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.

January/February 2015                                                                                        Editor: Kit Nix     

Has this winter been the coldest you can remember or what? The morning of 2/16 it was -21F and on 2/20 it was -27F here in Auburn Township where I live. I am really glad it is too cold to go outside because frankly I am tired of shoveling and plowing snow. Our disabled neighbor lets us use his 4 x 4 utility vehicle with plow and my husband, Wayne, plows the neighbors drive in exchange. Good deal for both! However, there really isn’t any place to put the snow anymore even if we did shovel and plow! It could be worse and I am grateful to have a driveway and warm home. I think of some of the homeless I have seen when I worked in downtown Cleveland, sleeping on the grates in the sidewalk to be warmed by the steam that came up. Below you will read about a man that we helped out with heating fuel to keep his home warm. So as I sit here contemplating how miserably cold it is, and will be for the next week at least, I also am grateful for the things I have that some do not. As we count down the days left until spring let’s always remember those less fortunate and do what we can to help make their lives better.   ----Kit


Is It Cold Outside?

On January 8, 2015 the high temperature for the day was 5 Degrees F and here's what we do folks: In less than 24 hours we managed to get 100 gallons of heating fuel into this man's fuel tank. We can't take all the credit though. The donations we received from all of you amazing people are what made this possible. To answer the original question, Is It Cold Outside?, the answer is YES! Yikes! But this man's home is NOT cold. Thank you to everyone who played a part in this.       Thank you Bruce Haas, Trenching Unlimited,        Kit took care of the financial business at Ullman        for the tank and pump!                                               Oil while Bill filled the tank.










Dragging the hose to where the fuel tank is at.


Donations that we received in less than 24 hours paid for most of this cost. We still need to cover about 1/3 of that bill yet.



This past summer a local donut shop started giving us their end of the day donuts. We take them to several sober living houses in Cleveland. Since then Bill has made it a family affair! At times it’s been his wife, Sue, picking them up. Other times you might see one of his sons, Dean or Will. Bill usually leaves for work early to be able to deliver these donuts in the mornings. My husband, Wayne and I (Kit) have joined in the fun picking the donuts up at times and making the trip to Cleveland with them. The men and women at these facilities are extremely happy to receive the goodies!

Bill also kindly picked up medication for a disabled Veteran after getting out of work for the day and delivered it to him. All these things mean a lot of driving around for sure, but hey, it keeps us out of trouble!

A long time friend of Bill’s donated a car to VFI and what a blessing it turned out to be. It did need a little work to get it in running order and we had this done. We gave it to a gentleman who had recently moved to the area and just been hired at a new job. His old vehicle had broken down beyond repair and he didn’t know how he was going to get to work. The car was just what he needed and he went from despair to extreme gratitude for the gift of the car!

In December the ladies of the Geauga Eagles Auxiliary #2261 in Chardon, OH gave us a cash donation towards holiday gift cards to give to needy families. They also gave of their time to hold a blanket and bedding drive to benefit the Julie Adams House, a women’s structured sober living house in Cleveland. The women of the house truly appreciated the lovely quilts, sheets, blankets and more that we delivered to them. A friend of ours who is a hairdresser volunteered to come to the Julie Adams House and give the women haircuts for the Holiday Season. Her friend came along and did fingernail painting. They brought makeup and polishes to leave with the women also. The women were absolutely thrilled with their new looks and I am sure it gave their self esteem a needed boost!


We also received monetary donations from several organizations, companies and individuals. Bill’s brother Gary gave us a dozen turkeys and Deacon Chrysler gave us six turkeys for distribution. These generosities allowed us to help several Veterans and needy families. With the monetary donations we were able to purchase gift cards to give to several families for purchasing presents and other needed items. Without these generous donations we would not be able to do what we do. Together, we all play a part in helping those less fortunate. With YOUR help, Veterans and Friends put smiles on the faces of several families and children this Christmas who otherwise would have gone without.

VFI received several donations of appliances over the past few months. A really nice three door refrigerator that Bill found on craigslist for $75 was perfect for the Julie Adams house. When Bill went to pick it up, he told the seller about what we do and he stuffed the money back into Bill’s pocket!

