2012 Year in Review

67 whidden Ave

The house I grew up in.

2012 will absolutely be a year I will never forget. Full of trials, tribulations—tragedy and celebration, this year was a rollercoaster for my family and me. During a layover a few days before Christmas I was pondering this crazy year. Actually I was making laps with a stroller through the Chicago Airport trying to keep someone (#1 on this list) occupied during a layover and my mind wandered like it always does. What resulted is the list below of the nine most significant things to happen to me this year.

#9: Became homeless. Well, not exactly, but it sort of felt like that. My childhood home in Whitman, Massachusetts went out of our family this summer. WOW! the memories at that place! Of course, I am happy for my mom. She didn’t need the hassle of managing a large older home. She doesn’t need to deal with the New England winters any longer. I support her decisions and have urged her for years to unload that puppy. But I can’t help feel nostalgia for the home I grew up in.

#8: Second novel nearly completed. I was on pace to finish this book by Thanksgiving, but life took priority. I am at 90K and expect to wrap it up with 8-10k additional words. I need about two weeks and expect to finish it by mid-January.  After I wrote my first novel, Paws on the Ground, in Afghanistan I was just impressed that I had written a book. I worry that the second novel can never compare to the raw emotion that flowed for Paws on the Ground. Hopefully my writing training and experience will compensate.


No more four hour Saturday rides on this puppy.

#7: Health declined. Endurance events are no longer part of my life. Leading the pack on runs and killing it in the gym are not an option. It is very hard for me to admit this. Fitness has been very big in my life for so long. But the wear and tear on my body from 60 parachute jumps and five deployments have finally caught up with me. I simply strive to be healthy, do physical training with soldiers, and pass the Army’s physical fitness test now. I still hate saying that. It is like I lost a part of myself.

#6: Website created. You may have noticed that I have a website. I learned at the James River Writers Conference in 2011 that I needed a website. I built my own, but it was hideous. Fortunately for me my mentor and editor Ginger Moran’s brother is a branding expert and web site designer. Chuck Moran at Bald Guy Studio built this site. I love telling amazing stories about dog teams, advocating for dogs, sharing stories of soldiering and my adventures with writing. But honestly the best part has been meeting all of you.

#5: New job acquired. So the Army sends me to Fort Hood, Texas to evaluate a unit for a month this past June. While I was there I learn that I’m leaving my then current job in the Provost Marshal’s Office. I was selected to be the Executive Officer for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Deputy Chief of Staff. I went from basically a 9-5 laidback job to a grueling, high-intensity position working directly for a general officer. Am I strange for liking this new grueling position more?LTC

#3: Army promoting me to Lieutenant Colonel. Yes, you saw that correctly. Sometimes I wonder what they were thinking as well! I’m actually pinning the new rank on January 4, 2013 because I wanted my mom to be present, but it is close enough to include on this list. I’ve come a long way since I went to basic training as Private Hanrahan in 1993.

#3: Literary agent landed. I actually teetered on which was more significant—my promotion or my agent. Lieutenant Colonel status took longer, but the probability of landing an agent is lower. Really they are both huge steps, so I decided neither was more significant than the other. While I was in Texas this past summer (getting retired from my chill job), I received an email from Victoria Skurnick at the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. She said she was halfway through Paws on the Ground and loved it. Victoria said she would get back to me in a few days. She did and offered me representation. It took me a year to land an agent and this link will explain how I accomplished this feat.

#2: Brother Brendan died. He was 40 years old and left behind three children and a loving wife. The cancer started in his nonsmoker lungs and spread to his brain before they caught it. By then it was too late. Here is a tribute I wrote for Brendan and the town that rallied around his family this summer. I miss him the most during football season. I miss calling him on Mondays to recount the Patriots game. I hate that he is longer in my life.1IMG_6770

#1: My clone born. My life changed forever on April 17, 2012. My wonderful wife Megan gave birth to our little boy Brady Thomas. I rush home every day from work trying to arrive before he goes to bed. On weekends I’m excited to be the one that gets him when he wakes in the morning. When I want to sleep in or am just feeling lazy, I cast those thoughts aside because I want to provide a better life for Brady, just like my parents did for me. I want to be the best father, husband, man—and example that someday he will hopefully emulate. Brady Thomas makes me need to be a better man.

What a crazy year! I’m writing this post-Christmas Eve morning while the entire house is asleep. We are at my in-laws in Springfield, Missouri. My brother-in-law Jack and his family are here from Portland. The house is alive and vibrant this holiday season. It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, but I know I’m a lucky man.

Happy Holidays and here’s to hoping your New Year’s wishes come true!

