Vendor Famous
Off the Wall, May 14,

It’s been 51 years now I have written more stories than I can shake a stick at, taken more photographs with various types of cameras, and even been with fellow officers who handcuffed individuals who tried to beat the law.

On top of that, I have met many famous people, including a past president, jockey and people working their way up the ladder to fame.

But never in that time period can I actually state that I have ever met and worked next to an accomplished professional who was noted in a book alongside a movie actor who is well known in a weekly television series.

Anyone who has bought bread at the Latrobe Indoor Vendor Market at the American Legion, Ligonier St., or has visited the Farmer’s Market in Legion Keener Park during the summer months may recall slipping a $5 bill to a tall, slender young man for a loaf of cinnamon, potato or rye bread. The only thought that may have gone through one’s mind at the time was to make the purchase and then depart, never thinking much about the credentials of the fellow on the other side of the table.

The truth of the matter is baking bread to perfection is just one of John W. Morgart, Jr.’s professions. Known as “Jay” or “J.J.” to many of his fellow vendors, the 21 year-old skilled web designer, video producer, video director and videographer not long ago became an actor, participating in three plays, The Underpants, Lend Me a Tenor, and most recently, Rumors.

Up to and throughout the learning process of the family business, Maddy’s Bakery, the ‘marketer’ also was a standout as his efforts throughout his education years of learning were recognized.

From 2006 to 2007, he was inducted in the Who’s Who among Outstanding Middle School Students. Also in that time period Morgart received a Cougar of The Month Award at Yough Intermediate Middle School. At the age of 13, he was one of eight students honored for fundraising for charity for Central Westmoreland Career & Technology Center.

One year later in 2008, the teenager placed first in Forms at the 34th National All Martial Arts Championship Tournament. During that same year, Morgart got promoted to his 1st Degree Black Belt at C.S. Kim Karate. Among other achievements of that same year, he placed first in the web design SkillsUSA local competition.

He climbed the latter to the top of his fields receiving computer and athletic awards too numerous for me to mention in this column.

In 2009, Morgart created Karate55210, a YouTube channel to inspire all students, black belts, masters and everyone around the world that one can achieve the feat if he believes in himself.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins follower, along with his team, received 3rd place in Sparring at the 12th World Championship Tournament in 2012. One year later, he received his 3rd Degree Black Belt.

Recently, the ‘Guns and Roses’ music fan approached me with a book in his hand and opened it to the middle of the paperback. “Look,” the quiet spoken young man said with a smile on his face from ear to ear, “I was mentioned as one of the notable practitioners of Tang Soo Do categorically with Chuck Norris.” What an honor!

According to Wikipedia, “Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art incorporating fighting elements of Shotokan Karate, Subak, Taekkyon, and Kung Fu.”

Tang Soo Do can be traced back to 57 B.C. to 935 A.D. It was used as a way of self-defense in warfare and is evidenced in paintings.

Norris made history in 1990 when he was the first Westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. In addition, he has starred on many television shows including Walker, Texas Ranger, which has aired since 1993.

The book in which Morgart was named is "Chuck Norris, Everything You Need to Know," by Walter Hogan.

At no time did “the Karate kid,” as Morgart was known to his school friends, ever think that his name would ever appear in a book matched to a martial artist who has a 10th Degree Black Belt Chun Kuk Do, 9th Degree Black Belt Tang Soo Do, 8th Degree Black Belt Taekwondo, 5th Degree Black Belt in Karate, Black belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Black belt Judo.

As for the future, Morgart stated, “I’m excited to be on stage. I love being an actor.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.