Bill was training a new driver at his work and, while on break of course, told him about VFI, the things we do, and the requests of needed supplies and appliances. The trainee then offered a barely used washing machine which Bill picked up after work and delivered right to the Julie Adams house that same day! How cool and that is how it happens sometimes! This makes two washers and dryers and an awesome refrigerator we have helped them with. Julie Adams houses approximately 25 women and the need for help is always there and the appreciation is great. Thank you to all who have helped with donations and the deliveries!

Wish List

Generator: We need a larger generator for our Veterans reunion in September. Our Honda 1000 generator isn’t enough to power our camp anymore. It has handled one coffee pot and the tunes but we have grown so that we need two pots going plus the lights, etc. We need at least a 2000 or 3000. It must be a Honda due to the noise limitations at the camp.

Camper: We are still looking for a camper donation for the Veterans reunion. We would like to alleviate the tents to make the weekend more comfortable for the Veterans staying at our campsites. Old or small it doesn’t matter, as long as everything works and there are no leaks.

New laptop: We refurbished our 9 year old laptop but it still is not up to par. We have upgraded it as time has gone on but it is really time for a new one.

Batteries: “Mom’s Deuce”, our Army Truck we use in parades to help promote VFI, will be needing a set of new batteries. They are almost 5 years old and the frigid temperatures have taken its toll on them. Speaking of which, the Cleveland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is less than a month away and we need to have the deuce in good reliable condition.

Office Supplies: We can always use office supplies like #10 envelopes, reams of paper, file folders, etc. The less we spend on these items the more we can help those in need.

Folks, all your donations are greatly appreciated. We truly mean it. We do the best we can with what we have to work with. When the account is empty we have been known to work out of our own pockets when the need arises.

Our PayPal donation link is on our website and you can use credit/debit cards even if you don’t have a PayPal account! Checks can be mailed to the address below.  All donations are tax deductible whether monetary or material.

Just in case you didn’t know, VFI offers a flag retirement service. If your flag is in an unserviceable, tattered and torn condition we would be happy to retire it for you. Give us a call to make arrangements. Your flag will be retired in a respectful manner per flag etiquette. We would like to add that if you happen to have a flag in good condition that is not being used, we would appreciate the donation. These flags are passed on to those who cannot afford to purchase them. We can also supply you with new flags. We require the cost of the flag be covered and ask for a donation above our cost. We can have them shipped direct from our supplier. They are the best flags made and are of course MADE IN THE USA.


Text Box: Veterans and Friends Inc.8066 Bainbridge RoadChagrin Falls, OH  44023440-487-9973vfi@billsbunker.com us on Facebook too!      










 September/October 2014                                                                  Editor: Kit Nix
                                                                                        It’s been a fantastic summer folks, short but we accomplished a lot never the less. In early summer we participated in two parades along with some friends of VFI; John Mitchell of Solon with his jeep and Ted Vitale with his WWII Dodge. The first was the Chagrin Falls Blossom Time Parade which is always a great time with a great cookout afterwards at the Chagrin Falls Eagles Club. The following day we had Mom’s Deuce in the Chagrin Falls Memorial Day Parade with a welcome lunch afterwards supplied by the American Legion at the Eagles Club. The Eagles Club kindly gives us the leftover food which we take to the men’s rehab where civilians and Veterans alike are always grateful for our deliveries.

Speaking of the Chagrin Falls Eagles Club, the Ladies Auxiliary has some truly awesome women as members. The ladies worked with us to supply 20 or so sets of bedding, mattress protectors, plastic storage bins, plastic 3 drawer dressers, and cleaning supplies that were desperately needed by a women’s recovery center. People helping people to help people. See how good deeds snowball! We could not have accomplished it all without the support of the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary. Thank you, Ladies!

FOOD DRIVES:                                                   Aurora Wal-Mart has been very kind in letting us hold our food drive/fund raisers at their store. The first was in June and unfortunately we got rained on.  Thankfully it was warm outside because we got drenched! We tried again later in July and got rained on again. Not quite as bad this time and we were able to hang in there a little longer. A big thank you to our volunteers for coming out and helping on these gloomy wet days. After these rain soaked experiences we realize that two (2) 10x10 pop up canopies need to be added to our inventory. If anyone has one they are no longer using we would put it to good use if you would care to donate it!