PS: I’ll be back to my normal Monday and Thursday postings next week. 1IMG_8079

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17 thoughts on “2012 Year in Review

  1. Pat Barter

    Just wanted to wish you and your beautiful family a Healthy and very Happy New Year. I so appreciate your writings – bringing home to Amercians the reality of war and the daily living of our soldiers. I have been married to a wonderful man for 45yrs. and BECAUSE of the fact that he never served nor has my son – God has spared me the worry and anguish of having a family member serving during war that I pray each and every night for our soldiers and their families. From stories told to me by my Dad who did serve in World War II – we had a small glimpse of the trials and horrors of war. I thank you for your service and wish only the very best for you in all your future pursuits.

    A VERY big fan from LI, NY,
    Pat Barter

  2. Cindy Elkind, Kevlar for K9s

    Kevin, what an amazing year for you. Congratulations on your promotion! I feel very lucky that I happened upon your post one day and have been hooked ever since. And you introduced me to Honza Bear! Would love to meet that dog one day. I had a great year, vested more dogs this year than any other year since I started my organization and several went to the desert so I feel extra good about those. Here’s to a blessed and prosperous 2013! Be well.


    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Cindy. Thank you. It seems surreal to be pinning that rank but I am excited for the new opportunities it brings.

      I am going to call John today to see if he is back from leave this week. I am hoping he and HB can come to my promotion.

  3. Barbara Longley

    You guys are an absolutely gorgeous family! You’ve had a very busy and full 2012, and I have no doubts that you’ll continue on to even greater success. Congratulations on your promotion, your son and for securing representation for your budding literary career. May 2013 be prosperous, productive and deeply satisfying for you and yours. Happy New Year, Kevin, Megan & Brady!

  4. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

    Thanks Barb. It has just been such a crazy year. Once thing about the Army…and life I general I suppose is that things can change in an instant! Wishing you all the best as well!

  5. Alison Bruce (@alisonebruce)

    Congratulations and Happy New Year Kevin.

    My sister died at age 42 leaving two daughters who are like daughters to me. I still miss her. That never stops. But it does get better over time and you can be the connection between your brother’s children and the father they lost.

    You have a lovely family. I’m betting that you’ll be riding your bike with your son before long. He looks like an athlete in the making. I know you’ll miss the endurance sports but, speaking from experience, raising an active son is a challenging marathon of it’s own.

    I hope 2013 brings you – and all of us – peace and prosperity.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Allison. Thank you and Happy New Year to you as well!

      I do wish I was closer geographically to my nieces and nephew. Fortunately we have Skype and other modern communication forms.

      Brady T is already pulling himself up and I have him “in training” by having him stand for as long as his little legs will allow! :-)

  6. Lin Moore

    Happy New Year and congratulations on your promotion! 2012 has been such an interesting year for you. I hope more good things come your way in 2013. My son is currently at Ft. Bragg so I understand how tough those parachute landings can be. Enjoy your little one and keep writing – as a new fan, I look forward to reading your articles!

  7. Jani Muhlestein

    Thank you. Thank you for the service that has taken such a toll on you. Thank you for the willingness to stay in continued service to our nation. And congratulations on the promotion.

    And I understand the loss of your childhood. They tore my grandmother’s house down, and it created a hole in my heart.

    Congratulations in finishing a second book. So many writers are so scarred by the first experience that they don’t go anywhere near a second one, but you have proved that you are a brave, brave man in so many ways, that this isn’t a real surprise.

    Congratulations in starting the best and most difficult part of your life: parenthood. Oi vey. You think the military has been difficult. This kid is going to run you like a well-tuned engine. And you’re going to love it.

    Ther is in my life, a very beautiful, intelligent, and stubborn 14-year old. She is everything. And because of you, and those like you, she is also free to be a carefree, happy, stubborn teenager. Who wants to join the Army after college. I keep telling her we’re a Navy family, but she doesn’t listen. Thank you for keeping her free, and for setting a standard for her to follow.

    And the 7 pups say hi.


  8. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

    Hi Jani. Thank you! I hope my second novel can measure up to my first. I will spend the next few months revising it before it leaves my hands. Brady has slept through the night the past three days…maybe we have entered a new era? That is great that you daughter wants to serve. I think it is a great way to get one’s adult life rolling in the right direction :-).

  9. Becky Lagace

    Kevin, I love your writing! I’m so happy to find you on Twitter. You touch my heart in many ways. Many of my family members are retired military, and I have some idea of just how difficult life can be for you. I also understand and grieve with you for your brother; my mom was taken from us by lung cancer and I will always miss hearing her say “Hi, honey” on the phone…
    Keep doing what you’re doing! You make me proud, you make me humble.
    God bless you and your precious family.
    Becky L.

    1. Kevin Hanrahan Post author

      Hi Becky. Thank you very much. I’m so glad you found the site.

      Military life is tough but very rewarding. It is an honor to serve this great nation.

  10. Pingback: New Years Resolution: Second Chance | Kevin Hanrahan

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