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Long Form Press Release





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Fort Wayne, IN, August 23, 2018 -- Local teacher and artist Mary Hilger recently released her first book, Finding Beauty in Ashes, the true story of the people who rallied to her side when her husband collapsed on a river boat in Amsterdam.

In the Spring of 2017, Mary Hilger and her husband, John, left their Indiana home for what was to be the trip of a lifetime. A river cruise would take them from Amsterdam to Cologne, Germany, John's ancestral home.

Tragedy struck on the night they reached Amsterdam. After a gourmet dinner aboard the river boat, John and Mary retired to their stateroom. As Mary began to unpack, John collapsed. Dutch paramedics whisked John to an Amsterdam hospital.

Alone, Mary navigated the complexities of an intensive care unit in a foreign hospital. Back in the U.S., her six daughters fought to be with their mother while a storm threatened to snarl airline connections.

"However, 'angels' rose up to help," Mary recalled. "Shipping agents, airline staff, even passport personnel did more than their jobs to help us on both sides of the Atlantic."

Back in Indiana, friends and family encouraged Mary to write about her experience. Finding Beauty in Ashes is a compelling story of the people and circumstances that brought Mary and her daughters surprising comfort and even moments of joy. Readers, regardless of their background, will discover their own resilience and hope through Mary’s story.

"Writing Finding Beauty in Ashes immediately following John’s death is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also the most healing,” Mary commented. “It has already touched people’s lives in ways I could never have imagined.”

Mary has a Master’s in K-12 Art Education from the University of St. Francis and spent 34 years as an art educator. For the past 16 years, Mary has spread her art ministry throughout the world. Her chalk drawings on religious themes and her spiritual testimony have inspired groups and individuals to a deeper connection with God.  

Although Mary's gift is primarily visual imagery, she has developed another skill--creating visual imagery through words. 


For a review copy of this book, contact Michele Creech at 'michele.creech1234@gmail.com'.

Visit Mary’s website at http://www.spiritualhands.org/media-room/ for media resources.