BURGETTSTOWN - Norman "Smitty" Smith was recognized for his years of volunteer work at the Burgettstown Area Senior Center during the Burgettstown Community Library's annual Stunda Good Egg Award presentation.
Smith, 86, is the senior center president and helps to plan and implement events as well as cut the grass and perform routine repair work around the center. He also is known for picking up trash along the John L. Brunner Bypass and helping neighbors with yard work.
Smith, a life-long borough resident, said he felt guilty for collecting Social Security after nearly 40 years of service at J&L Steel in Aliquippa, so he started looking for a way to give back to the community.
David Stunda, left, and John Stunda Jr., right, presented Norman 'Smitty' Smith with the 2013 Stunda Good Egg Award in recognition of Smith's volunteer work. The Stunda family and Burgettstown Community Library recognize a person who gives to the community without asking for recompense each year in memory of the Stundas' parents, John Sr. and Barbara, who were library supporters. -- Summer Wallace-Minger
"The four-lane was filled with trash, so I just grabbed a garbage bag," he said.
That act of community improvement grew into maintaining an area around the train tracks and field where the senior center was eventually built.
"I just made it look nice," he said.
He became involved with the senior center when former Director Jan Springer asked him why he cut the grass around the center.
"She asked, 'what are you doing, cutting the grass?" and I said 'I know it's the senior center, but I've been cutting the grass for years before the place was built.' Like everyone else, I didn't think I was old enough (for the senior center)."
Smith said he was enabled in his efforts by a support team of volunteers.
"I had good help," he said. "Thank God for all those good people."
Angie Deal, senior center director, said Smith was an invaluable aid at the center.
"I don't know how you got 13 (nominees), when I expressly told (the seniors) to stuff all the ballot boxes for 'Smitty,'" she joked. "There are going to be some reprimands."
She said that any job, from electrical to plumbing to fixing the heating, was tackled with enthusiasm by Smith. She added that he often repaired things before she could even think to have them addressed.
"One afternoon, I had a line of people waiting to talk to me, a stack of forms I had to fill out, and there was a problem in the ladies rooms," she said. "I had to do this, do this and do this. I asked him where the plunger was, and he said he'd do it. I said he didn't have to, but he just grabbed it and went right in.
"What would we do without you?"
The Good Egg Award was established in 1980 by Friends of the Library to recognize unsung heroes in the community. The Good Egg's name is placed on a plaque in the library, and the recipient is presented with an award, which was originally a ceramic egg made by Barbara Stunda, a ceramist who participated in library fairs and was an active library volunteer.
In 1985, the award became the Stunda Good Egg Memorial following the deaths of John and Barbara Stunda. The Stunda family established a memorial for them with the library and makes an annual $1,000 donation to the library honoring the Good Egg recipient. The ceramic egg continued as the award for several years and was made by Ethel Cundiff, Barbara Stunda's mother. After Cundiff's passing, John Stunda Jr.'s mother-in-law, Nina Sokolowsky, made the egg for several years. It is now a custom-decorated ceramic plate.
The presentation of the award is always held the week of Barbara Stunda's birthday, May 12; she would have been 75 years old this year.
Former Good Eggs include:
Dina Filipponi, merchant, 1980;
Clara Lanczak, principal, 1981;
Ken Howard, teacher, 1982;
Vincent Testa, youth sports, 1983;
Mildred Ralston, Meals on Wheels, 1985;
Charles Lawson, postal carrier, 1986;
Linda Farulli, Lollipop Lady, 1987;
Wayne Jeffrey, fireman, 1988;
Bill Steward, medical center, 1989;
Lou Pradetto, youth sports, 1990;
Gracie Prestion, beautification committee, 1991;
Ed DiNino, youth sports, 1992;
Jeannette Matesic, senior center, 1993;
Evelyn Beard, volunteer, 1994;
Philip Pavan, electrician, 1995;
Edie Jones, veterans' group, library and historical society, 1996;
June Mancinelli, beautification committee, 1997;
Clara Alvarez, beautification committee, 1998;
Nadene Dodds, Meals on Wheels, 1999;
Joe Abate, volunteer, 2000;
Dave Choman, carpenter, 2001;
Ray Balogna, businessman, 2002;
Charles Fletcher, volunteer, 2003;
Debbie Vraninin, library, 2004;
Dan Johnson, Boy Scouts, 2005;
Jim Reedy, volunteer, 2006;
Kenny Tustin, fireman, 2007;
Luanne Hughes, volunteer, 2008;
Marci Campa, business owner, 2009;
Arletta Zelenko, librarian, 2010;
Jean Roberts, food pantry organizer, 2011; and
Lynn Hill, youth sports, 2012.