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Daughter’s desire to honor her father

To the editor:

I want to first of all say thank you to the community for the outpouring of condolences and support for my father, Dr. Frank L. Petrola — it is very much appreciated. My father was an extraordinary man whose work ethic far exceeded all others. In the many capacities that he served, undoubtedly the dearest to his heart was the Jefferson County Board of Health. He served on the board for 27 years, and as president for 25 of those years.

I was blessed to be with my father on a daily basis for the past seven years. I was intricately involved in his business dealings and I was greatly aware of his feelings and knowledge on many of his community issues.

I also knew how important his vote meant to him for choosing the health commissioner for the board.

My father chose Nicole Balakos for health commissioner because he believed greatly in her capabilities. She possessed the strong tenacity necessary for the job, she had the heart and the great desire to succeed in doing everything she could for the betterment of the health and safety of Jefferson County residents. He was proud of the turn that the health department had taken under her leadership. My dad was looking forward to the health department achieving accreditation during his lifetime under her tenure.

My father also respected and appreciated fellow board member Michaelene King. He was very impressed with her credentials as well. My father appreciated the individuals on the board who truly seeked and were determined to make positive changes and great improvements for the county’s residents.

He did not appreciate anyone on the board who may have only desired the importance of the power and control of their position, those who did not add to the positive changes but simply caused disruption or conflict through their actions.

Unfortunately, Balakos and King were removed from their positions for some reasons that made no logical, moral or ethical sense. In my father’s eyes, it was a disgrace to remove such highly competent women. To have done so during a pandemic when Nicole was doing such an excellent job was shameful, and my dad felt it was an egotistical move that was against the Hippocratic Oath and all ethical standards. To think that we are now being featured by the “Today Show” and on Fox News, etc., for our suddenly explosive cases is mind-boggling, until you consider that they removed the leadership during a crisis.

As the residents consider replacing my dad, I ask that they consider his wishes and continue to establish more women in leadership. Removing Nicole broke my dad’s heart for the good of the county.

Time has shown that my dad was right to stand up and vote “no” in removing her. Please select a Jefferson County woman for the board who will strive to have those same values and let the work my dad supported continue.

Barbara Petrola

Pittsburgh

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