Rare is the individual of whom it can be accurately written that he left the world a better place than he found it. With the death April 26 of Anthony Gergely of Johnstown, the city also loses one of its most essential natural assets.
Gergely’s unique vision and indomitable spirit – and his enthusiasm to realize dreams which at times no one else shared – was something Johnstown grew to take for granted. That was a mistake.
Just as Johnstown lost its defining industry with the dwindling of the steel mills, Gergely early on lost the use of his legs.
But instead of spending decades lamenting his loss and hoping in bitter futility to regain that asset – something Johnstown has done for the past 30 years – Gergely made peace with his loss, identified and numbered his strengths, his resources and his blessings, and then blasted off in a rocket ship of altruism, philanthropy and optimism. And he took every one of us along for the ride.
A Gergely mayoral administration would’ve been fascinating, exhilarating and a lot of fun – for us as much as for Anthony. For instead of quantifying and attempting to contain the bad, Gergely would’ve emphasized and expanded the good. That was his gift: He always could identify the good, in an individual or a situation. And in doing so, he made us feel better about ourselves and gave us back some of our pride.
Gergely’s strength of spirit made Johns-town a better place. We will miss him more than we realize.
Leaders’ injustice to college, its students
It is obvious, by the recent turn of events, that the Cambria County commissioners have become out of touch with the real needs of the taxpayers of this region.
How can they justify cutting the allotment to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College when they know the benefits the college has provided to this area and its residents? The community college has provided educational opportunities to some residents who would not have been able to receive the quality education that the community college offers them, enabling them to become productive and employable individuals, and taxpayers.
For the commissioners to use the allotment for their own personal gain is an injustice to the students and taxpayers of this region.
I have a suggestion for the commissioners who support this cut: Move to Argentina and see if the residents there open their arms and welcome you as the taxpayers and the community college have done.
This is truly another attempt by the Republican Party to destroy our country with its idiotic spending habits, i.e., sending our tax dollars overseas to support foreign countries that care less about the well-being of the residents and taxpayers of this great nation.
Barry R. Moyer