Plum resident chosen as Pennsylvania's 'Senior Hero'
When Darnell “Jeff” Pope of Plum came home after suffering a stroke, he was beaten.
“I thought everyone was staring at me. People don't know how long I sat in my wheelchair, staring out the window,” he said.
Pope, 73, was persuaded one day to stop by the Plum Senior Community Center and found himself essentially drafted into the center's stroke support group by leader Terry Kuhn.
“He'd call me on the phone, he came and picked me up … he always kept me upbeat,” Pope said. “I decided I was going to do what I could to make sure other stroke survivors got a lot of what I got.”
Kuhn was killed in a 2006 accident, and Pope volunteered to take over the group after it lost funding in 2010, in addition to his work with American Legion Post No. 980 where he is a former commander, his service on the senior center's advisory board and his work with Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.
The years of volunteerism Pope put in were recognized last week, when he was named Home Instead's Pennsylvania “Senior Hero,” part of the organization's annual “Salute to Senior Service.”
“Many seniors aren't just kicking back and relaxing. They're delivering meals, they're serving as crossing guards,” said Home Instead community service representative Nick Paradise. “Jeff does all those things and more.”
Pope was presented with proclamations from the offices of U.S. Sen. Patrick Toomey, Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-12), Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-45) and state representatives Joe Markosek (D-25) and Anthony DeLuca (D-32).
As part of the award, Home Instead made a $500 donation to Pope's charity of choice, the Plum Community Senior Center. It also made an additional $100 donation to the Brain Recovery Crew, a nonprofit with which Pope also is working.
Pope said he felt as though he was called to work with fellow stroke victims.
“They don't tell you what to do after a stroke when you leave the hospital. They just send you home,” he said.
“I know what it's like to have a stroke. I know what it does to you and what you need to come back from it. And I saw that as my job.”
Pope said the stroke support group “gives me a reason to get up in the morning — it's my calling.”
Pope's name now will be entered into the running for Home Instead's national “Senior Hero,” which will be chosen from the state winners by a panel of senior-care specialists and announced at the end of June.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 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.
- Monroeville Mall reinvents itself to attract more visitors
- Monroeville Public Library names new director
- Pitcairn to double security cams
- Gateway School District granted money for school resource officer