Here they are: Our Top Five Stories of 2018

Top 10 stories of 2018 - top 5

Two deeply moving articles detailing the greatest heights of bravery and patriotism exhibited by Delawareans highlight this year’s most popular stories on TSD.  Our other top engagement drivers included an ‘only in Delaware’ story about a mayor who answers his own email, the sale of the DuPont Country Club and a quirky little pop-up eatery in Prices Corner, which hopefully has enjoyed as much popularity at the cash register as it did on our site because it wears this year’s crown as the Number One story of the year!

Stories like these are the reason this site exists.  Enjoy.

Ben Du Pont (left) and Don Wirth purchased DuPont Country Club in April, 2018, saving the surrounding community from development and vowing to run it as a “first rate” family-focused club

#5 – Continuing our tradition of conflating related stories that both garnered significant attention, our features on the sale of the DuPont Country Club – including an exclusive interview with new co-owner Ben du Pont– ranked as top fivers in 2018.  Readers were clearly interested – and delighted – with the news that the club would stay in local hands, with new owners who planned to invest significantly in this critical parcel of choice Brandywine Hundred real estate.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki (left) helped convince lifelong PA residents Susan and Michael Sauter to move to Wilmington by responding to Susan’s email inquiring about his goals to revitalize the city

#4 – The last mayor of Wilmington was famously known to have written exactly zero emails during his four years in office.  So when Mike Purcyzki responded to Susan Sauter’s inquiry to hizzoner asking him to convince her to move to Wilmington from the Philadelphia suburbs, it caught her attention.  And yours, making “Dear Mr. Mayor…” one of our most viral stories of the year.

Top 10 stories of 2018 - James J. Connell

Lieutenant Commander James J. Connell (Salesianum ’57) this year posthumously received the Navy Cross the highest award for valor presented to any Delawarean during the Vietnam War. 

#3 – Longtime TSD contributor John Riley is a Delaware treasure.  Among myriad other interests and civic pursuits, John has been a lifelong supporter of military veterans and celebrant of examples of wartime courage and valor. 

As an Army veteran and Salesianum graduate himself, Riley was well placed to publicly share for the first time the incredible story of James J. Connell, a Sallies and Naval Academy grad who died in captivity in Vietnam after demonstrating the most heroic actions under the most extreme conditions imaginable. Not surprisingly, this never-before-told story was read and shared by thousands.

Elizabeth Loncki was the first female from Delaware to die in combat

#2 – Our second most read story of the year was closely linked to Riley’s compelling account of wartime bravery.  But in this instance, Olivia Loncki gave loving firsthand testimony, as only a family member could, of her sister Elizabeth’s extraordinary courage in life and her legacy in death, having been the first female soldier from Delaware to die in combat. 

Olivia remembered Elizabeth as “a beautiful, petite, young woman, and not someone you would imagine to be a member of the EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), the highest challenge you can have in the Air Force.”  The piece ran on Veteran’s day, striking a chord in the hearts of thousands of readers and surely moving all of us to reflect on the blessings we share as Americans, thanks in no small part to the service of heroes like Elizabeth Loncki.

Glenn Wooten had dreamed for years about an old Photomat store and turning it into a hot dog and BBQ walk-up window in Prices Corner

#1 – On a lighter note – and in the category of who knows what stories will go gangbusters – the year’s chart-topper was a fun April item by Christy Fleming on Savannah’s, caterer Glenn Wooten’s new walk-up restaurant in Prices Corner

Wooten said he’d dreamed for years about opening a window-service sandwich shop in an old post office in the Kirkwood Highway shopping center he drove by each day.  A few coats of bright ketchup-red and mustard-yellow later and Wooten was off to the races with classic favorites like chili dogs and pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw.  He’s clearly serving a very receptive Prices Corner community.  Congratulations Savannah’s and Bon appétit!

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