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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Bernsee roasted at museum's annual fundraiser

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pat McCune, right, shares a timeless story about Eric Bernsee, left, and his old, rusted Chevy pick-up truck during Roast-a-Relic Sunday at Dixie Chopper Business Center. [Order this photo]
Nearly 80 people showed up at the Dixie Chopper Business Center Sunday to hear the roasting of former Banner Graphic editor Eric Bernsee.

The crowd was not disappointed when former Pat's Ace Hardware owner Pat McCune took the microphone. After 20 years of friendship, McCune's story was about how that friendship began.

Picture this ...

McCune pulls into the parking lot of his new Ace Hardware business when he notices a rusty, old Chevrolet pick-up truck. It is parked near his spot, but McCune thinks he can still get his station wagon in the parking space.

As he slowly backs into the space, knowing he might have to slightly tap the truck, he suddenly hears a large boom followed by smoke.

"Oh, no," McCune thinks. "What in the world did I do?"

He climbs out of his station wagon to find the clouds are not smoke, but rust coming from this incredibly ancient truck with a bed that tilts towards Cloverdale.

As the rust settles, it makes a ring around the vehicle.

McCune, still scratching his head, walks into the store and asks an employee of his how long the truck has been parked there -- thinking it was certainly abandoned.

The employee informs him the truck belongs to Bernsee.

"You mean someone drives that thing?" he questions the employee.

Not knowing Bernsee, McCune is dumbfounded to learn he is the editor of the newspaper.

"Is he a bad editor?" McCune asks the employee.

Later in the day, McCune is fast at work, when he hears another loud noise. It's Bernsee starting his truck, which sounds like an airplane coming in for a landing.

At the turn of the key, big piles of smoke would bellow from the tailpipe and almost cover the entire city.

Not only was the truck a Chevy, but also a diesel, recalled McCune in the midst of laughing.

When people would call the fire department to report a vehicle on fire, the fire chief would simply say, "It's just Bernsee starting up his truck."

When Bernsee and the old Chevy parted ways, it is rumored there were tears shed.

Among the roasters were Bernsee's daughters, Nicole, left, and Kara Bernsee. They shared stories about being the daughters of the former Banner Graphic editor.
"Not for sentimental reasons," someone said, "but because he had to buy a new car."

McCune went on to tell about the Jiffy Pop stuck to the ceiling. Curiosity got the best of him. He asked about the Jiffy on the ceiling.

He learned it was Bernsee's version of a smoke detector, which needed the batteries replaced.

Other good-natured stories were shared about Bernsee, who currently works for Dixie Chopper handling its publicity and promotion.

Among the Roasters were former Greencastle mayor Mike Harmless; State Rep. Nancy Michael; former Banner Graphic sports editor Steve Fields; Rick Judy with Dixie Chopper; Greencastle City Attorney Laurie Hardwick; and Bernsee's daughters, Nicole and Kara.

Aside from the laughter, his friends honored him with great remarks.

Bernsee is a "great example of a true journalist," noted Hardwick.

Fields said, "I miss the daily contact with him."

Harmless ended his roast with these words, "What a great writer, et cetera."

At the end of it all, Bernsee was presented with an award from Senator Connie Lawson. Gov. Mitch Daniels honored him with the Distinguished Hoosier award.

"This has been kind of like being at my own wake," Bernsee said. "It feels more like the mutual admiration society, not a roast."

In conclusion, he was glad to help raise money for the Putnam County Museum.

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People in the community miss him at the Banner, too.

-- Posted by whatsup on Tue, Mar 10, 2009, at 11:37 AM

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