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Tyrone loses community friend

Mike Blaska stood with the winners of last year’s Giggle Off Contest, an event he organized for the youth of the community.

The Tyrone community lost a friend this week as Mike Blaska passed away unexpectedly Tuesday night.
As his family grieves, with viewing and funeral services to be held tonight and Saturday, The Daily Herald would like to remember Mike for his past service to the Tyrone community.
He was employed as a sales representative for Pillsbury and General Mills for many years. He was named to the Pillsbury Circle of Excellence in 1998 and received numerous awards from Pillsbury and General Mills for his outstanding service as a sales representative.
Along with his work, he organized the local Giggle-Off contest held yearly during an Altoona Curve game at the Blair County Ball Park. The Herald participated with Mike in this venture for many years, and the office served as a place for area kids to enter the contest.
Mike loved this contest because the kids actually got to go onto the field and giggle into a microphone for the crowd to hear. The contestants were then judged based on their giggles. The crowd had the honor of picking the winner by applause.
Just last year, Mike said fondly of the contest, “It’s something the kids always enjoy. And I really like the contest because it provides a real family night out because the parents get to be there in the stands too.”
Every time he visited the Herald to promote a project, it was evident Mike always had the kids and their families at heart.
This was also true in another program Mike was active in for many years, the WALY-Warmth program, which supplies area children with warm coats, boots, hats and gloves during the holiday season.
Mike also enjoyed being a guest football picker for many years for The Daily Herald.
He was a member of B.P.O.E. No. 212 and was especially involved with the youth aspects of the organization.
He was active in Little League and the Hot Stove League at the Altoona Curve.
Mike also served as a volunteer at the Tyrone YMCA for many years, and he served as a basketball coach at Tyrone Area High School.
He most recently served as a member of the Albemarle Corporation Advisory Board.
In March 2004 he was recognized by WTRN with an “Outstanding Citizen” Award.
Mike will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him. Contributions in his memory may be made to: WALY-Warmth for Underprivileged Children, c/o WALY Radio, 1 Forever Drive, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 or the Tyrone-Snyder Public Library, 1000 Pennsylvania Avenue, Tyrone, PA 16686.