The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 10, 2013

Person of the Week: Crossing guard: Kernville resident believes in helping neighbors

JOHNSTOWN — Robert Vanamburgh knows what it is like to be hit by a car, so that’s why he makes sure schoolchildren in his neighborhood cross the street safely.

Every school day, Vanamburgh helps nearly a dozen children cross busy Menoher Boulevard at Everhart Street in Kernville to catch the bus for East Side Elementary School.

“I try to catch it when the coast is clear and walk across with the children,” Vanamburgh said. “If I have to, I will stop traffic.”

He said that at 6 feet 6 inches tall and 220 pounds, if he stands in the middle of the street, motorists want to stop.

Traffic can be dangerous in that area, he said.

Cars don’t slow down on Menoher and cars travel up and down Everhart, even though it is a one-way street, he said.

“If you have children, you know how they like running around while they are waiting for the bus,” he said about why he watches them.

“I try to keep them away from the edge of the sidewalk.”

Vanamburgh said he was 13 years of age in 1980 when he was struck by a drunken driver while on his way to the store in Newburgh, N.Y., a New York City suburb.

“I don’t wish that to happen to any children,” said Vanamburgh, who eventually returned to his native Johnstown to live with his wife, Debra, and daughter, Kaitlyn, 6.

He said his daughter is one of the children he watches at the bus stop.

If for some reason his daughter does not go to school that day, he still helps the other children.

Other parents come out to help in ways such as making sure the coats of the children stay

buttoned, he said.

After school, Vanamburgh greets the school bus and makes sure the children go straight home. Because traffic is not as busy at that time of day, the bus driver is able to block both lanes of Menoher, thus eliminating the need for Vanamburgh to cross the children.

In the morning, traffic is too busy for both lanes to be blocked, he said.

“The children and parents like what I am doing,” he said. “Parents don’t have to worry about coming out and standing in the freezing cold because they know someone else is already there.”

The children are always well-behaved at the bus stop, he said.

Vanamburgh also shovels snow and cuts grass for his neighbors.

“The neighbors will do things for me, also,” he said. “We’re all friends, and that’s what friends are supposed to do.”

For his efforts, Vanamburgh is the Person of the Week.

The Rev. Richard S. Williams, who lives nears Menoher and Everhart and whose grandchildren catch the bus there, said Vanamburgh has been an excellent neighbor since moving to Kernville about six years ago.

Vanamburgh also helps senior citizens in the neighborhood by carrying groceries, maintaining their vehicles, shoveling their snow and mowing their lawns, said the pastor of Heavenly Sent Ministries in East Conemaugh.

“I’ve seen him take in homeless people for a few days until the people could get back on their feet,” he said.

“The children love him. He gets them on and off the bus every day.

“With him, we’re not worried about our children.”

Vanamburgh also is active with the Crime Watch program, alerting neighbors and police to problems, Williams said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Flower2 Flowers' color doesn't have to fade

    Those pots of bright yellow daffodils, Easter lilies and hyacinths gracing the home this weekend do not have to end up in the trash bin when the blooms start to fade.

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Refinancing could lower Richland School District's debt by $2.2M

    When Richland School District borrowed funds for its high school project a decade ago, board members circled “2014” on their calendars as a likely first option to refinance the debt.

    April 20, 2014

  • Pipeline to carry shale byproducts

    An 8-inch transmission line crossing Pennsylvania, including four municipalities in Cambria County, is being repurposed to carry some of the by-products from Marcellus and Utica shale production.

    April 20, 2014

  • Judge Creany, Timothy Vets courts gain support

    Signs of success are mostly anecdotal in Pennsylvania’s special courts for veterans, but judicial officials and lawmakers are so convinced of the program, they’re lobbying to expand it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • pow21 Person of the Week: ‘I wanted to help’: Teen uses birthday to show love for children, animals

    Anastasia Machik’s love for children and animals inspired her to forgo her birthday gifts for the sake of the two.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Students taking steps to call attention to child abuse

    An upcoming community walk will help raise awareness of child abuse.

    April 20, 2014

  • In brief: PennDOT reports weekly work schedule

    April 20, 2014

  • District Deaths April 21, 2014

    April 20, 2014

  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads