Action on the home front

When asked what inspired her to write a book, Elaine Gray Dumler '75 (criminal justice) has a simple, one-word answer.

"Guilt," she replies.

Dumler's career as a presentation-skill trainer keeps her on the road and away from her home and family in Colorado. She felt badly about the separations and began devising methods for keeping in touch. In 2002 she decided to publish her tips. When a friend in the Air Force saw the manuscript, she urged Dumler to expand the section aimed at military families. She took that advice and spent the next four months interviewing people in the armed services, gathering their insights.

The result is I'm Already Home, described by Ladies Home Journal in an October 2004 article as a "grass-roots success story" and "a welcome tonic for families missing their loved ones." More than 16,000 copies of the reader-friendly, down-to-earth volume have been sold.

In 104 pages Dumler gives more than 100 practical tips, lists helpful Web sites and other resources, and shares poetry, anecdotes and cartoons aimed at "keeping your family close when you're on TDY (tour of duty)."

"Today's 'civilian soldier' is a big change from earlier generations, when the vast majority of people in the service were young, unmarried men," says Dumler, who has spent much of the past year speaking to families at military installations. She notes that 57 percent of people in the armed services are married, and nearly half of those people have children under the age of 12.

"I am so in awe of the these people," says Dumler. "They have such strength. I am very impressed with the people we have supporting this country."

For more information about the book, go to

The University Magazine, Spring 2005