SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" is a classic poem families read every year around this time, but perhaps a new tale written by a local service member will turn into the next holiday classic.
I first met Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class Robert Evans immediately after Hurricane Matthew. We talked about the storm, and then with a little nudging, his wife had him open up about a book he was working on.
A month later, Evans has been changing from his wetsuit to a Santa hat.
"I feel kind of honored in that way just to publicize the Coast Guard in that way," said Evans.
The visit to Thunderbolt Elementary is just one of a few on his impromptu new book tour. He's just published his first illustrated Christmas book, "Rescue Rob Saves Christmas", which he believes is being received well.
"It's kind of humbling, even strangers on Facebook have been messaging me pictures of their children reading the book that I've never met," Evans said.
Even a couple of women who grounded their boat near Parris Island got a souvenir book after his team plucked them from the water. Evans got the idea a couple of years ago from his sister, but the concept didn't become concrete until he got to Air Station Savannah and met another rescue swimmer, Darren Harrity, who just happened to be a good artist.
He admits, his team teases him a good bit, "In the next story, I'll give a shout out to the whole crew; there are no rescue swimmers without the pilots or the flight mechs. So, I'll probably put some other characters in the story next time."
Ultimately, he hopes Rescue Rob Saves Christmas sparks something in his young readers.
"We could always use more rescue swimmers. I think the Coast Guard, it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made and if there are kids out there that are good at swimming and want a career doing it, I would hope Rescue Rob would provide that inspiration," Evans said.
Rob has self-published more than 300 copies of his book through Amazon. If you'd like a copy, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and the book has its own Facebook page.