STEUBENVILLE - Brian Vitek was sitting at a United Way of Jefferson County allocations committee meeting when he heard Marie Zumpano's dilemma.
"Marie was talking about the new swing set she had purchased for the Neighborhood House Day Care center. She needed someone to put the swing set together along with a couple of new cribs. So I volunteered our folks from the FirstEnergy plant in Stratton," Vitek explained.
So, on a sunny Wednesday Vitek, along with two salaried and two union employees, spent the day removing the old wooden swing set and assembling the new steel model that includes a teeter-totter and a slide.
ASSEMBLY WORK — Don Wilson, a safety representative for Local 457 of the Utility Workers of America at the FirstEnergy plant in Stratton, helped to put together a swing set Wednesday morning at the Neighborhood House in Steubenville. - Dave Gossett
"Don Wilson and I are safety representatives for Local 457 of the Utility Workers of America. Brian is in human resources at the plant. And Dan Carman and Chris Rietscha are engineers at the plant," explained Jim Coppa.
And, of course, that led to several minutes of good-natured bantering on why the engineers could find the right bolt and if Coppa would be able to successfully buy three bags of concrete at Lowe's.
"I think we should dig holes and set the swing set in concrete so there is no danger of it tipping over," Coppa had said before he volunteered for the trip to the store.
He had also walked away from his job of putting together two wooden cribs and was quickly chided by Carman for not finishing the job.
But approximately one hour later, the swing set was finished and three children were trying out the swings while the FirstEnergy employees held the legs in place.
And, the FirstEnergy crew had started putting together the two cribs.
"Come on kids. You can swing a little," encouraged Zumpano.
"We ordered pizza for you guys. We really appreciate you spending your day helping us here," Zumpano told the FirstEnergy employees.
"We are very much involved in the local communities. We help Harvest for Hunger, we organize bucket collections at our gates and hold hot dog sales to raise funds. If someone needs some help our guys are always ready to jump in and help in any way they can," explained Vitek.