PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A burn mark on a tree trunk in Legion Keener Park testifies to a fire, set last summer.

The unsolved arson left most of the Children’s Playland area in ruins.

But now, the park in Latrobe is a bustle of activity. Greg Shevchik of Latrobe-Unity Parks and Recreation supervises 170 employee volunteers from the Kennametal company.

“We’re turning a negative into a positive, really,” Shevchik says. “And you can see all these excited people out here working hard. Just the energy, the community, it’s awesome to see. Guys getting off work bringing their tools, just helping us work. It’s really unique.”

By the end of the week, the playground will improve on the one built by volunteers in 1992, including a state of the art accessible swing set. Volunteers are digging holes to place the poles for a 30-foot zip line. When they’re finished, it will be the only one of its kind in any children’s playground in the state of Pennsylvania.

One of the volunteers is Ben Stas, vice president of finance at Kennametal.

“We spend a lot of time behind a desk each day,” he says. “So when we get an opportunity to come out and work with our hands, get dirty, make an impact on the community, it helps out. And it really helps us in the office and back at our jobs. It’s very refreshing.”

Global project manager Vivian Pavlov supervises the world wide sale of drills, similar to the one she has in her hands.

“It’s actually nice to get to use the kind of products that I sell a little bit today,” she says. “I mean, the products that I sell are a little bit different what you see on the table, and what we use today, but hey, a drill’s a drill.”

Kennametal asked employees to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary with 75 hours of volunteering.

This project should do it.

More From Dave Crawley
More Local News