Benches donated at new walking path

Folks who walk, bike or jog along the path that encircles two Penn Manor schools can now take a break along their journey, thanks to the generosity of two couples and an individual with strong ties to Penn Manor schools.

Four green metal benches recently were installed along the popular walking path that surrounds Hambright Elementary and Manor Middle schools, purchased with donations from Bob and Marita Charles, the DeGeorge family and Wardell Jackson.

The donors gave $500 for each bench.

Steve and Shirley DeGeorge purchased two benches and dedicated them to the memory of their son, Josh DeGeorge, a 1999 Penn Manor graduated who was killed in a vehicle crash not far from the walking path in 2012.

“You never want the memory of a loved one to die,” said Steve DeGeorge. “This is our small contribution to help keep the memory of Josh alive.”

Josh and his sister, Jenny, both attended Manor Middle School.

“We have fond memories of Penn Manor and the people in the community we have gotten to know,” Steve DeGeorge said. “There are plenty of people who might see those benches and remember Josh and smile at something they remember about him.”

Bob and Marita Charles live across the street from Manor Middle School and frequently walk and jog along the paths. Donating money for a bench was a natural, said Bob, an avowed “fitness nut” who taught physical education and coached at Penn Manor schools for 34 years until retiring in 1993.

“All I have to do is walk across the street and I’m there,” said Charles, who is 77. “We walk half the time and jog the other half.”

The third donor, Jackson, is a 28-year Manor Middle School teacher and coach who also uses the walking path.

“Penn Manor has been a huge part of my life, and I thought it would be a good idea to give back to the school something that would last a long time,” Jackson said of his donation.

The walking path, installed as part of the construction of Hambright in 2013-2014, links with a path in the adjacent John G. Herr Park. Together, the paths make a loop that is about 1.8 miles long.

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