Our area lost two men who played important roles in the region's mental health system within just a few days of each other in late February.
Dr. Anthony Golas died Feb. 22 and Dr. Fernando Manalac died on Feb. 24. The two, who were both 85 when they died, worked to improve mental health services in our region, as practitioners and educators.
A psychologist, Golas served as executive director of the county mental health board and helped share his knowledge. He was a professor at the College of Steubenville before it became the Franciscan University of Steubenville and played a significant role in the development of the psychology department there. He also taught advanced psychology classes at Kent State-East Liverpool for more than a decade.
A psychiatrist, Manalac was involved in all parts of the Upper Ohio Valley and served as psychiatric director of the county mental health clinic.
I knew both men and always enjoyed having the opportunity to talk with them.
Manalac was a fellow member of the Steubenville Rotary Club, and that offered me the opportunity share conversation with him before many Friday meetings and to enjoy the offerings when he'd sit in at the piano.
In his later years, Manalac became a regular guest columnist for the Herald-Star. He wrote about many topics, ranging from politics in Steubenville and Jefferson County to religion. His writings included a remembrance of doing his residency at the old Ohio Valley Hospital and the respect he had for his colleagues.
Consider the words he wrote in the column "Even in death, life can be eternally beautiful," that appeared on July 13, 2008, while discussing his late friend, Thomas Manack, who had served as executive director of the Jefferson County Board of Mental Health and Drug Addiction, chair of the sociology department at the former College of Steubenville and as executive director of the Family Services Association. Manack had died June 8, 2008, at the age of 70.
"I used to visit an old friend, Tom, when he retired, usually over a bunch of grapes without his usual tension as when he was working," Manalac wrote. "Tom had a Ph.D in social work and I had known him since he was working for us in the original mental health clinic along with dedicated Mena Potts and Anthony Golas, Ph.D in counseling psychology, our fraternal associate."
But by far, his favorite topic was his beloved homeland, the Philippines. He shared stories about what it was like to grow up there, the horrors of World War II and of the hope provided by the U.S. military.
In fact, his obituary pointed out that his respect for the Army led him to join the Reserves in 1984.
Golas and Manalac worked to make our area better.
Both were gentlemen.
Both helped many members of our community.
Both will be missed.
Our series of podcasts promoting the April 3 appearance of Capt. Richard Phillips continues this week with the first of a two-part review of the merchant mariner's book, "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea," that served as the inspiration for the film "Captain Phillips."
Phillips wrote the book, which became a New York Times bestseller, with Stephan Talty, who has written other bestsellers.
"A Captain's Duty" is an exciting read that's quite difficult to put down. The book helps fill in his backstory, which was missing from the film, and also shows what his family was going through while he was being held captive by Somali pirates in April 2009.
Phillips will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 3 in the Steubenville High School auditorium as part of the Herald-Star, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series. Reserved seat tickets are $20 and can be obtained by contacting the Herald-Star or the Chamber.
You can access the podcasts by clicking on the speaker series logo on our homepage at heraldstaronline.com and following the links.
And finally ... congratulations are in order to Herald-Star staff members who have learned they are finalists for this year's Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Awards. We compete in Division II and have finalists in four categories - Janice Kiaski is a finalist for best columnist; Paul Giannamore a finalist for best editorial writer; Dave Gossett and former staff writer Linda Harris are finalists for best business writer; and the staff is a finalist in the best special section category for "Remembering John F. Kennedy."
The awards will be presented during the APME's annual meeting on May 18 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)