Volunteer Hall of Fame Honors Beaver Valley Employee

NCAA Coaching legend Lou Holtz was back in the Ohio Valley Monday to welcome the newest members of the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame. Among the honorees were, from left, (front) Steeler running back Rocky Bleier, Holtz, Hall of Fame Chairman Frank Dawson, (back) former ESPN President George Bodenheimer, Communicycle founder Lee Montanari and Chester Fire Chief John Hissam.

June 24, 2019

Beaver Valley’s Lee Montanari, a project manager at the site, is an MVP, at least according to the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame. On June 10, Communicycle, an organization Lee founded and leads, received the Hall’s 2019 MVP Award. The award is given to individuals or organizations for outstanding volunteer work in the local community.

Communicycle offers free bike repair in Ohio River Valley neighborhoods around Aliquippa, Pa., encouraging children and adults to fix their bikes with the help of volunteers. Communicycle also provides bikes to anyone in need, asking that they “pay it forward” by volunteering in their community and sharing their story.
“It was wonderful for our efforts to be recognized,” said Lee. “It is a reflection of the dedication our volunteers have to making a difference in our communities. And increased awareness of our work will hopefully mean more volunteers – and more bikes!”

The organization, which Lee leads as its executive director, collects used bikes in any condition to either restore or use for spare parts. The inspiration for the organization came when a group of men were building a handicap ramp for a woman in Aliquippa and the woman’s grandson asked them for help repairing a bike. That bike was repaired, and then more children began asking for repairs.

Throughout this winter, bike repairs continued, and with the help of many other community groups including Beaver Valley, Communicycle met and exceeded its goal of having 1,000 bicycles restored and ready for this past spring. Bike distribution events began in April in various communities including Aliquippa, Beaver Falls, Midland, Monaca, New Brighton and Rochester, as well as East Liverpool in nearby Ohio. Plans also call for bike racks to be installed in various locations.

The Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame was formed in 1998 initially to recognize the achievement of the legendary college coach, who grew up in East Liverpool. At Holt’s insistence, the Hall agreed to recognize and pay tribute to other individuals from the Upper Ohio Valley who had achieved success in a variety of fields.