Dave Harm's story isn't one of fame and good fortune. It's a story of survival, recovery, dreams and lots of faith.
Born and raised by alcoholic parents in Englewood, New Jersey, Dave himself became an alcohol and drug addict, using anything and everything to avoid pain. In 1986 he began writing. Binder after binder was filled with stories, journals, nightmares and dreams. At the time his goal was to simply record the events of his life, both good and bad, for his kids. He had dreams of someday publishing some of his work. Before Dave met his wife, Betty, he never dreamed his pen and paper would include poetry.
Over the years Dave has always enjoyed making a gift for someone, whether he built it out of wood, painted a picture, or wrote a poem.
In his early days of writing poetry, Dave submitted his work to the Beatrice Daily-Sun's Poet's Pen, under the pen name of Toby Tyler. Why use a pen name? Dave explains for several reasons. First, because he still wasn't sure his writing was that creative and if it was given a bad review, no one would know it was him. Second, some of his poems dealt with abuse; being new to the town of Diller he didn't want people to be bombarded with stories of his past. He wanted his reputation in the community to speak for itself. He wanted others to know that he had come a long way in life. And lastly, writing is a way for Dave to speak his mind. Through recovery, Dave relived his worst nightmares. When they left, he remembered his dreams - dreams that were built on the hope for a better tomorrow.
Dave's published books include Damaged Merchandise, and War Zone, Backing Out of Hell, which is currently in the pre-production stage. He's also started on his third book. He works with PublishAmerica Company out of Frederick, Maryland. The company specializes in publishing books written by people who have overcome major trials in their life. There is no publishing fee required other than a $30 charge for copyright to the Library of Congress. Ten percent of his royalties from his book Damaged Merchandise will go to the UNO-Lied Transplant Center, in honor of his granddaughter, Jaycie, who received a liver transplant when she was only 6 months old.
Having a book published is certainly a dream come true for Dave, but ultimately he hopes his books will help someone suffering from addiction and will serve as an example of what you can accomplish when you overcome addiction.
In addition to never believing he'd ever publish a book, Dave never dreamed he'd have to see his wife suffer the effects of breast cancer. Throughout her many surgeries, chemo treatments and times of trial, Dave stood by Betty's side, often writing his thoughts and poems down as he sat in hospital waiting rooms. Dave recalls the first round of Betty's chemo treatments when doctors told her she'd totally lose her long, red hair in 14 days. On the 13th day her hair all fell out at once.
The Harm's are both involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life events which are typically held in the spring and summer months. In 2003, Dave issued a challenge to family and friends in order to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. At that time he had long hair, but he pledged to cut one-inch off for every $100 he raised. It was his wife Betty who whacked off the first inch and the remaining 13 inches came soon after during the Relay For Life event held at the Gage County Fairgrounds. This year's event will be held April 29-30 in Beatrice at the fairgrounds.
Dave has written numerous poems which have been read during the Relay For Life. A copy of the poem he wrote for this year's event is included in this article. He dreams of someday having his poems turned into music and recorded on CD's with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society.
When he's not busy at the computer putting down his thoughts and dreams, Dave works full-time at the Beatrice Bakery Company. Dave and Betty make their home in Diller, Nebraska. They have four children, and granddaughter Jaycie is their pride and joy.
Dave's work has been included in the 2005 Marquis Who's Who in America and his poem Where you From? was chosen to be included in the American Poet Society's Anthology book entitled Expressions.
Article from Electric News Magazine of Nebraska by Susan Barnard April 2005