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Shining Stars: John Romanoski

WTOV

John Romanoski built a pretty impressive resume during his 92 years on this earth.

But after meeting him, you’ll found it's actually the little things that go a long way.

Among them, he’s been a part of the Wolfhurst Volunteer Fire Department family for more than 70 years.

“I try to stop down here before I go to work every morning, and usually he's here already,” Chief Matthew Otto said. “He's making coffee. He's drinking coffee, talking to everybody.”

“When you don't see him for a couple days, you're like anybody seen Johnny? So he's a really big part of our group here at the department.”

Romanoski founded the department in 1946, shortly after returning home from serving in the Army during World War II.

“I did combat training and artillery in Fort Bragg, N.C,” Romanoski said.

He'd go on to study physics and mathematics at the College of Steubenville. He says he also studied philosophy and even theology in Pennsylvania. He taught high school locally for a number of years before a brief stint as a contractor for NASA, during the Apollo Moon Project.

“I was a research engineer,” he said.

Those are just some of the stories he shares with others just starting out.

“Listening to all of it is pretty astonishing, knowing all the different things he's done in a relatively short amount of time,” said Thomas Coyne, of the VFD. “It's something to live up to you, I guess you could say.”

“The fact that he's still doing everything that he does at his age, is amazing to see,” said fellow volunteer firefighter Jacob Bain.

While most days start at the fire department, Romanoski is also very involved at the Rolling Hills Rehab and Nursing Center in Bridgeport.

In fact, on Mondays, he calls Bingo.

“They like their bingo, you know these old people, they like to have something to do at the nursing home,” Romanoski said.

“He's a good person,” Rolling Hills resident James Nagy said. “He thinks of other people besides himself.”

And on Sundays …

“I help with communion,” Romanoski said. “I been there 22 years.”

“He's just been phenomenal with our residents, and we think of him as family here,” said Jackie Polivka, activities director, Rolling Hills.

He’s a spiritual man who says the secret to life is faith.

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” he said, quoting Psalm 23.

This week’s Shining Star, a man finding ways to give back

“From a father figure to a brother, everything to us,” Otto said.

And proving the is glass is always half full, when you're getting a cup of joe from John.

“They're friends,” Romanoski said. “It's something to do. It's what keeps me going all these years.”

Romanoski never married, never had any kids. He's spent his life giving back to others.

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