In September we held two food drives, one at Walmart in Aurora again, and the other at Walmart in Streetsboro. Two of the girls from the women’s rehab facility came out to help us at the food drive. It was great to have new people with us and make new friends! Also, a long time friend of ours, Carolyn Minke-Smith was there to lend a hand along with Bill, Candy and myself. We all enjoyed the day working together and talking with people telling them about Veterans and Friends and what we do.

I just have to include this note from one of the women at the rehab who had helped us at the food drive. Read her words and you will begin to understand why we do what we do!

My name is Frances, I am 26 , have 2 children and I am a recovering heroin addict. I currently reside at the Julie Adams House which has helped save my life. Julie Adams House is a nonprofit sober living facility that is solely run on accepting donations. During my stay here I have had the honor and privilege to meet a few people from Veterans and Friends who often come and donate many household items and food. We recently had a tragedy and had to gut

our house and everything in it. We were left with nothing. They stopped by to donate food and asked what they could do to help. I told them we needed plastic totes and within 2 hours they were back with exactly what we needed. I was in tears. Before that happened I felt hopeless as if the situation would never get better. We are beyond appreciative for all Veterans and Friends Inc. has done for this house, helping us help save lives.                                            

I recently had the privilege to do a food drive at a local Walmart with Veterans and Friends Inc. It was a lot of fun and restored my faith in humanity. It was beautiful to see people commit these selfless acts of kindness. I left feeling rejuvenated and hopeful for the future. Veterans and Friends has done so much for our house and myself individually. I am forever grateful and happy that programs like this exist and could only hope to do something that can touch as many hearts.

Our next food drive will be on Saturday, October 18 at the Macedonia Wal-Mart from 10am to 2pm and we will be hoping for sunshine all day! Please let us know of your availability to give a few hours of your time. It sure helps to have someone there to relieve you so you can sit down for a bit and get something to drink and eat! You can reach us at or call Kit at 440-487-9973.

KOKOMO:                                                  We again went to Kokomo, IN for the annual Veterans Reunion. We host campsites for several Veterans, provide food, entertainment and camaraderie. This reunion is just phenomenal! The campground is known as The Healing Field and Veterans come from all over the United States. We had one Vet tell us that it was his doctor’s order for him to go to the reunion as part of his treatment!  It is an honor and privilege to shake the hands of all these brave men who served our country and say “Welcome Home!” Bill and Candy helped a couple vendors there, some of who are Veterans themselves, by watching their booths for them so they could have a break and get something to eat. We invited one vendor to come to our camp for meals and it was greatly appreciated. Several years ago we found a fire wood supplier to sell us a full pickup load of cut and split fire wood for a great price because of using it at the Veterans Reunion. It is always much more than we alone can use and we are always thrilled to share this with other Veterans camped there. This year the weather was sunny and kind to us until Saturday afternoon. It got very windy and we could see the storm brewing, it wasn’t going to be good! We were worried about our canopies becoming sails in the high wind. We thought it best to take them down as we would be leaving in the morning anyway. In the process, seeing the sky was looking so ominous, we decided that it was best to pack up the rest of Bill’s Bunker and head home. On the 6 hour drive home we ran into more high winds and blinding rain. After a couple stressful hours on the road the storm was behind us and we arrived home safely around 1am.


DISTRIBUTIONS:                                                                                                                Candy’s first experience delivering donated items:  “Veterans and Friends recently became aware of Julie Adams House in Cleveland, OH that houses and helps women with addictions.  When I heard about this, I posted on Freecycle Medina and got a response almost at once from a very caring and giving lady. I met with her and picked up a carload of clothes, books and household items.  I drove right to the women’s facility and delivered my first donation to them. I was honored to do this for them. They are a great organization that is helping women in need.”  

Kit: “My first visit to this women’s facility was to surprise them with pizza! They were very grateful for the wonderful treat and one of the women wrote a thank you note saying she was pregnant and craving cheese so the pizza “hit the spot”! A few weeks later my husband, Wayne, hosted a picnic for his Mason lodge at our home. There was a lot of really good food left over like roasted chicken, hamburgers, home grown vegetables and desserts. The Masons donated the food to VFI. The women at Julie Adams House were so thrilled. They hadn’t had food like this in quite a while. They refer to the center as “the last house on the block” as they had nowhere else to turn for help. They consider themselves lucky even though they have very little and do without much. Their cupboards are often bare. We feel helping these types of facilities benefits a multitude of people. Keeping the doors to these places open means they are there for the next substance addicted person. They show them the road to recovery which allows them to become a productive and positive member of society again. This is a really big deal for some who go into one of these homes with nothing but the clothes on their back! The centers we help rely on donations and past residents to support the newly recovering individuals. In today’s world these facilities are so important because a lot of these men and women have no way pay for the help they so desperately need.”

