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Veterans surprised with banners at Kuppy's Diner Cruise-in; ‘I’m speechless,’ says Air Force’s Turpin

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/19/18

 

Kuppy’s Diner has two new Middletown Hometown Heroes banners on its roof.

Kuppy’s co-owner Carol Kupp and Middletown Mayor James H. Curry III presented the banners to Daryl …

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Veterans surprised with banners at Kuppy's Diner Cruise-in; ‘I’m speechless,’ says Air Force’s Turpin

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Kuppy’s Diner has two new Middletown Hometown Heroes banners on its roof.

Kuppy’s co-owner Carol Kupp and Middletown Mayor James H. Curry III presented the banners to Daryl Zane Lehew Sr., who served in the U.S. Army, and Irvin Turpin Jr., who served in the Air Force, during the Kuppy’s Diner Cruise-in on Thursday.

Neither Turpin nor Lehew knew that they were going to be honored with the banners.

“I’m speechless. I never thought anything like that would happen,” Turpin told the Press & Journal.

Kupp said that both men have been involved with the car show and frequent the diner.

“They were two perfect choices,” Kupp said.

Kupp said that Lehew was a “great guy” and had been coming into Kuppy’s for as long as she could remember.

She said she didn’t know about Lehew’s military career other than the fact that he served during the Vietnam War.

“We decided that we wanted to feature him on the roof of Kuppy’s with the banner. He did not know this,” Kupp said.

Kupp arranged for Lehew to be honored with the help of his daughter, Nicole Besic.

Besic said that her father likes to look at the banners. Almost 200 hang throughout Middletown via a program the borough started last year. The Kuppy’s banners look the same but are separate from the program.

Lehew and his wife used to go to Kuppy’s often, but when she passed away, Besic started joining him.

Lehew said he was very honored to have served in the Army, adding that he “would do it all over again.”

Kupp said that Turpin has “the biggest heart I know.” She called him the right hand of the car show, and Turpin said that he has been involved since the beginning.

“If Turp ever said, ‘Carol, Greg, I just can’t do it anymore,’ then I’m like, ‘OK, we’re done. That’s the end of the car show.’ He carries so much of the work and the load of the show. We can’t do it without him,” Kupp said.

The banners of both men were placed on the roof on Sept. 14, joining Navy Second Class Petty Officer Kevan Kern.

While Kupp always looks forward to the car shows, she likened this year’s event to watching children open up presents on Christmas morning.

By the end of the event, Kupp said they raised more than $12,000, although additional donations may come in. Proceeds from the event went toward Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors Inc.