I read the news story “North Huntingdon man's autobiography to benefit Westmoreland food bank” concerning Jim Shirley, who is donating the proceeds from his book to the Westmoreland County Food Bank. This does not surprise me in the least, as Mr. Shirley has been giving back to the community for years. I can personally attest to this fact.
When I was 16, some 44 years ago, I got into some trouble. Back then, when a young person would go astray, the police would call on an organization they had formed, in cooperation with a group of concerned citizens, that would mentor troubled youths rather than send them to juvenile hall. Jim was a part of that group and I was assigned to report to Jim.
He would give me jobs to do around his funeral home, paid me a wage and would even feed me at lunchtime. He encouraged me to do well in school and served as an example I looked up to. I never got into any more trouble after that, finished high school and went on to serve in the Army and also my community.
So, here's to the life and times of Jim Shirley as I look forward to the next chapter of his continuing contributions to the community.
Thomas G. Krause
The writer is a North Huntingdon Township commissioner.
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