Turko Arranges for Benches to be Returned to Del Mar Avenue Bluff
Late this afternoon, on the bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the end of Del Mar Avenue in Ocean Beach, two memorial benches were lifted by crane off a truck and placed exactly where they had been before they were stolen on July 8th.
Tony and Cat Cappellucci and John Story – representing the families who had originally sponsored the benches – were on hand for the memorable occasion. An occasion exquisitely orchestrated by none other than Michael Turko from KUSI. Turko, having found both benches, arranged for them to be picked up at the junk yard and delivered to the end of Del Mar Avenue.
Turko had solicited some volunteers to do the heavy lifting – literally. “Turko’s fans”, he called them. And just about on cue, at 4 pm this afternoon, Bob Turner of Bob’s Cranes Service arrived with his truck and crane, and then up drove the truck with the two benches strapped on. The four Botter brothers – Anton, Andre, Adrian and Austin – also arrived with the trucks and they assisted Bob lift and then sit the benches down. Their father – Anton, Sr. – was an avid fan of Turko’s and had helped him out in the past. On July 1st, Anton passed away and his sons were carrying on his ‘tradition.’
Some neighbors had come out to watch the activities. And as the one to two ton benches were returned to their places, there was a scattering of applause and some yells. With Turko was his cameraman and there was a team from Channel 10 as well. But since the Turko man had arranged all of it, he got the first shots and the first interviews with John Story and the Cappelluccis.
He turned to me and said, “Tell them the main story will be on at 10 pm!” His full report of this chapter of the benches will be broadcast at that time on KUSI, Channel 9.
After the initial excitement had passed, and people were starting to pack it up, I asked Michael Turko why this particular story had grabbed him. His sharp response was immediate:
“These were public benches in a public park. No one has the right to steal them. This made my blood boil.”
Turko also suggested that for the next few days, people stay on or hang out at the benches in shifts to ensure nothing happens to them.
Tony and Cat Cappellucci were beaming from ear to ear. Tony – a 15 year resident of OB – told me: “My son’s back. He’s back. Where he belongs.”
John Story was also pleased. “We’re all happy that the bench has been returned to its rightful place. Mom is very happy, very happy.”
The mood at the end of Del Mar was joyous. As the volunteer work crew and the media departed, a couple of locals were discussing doing some brainstorming about how to deal with the small space of public right of way where the benches stood. Ideas like neighbors watering the vegetation, and other volunteers doing some landscaping were being floated about. It all sounded good. Sounds like the “OB Way”.