“Back in ’66, I was 66!”
It’s no more than a line. No more than someone bragging about his glory days on the undefeated Saltsburg High School football team in 1966.
And if Ron “Chops” Boring had a dollar for every time he uttered those words, he would have been one rich man.
Chops was a living legend in Saltsburg, until his untimely passing last weekend.
He was one of those men that every town has, one of those men that loved reliving his past and passing on his knowledge to anyone who would listen. But he was more than that. He was a staple in the community.
He was a role model for many, even though they may be embarrassed to admit it.
After graduation in the late 1960s, he went on to play football at Clarion University. Once he returned to town, he did whatever he could to help out, whether it was working for the police department, giving directions or instructing the current football players on the high school team on proper technique.
But for some, he could easily rub you the wrong way. He had his scuffles and arguments with other townspeople.
However, to see what he meant to Saltsburg, you must look deeper.
He was one of the main figures during the era of the Saltsburg Area Softball League, umpiring numerous games and a major reason the league ran for as long as it did. And in many cases, he hitched a ride with players just to get to the games.
Chops instilled knowledge to the youth that, whether they believed so at the time, would be valuable in the rest of their lives.
He was the first to offer any kind of services to someone in need, even though he didn’t have the resources.
And upon his death, Saltsburg gave back.
Because Chops had no life insurance or resources to provide for a funeral, the town raised more than $4,000 in less than 24 hours for his funeral expenses.
Many of those donors were people he may have tormented at one point or another. And many of those realized the life lessons he provided.
The corner of Salt Street and Washington Street will never be the same. Chops will be greatly missed by the town.
And while he may be gone, the legend of 66 will live on.
Rest in peace, Ron “Chops” Boring.