Shining Star: 'Papa Jack' isn't slowing anytime soon


    He's known as "Papa Jack," and he's a volunteer who shows up in a big way for local residents at the Steubenville Urban Mission.<p>{/p}

    He's known as "Papa Jack," and he's a volunteer who shows up in a big way for local residents at the Steubenville Urban Mission.

    Jack Cassella says he earned the nickname honestly.

    "I’m the oldest guy here,” he said.

    Cassella, who calls Weirton home, will turn 85 later this month, but he's not slowing down anytime soon.

    Just a few years ago, the Weirton Steel retiree decided to donate his free time across the river at the Urban Mission of Steubenville.

    "I just walked in here one day and said, ‘hello, I'm Jack, and what can I do?’ "

    Since then, he's fulfilled a variety of jobs and eventually ended up sorting donated goods on the top floor of the warehouse.

    "So now they say it's Jack's floor. It isn't my floor, but it's mine. I just tell people, be sure you wipe your feet before you come up those stairs,” he said.

    At least four days a week, Cassella gets the food ready for distribution to local families in need.

    "I put some in my buggy because I don't lift these heavy boxes. I used to, but I'm pretty old.

    Cassella is one of many volunteers at the Urban Mission, which is why he knows just how important "free help" is to the community.

    "A person who would like to get off the couch, or is retired and has some time, you can work the hours you want to work, you don't have to punch in or out, but you don't get a paycheck either," he said.

    It's a routine that keeps him going, and always reminds him just why he does it in the first place.

    "I enjoy it. I get great satisfaction. Sometimes you wonder why you're doing it but then you see the children, and that's why I do it,” he said.

    Cassella also volunteers at a local senior center.

    Those at the Urban Mission say he's like a father figure -- and the children just love him.

    And if you know someone deserving of a Shining Star -- like 'Papa Jack' – we want to hear about it.

    Nominate them here and you could see their story on WTOV9!


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