New Bar Trend Honoring Fallen Soldiers Hits Big Tony's Grill In McKinney

Here's a serious one for you, Aters. Maybe you've heard this story that went viral recently: On St. Paddy's Day, a man named Jeff Beaurline walked into Pub 25 in Newtown, Connecticut, and asked the manager if he could leave a cold Guinness on the bar all day for Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2005. The bar owner, vehemently refusing Beaurline's money, gladly obliged and left a cold Guinness out on the bar all day, accompanied by a "reserved" sign and an American flag. Murphy was one quarter of SEAL Team 10, which also included the now famed Marcus Luttrell, the only remaining member of Team 10 and author of New York Times best-seller Lone Survivor.

Jeff Beaurline's post on the Seal of Honor Facebook Page. Big Tony's Grill (1705 W. University Drive) owner and resident teddy bear, Tony Garavaglia, experienced a similar act yesterday when an Army veteran's widow sat at his McKinney bar and ordered six shots of Crown Royal. On a napkin, she wrote down her husband's name and the names of his fellow fallen soldiers. She lined up the six shot glasses, spoke with Tony for a short bit and then left. No one got her name but everyone would very much like to see her again.

"We really didn't talk that much," Garavaglia says. "It was emotional for her. She was probably 30, and she had her 2-year-old daughter with her. It was the first time I have seen it. I hope she comes back again so I can thank her."

The trend, which is a bit more militant than pouring a sip on the concrete, is likely not as new as recent media attention suggests. But thanks to cell phones and viral social media, gestures like these reach many more people than a few bartenders and patrons. OK, turning the snark machine back up to eleven now. Carry on.

UPDATE: The mystery woman has come forward and contacted us, and it turns out that we had a few details of the story backwards. Her name is Angelia and she is fortunately NOT a widow of one the names written on the bar napkin. She was the buyer of the Crown, but simply wanted to let others know how important these men were. The following is an excerpt from her e-mail:

"I wrote those names of those men to honor them and to let others know how important they were. I did have my daughter and I did cry. My husband was in the same unit as those men and I want to make clear of the real details. I'm sure if I went into Big Tonys they would recogonize me as the one who paid for and left that there for them."
Although we regret the misprint, we wish to emphasize that the sentiment is still the same and we thank Angelia for sharing her kind act. We hope and expect to see others continue this honorable bar behavior.

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Sara Blankenship
Contact: Sara Blankenship

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