Peter’s grandfather Lou Sheckard is the soldier in the middle (1917–1919)

How I Discovered a 100-Year-Old Family Treasure

This story begins with hope, slips down into pain, climbs up to a vision and ends with finding a treasure.

The Pain of Walking Away

I was part of a tiny start-up company in 1981. I sat around the living room table with a few friends, full of hope, filling bottles of herbs by hand. Then I helped grow that company through the decades into an automated factory that shipped products to thousands of stores nationwide and around the world. Finally, due to circumstances beyond my control, I felt that I had no choice but to walk away from a job I had loved for decades.

The Life-Changing Phone Call

Fast forward to the morning I got the life-changing phone call that led me to my family treasure.

Jeff’s father’s Marine enlistment photo (1943)

My friend Jeff called me that day and opened with: “I woke up with a great idea this morning.” I was all ears. He told me: “I have been active in the VFW [Veterans of Foreign Wars] for many years, in honor of my father who served as a Marine in the World War II Asia-Pacific campaign. Those men at the VFW are like brothers to me. I want to start a new company with you to honor my father and all veterans who have served our country.”

The Vision

Jeff described to me a vision of vitamins and herbal products to support the health of veterans and their families. He described a vision of us donating a portion of company profits to groups that help veterans with suicide prevention, health, housing and more.

I was deeply moved by his vision for the new dietary supplement company. That day our brand Vets Vites® was born. *

The Discovery

Not long after my life-changing phone call with Jeff, I told my cousin Laurie about our new Vets Vites company. I told her my vague childhood memory of our grandfather serving in World War I.

First page of my grandfather’s World War I Log Book

My cousin surprised me by responding: “I have grandpa Lou’s Log Book — in his own handwriting — of his World War I experiences. I’ll mail it to you.”

My grandfather had passed his Log Book to my Uncle, who passed it to his daughter — my cousin. Grandpa rarely talked about his experiences in the war, so I had no idea the Log Book even existed.

Now I have the Log Book, in my grandfather’s own words, of his time serving 100 years ago with the Army 111th Engineers Battalion in France. The Log Book starts March 1, 1917 and ends on June 15, 1919. It is amazing, a true family treasure!

Keep an eye out for excerpts from the Log Book that will describe my grandfather’s experiences during World War I.

*Learn more at