The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 12, 2013

Readers' Forum 6-12 | Family's strength in adversity an inspiration

JOHNSTOWN — On June 1, my boyfriend Paul Joel “PJ” Taylor was killed in an all-terrain vehicle accident. I was broken in more ways than anyone could ever comprehend, until I turned to his family, the Taylors.

As I spent this past week with them, I noticed something deeper and stronger that I never noticed before. I witnessed the most inspiring faith I’ve ever seen. I never realized how truly special this bond they shared really was. Sherri, Paul, Maggie and Katie stood by their son’s and brother’s casket with a smile because they had the faith to do so. How incredible.

They laughed more than they cried and reminded me where PJ is – heaven. They had to put their faith to the test and their faith has grown. They are the strongest and most beautiful family on this earth and I truly believe that.

PJ always told me he was never scared of dying because of his faith, and the Taylors have shown me that’s all it takes.

Paul, PJ’s dad, gave me more strength than I think he realizes. The amount of faith this guy holds inside of him has inspired me to be more like him. He will always be the greatest guy I know. He taught me to live life to the fullest and become the best person I can possibly be because PJ wouldn’t expect anything less.

This family has taught me something so incredibly deep. This family is an inspiration.

Easton Tomak


Failure to protect students will be costly

I am ashamed by recent statements made on behalf of my alma mater, Bishop McCort High School.

I am also baffled by those who protest attempts by the board to hold accountable those entrusted with the safety of children.

How often have we heard over the past few years, “This person is a pillar in our community, therefore, he/she could not have known or could not have done anything to prevent the sexual assault of a child”?

We must reverse this thinking. We should say: “If this person knew and did nothing, or did not know out of some dereliction, they cannot remain a pillar of our community.”

In McCort’s case, we do not have all the facts.

We do not know how capable adults, responsible for the safety of students, did not know that children who were receiving “conditioning” were routinely allegedly  assaulted.

We do not know why intelligent adults failed to question the wisdom of an organizational system, if claims are true, in which an athletic trainer treating students was not under direct supervision by the athletic director.

In a shameful admonition to the community that ends with a fundraising request, the board suggests “we may never know.”

I can only hope that the survivors are sure that we know one fact: The school and diocese will be forced to assume significant restorative financial responsibility for failing to keep its students safe.

Eileen Whyte Springer


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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