Dawn Guess was a woman on a mission setting up camp outside the Lewis Main Exchange at Joint Base Lewis-McChord at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
She wasnt going to miss her chance to meet Duck Dynasty star Si Robertson at his book signing Monday. Twenty hours later, she left with five signed copies of Robertsons book Sicology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynastys Favorite Uncle.
Her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Troy Guess, was also in line and was able to get another five signed copies.
Theyre going to be Christmas presents, Guess said.
The four-hour event was originally scheduled to start at noon, but due to the large crowds and people camped inside the Exchange overnight, Robertson with his famous blue cup filled with unsweetened tea at his side started an hour-and-a-half early to help get as many people through the line as possible.
Si is a very down-to-earth person, said Patrick McGhee, general manager of the Lewis Main Exchange. What better honor than to serve the ones youve served on Veterans Day.
Robertson retired as an Army sergeant first class, serving from April 1968 to February 1993. Robertson was a material control and accounting specialist with stops in Vietnam and Germany and multiple installations throughout the country.
For a self-described country boy from Louisiana doing his first installation book signing, having the opportunity to meet those currently serving and the rest of the JBLM community humbled Robertson.
The military will always have a special place in my heart, Robertson said. To me, it is an honor to see the faces of the new Army.
Several were dressed in camouflage and left the Exchange happy with their signed copies and thankful for the opportunity to meet the Vietnam veteran turned television star. Im just glad he came here of all places to do this for us, said Sgt. Justin McFaul, who brought his wife and 13-month-old daughter Morgan. It shows he really cares.
While not everyone had a chance to talk to Uncle Si for more than a short moment, they were still able to say they met a celebrity who once served the same way many of them have.
Jennifer Smith, the director of publication for Simon and Schuster, said in past signing events, theyve only been able to get 1,000 people through the line, so more than 3,000 on Veterans Day was a surprise.
Thats a huge success, Smith said.
The appearance broke the JBLM record out of approximately 2,600 celebrity events at the Exchange formerly held by Twilight actor Peter Facinelli in 2009.
More than 3,500 copies of the book sold in the days prior to the signing event.
Nobody has sold that many books here, McGhee said.
Leeroy Perkins, national sales representative for TNG Retail Services, said he had to call for a driver from his companys warehouse in Fife to bring the remaining unsigned copies to JBLM.
Because of the success at the Exchange, Perkins said hes going to be letting all of his contacts at major book publishing companies know that JBLM is a must for a signing event.
If youre not sending them to (JBLM), youre missing the boat, Perkins said. Is print dead? Not out here apparently.