Shared from the 2017-07-29 Mon Valley Independent eEdition

Westinghouse retirees all about community service

The group is involved in many initiatives, but is especially interested in programs that help to feed the hungry.

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Submitted Sonshine Ministries Meals on Wheels director Terry Ruccio, right, accepts a Feed the Hungry donation in McKeesport from Service Uniting Retired Employees President Lucio Facchini. Also pictured, from left, are SURE members Bob Kemper, Maury Fey, Iris Wutzke, Steve Wutzke, Dave Alsing and Susie Barbour.

With more than 900 members, a Westinghouse retirees’ group is committed to perpetuating the legacy of company founder George Westinghouse.

With operations throughout the Pittsburgh region, Westinghouse was a leading industrialist and inventor from the mid-19th century into the early 20th century.

Westinghouse Service Uniting Retired Employees is a nonprofit organization that provides members with opportunities to give back to their communities through volunteer service. Established in 1988, members have combined for more than a million hours of volunteer work.

Vaughn Gilbert of Elizabeth Township, the group’s director of public relations, said he is proud of how far the organization has come since its initiation.

He emphasized that the organization’s values and mission reflect the leadership of Westinghouse Electric Corp.’s founder.

Among the dues-paying members throughout western Pennsylvania, a large percentage are in the Mid-Mon Valley and McKeesport areas, Gilbert said.

Westinghouse facilities were located throughout the Pittsburgh area, including the transportation division and the Bettis atomic power laboratory, both in West Mifflin, as well as facilities in Large, East Pittsburgh, Madison and Trafford.

“Regardless of what part of the company members were employed by, we all have a soft spot in our hearts for George Westinghouse,” Gilbert said.

“When he was alive, he came to be the world’s greatest living engineer. He was very much into community service, and he supported the communities in which he operated.”

Gilbert said Westinghouse was known as a good employer.

“He treated his employees well and took care of their families,” Gilbert said. “He instituted the half-work day on Saturdays and did things like provide life insurance for his employees.”

Westinghouse’s legacy is important to SURE members. “Our primary focus is community service,” Gilbert said. The organization is involved in more than 70 volunteer projects and organizations.

Among these are service to Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Community Service by Veterans, AARP, Apprise Program of Pennsylvania, American Association of Individual Investors and Special Olympics.

Over the years, the organization has placed extra emphasis on “Feed the Hungry,” an initiative that supports such programs as Meals on Wheels and food banks.

The organization includes a social aspect. Last year, a group of members went on a three-day tour of New York City, and it is planning a trip to a Pittsburgh Pirates game, a holiday trip to Lancaster, a golf outing and a picnic.

“Membership is the lifeblood of the organization,” President Lucio Facchini said. “I’m glad that I’m in the position I’m in. ... Everybody’s ideas are welcome and open. Give me your ideas – I’m a pretty good listener.” For group information, go to www.WestinghouseSURE.com.

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