Area residents honored by Heart Association |
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Charmaine Sampson, of Uniontown, helped to get volunteers across the nation walking for heart research. Sister Sarah Geier saved lives of area residents with her blood pressure screenings.

The two were recently honored by the multi-state Pennsylvania-Delaware Affiliate of the American Heart Association.

Sampson received the Distinguished Achievement award; Geier, a Program/Advocacy award.

A volunteer with the Fayette Chapter of the American Heart Association for five years, Sampson earned her honor for presenting a proposal to Joe Hardy, the founder of 84 Lumber, asking for his help with the annual Heart Walk.

Hardy challenged employees at the Uniontown store, Nemacolin Woodlands and the Washington County corporate headquarters, to participate in the Fayette County Heart Walk scheduled Saturday at Mt. St. Macrina. Nemacolin Woodlands is expected to field 15 separate teams of walkers from various departments.

Additional 84 Lumber corporate employees are also planning to walk at Falconi Field in Washington, Pa.

Hardy also challenged employees at each of his 84 Lumber locations in 34 states to raise $1,000 in their respective heart walks.

With about 434 outlets the challenge has the potential to raise upward of $434,000 for the Heart Association. And the first 84 Lumber outlet to participate in a heart walk in Jackson, Miss., didn’t raise $1,000; it raised $2,000.

“What a mover and shaker,” Sister Sarah said of her fellow honoree and her accomplishment.

But for the past three decades, Sampson, 53, has mostly worked behind the scenes.

She is the administrative assistant to Uniontown businessman and philanthropist Robert Eberly, recently celebrating her 35th anniversary with his Greystone Resources Inc.

Her volunteering with the American Heart Association had nothing to do with work. “It’s something I chose to do,” she said.

She said a big part of the reason is because her late father, Charles Sampson, and other relatives suffered from heart disease.

The honor Sampson received is the second highest the Pennsylvania/Delaware affiliate awards.

The agency also honored Sister Sarah for her work.

She heads up Rendu Services, a health outreach program with offices at the Laurel Mall.

A Vincentian Sister of Charity, she works with four other nuns from the Daughters of Charity order.

Among their services is providing blood pressure monitoring and other tests for risk’s factors. The sisters have an RV that they drive to various venues for the screenings.

They see roughly 4,000 residents each year. Sister Sarah said they have found previously undiagnosed cardiovascular problems and have helped their clients get the help they need. Many of those she helps are elderly but the clientele comes from “across the board.”

One of the venues she visits is Pechin’s Shopping Village in Dunbar Township. Sister Sarah noted that she attracts a wide cross section of people there.


The Fayette County Heart Association, meanwhile, is gearing up for the local Heart Walk scheduled for Saturday at Mt. St. Macrina.

The 7K event is being moved this year from the Penn State Fayette campus to the more scenic locale of Mt. St. Macrina. The former J.V. Thompson Estate in North Union Township is now occupied by the Sisters of St. Basil the Great.

This year’s Heart Walk will go five times around the estate.

The chairman of the event is Brian Boyle, executive vice president of Advanced Acoustic Concepts. Event organizers are expecting upward of 1,000 participants.

The check-in time is from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Saturday with the walking scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

Teams for the Heart Walk can be fielded up until the day of the event. For more information, call Cindy Digga, corporate events director, at the Fayette County Division office of the American Heart Association at 724-437-2798.

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