Being able to help motivates Wintersville man to reach out
WINTERSVILLE — Paul Toth has never been one to sit around doing nothing.
As far back as he can remember, Toth said he’s been doing whatever he can to help people around him.
“I just think it was the way I was raised,” he said. “If you’re able to help somebody who needs help, I can’t see why you can’t do that. If I’m able to do it and someone needs help, I don’t see any reason for not helping people. Plus, it keeps me busy.”
Born in Steubenville, Toth graduated from Wintersville High School in 1972 and then followed his dad into the mill, landing a job in the Wheeling-Pitt coke plant (now Mountain State Carbon).
The following year he married his high school sweetheart, Theresa Wisnieski, “and the rest is history,” he said, explaining his recipe for a happy marriage “is more or less talking, agreeing…being interested in the same things.”
Like doing for others.
“Teresa is a nurse, and she likes to bake,” he said. “Anytime she bakes something, she shares it with our neighbors.”
Neighbor Arlene Davis, who nominated Toth as a Community Star, said helping others is a way of life for both of them.
Earlier this year when the pandemic started, she said Toth purchased hand sanitizer, and his wife made face masks and mailed them to people in hard-hit areas, like New York, Delaware and Florida. They also purchased thermometers for those who were unable to do it themselves.
“During the winter Paul shovels snow, blows snow (away) and gets his neighbors’ mail and papers for them,” Davis added. “Anything Paul has he shares with all…garden plants, produce he grows, pepper butter. He also picks up groceries for his neighbors. He’s also helped my husband and I with fallen trees in our yard, programming smart TVs and pin striping vehicles.
“Paul’s heart is as big as this Earth,” Davis concluded. “(He’s) a bright, shining gem of a friend and neighbor.”
Toth said he’s always liked keeping busy. Before he was hired by the mill, he did odd jobs and can handle just about anything, including plumbing and electrical work. He also was a volunteer fireman and graduated from paramedic school.
“I always feel good when I help somebody,” he said. “It’s hard to explain. It’s instinctive — if somebody needs help you’re supposed to help them, if you have the ability to do something you should do it.”
He said it’s even easier to do now that he’s retired.
“I just have more time to do it now,” he said. “It just gives you a good feeling, and times like we’re in right now we need a little bit of that.”
The Toths, married 47 years, are the parents of two children — a son, Paul Jr., who’s a private contractor, and a daughter, Lt. Col. Brandi Toth. Now assigned to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the Toths cared for Brandi’s kids during her three overseas deployments — Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Toths also have six grandchildren.
His designated charity is the Friendship Room in Steubenville.