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M A I NLI NE newspapers

Mount Aloysius receives funding for therapeutic art program Vol. 119 No. 36

USPS 326-480

By Joshua Byers

of Mainline Newspapers

For the second year in a row, Mount Aloysius College will receive funding from the Creative Health Impact Grant through the 1889 Foundation and Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance for the college’s Opening Minds Through Art program. Don Talbot, professor of English and fine arts at the Mount and head of the OMA program, said the college will be working with Laurel View Village in Davidsville and Richland Woods Assisted Living in Johnstown this year, which is an expansion from last year when the

Cresson, Pa.

college worked solely with Laurel View. The goal of these classes, which will take place for 10 weeks in the fall and spring, is to empower the artists who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. “It’s a real person-intensive program,” Talbot said. Each artist has a volunteer that is specific to them. Other volunteers deliver and remove supplies. Talbot explained that the 35-45 minute sessions are designed to be completed in one sitting. The art is considered “non-representational,” which means that though the class works with colors and shapes, it doesn’t paint land-

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scapes or baskets of fruit. This is because attempting to create something along those lines may cause the artist to become frustrated. A new project is introduced every week and includes a set of instructions using the best supplies possible. Each step allows the artist to choose between several options. For example, if the instructions call for red and blue paints and the artist doesn’t want either one of those colors, the red and blue are swapped out for colors the artist does want. The class also helps the artists through repetition. The artists are SEE PROGRAM, PAGE 3A

Fair royalty

The 2017 Fair Queen is Morgan Watt (left), the Fair Princess is Emily Kutskel, and the Young Miss is Hailey Popma. The trio was crowned during a ceremony on Sunday morning after the competition concluded. See the story on page 13A. Photo by Megan Riner.

‘It’s good to be from Gallitzin’

One of the original Gallitzin Area Alumni Association members, Arthur Julian (sitting, middle), was surprised by Gallitzin Area Alumni Scholarship Board of Directors members (back row, from left) Irene Syznal, Paulette Schmelzlen, Debbie Chuckalovchak, Jane Marcinko; (front row) Bob Decoskey, and (right) Rick Sunseri with a $50,000 endowment donated in his honor to St. Francis University for Gallitzin area students who apply for financial aid. Absent from the photo is member Fred Gibbons. Photo by Joshua Byers.

Working together

Lilly volunteer firefighter Chayenne Gohn (right) looks on as Montana Miller tests out a Hurst tool on a vehicle at Cresson Steel who donated a number of cars for this purpose on Aug. 29. Photo by Joshua Byers.

A lifelong career

James Effinger has served his community for nearly 40 years as a first responder

By Joshua Byers

of Mainline Newspapers

James Effinger is the manager of the Cambria Alliance Emergency Medical Service in Cresson and has been for the last 30 years. But his story is not the ambulance company he’s dedicated his life to, nor is it his 15 years of service to the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department. It is neither the constant struggle of the service nor the growing dangers of the job. No, Effinger’s story is the men and women with whom he’s served,

mentored, and helped over his years as a first responder. It’s his two sons who’ve followed in their father’s footsteps and his wife’s undying love, devotion, and strength. In 1977, Effinger, now 58, graduated high school and began volunteering with the Cresson fire department. “Back then, that’s just something you did,” Effinger said. According to him, if a person didn’t join the military after high school, they joined the fire department. Some of his closest friends had joined already, so he decided to as well. From the very start, Effinger knew he’d found his place. He said he really liked it, fighting fires was exciting and the camaraderie was great. Effinger became close with the people he served, and he said though there was a lot of joking around, he knew those guys

had his back. Over the years, he became certified as a Firefighter 1 and 2 and Fire Officer 1, as well as other certifications. Another aspect to joining the fire department in those days was people more or less automatically joined the ambulance service as well. Charles Kennedy, a local funeral home owner then, was the one who ran the ambulance service, and Effinger said Kennedy would call the department to see who was willing to take a trip in the hearse. Before the modern ambulance service, local funeral directors would use the vehicles in their care to transport injured people to the hospital. As the field grew and developed, the vehicles evolved into the modern ambulance. Instead of just transporting the injured, the crews began to treat them in the

vehicle on the way. This is where the careers of emergency medical technicians and paramedics came from. Effinger said Kennedy would “fork over” the money to send people to receive the training necessary to become an EMT or paramedic. For Effinger, 1980 was when he was sent to become an EMT, and just two years later, he trained to became a paramedic. Working on an ambulance was where Effinger met his wife, Tammy, of whom he speaks with great adoration and care. She was also an EMT. He said during his time as a full-time paramedic in Altoona from 1985 to 1990, Tammy raised their sons, David and Scott. “I missed a lot of things,” Effinger said. He added that he regrets that he worked so much and didn’t spend

more time with his family, but he gives his wife a lot of credit for putting up with what she has over the years. All that running around he did for the fire department and ambulance wasn’t all bad, though. In fact, it rubbed off on his sons. “It must have got into their blood,” Effinger said. Scott Effinger was a deputy coroner for Cambria County for a year and a half as well as a firefighter for Cresson Volunteer Fire Company and an EMT for Cambria Alliance. Right now, he’s a live-in volunteer firefighter at Richland Township Fire Department and has worked part-time for Northern EMS in Somerset County. David Effinger is currently a dispatcher for the Cambria County 911 Center and has also been a firefightSEE CAREER, PAGE 4A

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