Buddy Bodell was excited and frustrated.
He drove to The Lima News with what he thought was a great story idea — a 96-year-old man from Lima who was a World War II fighter pilot. However, there was only one problem: Buddy couldn’t remember the man’s name.
“I’m pretty sure it was Sullivan,” he said. “John Sullivan … or maybe it was Jim. … Yeah, Jim.”
Then he thought for a few more seconds, “No … no … I’m thinking it was John. It had as ring to it, like that old boxer (John L. Sullivan). Yep, I’m thinking, John.”
We agreed to just call him Mr. Sullivan, then Bodell began to talk about their chance encounter.
He explained he went to the Lima Meijer store for a few groceries, only to leave after shaking hands with a true American hero.
“I was standing in the checkout line with just several things to buy. The lady in front of me had a full cart and told me to go ahead of her. We got to talking and it must have come up that I was in the Navy. She pointed to a man sitting nearby and said he was her father, and he also was in the Navy. So, when I finished checking out I went over to talk with him.”
That’s when Bodell found out Mr. Sullivan was a fighter pilot.
“All those fighter pilots were among the bravest of the brave. He told me about taking off and landing on his ship’s short deck. I only talked with him for about 15 minutes and then his daughter was done checking out. I could have talked with him for hours.”
Bodell’s kicking himself for not getting Mr. Sullivan’s contact information.
“I have so much respect for these World War II guys. They were called to duty, served their country, then came home and raised their families and rebuilt this country. There aren’t many of them left. He’d be worth The Lima News finding. I’d do a full page feature on the guy if I was you. Guys like that deserve the recognition. That’s why I came out to see you. I hope you can find him and he’s willing to tell his story. We can lean from guys like him.”
So, Mr. Sullivan and daughter, if you come across this column, call me at 567-242-0391.
One other thing from Buddy Bodell.
“If you get in touch with him, tell him I’d like to buy him dinner. And I’m talking steak.”
ROSES AND THORNS: A special spot in the rose garden for a special coach.
Rose: In memory of the late Herb Lane Jr., the assistant basketball and head football coach at Perry High School, who died in a traffic accident at age 44. He touched a community and many young lives.
Rose: To Avery Bacon, 5, the daughter of Karen and Brian Bacon, of Lima. She had her long, waist-length blonde hair cut, donating it to “Wigs for Kids.”
Rose: To Edward Morrison Jr., of Elida. He joined the UPS Circle of Honor for driving 25 years without an accident.
Rose: To Dorothy Wildermuth, who at age 90 was named the volunteer of the year by the United Way of Greater Lima.
Rose: To Ken Amstutz, who is retiring after 42 years in education, the last 10 as superintendent of Van Wert schools. Before that he was superintendent of Ottoville schools for 10 years
Thorn: The Huntington Bank was robbed in downtown Lima and the thief was still on the loose, despite security cameras getting a clear photo of his face.
Thorn: To the accused pizza bandits — Benjamin Blakely, 31, and Carri Breckenridge, 33. Police officials said they confessed to robbing a Little Caesars pizza parlor as well as a delivery driver.
PARTING SHOT: A single leaf working alone provides no shade.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.