after finishing a presentation for work, getting the kids to soccer practice on time and getting dinner on the table. The FCCW members learned soon enough, that these tasks pale in comparison to what Bobbie Jean Chestnut has faced in her life.

Bobbie’s book, “Whew How Did I Ever Do It?” is an autobiography that has the reader in a “page turner” mode. Raising four children, moving 20 times in 21 years as a military wife during the Vietnam war, facing a 9.2 earthquake while living in Alaska are just a few of her challenges.

But Bobbie’s biggest challenge came to her on Valentine’s Day in 1965, when her son Kent was born. Kent was born premature with no arms, and no legs. He was not expected to live more than 24 hours. He survived. The recommendation was to place him in a facility. But Bobbie wouldn’t hear of it. As she said, “If your healthy child suddenly became handicapped from an accident, would you send your child away?”

Bobbie treated Kent like the rest of her children. She fought with teachers and principals to help him succeed and became an advocate for the disabled. Today, Kent is 44 years old, living independently, working and writing a book of his own.


Kent calls his mom, his hero. He stated, “You should embrace who you are. God has given each of us a purpose to be here.” Kent talked about being treated normally by his siblings. He never really felt different, which is a true testament to his mom, as she treated him the same as the other children. Both mother and son attest, that God has a way of sending people to you when you are in need. “God gives us strength to go through it,” Bobbie explained. She learned early on to swallow her pride and accept help.

On the writing process, Bobbie explains to listen to your inner voice to write, and then do it! No more talking, just do it, write (right) from the heart. Write what you know.

Listening to Bobbie and Kent was inspirational, to say the least. It was an education in love, patience, humility, strength and determination. One of Bobbie’s favorites, Philippians 4:11 states, ‘Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have found in whatsoever state I am, therewith, to be content.’

Proceeds from the book are slated to go toward a wheelchair van for Kent. To order your copy of Bobbie’s book go to:

You may e-mail Bobbie at:

By Linda Feist, FCCW member

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