April 19, 2021


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Neighbor Highlight: Penn Hills EMS supervisor’s journey focuses on her love of the local community and its persons

6 min read

Editor’s take note: Neighbor Spotlight is a regular monthly element that aims to allow our readers find out much more about the persons in their communities who are working to make them a much better position, who have appealing tales to convey to or who the neighborhood feels should have “15 minutes of fame.” If you would like to nominate a person as a Neighbor Highlight, email Community Information Community editor Katie Environmentally friendly at [email protected]

Diane Fitzhenry does not especially appreciate speaking about herself.

In point, when she was tasked with speaking to a reporter for this Neighbor Spotlight story, she named numerous some others in the neighborhood who would be a greater interview.

“I just do my career,” she said.

She operates as the EMS supervisor in Penn Hills, a position she has held there considering that 2009. She obtained her initially career with the municipality in 1975 and stayed at any time given that in a wide variety of roles.

Fitzhenry, 64, worked for various businesses in the region all through the initially summer months immediately after graduating from large faculty. She then saw a newspaper advert for a position as a receptionist in the municipal manager’s office.

As a 1975 graduate of Penn Hills Substantial College, Fitzhenry experienced some encounter in secretarial perform and stenography. The university, back then, had a reliable commercial curriculum that well prepared “the secretaries of the world,” she mentioned.

Courtesy of Diane Fitzhenry

Diane Fitzhenry’s large school yearbook image from 1975. She was 17 at the time.


“I applied. It was close to property, and I figured I had the abilities they have been wanting for. It was a fantastic entry stage position, one particular I thought I could go up in,” Fitzhenry stated.

More than her 45 yrs functioning in the municipality, she moved up, across, down and up all over again in her many roles. So when she described the “very hardworking” individuals of Penn Hills as all those who have a sure “stick-to-it-ness” about them, she was also describing herself.

To illustrate her term – adhere-to-it-ness – she pointed to the Johnstown Flood of 1977. She had been on the career in Penn Hills for a few of many years and claimed she remembered the excitement about the celebration, which claimed 84 life after a foot of rain fell in just 10 hrs. The flood brought on 5 dams to are unsuccessful and inundated the space with thousands and thousands of gallons of water.

“The individuals of Penn Hills raised cash in the browsing centers, they place together care offers, folks contributed lots of revenue,” Fitzhenry mentioned. She mentioned Turner Dairy Farms even stopped producing milk for a time in order to bottle drinking water to mail to the folks of Johnstown. She explained the municipality’s volunteer hearth departments despatched truckloads of meals there. And Johnstown was equipped to acquire a fire truck for its West Close Ambulance Services.

“The people below are genuinely fantastic individuals,” she mentioned, choking up all over again.

So when she sees drug overdoses, shootings and other violence occurring in the town she has grown to like, it hurts. She has worked challenging powering the scenes to assist individuals in want – even those people in the news media.

Liza King of Penn Hills started out her vocation as a reporter for the Green Tab Newspaper, which published in Penn Hills. Her beat in the mid to late 1970s was Penn Hills.

“She was usually a great resource for me,” King explained. “And she was often truthful, she didn’t dodge thoughts, returned calls.”

King claimed reporters often get a negative rap for concentrating on the damaging stories. But no make any difference how destructive or perhaps terrible the tale introduced Penn Hills, Fitzhenry normally helped.

“Even if she was not the particular person to answer the queries, she could get that info. And she never sugar coated something,” King claimed.

King described Fitzhenry as an “amazing person” who is phenomenal at her career. By the time King remaining the newspaper for a training occupation at the Local community College of Allegheny County’s Boyce campus in 1984, she reported the two of them became close friends.

King mentioned she however relies on Fitzhenry to this day as point out Rep. Tony DeLuca’s main of team. Whenever she has a issue about crisis administration expert services that constituents might have, she depends on her close friend.

“She’s an priceless resource to Penn Hills,” King reported.

Fitzhenry has worked as a supervisor, secretary and deputy clerk. She worked closely with the municipality to established up its citizen providers center – and then she ran it, answering different issues from the neighborhood. Through that time, in 1984, she turned an emergency healthcare technician. She utilised that knowledge to support the municipality set up ambulance billing, and she volunteered with a Plum fireplace division to operate ambulance phone calls right up until 1988.

And when Penn Hills wished to make important modifications to its Dwelling Rule Charter, she served on the charter overview and revision committee both equally in the 1980s and 1990s. She’s also served on the municipality’s 911 committee and has worked as a notary because 1977.

Fitzhenry served on the Penn Hills Library Foundation board of directors for a amount of a long time and a range of other group boards and golf equipment.

By the time 2007 came, she attained her diploma from the University of Pittsburgh in community administration and authorized scientific tests. She also married Daniel Fitzhenry in 1982. With each other, they’ve elevated two sons, David and Dan. She now has two grandchildren.


Courtesy of Diane Fitzhenry

Diane Fitzhenry graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 (best) and is a 1975 graduate of Penn Hills Significant Faculty (bottom proper).


She had also gained skilled designations and certifications by companies these types of as the Global Institute of Municipal Clerks and the Pennsylvania Affiliation of Municipal Directors.

When she graduated from Pitt, the municipality was seeking for an EMS Supervisor. She applied and was hired by previous supervisor Mohammed Rayan. Her experience as an EMT and in different roles in just the municipality helped her make the career. A several many years later on, she grew to become a certified paremedic to hold up with her instruction.

She has served as a resource not only to people and reporters, but colleagues, way too. Chris Blackwell, the municipality’s setting up director, started his occupation in 1994 as a planner for Penn Hills. He remembers Fitzhenry as becoming his “go-to” person for nearly anything about the municipality.

“She’s just eager to get items finished,” he reported. “And she’s generally been eager to choose on new troubles. It is like she has 10 plates in the air at just one time. If she’s asked to do something she under no circumstances states she’s much too hectic.”

Blackwell, who has now been a co-worker of hers for 27 decades, reported he just can’t say sufficient about Fitzhenry.

“She’d be tricky to swap,” he claimed.

When Fitzhenry was questioned about retirement, she responded only, “I even now delight in coming to work.”

So though she could not uncover phrases to speak about herself, and as a substitute pointed to other residents’ “stick-to-it-ness,” she could extremely properly provide as that word’s definition.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Overview employees writer. You can get hold of Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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