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Helping others all in a day's work for Susan Hunter

Emma Jene Lelik/ForTheValley Independent Susan Hunter displays the recognition award she received in 2008 for Outstanding Service from the Foster Grandparent Program of Western Pennsylvania.

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By Emma Jene Lelik
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

There's no grass growing under the feet of nonagenarian Susan Hunter.

She has many titles – mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and foster grandmother – and is dedicated to each.

In the latter description, she serves four days a week at Ringgold Elementary South from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I've been there 15 years,” she said. “Originally, I was with the kindergarteners but the last nine years I'm with the second graders.”

She helps the teachers with small chores and offers encouragement to the students.

“I just love it,” she said.

Her work with the school has not gone unrecognized.

In 2008 she received the prestigious Director's Award for Outstanding Service from the Foster Grandparent Program of Western Pennsylvania.

She has a full schedule on Mondays.

After leaving the school, she does an evening shift of volunteering at Mon Valley Hospital. This affiliation also goes back many, many years.

A longtime member of Star of Bethlehem, Order of Eastern Star, she is a past matron and currently is a trustee in the organization.

And she is chairperson of trustees in St. Paul Baptist Church, Donora, where she has been a lifelong member.

She is also very active in the Baptist State Convention and was off to the winter meeting in Camp Hill Feb. 21 and 22, just after celebrating her 90th birthday at a big bash in Monongahela Valley Country Club last Saturday.

She acknowledged each of the 100 or more guests at her party with comments on how they are involved in her life.

She was president of the former American Legion Auxiliary Unit 695 in Donora for many years.

Retired from the Area Agency on Aging in Monessen, she fills her days with volunteer work and family matters.

“I haven't missed any of my great-granddaughter's games,” she said.

She is referring to Cara Grogan, a senior at Monessen High School, who plays both basketball and softball.

Born in Donora, Hunter graduated from Donora High School in 1942.

For 56 years she resided on Bradford Drive “sharing the same back yard with my parents, Blanche and Ad Ross.”

After a fire at her Donora home this past July, she moved to North Belle Vernon.

“I came from a family of eight children, four boys and four girls,” she said. “All my brothers were involved in Donora sports.”

She was married to the late David Hunter II and they had two children, Theresa Grogan, who works part-time in the Juvenile Program at Mon Valley YMCA, and David Hunter III, vice president of Investment Financial Corp., Tampa, Fla.

There are three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Obviously, Susan Hunter wears many hats. But the most colorful one is the one she dons for the gatherings of the Red Hat Society Donora Divas.

Emma Jene Lelik is a freelance writer.

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