Tag Archives: BP

Onala Recovery Center

Onala LogoOnala is a non-profit organization that was established in a downtown storefront in 1952 as a place where a small group of recovering men, who shared a common goal of staying sober, could gather. Its name derived from the abbreviation of Alcoholics Anonymous (Al Ano) spelled backward. This was done to protect the anonymity of its members.

Over six plus decades, Onala transformed from a small supportive gathering place to the Onala Recovery Center, and expanded its mission to provide men and women from all walks of life with a facility that offers an environment of recovery from alcohol, drug and other addictions through education, social interaction and fellowship. Through its evolution, Onala performed multiple upgrades and added numerous services responsive to the needs of the community. Despite all the changes over the years, Onala never diverted from its primary purpose of “one alcoholic helping another stay sober.”

Although located in the heart of Pittsburgh, Onala has become a valuable community resource for the entire tri-state area. Those in need are being referred to the Onala Recovery Center by rehabilitation and detox centers, schools, churches, community centers, courts, probation officers and “word of mouth” of thousands of recovering people. For each member whose life is changed with the support of Onala, dozens of others are affected, as members begin to contribute to society once again, families stay together, the quality of children’s lives improves and the social fabric of which we are all a part is strengthened. The Onala Recovery Center provides a mental health clinic, medical clinic, and outreach program, and currently hosts 55 meetings each week of various 12 Step Programs including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Overcomer’s Outreach. This incredible facility needs the help and support of companies like CountywidePetroleum and BP, without them Onala’s reach and productivity would be severely limited.

SP Dealer Dennie Rhoads, BP Marketer

93chap“Tread gently on our hills, Tread gently. You are on hallowed ground.” This message is in an old white clapboard church, now renamed the Flight 93 Chapel. The Somerset church was refurbished and renamed in honor of the passengers of Flight 93. Huddled at the back, the passengers decided to rush the cockpit. Who can forget Todd Beamer’s command of, “Let’s roll!” They battled fiercely to recover the plane and the terrorists had no choice but to crash. Those few courageous Americans saved countless lives.

For almost thirty years, Dennie and Yvonne Rhoads have operated a mini-mart in Somerset PA. Back to the 1800s, Dennie’s ancestors have lived in the area. Dennie graduated from Somerset High School in 1967, and as a junior played football on their last undefeated team. In May 1969, shortly after he was drafted into the Army, to go to Vietnam, Dennie and Yvonne were married in that same church that is Flight 93 Chapel today. In early 1970, with a two-week-old baby girl at home, Dennie left home for a one-year tour in Vietnam operating in a recovery unit between Da Nang and Quang Tri.

Rhoads Mini-Mart has an old-fashioned feel. It has all the new-store amenities and products. But over on one side is a smaller room that holds extra stock, a lottery machine, old signs and promotional items, and a well-worn wooden park bench and assorted rocking chairs. Daily, elderly local men sit back there and drink coffee and solve the world’s problems. That room makes it much more than a convenience store. Rhoads’ is a place for life-long friendships. Returning from Vietnam, Dennie worked six years in a coal mine. He enjoyed the camaraderie of the underground world. The joyful way Dennie describes work in the mine illustrates that he is a person who sees the glass as half- full, someone you would like to have as a partner, or next to you in a foxhole. After the Flight 93 crashed, Dennie transported soup and sandwiches to Police and the FBI. When asked by the Daily American, Somerset’s newspaper, how he felt about volunteering, Dennie said, “I’m very patriotic and this means a lot me. It’s hard to describe. It’s wonderful we can honor the families for the sacrifices they made.”

Somerset has a rich history and was the central stage of the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. In 2002, nine miners trapped by flooding 240 feet underground for 77 hours were all rescued in the Quecreek coal mine. Somerset has ski resorts nearby and Mt. Davis, which has Pennsylvania’s highest elevation. Its local vineyards produce a wide variety of wines.

covered bridgeDennie took me to the Flight 93 Memorial through the Glessner Covered Bridge. Built in 1881, the bridge spans across Stony Creek. Driving through picturesque green mountains, we crossed this spectacular bridge. How ironic that we were headed to one of America’s famous disaster sites passing through one of our most beautiful old structures. Dennie knows the people in all of the houses we passed. His uncle lived there and a cousin lived there. We passed one quaint house and Dennie quietly said, “My friend Gordy Kimmel lived there. Gordy didn’t make it back from Vietnam.” Flight 93 crashed onto a reclaimed strip mine. Driving into the National Park, it has a surreal feel, a flattened mountain with moss-like vegetation starting to grow on the rolling treeless hills. Dennie used to hunt grouse and small game on the adjacent farm, owned by his aunt and late uncle, where now stands the wall of names honoring the heroes of Flight 93. It is a haunting experience for anyone. But for Dennie, a military veteran with his history in the area, and the personal experiences he had volunteering with his family, friends and neighbors, one can sense the exponential effect this memorial has on him, and how much Dennie loves America. Yvonne is one of five girls all raised in Somerset. Her sisters live all around the country. Yvonne’s mother said to her, “You’re the only one who stayed.” Yvonne lifted a finger and pointed to Dennie, smiled and said, “I stayed because of him.” Even after over forty years of marriage, and thirty years working together in the store, one recognizes the true friendship and genuine love between Dennie and Yvonne. She is a registered nurse and continued working as a nurse the first year they had the store. They raised three children who all live close by; a daughter Paula who is a pharmacist, a son Michael who is very successful in the construction business, and another daughter Jacglen (named after both her grandfathers) who is a physical therapist. They sent the girls to college and paid for their weddings. They have five grandchildren, all boys. Michael bought almost 70 acres of forested land nearby. They hunt and ride quads on this fertile mountainous paradise. Someday Michael will sell the timber on the land to pay for his children’s college education. Dennie is proud of his children’s long-time association and accomplishments with 4-H. Dennie said his kids worked in the store growing up, and learned valuable lessons that helped them forge a strong work-ethic.

Restoring Hope

A new stainless steel serving area is one of the many upgrades that allows for an easier and more pleasant dining experience for the students and staff of Holy Family Institute.
A new stainless steel serving area is one of the many upgrades that allows for an easier and more pleasant dining experience for the students and staff of Holy Family Institute.

Restoring Hope

Entering the Institute, there were many mentally handicapped people being cared for by teachers and volunteers. One young man was upset and screeching and hitting and bashing himself in the head over and over. Transcending any creed, the kindness and patience that was shown to this man was inspirational and humbling. This care was humankind at its best. Witnessing this episode would make a healthy person feel shame about anguishing over some of life’s trivial problems.

Transforming Lives

Societal problems linked to poverty are in the forefront of our culture’s lexicon. Holy Family Institute does its best to address these tribulations, quandaries, and so much more. While its name denotes a religious connotation, it is truly a community-outreach organization. In Pittsburgh, Holy Family Institute extends services to at-risk children and families including: Residential Programs, In-home Family Counseling, Substance Abuse Services, Mental Health Counseling, Youth Workforce Development, Parent-Child Literacy Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Energy Assistance Programs. But there is a limit to its economic resources.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Hope: Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” While Holy Family Institute accomplishes so much good, because of opportunity cost, the present dining room and hallway were cheerless. Countywide Petroleum chose to remodel and beautify the dining room and hallway. Countywide bought new tables and chairs and other necessary items to complete this transformation, and make the dining experience there pleasurable for everyone involved. Where we sit down to eat and what we see in our lives influences the way we feel. The payoff is the dining room is now bright, cheerful, magnificent, and functional, which will change the attitudes and aspirations and the quality of life for the residents, students, families and staff that use the facility.

Change for Change

Residents in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas saw a donation-jug in over one-hundred gas station/convenience stores labeled “Change for Change.” They were in the “BP Fueland Stores,” and most Valero stores accompanied by a postcard that illustrates all of Holy Family Institute’s virtuous work. The money collected in these donation jugs went towards the dining room project at Holy Family Institute.

About BP’s Fueling Communities Program

The BP Fueling Communities Program provides grants to local organizations that are nominated by BP’s Branded Marketers to support the communities in which they do business. The Program gives back to local organizations that support health, education, youth, food and housing to spread charity and good will.

Countywide Petroleum Company is grateful for the previous help it received from the BP Fueling Communities Program in its quest to fight Ovarian Cancer and Hunger in Haiti, and to spread goodwill in its community. Countywide Petroleum Company looks forward to continuing to make a difference in the world in which we live. Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

SPC Dealer & BP Marketer: Tony Mazzarini

Tony SrTony Mazzarini Sr. came back from serving in the Air Force in WWII, and made a vow “I will never be poor again.” The son of courageous hard-working immigrants who left home and family in the 1920’s, and braved an ocean voyage to come through Ellis Island to America in search of a better life, for Tony Sr., childhood was often a struggle.

After the war, Tony Sr. worked with a kindly old-timer named Max Gilbert and a few years later, in 1949, with Max’s help and blessing, bought some property, put in a couple of tanks and an air compressor, constructed a building and opened up what today is Parkway Services. Tony’s father liked Amoco’s white gas and the way it made his Harley run. So for almost fifty years it was an Amoco Station until 1998, when Amoco was purchased by BP.

Tony Sr holding Tony Jr
Tony, Sr holding Tony, Jr. pictured with his mother and six of his seven sisters.

Tony Sr. had seven daughters and one son. Tony Jr. was the seventh. To the son, his father was incredibly hard working, ambitious, and successful. Traditional, Tony Sr. handled things when there was a problem; but the boy didn’t really get to know his Dad until he started working at the shop, around seventh grade. While coming from a humble background, Tony Sr. did well enough to send his son to one of the finest universities in the world. Today Tony Sr. is almost ninety years old and he and his wife spend most of their time at their home in Florida.

ColumbiaTony Jr. was a starting linebacker for Columbia University and graduated with a degree in Economics. With a prodigious alumni network, Tony landed a job at a brokerage firm in the financial district. Smack dab in the middle of a boom, instant millions were made in this era; remember the film portraying that hedonistic world, “Wall Street.” Tony told his father that he wasn’t happy in his work or living in the fast lane. His father responded, There’s always a job here for you.” How many celebrated athlete Ivy League educated economists return home and go into the family business?

Tony has been happily married for twenty-three years to his wife Michelle, a former teacher, who has a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. Tony says, “We are still in love.” They have three daughters and a son. So in the two households that Tony has lived in, there have been twelve women and only three men, so really, what chance did Tony have? Tony decided while he believed in his father’s work ethic, he vowed to be totally involved in his children’s lives. Like his father, Tony has been successful and caring enough to pay for his children’s education. Inside Tony’s station there are pictures of his beautiful family, and even his son’s football helmet.

Tony’s oldest Cara is just graduated from Villanova University. Cara earned a degree in Mechanical Nuclear Engineering, and chose to work for the government. Tony and Michelle are extremely proud that Cara was chosen to give a speech to her Engineering Graduating Class, and that they were so impressed with her, they asked her to give that speech a second time at the entire university’s graduation. Tony was overcome with emotion, watching his oldest child move on to the next exciting chapter in her life, educated, prepared, confident and loved.

A second daughter Alyssa followed her sister to Villanova and is studying to be a Certified Public Accountant. At Chartiers Valley High School, Alyssa was the starting center on a basketball team that had the courage to make it to the State Championship Game. Alyssa just finished her first half-marathon. Tony thinks Alyssa will be very successful at business.

Their third child, Anthony Joseph III or “AJ” will be graduating from Chartiers Valley High School where he was a starter on the contending football team. AJ will attend Penn State in the fall and undertake a new program that combines Business and Environmental study. Tony coached youth football for fourteen years, even after AJ had moved on. If sometime in the future, AJ says to his father, “Dad, I don’t really like this career path I have chosen,” Tony just might say, “There’s always a job here for you.”

Tony’s youngest Amanda is in high school and likes sports and girl stuff. She excels in basketball and volleyball and like her siblings; she participates in youth missions that are associated with her parish, Our Lady of Grace. Tony is involved in his parish and active in his community and. For some, loving a child is looking into God’s eyes.

Tony Mazzarini ExportTony has wonderful things to say about his employees. Like family to him is Rosalie Pabis, his trusted and devoted bookkeeper for over thirty years. “With over thirty-five years of experience, Dave Hodges is the most talented, honest and hardworking technician I have ever known.” Tony also said, “With almost twenty years of service, Garfield Smith has worked his way up from part-time clerk to manager of our very busy c-store.”

Tony has diversified in business. He invested in commercial real estate, a strip mall and other ventures. Amplifying an old-time principle, Tony’s policy is to buy or invest in something every few years. Tony said, “Having the good fortune of being my father’s son, I was raised around the business and the work ethic and example Dad instilled in me carries me through every day and every decision I make.”

Years from now, when his children are telling their own personal stories, I believe that all of Tony’s children will say;

“I had the good fortune of being my father’s child.” 

A Brand Means a Commitment to the Community

Brand ExportedIn different ways, BP, Valero and Sunoco all demonstrate good will by community involvement. When you brand your station, you echo these commendable sentiments. Confirming their commitment to the community, here are just a few of the recent charitable endeavors in which Countywide Petroleum Company took the lead.

Countywide was a principal sponsor of “Teal Ribbon Comedy,” an Ovarian Cancer Research Benefit starring Billy Gardell of the hit show “Mike and Molly,” to support the Magee-Womens Research Institute in their goal to find a cure for Ovarian Cancer. Countywide Petroleum tried to do their part to help fight this dreaded disease.

Countywide Petroleum also supported “Hearts for the Hungry,” a relief effort to feed and care for starving children in Haiti. With food, medical care and educational services, this charity offers opportunities to the children of a nation that has many difficulties, but endless possibilities. The main goal of this worthy charity is to provide these children with hope and courage for the future

Countywide also provided funding for the “Holy Family Dining Project,” to benefit a Pittsburgh Institute that incorporates Residential Programs; Family Counseling, Substance Abuse Services; Specialized Schools; Mental Health Counseling; Youth Workforce Development; a Parent-Child Literacy Program; a Nutrition Program and Energy Assistance Programs.  Holy Family Institute takes care of children who are alone in this world, and who need a helping hand. Through its own efforts and others, including BP and Valero, Countywide Petroleum built a beautiful dining facility to brighten the lives of these children, and the staff who care for them.

Brand your station and take a lively helpful role in your community. Countywide Petroleum Company proudly chooses to take a dynamic constructive role in the world in which we live.

Tony and Lurline’s Daughter

Erma And Chuck Framed ExportedCountywide Petroleum Company Dealer, BP Marketer Erma Dodd lives by several philosophies. One is “Separate Principal from Personality.”  For Erma, “Principal” means the job has to be done right, honestly and fairly. “Personality” means when conducting business, personalities do change but her “Principal” still has to be followed. Another value Erma lives by is “she appreciates her integrity too much to lose it.” A wonderful person, ultimately, Erma’s life is guided by her faith.

Tony and LurlineExportedErma father Tony Saveikis was the son of Lithuania immigrants. At age fourteen, Tony began work as a butcher in the West Park section of Pittsburgh. Five years later, at nineteen, Tony bought the shop. Tony met the love of his life when his future bride Lurline came into his store. In the early 1940s when Erma was two years old, Tony found a thirteen acre farm, ten miles west of Pittsburgh. Reluctantly, Lurline agreed to move to the “country.” A short time later, a new Route 22/30 cut through their property and that meant traffic and travelers. Tony built one of the first motels west of Pittsburgh. Would they name it Tony Town or Tonydale?  Their second daughter was named Toni so they decided to name it Tonidale. Motel business operates around the clock so it was logical that a twenty-four hour a day gas station so the Tonidale Gas Station was born. Tony decided the gas station’s midnight shifts would keep an eye on the motel and rent the rooms during the night. The guests needed somewhere to eat so a small diner came next.

In 1961, the “Superhighway,” the new Route put the gas station out of the main stream of traffic. Tony bought a piece of land down the Pike and literally picked up the gas station and moved it to the better location.  Tony bought another piece of cloverleaf shaped land nearby that had a little house and Tasty Freeze ice cream stand on it. On that property, Tony built the Tonidale Barber and Beauty Shop.

In the 70s, Tony built the Tonidale Self-Serve Station that was visible from the Superhighway and the first kiosk was so small it did not have a bathroom. The employees had to run across the street and use the restroom in one of the other businesses. In 1985 that station was branded Amoco and it was slightly enlarged to include an employee bathroom.

Erma fondly recalls a joyful childhood with a brother, sister and a doting mother and father, who were industrious, loved people and treasured each other. On Saturdays when Erma was in 7th grade, she worked with her dad at Tony’s Market. She weighed produce and put it in a brown paper bag and wrote the price on the bag for customers. She dusted shelves and kept the products facing properly.  In the 8th grade, she remembers wearing an apron and working at the Tastee Freeze. The next few years Erma worked Saturdays cleaning rooms at the Tonidale Motel. In the summer after her junior year, she worked in a bank. In 1957 Erma graduated from West Allegheny High School and received the honor as “Most Outstanding Student,” and she was State President of the “Future Business Leaders of America.”

After high school, Erma and her husband owned the Tasty Freeze and began their family. They moved into the little house next to the stand and operated the Tasty Freeze, and raised three sons who came to know all of their customers. After eleven years in the ice cream business, her dad helped Erma and her husband buy the Fort Pitt Motel. They moved into an apartment next to the motel office and worked there from 1969 until her marriage ended in 1987.

Months later, Erma went to the bank and a stranger opened the door for her. Two years earlier, Chuck Dodd, a contractor, had become a widower. Chuck noticed that Erma did not wear a wedding ring and Cupid hit him hard. Simultaneously, Erma noticed this gentleman. After learning she was single, Chuck sent a note to the Bank Manager and asked him to give it to Erma. The bank manager passed the note and arranged a meeting. From then on the bank manager’s nickname became “Cupid.” When they became a couple, the Bank Manager retrieved an image from a security camera that showed the two of them looking at each other that very first day. To this day, it is one of Erma’s most treasured photos. Erma calls Chuck her “Prince Charming.” After they wed, Erma moved from the motel to Chuck’s farm and home atop a hill with no neighbors in sight. She thought she had died and gone to Heaven. No more getting up in the middle of the night to rent rooms. Together in 1992, they bought four acres next to the motel and Chuck, his brother and sons and Erma’s sons built the Aqua Jet West Car Wash. In 2000, Chuck designed and completely rebuilt the original Tonidale Gas Station from the ground up and was on sight when the first shovel of dirt was turned until completion. Married for twenty-five years their combined family consists of seven sons, one daughter, their spouses, twenty-seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

In 1977, Erma lost her mother; with tears spilling from her deep blue eyes, she recalls raising a glass of wine with her father to toast her precious mother’s memory. Lurline’s untimely death suddenly ended Tony’s drive to expand his business ventures and he was content to just care for and enjoy his family. Sadly, in 1986, after a lifetime of laughter, friendship, love and accomplishments, Tony died and Erma said, “joined Lurline in Heaven.”

In the late 90’s Amoco was purchased by BP. In 2008, Erma signed a contract to become part of Countywide Petroleum Company’s growing family. For years it was known that the bridge on the original Steubenville Pike had to be reconstructed. Finally in 2010, the bridge closed and traffic was cut off. Customers had a detour of two miles to get to the BP Station from the east and local customers from the west had to drive around road blocks to get their BP gas.

Erma has immense gratitude for the help Milo and Countywide Petroleum Company provided during the long fourteen-months that the bridge was closed and that it will still take years to recover from that loss. During the time of the bridge closure, Countywide re-imaged the Tonidale BP which included new dispensers, fresh paint and repairs to the parking lot; and Countywide also extended Erma other financial considerations. Erma says that her BP Station could not have made it without Countywide Petroleum Company’s kindness, understanding, help and support.

To this day, Erma misses her cherished parents and she often wonders what her life would been like without them. Erma knows she is blessed to have been Tony and Lurline’s daughter.