The very words roll off of our tongue so fast that we rarely take the time to truly remember why Steelers fans are the one REAL Nation of sports fans out there. Our fan base is all over the world, from the mothership of western Pennsylvania to the farthest reaches of the world. I have been lucky enough as a fan and as a writer to have met Steelers fans from places I had to Google once they walked away. Black and Gold blood runs through the veins of so many, and part of the allure of being a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers is knowing that when you watch that kickoff on Sunday, there are millions of members of Steeler Nation packed into basements and living rooms, bars and restaurants, parking lots and stadium seats – all holding their breath at the same time as we celebrate another game in the storied history of our beloved Steelers.
Steeler Nation doesn’t exist without the establishments that pack in the masses on Sunday, serving Pittsburgh-style food and surrounding their patrons with Steelers memorabilia. The true heart and soul of this Nation does not exist in the stands at Heinz Field, it exists in the passion and camaraderie these special places bring together. The people who run these establishments put everything they have into creating a special place for Steelers fans to enjoy being together and watch their heroes on the gridiron.
This past Monday, tragedy struck for the owners of Cuz’s Susquehanna Bar & Grille in Exeter, PA. A fire gutted the sports bar in eastern Pennsylvania, leaving manager Francesco Stuppino, his son Joe Stuppino, daughter Francesca Butcofski, and owner Maureen Noone heartbroken at the loss of both a business they had poured their hard work into building and the loss of a pristine collection of memorabilia that was collected over a lifetime of an establishment that, according to friend and patron Jennifer Menichini “was their life.”
Article clips and quotes courtesy of the “The Times Reader” newspaper, Tuesday May 1:
“I’m a Steelers fan and it’s been a Steelers bar and we lost it all. I lost everything that I had, all my autographs. It’s irreplaceable,” Stuppino said, his voice cracking with emotion.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been here, but it was a shrine to the Steelers. How do you replace it? I could rebuild, definitely, but how do you replace it?” Stuppino said.
Stuppino rattled off the names of athletes whose autographed photos and jerseys hung on the walls. Former Steelers Jerome Bettis, Jack Ham and Rod Woodson, Pittsburgh native/former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, the late Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente, the “Steel Curtain” defensive line of “Mean” Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White. All gone.
“Mark Bruener’s helmet is burnt, melted. … I had every high school in our Wyoming Valley area – they donated their helmets to us, you know?” Stuppino said. “I just got a picture autographed personally by Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly. They brought it last week, I had it on the wall; it disintegrated.”’
While the odds of replacing many of the more expensive items are going to prove difficult, the family (and a growing contingent of fans and friends on Facebook) are hoping to secure donations of memorabilia and Steelers items to help rebuild the business. This is where Steeler Nation comes into play, folks. WE can help our own here.
Take a quick inventory of your Steelers man caves, garages, offices, and any other places you can pull from. Donate any items you can spare and let us – as a NATION – help rebuild a landmark location for Steelers fans in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. Let’s prove that we are more than just fans, lets prove that we are indeed – FAMILY.
If you are interested in donating either memorabilia or even money to the cause, please contact Jennifer Menichini, the local Steel City Mafia boss for the surrounding area. She can be reached at [email protected]. You can also contact Wendy Bennett at her Boss Steeler Chick Facebook page and coordinate what is needed there as far as shipping, etc.
Let’s make this sad story have a happy ending. We are Steeler Nation, and nobody takes care of our own like we do. I will post updates to this story here on NPC as it continues, and hopefully we can all help celebrate another HUGE Steelers victory once we make things right for these members of our family.
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