MWSA Mike Mullins Memorial
Writer of the Year
Dale Dye served in Vietnam with the United States Marine Corps for three tours, surviving 31 major combat operations. Highly decorated, including three Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat, he spent 13 years as an enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant before he was chosen to attend Officer Candidate School. Appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976, he later converted his commission and was a Captain when he was sent to Beirut with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in 1982- 83.
After retiring from the Marine Corps, Dye founded WARRIORS, INC., the leading military consultancy to motion pictures and television. His firm has worked on more than 50 film and television productions including several Academy Award and Emmy winners such as Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. He is also a consummate character actor. In addition, he has written 14 novels, including the critically acclaimed “Shake Davis” series, along with “Run Between the Raindrops,” “Platoon,” “Outrage,” “Conduct Unbecoming,” and “Duty and Dishonor.” He is currently in pre-production on his feature-film directorial debut, No Better Place to Die.
Valerie (Val) Ormond retired as a Navy Captain following 25 years as an intelligence officer and began her second career as a writer. She founded her business, Veteran Writing Services, LLC, providing companies and organizations professional writing, editing, and consulting services. Her novels, Believing in Horses, and Believing In Horses, Too, won Gold Medals in the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) book awards and five other first place awards. Her current and past non-fiction stories have been published internationally in books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs.
Val has served on the Board of Directors of the MWSA, the Southwest Veterans’ Business Resource Center, and the Maryland Horse Council. She chairs MWSA’s Outreach Committee and is a member of the Programming Committee, assisting with annual conferences. Valerie helps run MWSA’s veterans writing workshops and spearheaded MWSA’s Ambassadors Program last year to expand the writing workshops’ impact. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Jaime Navarro, a retired Navy Captain and MWSA conference recruited assistant (welcome table, book sales, auctioneer, audio-visual specialist, and more). They spend their spare time with their wonderful family, friends, three horses, and two dogs.
Kathleen M. Rodgers
In a writing career that’s spanned forty-five years, Kathleen M. Rodgers has penned numerous articles and feature stories for national and regional publications, including Family Circle Magazine and Military Times. Two of her three published novels were picked up by Thorndike Press, one of the leading hardcover large print publishers in the United States, and are in circulation at libraries across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. She’s recently completed her fourth novel and is working on her fifth. Both novels are set in her native New Mexico and are represented by agent Diane Nine of Nine Speakers, Inc.
An active member of MWSA since 2008, Kathleen says back when she was a young military spouse, she was hungry to read articles and books about other service member spouses and families. It didn’t matter what branch as long as she was reading about other people who were living the service member family lifestyle. This was before the days of the internet. In her work as a writer, she continues to shine the spotlight on service member families and bring them to the forefront of our collective consciousness. Her youngest son is a decorated combat veteran. During his first deployment to a combat zone, Kathleen relied heavily on the many friends she’s met over the years at MWSA. One of those friends was Mike Mullins. He took the time to speak with her at length in a phone conversation that’s stayed with her to this day.