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Sewickley Valley comes to fire victim's aid

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Donations can be made to the Elmer Bohr charitable account by visiting the First Niagara bank, 400 Thorn St., Sewickley.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

A Sewickley resident who lost his home in a fire last month has found a new place to live.

When lightning struck the Sewickley United Methodist Church tower and traveled to the Howard Hanna building at 401 Broad St. on June 13, Elmer Bohr and two other people who lived in units above the real estate office were displaced. The two others moved in with relatives.

Bohr is known around Sewickley for dressing as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the borough's Light Up Night; Scooby-Doo at Sewickley Unleashed; and Spider-Man in the town's Halloween parade.

An outpouring of support from the Sewickley Valley community followed the fire, said Tiffany Drey, a friend and co-worker of Bohr's at Yankello's Video & Audio on Beaver Street.

Drey began organizing fundraisers and finding ways to help Bohr, who is in his 60s, find a new place to live.

She declined to say how much was raised, but said money donated is enough to allow Bohr to pay rent and living expenses for at least the next year or two.

After temporarily living with a family Bohr knew from St. James Catholic Church, he moved into his own apartment near Beaver and Little streets, Drey said.

Support has slowed since Drey began organizing fundraising efforts but, she said, money still is trickling in.

A company in Moon is planning a fundraiser soon, she said.

The Rev. Tom Burke, pastor of St. James, said the church's St. James St. Vincent de Paul Society plans to help Bohr, too.

“People have been wonderful,” said Drey, adding that many donors wished to remain anonymous.

Mike and Frank Yankello — brothers who run Yankello's Video & Audio — have taken care of Bohr for the last 30 years, Drey said.

“This was a nice surprise for them that the community came out and helped,” Drey said. “His needs were always taken care of, but now it's brought attention.”

Bobby Cherry is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-324-1408 or

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