|Good Samaritan to the Rescue at Art's Texaco|
Thursday, January 23, 2003
THURSDAY, JAN. 23 TELEGRAM & GAZETTE
So I've Heard Column
This story is about a couple of petty thieves and a good Samaritan. Make that a super Samaritan.
Donald Cournoyer of Webster, an attendant at Art's Texaco on West Main Street in Dudley, was alone in the station, working a long shift on a recent Sunday.
Fighting a cold, he got to feeling sick. A young fellow came into the station, and Mr. Cournoyer gave him $5 worth of gas and a $10 bill, sending him to buy a bottle of cold medicine.
You guessed it, the young man never returned.
Another young driver came along and the process repeated itself. Mr. Cournoyer was out $30.
Then, Oxford's Robert Hebert, friends with Arthur P. Cournoyer, Sr., Donald's brother, happened by. The free gasoline incentive wasn't necessary. Mr. Hebert responded to Donald's plea, secured the medicine, and returned to the station.
Mr. Cournoyer wasn't feeling too great by this time, so he took a good long swig of the liquid medicine. Mr. Hebert was waiting to gas up but Donald couldn't respond. "I thought my heart was going to stop beating, he was like a blur," Mr. Cournoyer said more than a week later. "I think I told him he'd have to help himself."
Donald Cournoyer retreated to his car and immediately fell asleep. Mr. Hebert made his purchase and waited. Customers drove up to the pumps so Mr. Hebert handled their requests.
This went on for probably three hours, until a revitalized Donald Cournoyer woke up. He found Mr. Hebert, a truck driver for a Worcester beer distributor, on duty. "He was running the place," Donald said in recounting his sleepy time tale. "I thought to myself, 'oh, wow, I'm already $30 in the hole, now I could be ruined,'" said Mr. Cournoyer. Then, he realized what happened, that Mr. Hebert was still about and he immediately felt better.
"You know what?," Mr. Cournoyer said, finally smiling. "He came out to the penny (sales to revenue). He didn't even make a tiny little mistake."
Donald Cournoyer didn't identify his volunteer helper but his brother, Arthur P. Cournoyer, Sr., a Webster Highway Department employee, and also associated with the station, did. "Bobby Hebert let him sleep. He's a good friend, a great guy."
Alfred Nowicki has a follow to my segment about the Army Air Corps World War II Aircraft Warning Service. Like Donald A. Wayman and Norman J. Deptula, Mr. Nowicki was a volunteer.
Webster's sky scan post was on the Athletic Field, and the building is still there, Irene (Posiatowski) Konkel said recently, triggering last week's comment. "My sisters, (the late Frances J. and Isabelle Nowicki) were spotters and I got involved," said Mr. Nowicki, displaying an honorable service certificate signed by Col. Stewart W. Towle Jr., the officer in charge of the program.
Mr. Nowicki also has an "identification of aircraft" book with outlines of then known airplanes, including Japanese Mitsubishis and German Messerschmitt fighters. One of his sisters kept her arm band. Made of blue felt, it has the AWS insignia and the word Observer.
"It was mostly older people at the Webster station," Mr. Nowicki said. "I went right after school and stayed until 6 or 8 (p.m.). I stayed with it until I went into the Navy." Mrs. Konkel might have been a sky scanner had she been a few years older, Mr. Nowicki believes. "She lived in the right neighborhood."
My wife had an appointment in Sturbridge last Thursday so we lunched at Rom's Restaurant. A group of senior harmonizers was there singing up a storm.
I was delighted. My kind of people offering my kind of repertoire. They paused and I offered compliments. There, right in the middle, was a familiar face, Dorothy (Bacovin) Belec, one of my Webster contemporaries, and now of Southbridge.
Mrs. Belec and Sophie Swiacki, also of Southbridge, are two parts of a vocal quintet directed by Hedi Kay of Sturbridge. The others, Mary Trace
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