Edited by Rachel Jones | By Nicole Thomas, Greensburg Community Development Corporation | Photographs from Gina Marie Photography, Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau
Your dad is quirky and maybe a little embarrassing at times, but you love him. No matter what, he’s always your go-to guy. With Father’s Day on June 19, it’s the perfect time to celebrate your dad and remind him how amazing he really is to you. We’re putting the spotlight on three great dads of Greensburg, who are doing their part to help the city grow while watching their kids do the same.
Patrick “PJ” Kelly
A highly respected chiropractor in the Greensburg area, Patrick “PJ” Kelly is also a commendable father. His interest in the field started during his childhood, when a session with a chiropractor cured his debilitating headaches. (He didn’t have another headache until he was 18 years old!) In 1998, he opened East Otterman Chiropractic, growing the practice into an established center where the community’s needs are put first. To make the most of his profession, PJ has served the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association in almost every capacity. He is the longest serving president of the association and was voted “Chiropractor of the Year” by his peers in 2008.
While he’d enjoy having his sons Jett, 4, and Rocco, 3, carry on the family business, PJ says, “My hopes for them are to find their professional niches that make them happy the better part of their lives.” When it comes to raising his boys, PJ considers himself the “benevolent dictator” compared to his wife, Nicolina, incorporating appropriate discipline and respect. A deeper look in his parenting methods is revealed in the book, “Go Ask Your Dad,” co-authored by PJ and published by Motivational Press Inc. In the future, he plans to write two series of children’s books focusing on The Golden Rule and quantum mechanics, from a child’s perspective.
His best advice for future fathers is, “Time well-spent with family is critical. Children will remember the time well-spent with their father and will be grateful for those memories shared. Because his schedule allows him to put in long hours three days a week, PJ is able to spend time with his family throughout the week and on weekends. His hobbies include golfing, snowboarding, biking, skateboarding, and relaxing by the pool with his family. With a plethora of indoor and outdoor activities offered year-round in Greensburg, his family always has something to do. The Kellys’ favorite places to visit are the Greensburg Country Club and local parks, especially Peach Plaza. The three-level concrete skate plaza designed for skateboarding, in-line skating, and freestyle biking. Open from 9 a.m. until dusk, PJ and his sons love to enjoy a leisurely day of skating there.
From the hectic schedule of being a Westmoreland County Commissioner to the busy fun of being a father, Ted Kopas is always on the move. Ted expresses that he rarely has a day off, but wouldn’t have it any other way. Recently elected for another four-year term, Ted continues to devote his time in office to helping the families and communities of Westmoreland County. “No two days are ever the same,” he says. “One day, there are long hours spent in front of a computer. Other days are full of meetings with staff and service providers. Many days and evenings are spent throughout the county, meeting with constituents. It’s definitely not a 9-5 job. With a $330 million budget, 2,000 employees, and 365,000 residents, there is never a shortage of challenges and seemingly never enough time in the day.”
Born in North Huntingdon Township, Ted always knew Westmoreland County would be his home. He’s always loved the sense of community each town has and how families and neighborhoods are so close-knit. “Greensburg has it all – great schools, safe neighborhoods, history, culture, recreation opportunities, and more,” Ted says. “As locals, we probably don’t appreciate Greater Greensburg nearly as much as those who visit.”
Ted and his wife, April, have five children: Teddy, 5; Jack, 8; Quinn, 13; Alex, 19; and Elle, 22. Just as busy as their father, the kids are always out and about in the city. Teddy frequents the library, Jack enjoys Main Street Bowling Center, Quinn loves the SummerSounds concert series in St. Clair Park, Alex is a pro ice skater at Nevin Arena, and Elle looks forward to the annual Turkey Trot 5K. If they’re able to squeeze in a date night together, Ted and April have a new obsession with 80’s hair metal shows at The Palace Theatre!
Balancing work and family life is a never-ending challenge, but Ted has his priorities. “My kids come first,” he says. “I never want to miss a game, an event, or anything important to them. But, I also recognize the duty of an elected official puts this in conflict, as I must serve the citizens of Westmoreland, and being at every family activity is not always possible.” The love and support from April makes everything easier and, as he gushes, keeps him sane.
After growing up in Greensburg, Mike Reese left for New York to attend Cornell University. When he returned home after graduation and met his wife, Jana, he knew this was where his new family would plant their roots. “Larger city folks may consider us a bit ‘Mayberry,’ but I love the down to earth, friendly, and unassuming vibe Greensburg has,” Mike says.
The certified private wealth advisor at Loyalhanna Wealth Advisors of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC says staying professional during the workday is crucial, but his time with Jana and their daughter, Quinn, 2, is his time to unwind. He enjoys being “the goofy parent” and playing with his daughter, but he’s also the first to “turn into a blubbery mess” over anything sentimental. This, for him, is the best part of fatherhood. He urges other men to not resist the sweet surrender of bachelorhood, but to embrace the rewards gained from parenthood. Or, more simply, as Mike’s own father said, “Everything in moderation, nothing to excess, and always keep the shiny side up.”
Mike’s favorite memory with his father was a trip to Ithaca, N.Y., to visit Cornell University his junior year of high school. “When we arrived on the idyllic campus, nostalgia took over my dad,” Mike says. “He shared wild stories I previously hadn’t been mature enough to hear and imparted wisdom gleaned from hindsight. I experienced, for the first time, a shift from ‘dad the disciplinarian’ to ‘dad the advisor.’ From that day forward, I knew I could count on my father not only for protection and support, but to be my confidant and, perhaps most importantly, my bud. He will always be my mentor and guide, and that trip taught me how to embrace him as a cherished friend.”