Bill: “I’ve been helping people in need for as far back as I can remember. I’ve received a lot of thank you letters and a lot of hugs for the work that I have done. I must say that the appreciation that we have received from the Julie Adams House women’s facility is beyond belief! These women in transition really take their recovery extremely serious and they know what it is like to be without.”


OTHER DISTRIBUTIONS:                                                                                                           We were privileged to be able to help a local female soldier. We were asked by her superior if we would be able to help a reservist and mother of 2 children. We were honored to help out with some groceries and financial assistance.

We received a referral of a gentleman who has cancer, is undergoing treatment and lost his job. Candy and Kit delivered bags of groceries and a check to help to catch his rent up to date. We have spoken with him again and we are happy to report he has found a job and doing much better!

One of our volunteers, while helping at our food drive, got a call telling her that her rent check was never received. On the spot it was our privilege to be able to donate some of the money so she could immediately pay the rent and not incur further late charges.

We became aware that a friend of VFI, Dale K., had his wheelchair break down on him. Dale relies solely on his motorized wheelchair to get around. Fantastic people with big hearts helped us to get him mobile again with their donations!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and we try to do what we can to make this time of year cheerful for everyone. We provide turkeys to families in need to help with their holiday celebrations. Many have children and gift cards are always greatly appreciated so the parents can purchase gifts for them. Families of deployed soldiers sometimes go without due to a spouse being away. We just can’t let this happen! We must support those that give of themselves for us. Your donations are so important so that we may continue to show them how much we appreciate what they do for us!

While at this year’s Veterans reunion we found that our trustee Honda 1000 generator was just not enough power to keep the lights on and the coffee brewing at the same time! We are desperately in need of a Honda 2000 or 3000 Generator to be donated or donations towards the purchase of one. We use this generator not just at the reunion but at various other times throughout the year.                            


We now have a PayPal donation link on our website at:                                         


VFI is offering a flag retirement service. If your flag is in an unserviceable, tattered and torn condition we would be happy to retire it for you. Give us a call to make arrangements. Your flag will be retired in a respectful manner per flag etiquette. We would like to add that if you happen to have a flag in good condition that is not being used, we would appreciate the donation. These flags are passed on to those who cannot afford to purchase them.


Veterans and Friends Inc.                                                                                8066 Bainbridge Road                                                                                                            Chagrin Falls, OH  44023                                                                                                                  440-487-9973


Bill Curran 

Kit Nix       

Candy Allison

Visit us on Facebook too!




VFI NEWS - March 2014

Hello Everyone!  Yes, I know it’s been awhile.  Yes, we’re still kicking, or should I say still shoveling?  We have continued to be helpful to our Veterans and Friends the best we can.  Thanks to your donations, we have been able to supply several families with needed appliances as well as picking up food supplies and delivering to those in need for the holidays.  With your monetary donations, we were also able to help several active servicemen and women in need.  All those receiving gifts were referrals from friends of our organization.

            Thanks to the help from Jennifer of the Chagrin Falls Eagles Club, we were able to supply many turkeys and hams to families of active service men and women in addition to other families in our area. All Jen had to do was put the word out to the members of the Eagles and just like that, we were overwhelmed. I had so many turkeys coming at me that I thought I wouldn’t have the power to stop them. I’m not kidding, I had to get a hold of Jennifer to ask her to take the message off the message board, to stop the presses, to throw in the towel, and well, you get the picture. I can’t tell you how many we delivered but thirty to forty would be a good estimation. Plus, those who chose to deliver directly were over and above my estimation.

            Some of the turkey donors wanted to see who they were giving them to. We told them we would be happy to have them delivered directly which gave others a chance to share in the smiles and hugs from those that received the gifts.  HOW AWESOME! Thank you to everyone, especially you, Jennifer.  It wouldn’t have happened without your help.

