Not So Bad...
Off the Wall, April 20
, 2012

While purchasing my favorite beverage, I happened to overhear a woman badmouthing my hometown. Needless to say, I am one of those people who don’t stand by idly.

So here we were standing and sharing thoughts. Her first statement was, “The only good thing about Latrobe is its school system.” I know that to be a fact and could only confirm what she said. But then she got on the subject of the drug problem and singled out heroin, in particular.

I told her that there, now, is a drug problem in every town and not just Latrobe, but we have a great police department that is doing all it can to curtail the situation.

Just then, her cell phone rang, and she darted off to be away from all the commotion, I presume. In any case, I told her before she left, “I wish I could spend more time with you, because I just might be able to turn your thinking that Latrobe’s not so bad after all.

Recently while painting the interior of my house (I think that is the story of my life any more as I have been doing so since June), I heard a siren go off and raced to my monitor to see what was going on. I used to grab my camera and literally run to the scene if it wasn’t too far away. But due to aging, I’m slowing down, and will mosey there, but maybe not take my “handy, dandy, picturing device.”

Anyway while brushing on my “favorite” color – white (I was told all walls have to be white if ever I want to sell the building) I decided to see what was going on. That sound may be a negative to some residents, but we live in a town that has one of the greatest volunteer fire departments in this country. Led by one of the best fire chiefs of all time, Chief John Brasile is a master of directing his crew of area residents to do as they should when called upon when emergency calls.

Getting back to the story at hand, I laid down my brush and put the device to my ear to listen to the dispatcher. Why? Don’t ask me that question. I guess I have been doing it for over 45 years now and it becomes habit after a while.

The dispatcher announced that there was a bedroom fire at 1520 Ligonier Street, just houses down from my residence at 1544. I took off, first checking to see if I had my keys in my pocket so I wouldn’t lock myself out, then slammed the front door and headed to the scene.

Within 30 seconds two police cars arrived on the scene and three to five minutes later, five fire trucks and one ambulance. Regardless of what transpired at the fire scene, anyone should feel secure living in a town such as Latrobe. In addition, just knowing that we also have an well-qualified leader for the police department, Chief Jim Bumar, should give any citizen the vote of confidence that the 11 men and one woman are on duty during shifts are standing by to protect you 24 hours a day. Are they there to win a popularity contest? Not as I see it. To my way of thinking, these officers have schooled and take additional classes as called upon to protect the citizen - you.

And yet, another subject – the overall picture of my hometown. I look at our city as one of quaintness, someplace I can walk and enjoy scenery. This may include window shopping, looking up at the architectural structure or just sighting objects that expose their highlights and shadows that make me smile for I know, composition-wise, I may capture some good photos that would further excite me.

When I think of Latrobe, I don’t dwell on the negative, but think of the good it offers me. The activity in this town is phenomenal. All one has to do is open The Latrobe Bulletin to the society page, and day after day there is so much going on. If I were to put all the events on a calendar, I would have to get one of those large desk calendars, and still not everything would fit.

I’m one of those folks who likes to see how things come together. If there could be a way for me to visit each and every industry in Latorbe and just see how things are made, that would be so cool. It’s great to know we have industry where citizens are employed.

If I had four more columns, I could continue, for I feel Latrobe is a great place to live.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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