Benedictine Grad to Hold Book Signing at Atchison Reunion

James Dehner '68 to Debut his New Book, “An Empty Shell”

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

James Dehner '68James Dehner, a 1968 graduate of St. Benedict’s College (now Benedictine College), will hold a discussion and book signing for his new book, An Empty Shell, on Saturday, June 3, at 3:00 p.m. in the College Library located on the main drive on the Benedictine College campus in Atchison, Kan. He will share his account and lessons learned from his time as a soldier in the Vietnam War and hopes to help former and current soldiers and their family members who have been hit hard by the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dehner worked on his story for almost 40 years and recently finished it for Tactical 16 Publishing, an organization that specializes in working with authors in the armed forces, police, fire, and rescue communities.

“Going through the several drafts of this book has been tough,” said Dehner, who served in Vietnam from 1969 to 1970. “I don’t want to remember Vietnam. I don’t want to think about the kind of person that I have been since I came home. But if I can help just one more person, one family member, or someone affected by people like me, then I don’t mind sharing my story.”

Drafted in 1968 just after his college graduation, Dehner says his service in the Vietnam War deeply affected him and the way he lived for years afterward. Loss of friends and even the enemy resulted in him living with guilt-guilt of “being in one piece, the guilt of having done less than what I somehow thought other people might have expected of me.”

In his debut book, Dehner draws readers into his story as he talks about this guilt and feelings of loneliness, leading to self-isolation while serving and even when he returned home.

Now retired after a distinguished career as an executive in the railway industry and an entrepreneur, Dehner lives in Texas with his wife and black lab.

“James’ book comes from the heart and is going to provide real comfort to so many affected by PTSD,” said Chris Schafer, CEO at Tactical 16 Publishing. “From page one, readers will feel like they’re walking alongside James as he battles his demons, all while trying to keep his life with his family on track. This book is unforgettable and one that is worth your time.”

Learn more about Tactical 16 Publishing ontheir Facebook page:

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.