People say this community has gone downhill, pointing to the drugs, the violence, the blight, etc. This may be so.
However, when it comes to supporting an individual who has lived and supported this community all of his life, and is now fighting cancer, this small-town community really comes through.
This was demonstrated Feb. 12, when a chicken barbecue benefit was held at Whitey's in Johnstown benefiting Garth W. Hillier, a wonderful husband, dad, papa, brother, uncle, friend and co-worker. Unbelievably, more than 1,200 chicken dinners went out of Whitey's that day. As someone commented "it ran like a well-oiled machine."
The day would not have been a success without all of the wonderful friends and family of Garth who volunteered to make the barbecue a success. To Steve and the Whitey's "pit crew" (who started the chicken in below-zero weather); and the potato wrappers, coleslaw slingers, dinner packers, "drive thru" runners, dinner runners, cookie bakers, bracelet sellers and ticket sellers we say, "Thank you so, so much." Barb Deluca, thank you so much for making those awesome cupcakes and donating all proceeds to Garth. The Johnstown Police Department did an awesome job of directing traffic in the parking lot in an orderly fashion. Thank you to the Johnstown Fire Department for standing by while LifeNet landed in the back of Whitey's.
Heather and Steve Melita and all of the Whitey's staff: Thanks is just not enough. Your hard work and planning made this event worthy of a medal. We "interrupted" your daily business, but you were real troopers throughout the day. We could not have done this without your expertise, dedication and your love and support for Garth.
Last but not least, thank you to all of you who purchased tickets and donated to this worthy cause. Without you, it would not have been the success that it was.
Please continue to keep Garth in your thoughts and prayers. We know Garth and his family feel the love and support from this "small town community." We wouldn't want it any other way. LiveStrong, GWH.
MARY ANN BALDWIN and LORI BURNS, co-chairwomen for the benefit