Train display at Penn Hills Police Department delivers holiday cheer
For nearly three decades, the Penn Hills Police Department has joined with volunteers to bring holiday cheer to young and old through its annual train display.
Filling up the entirety of the department's basement firing range, the display has been erected each year since 1984.
“A group of officers got together and thought that having a train display might be nice,” said Officer Duane Yenchik, who helps set up and run the multi-platform display. “They brought their own trains in and set everything up. That first year, they raised more than $10,000.”
The $1 admission cost, which has not changed since the display opened, goes to Police Helping People Daily, a Penn Hills police charity established by former officer Dom Slebrich, who died in 2011.
The charity donates to a variety of worthy causes including Camp Shining Arrow, a law enforcement scholarship at Penn Hills High School and more.
“(On Dec. 19, police records coordinator) Phil Pusateri and I went down and gave a check to Make-a-Wish,” Yenchik said. “That makes more than $39,000 donated to them over the years.”
The train display itself has so many trains — brought in by different local companies, who can also purchase “billboards” throughout the “town” and advertising sponsorship on the side of train cars — that the display includes a rail yard.
It takes about a month to turn the firing range into the train display, and Yenchik said he's blessed to have plenty of good help.
“We have a really good core of volunteers as well as kids from the (high school) NJROTC. They help with construction and they help run the trains,” he said. “For the last six or seven years, without the volunteers, we couldn't do it.”
Even if volunteers are short, Yenchik's wife has been known to fill in as head engineer.
Yenchik said his favorite part of running the display each year is the happiness it brings to visitors.
“It brings smiles to kids' faces as they come in, and hey, adults too,” he said. “We've had four generations of a family in here at one time, and to me, it's being able to see a child's face light up when they see the train and display.”
Yenchik said he considers it a way he can give back to the community he serves.
“Plus I get to play with trains,” he said with a laugh.
The Penn Hills Police Department train display will run through Jan. 5 at the municipal building, located at 12245 Frankstown Road. Admission is $1, and the display is open Monday through Friday from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m.
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.
- Pa. auditor cites flaws in gas drilling regulation
- Federal appeals court deals blow to Affordable Care Act
- A poor reflection of America
- Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
- McCandless residents voice opposition to Wal-Mart plan
- Woman charged in city Pride scuffle waives hearing on charges she assaulted her mother
- Castle Shannon mayor honored by statewide association
- 2 Greene County residents charged with killing 3 in W.Va.
- Squirrel Hill street that had been paved getting another pave job
- Mercer restoration company turns junk into repurposed treasure
- Moody’s downgrades Pa. rating; Corbett ponders pension reform session