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Jack Sedlak cleanup day a success again for Monroeville

| Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Times Express
John Leitel picks up litter along Old William Penn Highway between Center Road and Garden City. Residents came out on Saturday to help clean up their neighborhood for the 18th annual Jack Sedlak Memorial Cleanup Day.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tim
Jamie Bender is working with the Garden City group cleaning up the area along Old William Penn Highway. Residents came out on Saturday to help 'clean up their neighborhood' for the 18th Annual Jack Sedlak Memorial Clan Up Day. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Times Express
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tim
Christina Dowling gets a helping hand from her three youngsters, Breana (8), Madilynn (4) and Aiden (1) on the Gateway Middle School grounds. Residents came out on Saturday to help 'clean up their neighborhood' for the 18th Annual Jack Sedlak Memorial Clan Up Day. Lillian DeDomenic | For The Times Express

Many Monroeville residents braved the cold once again for the 18th annual Jack Sedlak Memorial Cleanup Day this past weekend, which was named after a former Monroeville councilman.

Jack Sedlak died of cancer in 1995 at the age of 63. He was known for his love of the community and his efforts to make the area a cleaner, brighter place to live.

One of his three sons, Joe Sedlak, has been with the municipality for 25 years and continues the tradition with the annual community cleanup.

“I do it to honor my dad; that's a big part of it,” Joe Sedlak said. “I don't do this for myself or for my family. I want to see Monroeville cleaner. I want to see it better.”

More than 500 participants spent Saturday morning picking up litter around local parks and areas such as the intersections of routes 22 and 48, Old William Penn Highway, Monroeville Boulevard and Laurel Drive.

The Monroeville Recreation Department organized the event, which included several corporate sponsors.

But longtime residents, such as participants Elwyn and Jane Hildum of Garden City, have been cleaning up Laurel Drive since before the annual cleanup day began.

“We started it on our own because we just couldn't stand it,” Elwyn Hildum said. “We'd pull the bags up and take them to our place and leave them for the junk, so when this started it was great. “

PennDOT provides bags, gloves and reflective vests for the cleanup, and all of the trash can be left curbside for collection that day. The convenience makes it hard not to help.

Sponsors including the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Pub and Grub, Gamestop, and Max & Erma's donate money, raffle prizes and food to the picnic that is held in West Community Park after the cleanup.

This year, Max & Erma's provided cookies and coupons to participants.

“I just think Monroeville is one of the best communities,” said Apryl Watson, marketing ambassador for the Max & Erma's Monroeville location.

“Everyone helps each other out. It's like a little hometown in a big town.”

Jack Sedlak's son, Jay, who now lives in Swissvale, also participated last weekend.

He said he wanted to lend support to the community where he was born and raised.

“It was named after my father, so it gives you that community pride that makes you want to give back,” he said. “I remember the day he came up with the idea. I was a Boy Scout, so I said I'd help. My brother does a great job, too. I'm proud of my brother.

“I don't think too many communities do something like this.”

Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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