Indiana, PA - Indiana County

CARL KOLOGIE: Relay, Stewart plaque

by on June 01, 2014 1:50 AM

Walkers and runners were circling the track, a DJ was making small talk between songs that could easily be heard throughout the complex, the refreshment stand was doing a banner business selling everything from hot dogs to haluski and a very competitive volleyball game had attracted a large crowd right in the middle of all the activity.

That was the scene in the wee hours of Saturday morning at the annual Relay for Life at the White Township Recreation Complex, where luminarias lined both sides of the track with names of survivors or those who have fallen to cancer.

This event benefits the American Cancer Society, and this marks the 20th year it has been held in Indiana County.

Co-chairs this year were Chris Lasser and Carol Kitchen, and as of about 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, approximately $118,000 of the $160,000 goal for this year had been raised.

“But we are not too concerned about making goal as we actually have until August before the campaign is officially over. Last year we raised $155,000 and so we increased it this year,” said Lasser.

There were 46 teams registered for the 24-hour event, and someone was on the track, running or walking, for every hour.

Our group was there on behalf of the FNB from the Allied Club to make our annual donation.

For the past eight years this has been a project in which we participate, and fortunately we have a designated runner, John “Chips” Kennedy, who carries our banner on his back during his tour around the track.

o o o

Until he was 15 years old, movie idol Jimmy Stewart attended The Model School.

Unless you are an avid fan of the late film star from Indiana, you would not know that.

On Friday afternoon a plaque was erected and dedicated at Wilson Hall on the campus of IUP that tells the story of Stewart and The Model School. Now everyone who passes by and reads that plaque will know that story.

A brief, half-hour ceremony that featured Dr. Michael Driscoll, president of IUP; Carson Greene, a founding member of the Jimmy Stewart Museum; and Pauline Simms, president of the Jimmy Stewart Museum board of directors, marked the dedication.

In a brief history of Wilson Hall, Driscoll told the gathering that Wilson Hall was known as The Model School when it opened in 1893 and was the second building, after John Sutton Hall, on campus.

Stewart was born in 1908 and attended The Model School until he was 15. He then studied at Mercersburg Academy before enrolling at Princeton.

Greene recounted that Stewart was not in favor of having a museum in his honor and had to be convinced that it would benefit the community.

He also told the story of Stewart calling his twin daughters, Judy and Kelly, to his side and gave them just one piece of advice, “Be nice to everyone.”

Simms added, “That was the way (Stewart) lived his life.”

And she said that’s the reason he is loved and respected internationally.

Carl Kologie is a columnist for The Indiana Gazette.
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