Longtime volunteer a familiar face in Leechburg
Violet Stivason cannot walk more than a few feet in Leechburg without seeing a familiar face.
“My great grandchildren don’t like to go shopping with me because I see too many people I know,” she said.
It’s for good reason. The lifelong resident has volunteered for organizations in the area for decades.
“My family’s been after me for several years to slow down and I haven’t done it yet,” said Stivason, 84. “I’ve been like this all my life. I’ve got the energy to go. Anybody needs me for anything, I go help them. Why? Because I feel they need the help. I think everybody in this town knows me.”
Stivason can be seen most weekdays during the warmer months in front of First Commonwealth Bank along Market Street, selling raffle tickets for various charities.
She volunteers her Saturdays at the Weenie Wagon, a food truck selling hot dogs and other items for the borough volunteer fire department and the Leechburg Area Community Association. Stivason provides homemade sauerkraut for the foods.
Stivason’s been a lifelong member of Hebron Lutheran Church, and is in her first year on its council.
She can be seen the last Wednesday of the month volunteering for the Leechburg Food Bank at First United Methodist Church.
Her sister, Norma Kummick, got her to volunteer there more than 10 years ago and she has helped out ever since.
“I do a little bit of everything over there,” Stivason said. “I help with the bags and put the food in the bags, help people sign up. I like this town very much. It doesn’t take one person, it takes everybody to keep the town going.”
She said the food bank always needs volunteers. It serves about 84 Leechburg families and distributes 3,500 pounds of food per month.
It gets its supplies through Armstrong County Community Action, which gets its food through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. People who wish to volunteer at the Leechburg food bank can call 412-977-8094.
Stivason lives in Lee Haven Towers, Leechburg’s senior high rise, where she checks in on her neighbors and delivers food on occasion.
The only thing Stivason doesn’t do is celebrate Thanksgiving. That tradition stopped in 2000 with the death of her husband, Frederick Stivason. He died at age 65. The two were married one month short of 47 years.
“I’ve been invited out so many times (for Thanksgiving) and just flatly refuse,” she said.
Stivason went to Leechburg High School and left during her junior year in 1951 when she became pregnant with her son, Barry.
She became a seamstress for about four years at Reidbord Brothers in Washington Township and went on to do house work for numerous people.
Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .