McKeesport foundation facilitates Pirates ballgame trip for Army vet
An Army veteran and longtime Pirates fan is headed to PNC Park Saturday to watch his favorite ballclub battle the Colorado Rockies.
Joe Stark, 81, of East McKeesport was joined by family members and friends at Community Life McKeesport Thursday morning when Allison Gricheck presented him with four Lexus Club tickets to the game, dinner reservations, parking pass, a Pirates hat, shirt and picture frame, and a certificate of honor and thanks.
She is the secretary for Twilight Wish Foundation's Allegheny County branch. Tickets were donated to the Foundation by the Highland Park Care Center.
“I'm feeling great,” Stark said. “I haven't seen a Pirate game in a couple years. It's gonna be a great time. They're winning. It's the perfect time (to see a game). I'd like to thank them all, Community Life and the organization (Twilight Wish). What more can I say?”
“This is such a pleasure and honor to stand before such a wonderful gentleman that's done so much for the community and your country,” Gricheck said during the presentation.
Gricheck said they originally planned to send Stark to spring training in Florida, but that did not work logistically. She also thanked Highland Park Care Center for their generous gift.
Stark was given a black and gold baseball-themed cake and patriotic balloons.
“I've known about it for a few weeks, but I didn't expect anything like this,” Stark said. “I just figured someone would come with tickets. It really made me feel great. I (have followed) the Pirates since I was in grade school. Ralph Kiner, he was my favorite a long time ago.”
His favorite player now is pitcher Jeff Locke.
Stark was a corporal in the Army during the Korean War, serving as an instructor at Fort Carson in Colorado from 1953-55.
He said he trained divisions in tactics, patrols, map reading and other intelligence and recognizance measures, but never went overseas.
Stark also coached football, baseball and basketball youth teams when he was younger, and is known for his generosity and concern for others.
“This is a shock,” Stark's daughter Kristine Stark said. “I thought he was just getting a couple Pirate tickets. Community Life is the best thing we've ever done for him. They're so supportive with Twilight Wish doing this for him. All he does is worry about everyone else and puts himself last.”
Kristine Stark will go with her father, his granddaughter and one of the granddaughter's friends to Saturday's game.
Community Life is a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive health and social services to frail, elderly adults so that they can continue to live in their homes.
Community Life submitted a wish request to Twilight Wish to recognize Joe Stark for his services.
Twilight Wish Foundation is a national nonprofit charitable organization that grants wishes to deserving, economically disadvantaged seniors. It has granted more than 1,900 wishes since its founding 80 years ago.
More information about the organization is available online at www.twilightwish.org.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Emotional send-off awaits Pitt seniors
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Police investigating after cab driver shot in Hazelwood
- 1 dead, 1 injured after crash in North Point Breeze
- Turkey releases recording of warnings to Russian plane
- Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster