Sewickley Herald honors Citizens of the Year

Friday, May 11, 2018 | 6:21 PM


Hundreds of people came out to the Edgeworth Club in Edgeworth on May 11 to honor five citizens during the Sewickley Herald’s 42nd annual Citizens of the Year Celebration.

In addition, the Herald announced the launch of a new website — — dedicated to the coverage of the Sewickley Valley and the people who live and work there.

“We are so pleased to be able to deliver up-to-the minute news to our faithful readers in this area seven days a week via our new website,” said Sue McFarland, executive editor at Trib Total Media. “We encourage the readers to help us in this new venture by submitting news from their organizations and youth and school groups directly to the site.”

The five citizens honored were: Katie Rostek, Emerging Citizen; Jerry Veshio, Man of the Year; Melanie Moul, Woman of the Year; and Mike and Frank Yankello, Citizens of the Year.

The Yankello brothers said they were honored to be named Citizens of the Year. They ran Yankello’s Video and Repair electronics store for decades before relocating their business to their home workshops. They say they go about doing what they love the best they can, with love for their customers, as well. They often donate their time and work to community events.

“Thank you so much for everything,” Mike Yankello said. “My brother Frank and I are extremely touched to be receiving this honor.”

Mike Yankello said he and his family have always tried to be there for community, both as part of their business and when a neighbor needed something as simple as a hot meal brought to them.

“It’s the way we were raised by our parents,” he said.

Rostek credited her parents for making her the person she is today. A senior at Quaker Valley High School, she is recognized for her involvement in the community and willingness to take on extra tasks.

Rostek often starts her day before the start of school, helping with an activity or club. Then, after school, she stays for hours, whether it’s for rehearsals for the school’s musical, practicing with the choral ensemble, leading the marching band as its drum major or one of her many other activities.

She seeks ways to get involved and make a difference, whether through volunteering as a young Harmonist at Old Economy Village in Ambridge or choreographing the musicals for the middle school.

“I’m truly honored to accept an award with such a rich history,” she said. “Every single year we raise up our best and brightest here, knowing that together we are a community of leaders.”

Veshio is a retired Quaker Valley teacher and athletic director. He is recognized for his contributions to the school, its students and athletes.

Veshio retired in 2011 and then returned two days before the 2017 season to lead the Quaker Valley football team as head coach. And perhaps just as unexpectedly, the team captured its first WPIAL championship — with a 2-0 win over Aliquippa — at Heinz Field in November.

Three weeks later, he led the team to its first PIAA state championship in Hershey. He took everyone back to that exciting season during his speech Friday.

“All that tremendous excitement and celebration was overwhelming to me,” he said. “I was humbled and proud to be able to bring excitement to our community.”

Despite the pride and excitement about the championships, Veshio said it’s the little moments in life he treasures the most. He showed the audience a picture of his young granddaughter, for whom he helps take care, with a friend at preschool.

“I’d give up 10 state championships in a row just to be able to witness this simple image,” he said. “That image is what makes us appreciate what’s good and most cherished in our life.”

Melanie Moul was named Woman of the Year for her dedication to the community as a crossing guard.

Known as “Miss Mel,” to the kids, they know on hot days there will be ice pops on her corner.

More than 30 elementary school children might pass by Moul’s post each morning and afternoon at Meadow Lane and Chestnut Road in Edgeworth. In that brief span of time, she learns about them, their families, their hopes, their dreams and their fears.

She came out to speak in true form, wearing her crossing guard vest and carrying a stop sign.

“I feel so blessed to receive this recognition,” she said.

Moul said being a crossing guard is the favorite job she’s had.

“I see it as shepherding precious little ones safely in the world,” she said.

In addition to the honorees, the Herald honored the legacy of longtime editor B.G. Shields, who died in 2017. Shields became synonymous with the Herald through a number of decades and on into retirement. Shields created the Man, Woman and Citizens of the Year honor as a way to celebrate the accomplishments of volunteers who give back to the Sewickley Valley community.

“Without her guidance, understanding and love of the Sewickley Valley and this newspaper, a celebration such as this would not be possible,” said Bobby Cherry, Herald editor. “So tonight we dedicate this celebration to B.G. Shields.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or on Twitter @emilybalser.