Dr. Jeff Dutremble -Author & Founder @ Dr. Jeffs Books
I studied at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where I majored in Political Science and Biology, and played four years of Division I Varsity Baseball under Head Coach Bob Whalen, earning Pitcher of the Year in 1999, and All-Ivy awards in 2000 & 2001.
When I was young, I had two dreams. The first was to become a professional baseball player. The second was to be a writer.
My first dream came true in 2001 when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected me in the 13th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. The years of hard work and extra hours that I spent on the baseball field with my father had finally paid off.
Our minor league team went on to win the championship that year. I even got my own baseball card. Unfortunately, I injured my pitching arm during my first season. After two unsuccessful surgeries and rehab attempts, my professional baseball career - and childhood dream - came to a crashing halt.
The ensuing years without baseball were tough. I battled depression, alcohol and drug abuse, and, full disclosure, just didn't want to be here anymore.
I looked at everyone else around me -- friends, former teammates, family, -- and they all seemed happy. I said to myself, "Maybe if I become a (insert profession), then I'll feel better again."
So, I tried on a ton of "hats", tried to be "successful", tried to make more money, hoping that that would lift me up out of rock bottom.
In 2015, after 7 more years of school, I graduated from the University of New England College of Medicine, and was accepted to an Orthopedic Surgery residency in California. I thought I had finally filled the void that baseball had left, but I was wrong. After one year, I walked away from medicine with $350,000 in loans and a darker cloud over my head.
When my wife Amanda and I welcomed Aria, our first child, to this world in 2017, I found a new sense of purpose and motivation. I knew that I had to make some significant changes in my life. I needed to be the best version of myself to provide for my family. To do that, I needed to fix what was broken inside of me.
I swallowed my pride and finally sought professional help. Fortunately, through a recommendation from a friend, I connected with Dr. Lee Fitzgibbons who helped me see that I, first and foremost, was being too hard on myself, and secondly, that I was "wearing the wrong hats" on my head. I can't thank Dr. Lee enough - she saved me, and without her, I never would have written "Find a Lost Smile."
My work with Dr. Lee and my resolve to be the best husband and father that I could motivated me to change the things in my life that I could control (I cut out the alcohol and drugs, I started exercising and eating right again), and I started writing again.
I wrote every morning on the Downeaster from Maine to Boston (where I worked at the time) -- poems, journal entries to Aria, short stories -- and I realized that this is what I truly loved, that being a writer was my true purpose. I finally found the "hat" that I was born to wear.
We welcomed our second daughter, Quinn, into our family in June of 2020, which strengthened my resolve to follow my heart and write, and, at the same time, provide for my family.
As a father of these beautiful girls, I hope that this book will inspire them to follow their heart as they continue to evolve and grow in this wonderful, crazy, challenging world that we live in today.
It is my hope that your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters and other children in your life will be inspired by my story, and that they, too, will stay true to themselves despite everything else going on around them; that they will blaze their own path instead of following the herd.
And, for all of you parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles etc. out there - and for those that are silently struggling and battling their way through life - I hope that my story will inspire you to make a change if you are not truly happy with your life, to seek professional help (and reach out to me) if you are in that dark place, and convince you that it is never too late to do what you truly love; to realize your true purpose.
Michael S. Loring -Illustrator
Michael is an award-winning illustrator, with over 40 years of experience. He illustrated four books prior to Dr. Jeff's FIND A LOST SMILE and is also known for his airbrush murals that he creates on cars, trucks, motorcycles, and walls. Michael was the winner of the 2015 Maine Duck Stamp Award. He lives in Maine with his wife, Wendy, and two children, Tyler and Hunter.