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New Ken/Arnold Social in the Park helps friends keep in touch

| Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 1:27 a.m.
Eric Felack | Tribune-Review
New Kensington/Arnold Social in the Park is one of four entities honored by the New Kensington Points of Light Committee. In September 2012, New Kensington Street Department worker Scott Luke mounted a plaque in memory of Social in the Park founder Rob Greb, who died earlier that year. Joining Luke at the Memorial Park bandstand were (from left) Kathleen O’Neil, business associate of artist Scott Paulovich (center) who cast and sculpted the plaque, and Cindy Downard, plaque designer and a Social in the Park member.

NEW KENSINGTON — After a long battle with cancer, Rob Greb felt like he had lost touch with many of his friends, according to his sister, Lenora Vasey.

Vasey said her brother tried to reconnect with his friends on Facebook, but felt that something was missing.

So he started The New Ken/Arnold Social in the Park last year.

Greb died in March from sepsis, but his event lives on.

“He really loved this community,” Vasey said. “He wasn't the type of person to start something like this. He just wanted to connect with everyone.”

This year's social will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Park.

A plaque honoring Greb, who was active in local theater groups, will be dedicated on the park's stage.

“Rob started all this and we thought it would be nice to dedicate this plaque to him,” said Cindy Downard, 56, of Lower Burrell, who designed the plaque. “He had a love of theater and music, so this is an appropriate place to honor him.”

The plaque was cast by New Kensington native Steve Paulovich, who never met Greb.

“Cindy told me all about him, and I wanted to help,” said Paulovich, 51, of Louisville, Ky. He designed the Willie Thrower statue at Valley Memorial Stadium and the coal miners' memorial in Harwick.

Vasey, who will attend the dedication ceremony with her son, Donny, said her brother would have been proud of the plaque.

“I think he would have been thrilled,” she said. “It's going to be very emotional.”

Proceeds from the social benefit Memorial Park directly.

“Last year we raised over $400 and helped fix the bathrooms,” Downard said. “We hope to raise much more than that this year, so we can help fix the stage like Rob would want.”

Other events at the social will include: food vendors, a Chinese auction, music, a kids corner with face painting and pony rides, and a book signing by local author Lillie Leonardi.

Kinloch Meals on Wheels will be there to collect nonperishable food, Downard stressed.

While the day will be filled with fun events, Greb will be on everyone's mind, she said.

“This all started because Rob wanted to talk to his friends on Facebook,” Downard said.

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. Comments on this story can be sent to 724- 226-4666.

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