Why he's interesting ... He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for his story "Final Salute." Featured in the Rocky Mountain News, it depicted the life of a casualty assistance officer and the families' lives he forever altered. Sheeler currently holds the Shirley Wormser Professorship in Journalism and Media Writing at Case Western Reserve University, where he teaches his students the importance of good storytelling.
The heart of a soldier ... Sheeler followed Maj. Steve Beck for a year, during which he met the families of fallen soldiers and watched as Beck attempted to explain the sad truth of war. "You have to keep your distance, but you also have to feel it. You have to allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to really hurt. I told Maj. Beck in the beginning that I just wanted to write down what I see, what not enough people are seeing. That's all I wanted to do."
Early aspirations ... Originally, Sheeler wanted to be a veterinarian and even attended Colorado State University because of its acclaimed program. However, writing was always in the back of his mind. "I started in junior high, mostly writing comic books, and then it was making homemade movies, and finally it was college working for the newspaper that I started taking it seriously."
Author he'd love to party with ... Ernie Pyle. "I have his action figure. He's the only journalist who has one. I bring him to class, and I tell my students, •He's dressed like a soldier, but he doesn't have a weapon. He has something even more powerful — the typewriter.' "
Other quirks ... "I collect jackalope postcards, a Western phenomenon that some believe may or may not exist. I believe in the spirit of the jackalope."
What's next ... "I want to continue what I've always done. I don't think you set out to win a Pulitzer Prize. The goal is to tell the best story you can, and Cleveland has great stories to tell."