Creating a similar bond with his growing family, the Reeses strive to have dinner together at least five nights a week. The self-proclaimed foodies love to cook together and go out to eat on a regular basis. “Even Quinn demands medium-rare lamb chops at least once a month,” he jokes. The family also enjoys visiting The Palace Theatre for a show or concert series, and outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and skiing. “During my day job, I have significant cerebral demands,” he explains, “but my hands and feet crave the attention on weekends.”
East Otterman Chiropractic, 125 E. Otterman St., 724.838.7700. eastottermanchiropractic.com. Greensburg Country Club, 309 Pleasant Valley Road, Jeannette. 724.837.1810. greensburgcc.com. Westmoreland County, co.westmoreland.pa.us. The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 221 N. Main St., Greensburg. 724.837.1500. thewestmoreland.org. Beeghly and Company Jewelers, 401 S. Main St., Greensburg. 724.832.1500. beeghlyandcompany.com. Lapels A Fine Men’s Clothier, 106 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Greensburg. 724.853.7145. Loyalhanna Wealth Advisors of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, 121 E. Main St., Ligonier. 800.922.9882. loyalhannawa-janney.com.
This Father’s Day, treat dad to a day or two at the greens! With so many golf courses to choose from in the area, each with their own special and unique touches, the possibilities for an exciting golf excursion are endless. Here are some of our favorite spots in the Laurel Highlands:
Arnold Palmer’s Latrobe Country Club
Take advantage of the rare opportunity to play on the same greens that Arnold Palmer himself still plays today. The SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pittsburgh-Latrobe, located on Arnold Palmer Drive in Latrobe, offers an exclusive stay and play package with golfing privileges at the private Latrobe Country Club. Guests can drive, pitch, and putt on the course where he learned the game from his father, and view the memorabilia on display from his amateur and professional golfing careers, making it an experience that you’ll never forget. For more information, call 724.539.8585 or visit latrobecountryclub.com.
Champion Lakes Golf Course
A country club that’s open to the public, Champion Lakes Golf Course features well-groomed greens and fairways that reflect the pride and dedication of original owners Dick Groat and Jerry Lynch. The former Pittsburgh Pirates teammates converted the area’s old apple orchard into a golf course, and hand-built Champion Lakes into the masterpiece it is today. The 6,608-yard layout features tightly tree-lined fairways and challenging greens that earned a 4-star rating by Golf Digest, as well as a best in state rating in Golf Magazine. The strategically placed lakes and pins present a challenge for even the most competitive golfers, a true testament to the course record of only 5-under par, held by PGA Tour Professional Rocco Mediate, and golf legend Arnold Palmer’s low round of 68. For more information, visit pagolf.com/history.
Mt. Odin Golf Park
Touted as one of the best golf course experiences in Westmoreland County, the Mt. Odin Golf Course sits atop Toll Gate Hill Road and offers a challenging 18-hole course. The picturesque park gives golfers a feeling that is not found anywhere else near Greensburg. The course offers some challenging holes and others that are just enjoyable to play on a sunny afternoon while leaving the distractions of life behind. For more information, visit mtodingc.com.
Totteridge Golf Course
Totteridge Golf Course is located in a remote part of Greensburg and succeeds in fulfilling Rees Jones’ design commitment to fair and visually exciting courses. The 18-hole, links-style layout takes full advantage of the rolling hills and breathtaking vistas. Totteridge’s greens are extremely fast and roll as true as any private club, seeing half the play as a typical public course. With over 7,100 yards from the back tees with a 75.8 rating, many holes feature elevated tee boxes, natural fairway mounding, selective bunkering, and downhill approach shots provide an enjoyable challenge. For more information, visit totteridgegolfcourse.com.
The Madison Club
Set among the rolling hills of Western Pa., The Madison Club is one of the most talked about golf courses in Pittsburgh. This premiere public golf course boasts a championship yardage of 6,900 yards and a par of 72. The clubhouse, five sets of tees, seven lakes, level well-manicured fairways, and large USGA greens ensure your group will experience a memorable round of golf. For more information, visit themadisonclub.com.
Cherrywood Golf Club
Situated on gently rolling terrain, Cherrywood Golf Club is ideal for the golfer who prefers to walk and is accented by an abundance of mature, native trees. Architect John S. Chernega designed the course to employ all three design strategies: penal, heroic, and strategic. The greens and fairways are well bunkered, and six holes have water features, which are very much in play. For more information, visit cherry-woodgolfcourse.com.
Donegal Highlands Golf Course
Nestled in the picturesque hills of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands, Donegal Highlands provides the perfect golf getaway. The championship, 18-hole public course also offers amenities like the famous Black Dog Pub and the Rusty Putter Pavilion. Don’t miss a visit to their well-stocked pro shop for clothing with the distinctive “Black dog” insignia. For more information, visit donegalhighlandsgolf.com.
Glengarry Golf Links
After an enjoyable round in the scenic and beautiful Laurel Highlands, you’ll see why Glengarry is one of the most unique, upscale golf courses you can play. The Scottish links-style layout leads you through wide fairways, fescue mounds, and catcher’s-mitt bunkers, ending at the creatively shaped, undulating greens. For more information, visit golfglengarry.com.
The Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau is the most complete planning resource for finding great things to do, places to stay, sites to see, and stores to shop throughout the region. For the inside scoop on how to spend your summer visiting Westmoreland County and to plan the perfect trip, visit LaurelHighlands.org.