A single dream can launch the journey of lifetime. Such is the case with this book.
Almost three years ago, I believed I had found the telephone number of the only living member of the B-17 crew piloted by Clarence R. Stephenson. I dialed the phone on a Wednesday afternoon.
“Hello. Is this Mr. Keith Clinton?”
“Yes. Who is this?”
“My name is Ray O’Conor. We’ve never met, but my Mom is the widow of your B-17 pilot, Clarence Raymond Stephenson.”
“How is Helen?”
“My Mom is just fine, sir. How are you, Mr. Clinton?”
“Still above ground.”
“I’m working on a project sir. I don’t want to be a pest, but if I were to come to Michigan, do you think you could tell me about your crew and experiences during the war? And if you have any photos, documents or records of any kind, would you be willing to share those with me?”
“What are you doing next Saturday?”
“I think I’m getting on a plane to Michigan, Mr. Clinton.”
On that particular Saturday, I met Mr. Clinton, his wife Evelyn and daughters Loraine and Adele for the first time. The former B-17 gunner is an exceptional man with a wonderful family. The photographs and documents he gave me are extraordinary, but nothing compared to his stories.