Austintown, you have a friend in Michigan


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by Todd Franko (Contact)   | 340 entries


I spend a lot of miles and weekends on the road for sporting events.

So Tim Keenan’s letter jumped out at me.

Keenan was heading home to Traverse City, Mich. on Sept. 8 from a weekend volleyball tourney in Pennsylvania.

Somewhere in our region along I-76, car woes struck and he and a few buddies found themselves stranded in Austintown at the Denny’s Restaurant on Mahoning Ave., near Ohio 11.

That’s when bad luck turned to good, and allowed for friends and memories that prompted Keenan to write a letter to The Vindicator.

“We were trying to keep a positive attitude, but at the time it was difficult.,” he wrote.

Positive help first came from Jeswald’s Auto Truck Service and driver Jen.

“She assured us that things could be worse, it is but a car and we were all safe.”

Jen got them off I-76, directed them to an Austintown Jeep dealership, and ultimately to Denny’s.

At Denny’s, their good luck continued when they met waitresses Tricia Moffo and Megan Logan.

Upon learning their plight, Moffo offered her husband Dean’s aid as he is a car repair guy. Keenan said he eventually sought Dean’s counsel once he got the diagnosis from the Jeep crew.

“He was very friendly to me — a total stranger,” he said, adding that Moffo concurred with the Jeep crew — a blown distributor.

Keenan said while at the restaurant, his cell phone started to lose power. A customer sitting nearby offered to take the phone and charge it in her car as it was the same model.

“I can at least get you a couple of bars,” he recalls her offering.

At the Jeep dealership, Keenan said the Austintown hospitality continued. The crew sent a driver to Cleveland to get a distributor instead of using the normal overnight delivery. This allowed them to get the vehicle fixed that day so Keenan could be at work on Tuesday as scheduled.

In short — Keenan and his pals were feeling pretty vulnerable, and the good nature of locals gave them all the reason in the world to feel less vulnerable.

I talked Tuesday with Tricia at Denny’s, and she said the night still stands out for her and her co-workers.

“They were really nice guys.”
There’s a creepy story about the valley published in Rolling Stone right now — built from the Liberty armored car company heist. But the piece launches into valley judging. Read the story here.

They were not nice to the valley.

It would have been nice if the Rolling Stone writer broke down on I-76 on Sept. 8. He would have had a different measure of us.

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