LAS VEGAS, April 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A Golden Gloves champion hailing from Pittsburgh, Stephen “Tebers” Swidarski was a scrappy and hardworking young man who dreamed of becoming a professional boxer. His dream was put on hold when World War II broke out, and he was quickly thrust into serving his country. But he was grateful to serve in the Army Air Corps where he would be a part of a B-24 bomber squadron.
“I knew I wanted to share this amazing story the first time I heard the recorded interview of my grandfather’s WWII POW account conducted in 2004 by the late Thomas A. Swope, a WWII historian as part of The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center,” Alayvilla said. “I had a dream for his story to be told in the form of a family book to help deliver a message of pride and gratitude not just for our family, but also for all of the veterans and active military.”
Tebers’ inspirational story comes to life in the family book “The Bearded Marvel,” where a young girl is enjoying a day in the park with her beloved grandfather when she asks him about his time in the war. The tale that follows is first-time author Staci Alayvilla’s poignant tribute to her late grandfather.
Wishing she had actually had such a conversation with her grandfather, Alayvilla weaves a touching yet gripping story with factual details and true accounts of Tebers and the men in his 515th Bomb Squadron. Painterly illustrations bring to life the tragedy and triumph that Tebers and his fellow soldiers experienced from being prisoners in the Nazi’s Stalag Luft 6 POW camp and the perseverance and determination needed to survive.
Tebers used his boxing skills to keep both his mind and body in shape by doing what he loved. His prowess as a boxer caught the eye of the prison guards and soon matches were set up for prisoners to compete. The Bearded Marvel, a nickname given to Tebers because of his full beard and knockout talent, emerged as a means of inspiration to stay alive and make it home.
In his 2004 interview, Tebers said: “And this is about the whole of my life. In between, it’s good and bad. I can’t believe I came back. There’s a few things wrong with all of us, I guess. And we can be thankful for the few bad memories we had and be thankful for the good memories we had too.”
Contact: Staci Alayvilla
Phone: (702) 994-2494
SOURCE Americas Publications – Staci Alayvilla