Volunteer awarded for yearslong dedication to Plum
When Polly Schmeck first moved to Plum from Pittsburgh in 1961, there was no library in the area.
So she got to work right away.
With Schmeck's help, a mobile library soon was established to bring books to people weekly when requested. But that was not enough for the enthusiastic new resident.
Along with other library advocates, Schmeck worked to accumulate funds and rally community support, which brought about the first library in Plum in the 1990s, which was located on Unity Center Road.
For all of her hard work in the area, Schmeck, 81, was given the Citizen Recognition Award presented by the Plum Borough Council on Feb. 11.
“No matter what the project, Polly left her fingerprint,” Plum resident Valerie Yockey said. Yockey and Schmeck worked together on several community projects, including the establishment of the library.
“There were a lot of tenacious women (involved),” Yockey said, remembering sitting in on the first meeting in 1988 that was held in the kitchen of a resident.
Schmeck continued to sit on the library board and played a role in the creation of the current library on Center New Texas Road.
She said she also got involved in many other projects through her church, St. John the Baptist; through the schools because her husband, Tony, served as an administrator there; and in any way she could find that would benefit the community.
Yockey, who is the chairman of the Plum Borough Democratic Committee, also remembers helping to start the annual holiday Sugar Plum Days festival. Schmeck was instrumental in organizing it, Yockey said. .
Schmeck worked as a nurse in Pittsburgh and brought her passion for the medical field to Plum when she organized a local meeting of the Allegheny Well Baby Conference in the borough.
The event provides vaccinations and checkups for babies.
Over the years, Schmeck said, she has served as an elected borough auditor, volunteer on the Plum Beautification Committee, volunteer with the Allegheny Foothills Historical Society, and she frequently volunteers at the Plum Senior Community Center where an award for volunteerism and community service that is given to a senior in the area was renamed to “The Polly Award.”
“If there's ever a person who really exemplifies community support, it's my mother,” said John Schmeck, former mayor of Plum.
During his term as a borough official, John Schmeck said, his mother was very supportive and an inspiration to him and the six other Schmeck children that were raised in Plum.
“Her life was always dedicated to people and she taught that to all of us,” John Schmeck said.
Polly Schmeck is known for voicing her opinions, John Schmeck said.
“She told people how she felt and was always honest,” he said.
John Schmeck said that his mother's words and actions taught him an important lesson: “If you do what's for the people, at the end of the day, nothing else matters.”
Matthew DeFusco is a reporter with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2311 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.