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Decade of Champions brings sports heroes to benefit groups

| Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Items to be auctioned during the fund-raiser for area nonprofits.

KITTANNING TOWNSHIP – Sports fans and history buffs are invited to hear about Pittsburgh sports heroes while helping out some local nonprofits at a family-friendly event at the fire hall on Saturday.

Visitors will get to hear accounts from sports greats Steve Blass, 1971 Pirates World Series champion, and Andy Russell of 1974-75 Steelers Super Bowl Champion fame.

There also will be a tribute to Roberto Clemente given by Ellis Cannon, president and publisher of Pittsburgh Sports Report Inc.

EQT Corporation is sponsoring the event for the second year in a row. All proceeds benefit Armstrong County Community Action, Armstrong County Habitat for Humanity and HAVIN.

Linda Cornman, Community Action's director of planning, said Blass and Russell will be fielding questions from the audience and will be available for signing autographs.

There will also be a silent auction of items obtained by EQT which include signed sports memorabilia.

“Last year's event was very successful,” said Cornman.

And just like last year, proceeds from this year's event allocated for Community Action will be distributed to area food banks, feeding a total of 3,400 individuals, said Cornman.

HAVIN Director Jo Ellen Bowman said she is grateful to EQT for its financial support because just like all nonprofits, HAVIN has experienced recent cutbacks in funding. Money raised locally from fundraisers such as the one planned for Saturday is crucial, said Bowman.

“Some of our grants require match monies,” said Bowman. “We have to prove we have local support in dollars.”

And because EQT is sponsoring the endeavor, there is no out-of-pocket expense of the three nonprofits, said Bowman.

Michael McElhaney, executive director of Armstrong habitat for Humanity, said last year's proceeds went toward the “Brush with Kindness” program. That program helps low-income homeowners repair their homes' exterior.

McElhaney said the money helped pay for projects like the installation of wheelchair accessible ramps and roof repairs. And there are more projects lined up for this year which will be funded by Saturday's event.

Linda Robertson, media relations manager with EQT, said that in addition to covering all of the day's expenses, the energy company will be presenting all three non profits with checks in the amount of $1,000.

“We're happy to be part of this outreach to a community where we live and work in,” said Robertson.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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