By Rick Dayton

MUNHALL (KDKA) – A strong man, he shreds the Pittsburgh phone book, rolls up skillets with his bare hands, and picks up two girls from Park Elementary in Munhall and twirls them around like they weren’t even there. Then, he bends a steel bar in his teeth.

His name is Jon Pritikin and he is one of the world’s strongest men.

“I did the Guinness World Records to open some doors for us, to open some doors in other countries,” Pritikin, a motivational speaker, said.

“I do the feats of strength and try to have some fun with it, but it was never competing in a strongman competition because I was never a very good athlete to be honest with you.”

The acts of strength certainly get the attention of kids as he talks about the perils of bullying.

“The key thing with that is empowering the bystander that you need to tell. That it’s okay to let us know and we thank them for that and praise them for being able to share with others about that type of thing,” Diana Borgis, Park Elementary Principal, said.

Jon leaves behind quite a mess: the bent bar, a broken bat, even a rolled up skillet. In all, he has talked to four million children worldwide through the National Character Education Foundation. He says it’s critical they get his message.

“One is that I want them to know that they are special. Two is for the child who is being made fun of is for them to know that they are not to give up, that there is hope. If I can make it, they can make it,” Pritikin said. “And three is for the bystander, the person who sees it happen – a person who can be a voice and say, ‘Hey, don’t make fun of that person,’ or ‘I’ll eat lunch with you,’ and that’s kind of been my goal here today.”


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