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G&R Excavating raises $551 for Tyrone Salvation Army Service Center off of Lincoln School bricks

Helping a good cause
G&R Excavating and Demolition owner Glenn Ray donated $551 to the Tyrone Salvation Army Service Center recently after his company was a part of dismantling the old Lincoln School building on Lincoln Avenue. Ray sold the structure’s historic bricks for $1 each to reach the final sum. Shown with Ray is Salvation Army Senior Field Representative, Linda Dowd, along with Ray’s dog, Buster. (The Daily Herald/Kris Yaniello)

Glenn Ray, owner of G&R Excavating and Demolition in Tyrone, wanted to do something for the community as his company embarked on dismantling the old Lincoln School building owned by S&A Homes.
He had interested people who wanted to attain some of the historic bricks that were no longer going to hold up what was once a school building for many Tyrone residents, both young and old.
The first thing Ray thought of was his good friend, Bob Maser, who was battling a terminal illness while struggling to keep the Tyrone Salvation Army Service Center on its feet as its volunteer chairperson.
Ray decided to sell the bricks for $1 each, and give that money to the Tyrone center that operates out of one of Ray’s storefronts at 906 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“We wanted to help the Salvation Army with the winter coming and the heating problems with the price of fuel,” said Ray.
He also purchased around $150 of prints, at $1 a piece, of hand-drawn pictures of Lincoln School created by Tyrone’s own, Joe Ieraci. Everyone who bought a brick, also received a picture of the school for keepsake.
But, before the brick sale took place, Mr. Maser unfortunately passed away. That didn’t stop Ray from wanting to do some good, not just for the Salvation Army, but for his friend.
“Bob Maser had a big effect on my whole life, as far as what I could do for people,” explained Ray. “He was a great man and a great Christian man.”
After the brick sale was over and Lincoln School no longer existed, G&R raised $551 for the Tyrone Salvation Army Service Center. Ray said that the sale was “very strong” and that many alumnus of the school building purchased the memorable bricks.
“I had some people who just donated money and didn’t even take a brick,” noted Ray. “I think it was really positive for the people here, and it shows that people are really behind the Salvation Army in Tyrone.”
Linda Dowd, who is a senior field representative for the Salvation Army, has been overseeing operations at Tyrone’s center. She was truly excited about the $551 the center received from G&R’s efforts.
“It was a wonderful thing,” said Dowd. “When we get a donation like the $551 from Glenn, 100 percent of that money will be used in this community to help the needy.”
She continued by saying that everything that is in the Tyrone center is “totally free” to people in need, with a limit of 15 items per week.
“We need all the help and support we can get, because we are reorganizing the store and looking for people to volunteer, so we can keep the doors open,” added Dowd.
Dowd mentioned the wonderful job Mr. Maser did at Tyrone’s service center, which is another reason why she appreciates donations like Ray’s, because it helps keep the center going strong.
Ray’s donating efforts towards youth and community organizations have been above and beyond in recent years. The success of his excavating and demolition business has been a positive impact on the Tyrone community.
His late mother and father had significant impacts on his life, as well as the mark Mr. Maser left on him. He used to attend some of Maser’s prayer meetings on Wednesday, and now G&R holds their own prayer meetings on Friday nights for his staff.
“My mother was a Sunday School teacher for 38 years and my dad was a very strong Christian also,” said Ray. “My dad helped all the organizations he could, so donating is something I like to do myself too.”
Ray’s relationship with Maser and the Tyrone Salvation Army Service Center began when the center lost its building on Tenth Street and needed a place to go. At that time, Ray’s G&R location on Pennsylvania Avenue wasn’t ready to have a business or charity run out of any of the storefronts.
“I went out of my way to open up that last little storefront for Bob to give out winter coats, gloves, hats, turkeys, and hams,” said Ray. “I let him use it for free and it grew from there.”
Ray admitted that cleaning up the storefront was inconvenient at the time, but he said that “Bob wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He had no where to go and said ‘we can depend on you.’
“It worked out, so I told Bob he should stay here,” said Ray.
Eventually, the service center moved a few storefronts down to accommodate the need for more space, and from those humble beginnings, Ray’s heart grew bigger and bigger.
“I feel that Bob Maser has a finger on us and is watching what we do up there,” said Ray.
Ray hopes that his contributions will have the same impact on others as those who have impacted his life. With his recycling mind, which is a large part of G&R’s business, he feels the Salvation Army shares a similar ideal of his – giving back to people.
“If something comes into the Salvation Army and they give it away to a needy person, then it’s not being thrown away and put into the environment to contaminate it,” said Ray. “Someone’s going to get good use out of it that needs it, and wears it out.”