Reader reviews

“This book is of particular interest to me and some of my other buddies as we were there (in the ambush) also. ‘Gordy’ Helsel has been a friend of ours since 1967. There have been a few books written by our Brother ‘Cacti’ as well as some by family members of our fallen brothers and this is (in my opinion) one of the best. It not only documents the events leading up to the ambush and its aftermath in Gordy’s life, it may also serve as an inspiration to others to document their experiences either through writing a book of their own or at least writing it out in ‘long land.’”
–Tom Gragg, MSG-USA (Ret)

“Gordon, wow what an incredible story!!! No one would ever choose it, but once you live through something like that it needs to be told. A lot of us whine and complain about the little details of life. Then we hear a story like yours and the Holy Spirit screams, ‘Stop your belly-aching!’”
–Ike Newingham, executive director of the Gathering of Men

“Wonderfully written. I read the book in one sitting. It is rather short. However, I liked that he had a story to tell and he told it. I enjoy a good war book but I’m not a fan of long drawn out fight scenes with the same things going on. It was complete without being wordy. I did find myself getting teary eyed a few times. My dad also served and it still haunts him. I’m hoping he will read this. Very inspirational.”
–Kristi Redziniak

As someone who had lived in Vietnam as a kid, I was mesmerized by the story so I finished the book in one sitting. I still have the copy signed by the distinguished author himself!” –Virginia Delegate Mark Keam (D-35)

“I wrote him after I read the book. I couldn’t put it down. It goes from his youth – by the way, it’s worth it to purchase the book just to see how skinny and youthful was. There are pictures. But after I read it, not only did I realize what a hero I was sitting beside, but the book is a genuine love story about his wife, Joy. How she stood behind him as a young man, after he got out of Vietnam, after he was healed, went back out in the community, he continued to serve in many varying roles. So, I just want to encourage all of my colleagues to go to Amazon, purchase this book, learn something about your colleague. It’s a spiritual book, The Day God Showed Up .” –Virginia Delegate John Cox (R-55)

“Amazing story of the life of a hero! Couldn’t put it down. I’m proud of his service to our country, Poquoson and Virginia. Wish we had his honor, integrity and other moral values in Washington!” –SC Mama

“Two books published within the last half year strikingly illustrate the similarity of combat in the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars, as well as the important differences between them. … [The authors] came home injured but with a mature and admirable sense of obligation to help others and today lead altruistic lives. Helsel’s faith and [Salvatore] Giunta’s fortitude both produced the greatest virtue, charity.” –From “ Two Wars, Two Books ” by Charles G. Mills, judge advocate for the New York State American Legion

“This is an excellent book; very well written. I absolutely could not put it down. The descriptions made you feel like you were there.” –Patricia J. McDowell

“I greatly enjoyed reading Mr. Helsel’s biography of his experience in Vietnam. The miraculous experience during a firefight that resulted in many casualties is told in a gripping narrative.” –Charlie

“The author does a good job of giving an honest, first person account of war and some of the impact it had on his life, and the lives of those he shared a living hell with. This book is a fast read, and I give Gordon Helsel five personal stars for having the courage to relive his experiences in order to share with the reader some of what war really is.” –John Wilcox

“A heartfelt testimony of a true hero of the Vietnam War. A youth thrust in throes of death resulting in a faith in God that served him then and continues today in service to his country. Every youth should be exposed to the actual fears that are experienced by those who are serving their country in military service and every adult to realize that their promises to God can result in life of integrity and trust.” –Glenna Moore

“Having lived next to Gordon’s business for over 20 years I never knew that he was in Vietnam but always knew that he had something inside him that was special as the first day that he came over to meet me in my backyard he made me feel very welcomed… And I now know what that something special was: God. This is a very good book that had me not putting it down until I had read it all. The day God showed up on that mountain had me teared up as well.” –Charles Mitchell

“Thank you Gordon for this simple, yet beautiful testament to God’s faithfulness. A touching story about a young man’s life and journey through the hell of Vietnam and the miraculous event that only God could have brought to pass. Again, thank you Gordon for following through on your promise to God and for sharing this very personal story. I HIGHLY recommend this book!” –Seth C. Fisher


Gordon Helsel is deeply grateful to his colleagues in the Virginia House of Delegates. In 2013, Gordon’s friend Delegate John Cox (R-55) totally surprised him with a generous and partially funny endorsement of The Day God Showed Up .

In 2014, Delegate Jackson Miller (R-50) had finished Gordon’s book the night of February 26 and he rose in the House to make a speech. Delegate Miller is a veteran captain of the United States Army Reserves.

Also in 2014, Delegate Mark Keam (D-35) took photos and wrote on his Facebook: “Standing ovation by the entire House for one of our colleagues and my friend Delegate Gordon Helsel who survived the Vietnam War and serious injury that he suffered 46 years ago today. He wrote a great book and testimonial about it called The Day God Showed Up .” He added, “ As someone who had lived in Vietnam as a kid, I was mesmerized by the story so I finished the book in one sitting. I still have the copy signed by the distinguished author himself!”

Videos of the 2013 and 2014 House tributes follow. Thanks to Laura Bateman for recording the Cox speech and thanks to Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) for posting the Miller speech on his YouTube page. In 2015, yet another delegate led the House in recognizing Gordon on the February 27 anniversary of God miraculously saving his life. Gordon doesn’t ask for recognition in the House or in his daily life. Gordon thanks his colleagues for their kindness, but as you will see, he becomes speechless when they praise him in public. Gordon’s attitude is: “To God be the glory!”


The Day God Showed Up is available in Paperback and Kindle editions at Amazon ; Paperback and Nook editions at Barnes & Noble and ; and editions at Christianbook.com; Powell’s Books in Oregon; and the bookstores of Gordon’s alma mater . Paperback and eBook editions are sold by Gordon Helsel’s publisher WestBow Press . From the United Kingdom, ships Gordon’s Paperback worldwide.

For details on selling the book, please see the Welcome home page .