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The inspiration behind Tim Vassar’s new book, "Jeremiah Wasn't Just a Bullfrog: A Tale of Passion, Pursuit, Perseverance ... and Polliwogs," began when his wife Mary asked about about his experiences as a track and field athlete and coach.

“I was still talking after three hours,” says Vassar, a former teacher and track coach at Lake Central High School, “when my wife said you should put this in a book.”

So, he did, the words flowing but taking him in a different direction than he expected.

“I’d started writing — and writing — about track and field,” says Vassar, who participated in track and field when he attended Highland High School and in college. “Then I realized the book wasn’t just about track and field, but also about the people who came into my life and my experiences beyond just sports.”

In all, says Vassar, now the director of student teaching at Indiana University Northwest and who also served as principal at Colonel John Wheeler Middle School in Crown Point, his writing was an eye opener.

“It connected the dots, showing me how people in my life were there and helped me along — students, colleagues, others,” he says, terming his writing as a “stream of faith.”

The book starts when Vassar was in fifth grade, with some segues back to kindergarten.

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“It brings back a lot of memories not only for me but others who’ve read it,” says Vassar. “People tell me, I remember that.”

Looking back, Vassar is thankful for the chance to draw all these memories together and turn them into a coherent narrative, one that shows how his passion for track and working with students, his pursuit of his career, his commitment to helping others and his perseverance will be inspirational to others.

As for the title of his book, it comes from his faith.

“I was in the shower, humming the song ‘Jeremiah was a Bullfrog,’ and I thought how the passage in Jeremiah 29:11, one of my favorites, applied to my life,” he says, noting that he sees now it was all part of a plan for his life.

But no matter how you read the book — and Vassar says it’s also a love story chronicling his long relationship with his wife Mary — there’s something for most people, including sports lovers, educators, those interested in life growing up in Northwest Indiana and as an inspirational guideline.

Vassar’s book is available at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.

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