New book, soon-to-be movie features Murrells Inlet veteran’s favorite ‘beer run’ story

Grand Strand veteran's story to be featured in movie

MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - One Murrells Inlet Vietnam War veteran will have a lot to celebrate this Veterans Day.

A book that showcases one of Bobby Pappas’ experiences while fighting overseas was released on Tuesday, just ahead of Veterans Day on Wednesday. And soon that book will be turned into a movie.

The book, called ‘The Greatest Beer Run Ever: A True Story of Friendship Stronger Than War,’ is about Pappas' best friend, John “Chickie” Donohue, and the lengths he went through to have a beer with his friends who were in the middle of the Vietnam War.

“I mean he was running around a countryside that was going crazy at the time, and he just didn’t seem to care," said Pappas. "I did all the worrying for him.”

Pappas’ favorite was the day he saw Donohue show up just to grab a beer with him.

“He was the first thought of me ever going over there," said Donohue. "I felt sad that here he was, in his early 20s, married with a baby, and he’s drafted and sent off to that war.”

Donohue had already spent time in the Marines and was too old to be drafted by the time the Vietnam War rolled around.

He knew his friends from the neighborhood in New York City could use a morale boost. So he spent two months on a boat to get there, with a sack of beer in hand and wound up visiting four of his friends, all stationed at different parts of the country.

“I only had six guys on the list," said Donohue. "Richie Reynolds I believe was killed while I was over there. I never did get to him. Joe McFadden was sent home because of malaria, but the other four guys I fortunately found.”

Because of Donohue’s book, Pappas is able to look back and smile at the most memorable beer of his life and the friend that crossed the world to drink it with him.

“I consider it one of the highlights of my life that he took that risk," said Pappas. “I don’t think he really knew what he was getting into when he took it, but he did take that risk. He didn’t give up even though everything that was going on over there, then to keep going. He didn’t give up. He kept going. That’s a feat in itself.”

Pappas said production on the movie was delayed because of the pandemic.

Two-time Oscar winner Peter Farrelly is writing and directing it, and Pappas said Ryan Gosling, Chris Hemsworth and Viggo Mortenson have all expressed interest.

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