            Now, let’s talk a little bit more about your monetary donations. It seems like just when we didn’t know how we would be able to continue helping and fulfilling the requests we received, our friends and supporters came through again just in the nick of time.  I personally want to thank all of you who have trusted in me and the service our organization provides with your donations. Over the past year, we have received well over $2000.00 in personal donations.

We truly couldn’t do it without your help.  We requested a list from the officers of active service men and women in need and stated the budget amount we had to work with. Our donations were distributed accordingly. And as always, we received letters of appreciation from those we helped out.  

Here are a few examples of appreciation:

C. M. wrote “I wanted to thank you and your organization for the generous gift.  I was not expecting anything like this today, and you put a smile on my face.  You have helped me tremendously this holiday season.

A. C. wrote “I would like to thank you for everything you have done for us.  Your gift of donations and turkeys surprised many soldiers who were not expecting to walk out the door with a little extra in their pockets”. 

G. C. wrote “Thank you very much for the Christmas gift.  It will be used towards gifts for my wife and kids”.

S. L. wrote “Thank you for your generosity.  It was a very kind and thoughtful gift”. 

Well, there you have it folks. We did the best we could with what we had to work with.  Of course, we would like to be able to continue to help as best we can.

We are very sad to announce that one of our dearest friends, Jeff Constantino’s mother passed away, Elsie Constantino.  She was 82.  May we all keep Elsie and her family in our prayers?  Jeff and family, we are truly sorry for your loss.

Again, I would like to thank all of you for your donations.  Without them, we  would not be able to provide such a great service to our community.  A special thanks goes out to the following for their continued support: The Louie Run Foundation, The Fraternal Order of Eagles, and to all our friends that have donated to our cause.  Thank you for trusting in us to get the job done.

St Pats Day is March 17th; the parade starts at 1:00 sharp. Have safe and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.  


We hope to see you all soon. Let’s hope spring gets here quick. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Bill Curran

Veterans and Friends, Inc.                                                                                                         




March 2012

Sarah, Deano, Chan, Tom, Bill, John

St. Patrick’s Day 2012 – Have we got a story for you!!

Whistler Turbo     

We look forward each year to the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It’s been about 15 years now that we have been a part of this parade. It would take a LOT for us to miss it. In preparation, Economy Tire Service mounted new tires for our army truck, Mom’s Deuce! Bill, Chan and I were going over the truck, putting new fuel filters on, washing and polishing her up. We were READY! Unfortunately, Irish Luck was not with us. I woke up that morning with a migraine and knew right then I was not going to be able to make it, I was heartbroken. Then I got “the call” from Bill…..  the turbo blew on Mom’s Deuce! It broke our hearts not to be able to participate in the parade. I could tell you the story but our friend, Sarah Talarico, told it so well that I put her story right here in our newsletter. Take a look at the video of “Old Smokie” on our Facebook and web page. Thank you to all who participated. ----Kit Nix


St. Patrick's Day 2012 by Sarah Talarico

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 Cleveland 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.  

Sarah’s Jeep Pulling “Mom’s Deuce”

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 gratitude 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!!!


Taking Care of Friends


 A close friend and long time supporter of our organization was injured on the job. His ankle became infected and he was out of work for months as a result. He has always been there to help out when we needed him, be it marching in a parade or helping at a Food Drive. VFI, with the assistance of our supporters, was able to make a monetary contribution to him to help see him through this difficult time. A neighbor of Bill’s, Randy, also donated some firewood to them for heating as soon as he heard of the need.

Working Together   

As most people are aware, Habitat for Humanity helps build homes for qualifying families. Here in Geauga County they also run a resale store called The ReStore. They receive donations of all kinds of household items. Bill was talking with his friend, John, that does volunteer work there and a discussion ensued of the ongoing need for laundry machines. A few days later, John called Bill and told him the ReStore had a washer for us to give to the rehab center! The following week Kit received a call from Meredith at the ReStore, they had a gas dryer for us to give to a family in Kent. How awesome that our two organizations could work together to provide much needed appliances to the needy! VFI will be keeping the ReStore in mind as we get calls from people wishing to donate household items that we are not able to store.


