Stop in for a visit at Bill's Bunker and say hello to Hank!

Pamela D. Donovan

Please take the time to read about this very special woman and what she did for the U.S.


St. Patrick's Day 2012

by Sarah Talarico on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 11:31pm ·

We all know how fond I am of St. Patrick's day.  We also know how much I love, respect and honor our service men and women.. past, present and those dearly departed.  So when I was asked to sing for the Vietnam Veterans group in the 2012 Cleveland St. Patrick's day parade it was a no brainer! I was beyond honored and most definitely thrilled!  Saturday morning presented itself with traditional Irish tunes and songs of American patriotism rolling through my head and from my lips.  I had spent Friday night at Bill and Sue Curran's house so there would be no snafus with leaving on time, wardrobe malfunctions or any other shenanigans that may have presented themselves on our cherished day of Saint Patrick.

Friends and honored Veterans began arriving at the Curran's quite early; as nobody wanted to be late for the carpool train that would lead us to the annual celebration of our Irish American heritage.  After a (not so quick) shower followed by a breakfast of corned beef, eggs and thoughts of delicious Irish whiskey, we departed Bainbridge for our destination. 

Bill, along with a couple of other Vets hopped in Mom's Deuce... the beautiful beast of an Army truck that would carry us through the raving crowds lining the streets of Cleveland in record numbers on this glorious day.  They were headed for a tire shop somewhere near Fleet Ave, where we were to meet up with them to complete the ride into downtown together. I followed Sue in her rockin' "iz on" mobile, faithfully, even when she got off at the wrong exit, (or so I thought). I called her up and heard disturbing news from the other end of the line.... there was a problem with the truck.  We went on a hunt down the side streets of the ghetto to locate not only the disabled Army truck, but our dear friends who were faithfully standing guard.

Upon our arrival, Bill told me that she had been billowing black smoke. Upon some deliberation it was decided that Mom's Deuce had to get back home.  She had wounds of unknown origin, and the main concern was getting her back home where she could be appropriately tended to.  We headed back towards 480.  This was extremely difficult for me, as I was driving my Jeep Wrangler behind big Momma Kaiser.  That poor truck in all her agony was billowing mass quantities of gray noxious smoke from her stack.. which made not only MY visibility, but all visibility within  a half mile radius a big zero.  I stayed tight on the truck with my headlights on and hazards flashing to protect the Deuce and her most valuable cargo (the guys) from being hit by any rogue drivers  ignorant to the severity of the situation.  

We made it up 480 to 422.. with no more than a few pissed off anti-American  pukes laying on their horns and hollering cuss words out the windows of their foreign cars.  Don't get me wrong.. it was a white knuckle nerve wrenching ride following that truck without being able to see a damn thing... but c'mon people!  There is no need for road rage!  Following Bill for many miles, I found that the best way to increase my visibility was to tag up on his left rear and stay there as long as there were no Andrettis attempting to pass us.  I started breathing a bit easier when we got past 91... we were almost back to Bainbridge!

That sense of relief was not long for this world, because just as soon as I felt like everything was gonna be alright I heard the wail of a not so distant siren.  I was unable to see were it was coming from, secondary to the white out conditions caused by the struggling truck.. but I sure as hell heard it.  Bill and I pulled our respective vehicles over to the side to face the music. We had almost made it all the way.. only about 7 or 8 miles to go before the Deuce was home.  

I grabbed my trusty friend badge and started digging in my bag for my  FOP cards I have been collecting for years.. Hoping to get out of whatever legal storm was headed our way.  I glanced up and saw Bill walking past my Jeep to talk with the officer.  I am so thankful the officer was a Marine (HooRah!!!) and showed kindness and compassion to our plight.  Although he was kind, he would not allow the vehicle to travel any further on her own.  We were ordered to call for a tow.  It takes a special flatbed to tow that type of truck, you can't just call anyone with a hook.  I tried calling my Dad's friend Red from H&H to no avail.. unfortunately he was unable to assist in this specific situation.  

I can't quite recall who it was that came up with the next idea.. but I will say that it was absolutely brilliant.  My Jeepster has always been a loyal and true sidekick to me... capable of feats over the years that some would consider impossible.  I always carry a tow strap.. but we chose to use Bill's because his  was camo green in color, therefore increasing our luck on this evergreen day.   We tethered the Deuce and a half to my tow hook and prepped for an interesting experience.  Bill and I were bound not only by the tow straps but with open lines of communication via cell.  Feeling a bit uneasy, I put 'er in first and tried to pull the beast.  The Jeep's first reaction was "Oh Hellz no... nuh-uh.. you can't make me do this!" but I set her straight and we began our journey down the berm of 422 to 306.  I got off the phone with Bill just long enough to attempt to shoot a video of the situation.  

When we were in communication once again he gave me some bone chilling news... the Deuce had no air in her brakes.  I held the highest of hopes that this was just his sick way to make light of the situation.. and we rolled on along.  I kept the line tight.. 2nd gear all the way.  As we neared the exit I asked Bill how he felt I should handle the stop at the light.  It was at that very moment that it became all too clear that he had not been joking.. the brakes really were out on the truck barreling along that downward slope behind me... true story.  As we cruised down the exit ramp, it was a little more than leprechaun luck when I saw that the light was GREEN!!!  I laid on the horn of course... just to warn everyone to get the heck outta the way, cuz we were a-comin' and not stopping for anything! God and all his angels were watching over us and carried us safely, not only through the busy intersection but all the way to Bainbridge Road!  The home stretch was fairly simple.. my biggest fear at that point was that we would encounter oncoming traffic when the time came to turn into the Curran's drive.  The truck requires a wide turn to make the turn in without going into the deep ditches on either side of the driveway.  As we neared our final destination I said a few prayers and swung the truck around. We  made it in.  Amen.

We all jumped out thankful to have the truck home safe.  My heart broke for Bill and the guys... this was the first time in 15 years they were unable to represent our Veterans.. the true American heroes in the parade. I asked if we could raise the flag and was more than honored to sing the National Anthem for those amazing men, still in uniform at the Curran's. Sue entertained the troops on her keys and we all sang some traditional Irish tunes.  I was truly proud and blessed to have spent the day with real American heroes.  I will never forget the honor and emotion each one of those men feel for our country and the pride and grattitude in my heart just being in their presence.  Thank you all for your service and I have nothing but the utmost respect and love for you.  GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!