Trisha Zavrel

In his book ‘Beyond Band of Brothers’ Major Dick Winters said, “Floyd Talbert and Joe Toye are heroes of the first order—so are Popeye Wynn, Babe Heffron, and scores of others who carry the wounds of war as badges of honour.

When called a hero, Babe said, “The heroes are the kids who gave 100 percent; they gave their lives. The heroes are the mothers who gave up a son, who carried him for nine months, and raised him to do right, and he does right, and at eighteen, he goes to fight for his country, and he dies doing right. That’s a hero.”

Babe Heffron was many things. He was a paratrooper. Best friend to Bill and hero to so many. Most of all, he was “dad”.

Can you please share a few sentences about yourself.

I am Trisha. I have been a travel agent for 15 years and am married, no children.

Can you please share your link to Band of Brothers. Who was your father?

Babe. Bill Guarnere was my godfather.

How would you describe your father if I asked you for his five most redeeming qualities?

Babe’s most redeeming qualities…Loyalty & integrity are the first two. He was the sort of man that if he gave you his word, it was written in stone and there was no going back. His qualities I would say are loyalty. integrity. compassion. humour. generosity. There are a lot more I could give you

What is the earliest memory you have of your father?

The earliest memory I have of my dad is walking to my grandmother’s house, hand in hand.

Do you have a favourite memory of your father and why.

My favorite memory? That’s a tough one because i have so many. I would say my wedding day because he was happy for me, but so sad to let me go. He cried in church, and he cried when we danced together. He sang to me as we danced.


Did he talk to you about his war experiences, or did you ask him at all?

He never talked about the war directly to me.

Many families have stated that they learned about their loved ones when watching ‘Band’. Did you learn anything about your father when watching it that you didn’t know before?

I learned about my dad when Stephen Ambrose was interviewing the men for the book.

 I had NO idea what he or my Uncle Bill did during the war. Band helped them both open up and start talking about it. I definitely gained insight into my he disliked the holidays so much, because as a kid I never understood how anyone could dislike Christmas. Once I knew more about the brutality of Bastogne, and how he lost so many friends at that time – Muck, Penkala for example, I began to have some understanding of what he felt. During that same time, he had seen Joe Toye lose a leg as well as Uncle Bill (Guarnere) lose his, and then of course his very close friend John Julian was killed as well, on New Year’s Day. So, he never liked the holidays. Band helped me to understand why.

When Band was cast, I heard that he called you (with a little skepticism) to tell you a Scotsman was going to play him. Can you tell me anything about that call?

The phone call about Robin? My dad was a little skeptical about a Scot playing “South Philly” and we laughed about it. Then he spoke with Robin and of course they became good friends. and Robin did an excellent job! I thought I would be critical of both he and Frank John Hughes, knowing Bill and Babe so well – but they both did a phenomenal job.

What was life like when Bill and Babe became best of friends?

I don’t them any other way. I was born in 62.

I would imagine you had an “unofficial uncle” in Bill. How did your life change with Bill in it?

Bill was always in my life. Always there for my dad and me

Bill and Babes book was superb. Straight down the line, honest and displaying such integrity throughout. When I read it, I found myself reading it in that unmistakeable accent! Do you think the book allowed your father to ‘lay ghosts’ to rest?

I don’t think anything truly helped him lay ghosts to rest. He had survivor’s guilt until he died. that was very difficult to live with.

I’ve seen a quote in an interview that you have an “unbreakable bond” with Robin Laing, the actor who portrayed your father. What can you share?

Robin and I have been friends since we met. We just get along. He is a great guy, really fun and funny and we enjoy each other’s company.

Thank you Trisha for your time. It has been so good to chat to you and learn more about you, your Dad and your lives together. 

Babe – Thank you for your service


“In his memoir, Babe Heffron commented that “Bill was good to my daughter while I was sick. I was lying in a hospital bed for almost a year, and the doctors didn’t expect me to walk again. Bill took care of us. He came to see me every day.”

When Bill was in hospital it was no different. Good friends, best friends stick together.  Debi Rafferty, Bill Guarnere’s granddaughter shared a story about Babe…

She explained, “When gramps (Bill)  had his heart attack he was nonverbal and in the hospital a long time.  Babe came almost everyday. He would ask Gramps if he needed anything, and gramps would grunt.  Babe would shuffle over to the sink, wet a paper towel and then wipe gramps face.  Gramps would smile.  And we would all laugh.  I am not sure thats what gramps was saying but he did it every time.”