While on the subject of laundry machines….  One of our dear friends and a constant supporter from Pennsylvania, JC, not only donated a close to new washing machine to us, but he went above and beyond by delivering it to us here in Chagrin Falls! KUDOS to you, JC! This machine benefited a family in Brooklyn, OH.


Also, Bill is having some work done in his yard. He was telling the contractor about what we do. The contractor in turn facilitated the donation of a freezer from his neighbor for us to give to the rehab center!

Code Blue is an awesome band that has played at many benefits for us over the years. While visiting Tom and April of TechNicholl Signs & Graphics, we learned of a banner that had been ordered by a past band member and he had been unable to pick up. VFI was only too happy to pay for the banner for Code Blue and Kit was able to present it to the band when they played at Rav’s Creekside in February.

Visiting the rehab center one morning, Bill, with his big heart in motion again, brought donuts to the guys who always appreciate a treat with their morning coffee! This picture doesn’t do the 5 dozen justice! LOL




















Food Drives/Fund Raisers:

Middlefield WalMart:  Sunday April 15, Saturday June 16, Saturday July 7

Mayfield Hts. WalMart:  Sunday July 15

Mentor WalMart:  Saturday August 4, Sunday August 26

There will be more dates added over the next couple weeks. We are in great need of volunteers to help us out at these fund raisers. Please contact Kit if you are available to help!   440-487-9973

Our Parade Schedule for the summer:

Saturday May 27 Blossom Time Parade Chagrin Falls

Sunday May 28 Memorial Day Parade Chagrin Falls

Wednesday July 4 Independence Day Parade Bedford/Bedford Hts

Sunday July 29 Solon Home Days Parade

Sunday August 12 Taborville Obzinky Parade (Harvest Festival)


"Mom's Deuce" - As you can see from our parade schedule above we need to get busy fixing the army truck! These aren't parts that we can just run up to the local auto parts store and buy. After much research and calling around we found that we could purchase a new turbo for $2300. OUCH!! A rebuilt one will run $1295! Now that we are past the sticker shock, we want to ask all of you if ou could please help keep Mom's Deuce rolling. You've ridden in her, brought your kids to climb in and on her and blow her horn. You've seen her in parades and car shows. We don't want to lose her now! Any contribution you might be able to give, large or small, would be so greatly appreciated. All donations are tax deductible.

Keep Mom's Deuce Rollling!!



Supporters and Friends






























            VFI NEWS                        


January 2012

   Over the Holidays Veterans and Friends, Inc. was blessed with many opportunities   to help local families and individuals. As you read the stories in this newsletter we hope to pass on to you the wonderfulness and amazement of how all of these stories played out; of how “we are all connected, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends". ----Kit Nix



A few days after our food drive/fund raiser in Middlefield, OH on October 15, our Secretary, Kit, got a call from the widow of a disabled Veteran with four children who live in Middlefield. She had picked up one of our food drive cards she had found at the store. Since the Veteran had recently passed, it would take many months for the VA to collect all the information needed so this family could start receiving benefits. In the mean time the widow was seeking assistance from any means possible to keep her family sustained. VFI immediately packed up some groceries and household supplies which Kit delivered. We also gave them a Wal-Mart gift card to supply the children with cold weather items they were in need of.


Ironically, the ladies from The Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church again wanted to know how they could help us help others.  Kit shared the circumstances of the widow in Middlefield with them. These wonderful ladies bought gifts for each of these children and the mother, wrapped them beautifully and delivered them to Kit who then took the gifts to the family. During this visit Kit learned that the VA had finally had everything in order and the family would soon begin to receive their VA benefits.


We also learned of a family in Aurora whom without a little help was not going to have a very bright Christmas. The mother had recently had brain surgery and the father had suffered a heart attack. The two oldest children of this 6 children family were trying to do what they could to make the family’s Christmas a nice one.  VFI presented one of the eldest sons with funds to go Christmas shopping for the family.


The Rehabilitation Center

VFI continues to assist the rehabilitation center in Cleveland. This is one of the only places we know of where your ability to pay is not a factor if you truly want help. The following events all took place in ONE morning, leaving even us amazed at what had been accomplished.

