Pasta dinner raises money to help Rostraver man gain mobility
Showing the kind of generosity that is so often displayed in the region’s small communities, a group of four West Newton-area women marshaled their efforts Sunday to raise money for a wheelchair-dependant Rostraver man who needs to have his van’s wheelchair ramp repaired so he get into the vehicle.
“I am very pleased with it. It is so nice that they did this,” Alan Savko, 54, said of the efforts that went into putting together a pasta dinner Sunday at the West Newton Lions Club to raise money to help him.
Savko, who lives in the village of Collinsburg, is on disability because of health problems. He relies on a wheelchair to give him mobility because he has cerebral palsy. He was able to maintain a job despite his affliction until 2006, when he was stricken with flu that weakened the left side of the body; that had been his “good side.”
This has been a difficult year for Savko, who has undergone two surgeries to try to regain some of his strength. He suffered a setback when he had an infection after the second surgery.
Savko said he also is relying on a GoFundMe page to raise money to get the wheelchair ramp repaired. Ideally, depending upon the amount of money raised, he would like to get another wheelchair van.
As for organizing the pasta dinner (with salad and dessert) on Sunday, “it was four women who get together and just decided to do a random act of kindness … to help an individual, somebody who had crossed our path and someone that we knew,” said Mary Popovich, president of the West Newton Lions Club.
Popovich, who is West Newton’s mayor, said she joined forces with Savko’s nurses, Marci Elsbury and Raina Richardson, and Lisa Marchetti, director of the West Newton Senior Citizens Center. The Lions Club, which is dedicated to service, is the perfect organization to undertake the fundraiser, Popovich said.
“We saw the need for a wheelchair (ramp),” for Savko said Elsbury. She heads Mantle House Mission, a West Newton outreach for women in need.
One of those enjoying the meal was Josh McKeel, 35, of Herminie, who also uses a wheelchair.
“This is a very blessed thing that has happened,” said McKeel, who was conducting video interviews of fellow diners for his blog on food.
Popovich said it was worth all the effort preparing and cooking the food, some of which was donated.
Without a new wheelchair ramp on his van, Savko would be limited in where he could go.
Those who want to donate toward Savko’s wheelchair ramp can send a check to the West Newton Lions Club, 551 Turkeytown Road, West Newton, PA in care of the treasurer.
“We just wanted to bless him,” Popovich said. “Every little bit helps.”
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .