The Herald, Sharon,
PA Published Sunday, Aug. 27, 2000

Buhl Day

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    Gerhart learned to serve at home

    By Sherris Moreira-Byers
    Herald Staff Writer


    Though a man of few words, George Gerhart's actions speak louder than words. His years of service to others speak volumes.

    A financial aid officer at Penn State Shenango for the past 22 years, and eight years prior at Penn State Fayette campus, Gerhart sees his community and church involvement as a way of life.

    "It's always been that way. My parents were always active in the church and the community," Gerhart said. "It's not a chore or a requirement."

    Citing the influence of his parents during his childhood in Philadelphia, Gerhart said he just followed in their footsteps.

    "They always went out of their way joyfully to help anyone they could," he said. "Not just in the church, but with friends as well."

    A military stint in Vietnam also left a deep impression on Gerhart.

    "A service experience is about service; service to the base, and the country in general," he said.

    George Gerhart, financial aid officer at Penn State's Shenango Campus, has worked at the school in Sharon for 30 years. The Sharon man is involved in many community and church organizations in the Shenango Valley. (Gene Paulson/Herald)

    Referring also to what his parents had taught him, he added, "That just solidified my feelings of responsibility to citizenship. It's never about 'I,' it's always about the group, the neighborhood, the country."

    Gerhart is actively involved in his church, First United Methodist Church, Sharon, where he chairs the administrative board, is a Sunday school teacher and belongs to the choir and men's group.

    "Being involved in church is part of my background, as well as my wife's background," he said, speaking of Nancy, who went to the same church he did in his childhood.

    And the reason he enjoys working at a branch campus is because part of his job is to get involved with service to the community.

    "The focus or the mission of the campuses of Penn State is very purposefully to become involved in the community and help provide for its needs," Gerhart said. "Everyone's encouraged to be involved one way or another."

    Gerhart is involved in the community through Kiwanis Club of Sharon, ERASE, an anti-drug coalition, and as a member of the United Way Committee at Penn State Shenango, among other organizations.

    "Life is more than just going to work and taking home a paycheck," he said, speaking of his involvement in the community and the church.

    Gerhart said that others in the community better deserve to be honored than he.

    "There are so many people who are involved in community organizations.," he said. "It's at corporate levels, religious levels and neighborhood levels."

    But he also sees the honor as just another confirmation that this is the community he belongs in.

    "We have a lot of supportive people in the community, not just contributing dollars, but very civic-minded," Gerhart said. "Mutual support is instilled in the fabric of the community."

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