Our President, Bill, heard of their need for a washing machine. Imagine how many loads of laundry they must do each week!  Our President, Bill, was looking at and lo and behold, a fairly nice washing machine had just been listed for sale. Bill immediately contacted the seller, went and picked it up and delivered it to the rehab center. They were in awe as word had just been passed that morning of their need and asked “How did you do that?” Well folks, there is only one answer to that question. VFI in conjunction with all of you, that is how!  Some tobacco and cigarette papers were also bought and given to the rehab center. When a person is recovering from an addiction, whatever it may be, they do not need to be battling more than one demon at a time. Most of these men are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, cannot afford to pay for the center’s services, let alone buy tobacco products.

They are still in need of some specific items: single bed sheet sets, pillows, blankets, bath towels, and washcloths (new or in GOOD used condition). All donations are appreciated.


More Roundabouts

Most of us are also members of other organizations and we’d like to share with you what we accomplished working TOGETHER.


The Chagrin Falls Eagles Aerie 2436 and the Ladies Auxiliary have always been generous in helping VFI to help our Veterans and needy. A member of the Auxiliary mentioned at a meeting that her friend was a teacher at a school in East Cleveland. Her students, all learning disabled, come to school without proper attire in the winter simply because the families cannot afford much. There are 16 children in this class. Kit and her friend, Yvonne bought some coats at Solon’s budget bin sale that were donated to the school. 16 ladies of the Auxiliary took on the pleasure of buying items for each of the 16 children for Christmas. Ages, sizes and special requests were obtained from the teacher. VFI, via Kit, helped put a smile on the face of one young man, William, about 11 years old. We were joyfully surprised when we received a card thanking us for the gifts with pictures included of the young man opening his presents!





Some nice, new adult sweatshirts, jackets and hats had been donated to the Eagles Aerie. The Aerie President, Brad, knowing what we do, gave the items to VFI. Now, taking this story in a circle….   Bill took these sweatshirts and jackets to the rehab center. The men there were very happy to have these items and just in time for the cold weather!





Charlie Helps A New Friend

Just before the Holidays, Bill’s dog, Charlie, came up missing. This was really odd because Bill has an electronic fence in his yard and Charlie has never stepped outside it.  Charlie is a wonderfully playful, always happy, huge hound dog. Charlie smiles!!!  Here is Charlie’s story, told by Bill.

“I came home from work and my wife had fixed me the best steak dinner. I saved some really nice leftovers for Charlie.  I headed out to take them to him. When I got there, Charlie was gone!  I frantically called for him. I had nice steak leftovers for him, but no Charlie!  I had just seen him out there not more than an hour ago when I had gotten home from work.  I decided to drive around the block to look for him. Hearing several dogs barking, I headed in that direction. I drove all over calling for Charlie, but I couldn't find him. By now it was getting dark. I passed a lady walking her dogs near my home. She immediately scolded me for driving too fast down her street. I apologized and explained that I was looking for my lost dog.


Fortunately for me, this God sent woman, Judith, was an animal lover herself. She told me she does animal rescue. She scolded me once again for driving too fast and I apologized again. She told me I was not going to find my dog driving around, that I would have to park and walk in order to find him. She asked what he looked like and what his personality was. She said she would put her dogs away, get some snacks and go looking for Dear Charlie. I went home, parked my pickup and got my reflective vest. I set out on foot as advised by Judith to look for Charlie. In addition, I notified the Bainbridge Police that he had escaped from his invisible fence. I also advised them that the neighborhood was relativity safe because he had been fixed. J As I walked a while and still did not find Charlie, I was thinking that I had to get up for work early the next morning so I headed home. When I got home, I headed to the garage to take off my vest. I called for Charlie one more time and there he came running! It was like the greatest reunion.  I then realized that i had better let the police know that he had come home. In addition, I realized that i should drive back to look for Judith’s house to advise her that Charlie had returned. She was so happy to hear the news and at that, she gave me the snacks that she had prepared for him and told me that she would stop by and see him after the Holidays. So it was, the hunt was over and Charlie was home!


However, after a couple days of rehashing the story, my mind couldn't rest thinking of how caring and sincere Judith was. I then thought that I would try to repay her for her kindness.  VFI decided to purchase dog and cat food to assist her in her animal rescue efforts. She was very, very appreciative of the pet food donation. And Judith, well, she can’t wait to meet Charlie!


In closing folks, We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for continuing to believe in what we do. None of these wonderful things could have been accomplished without your support!