AMBUCS Altoona Newsletter for June 26, 2018

Today’s Meeting:  Tim Balconi – Check Presentation from the UPMC Altoona Foundation


Future Speakers:

July 3rd – Tracie Ciambotti – Military Family Ministries

July 10th – Erin Kelly – Author and Altoona Mirror Columnist

July 17th – Larry Culp – Dairy Farmer in Martinsburg

July 24th – Allan Bassler – Publisher of the Morrison’s Cove Herald

July 31st – Ed Krueger – Publisher of the Altoona Mirror


PCW logoWhacha’ May Have Missed Last Week:  Last week our speaker was David Wertz of PC Works Plus – discussing Cyber Security. David, who’s the president and founder of PC Works Plus, began his business 29 years ago. David said that security awareness is Dave picvery important to a business because even if you’ve spent a lot of money on computers and the best software, any individual’s careless use of the system can cause major problems. Cyber criminals, sometimes referred to as “hacktivists”, cause disruption by disabling/changing systems, which steal your computing power. In 2017, it was estimated that 4,000 ransomware attacks per day caused companies to spend $5 billion paying ransoms to cyber criminals! David stated that phishing, unsolicited assistance, and notices that you are a “winner” are some of the common ways intruders can cause damage.

David provided the following seven suggestions for protecting your computer:

  • Don’t use the same password for different sites.
  • Enable pin/passwords on mobile devices.
  • Don’t allow a link to control where you land.
  • Reject offers of unsolicited assistance.
  • Be very cautious of unexpected emails.
  • Don’t open unexpected attachments or links in emails.
  • Use Two Factor authentication.

David wrapped up his talk by providing two websites where you can check to see if your computer might have been breached:  and 

Guests of the Day:

…..Guests of Alex Seltzer included Grant Rumble of the Boy Scouts of America and former Ambucs George and Judy Savine. Both George and Judy were also past AMBUCS presidents. 

 News of the Week:

…..Treasurer Paul Dick received the invoice from UPMC for the costs of the recent blood screening and we cleared a profit of $15,146 for the project fund. Event chairman, Ed Farabaugh, devotes a very large amount of his time on this project every year. A big thank you goes out to Ed and to his worker bees that helped with the screening on that Saturday morning!  Great effort….Great result.

…..Amtryke Chairman, Michele Lloyd, received four new Amtryke requests last week. Unfortunately, all four of these requests are for trykes that are currently on backorder. This brings our number of backorder requests to fourteen. National AMBUCS is now expecting the Amtrykes to be delivered to them around the middle of August, instead of July as originally thought. Michele’s building team will certainly be busy when these fourteen trykes show up.

…..President Kristan thanked Rachel DiAndrea for her efforts in developing another piece of valuable marketing material for the club. Rachel designed a 4” x 9” two-sided rack card that can be placed in tourism type racks in the area or handed out when talking to a prospective member. The cards are available at club. Why not take a few and try to recruit a new member or two? Thanks Rachel!

Erin Kelly…..In several weeks, our guest speaker will be Erin Kelly, a local author, poet, and Altoona Mirror columnist. Erin, who has cerebral palsy, has written a book of poetry entitled “How to Wait”, which bears witness to the art of patience, a trait few of us will ever master. We have a number of copies of this book and we will be selling chances for you to win one. Chances are just $5.00 and will be available starting this week.

Joker…..Last week we had two people take their chance at finding a Joker! The previous week, the ticket of Jim Huff was chosen but Jim had to leave early. So Jim made his selection prior to the meeting and unwisely chose the Three of Spades. Then at the conclusion of the meeting, Bob Reffner’s ticket was chosen by David Wertz and he likewise was a loser when he pulled the Ten of Clubs. Next week’s winner will now pick from a deck of 51 remaining cards to find one of the jokers for a pot of about $80.


…..Mark your calendar….the AMBUCS will face WeCare in the WeCare Softball Marathon on Friday, August 10th, at Seitz field in Eldorado. Tony Miller needs players, and by players Tony says that the only requirement to play is to have a pulse! Details of the event to follow soon.

In Closing:   Late one night a guy is speeding down an empty road. A cop sees him go flying past so he chases him down and pulls him over. The cop goes up to the car and when the man rolls down the window, he asks, “Are you aware of how fast you were going, sir?” The man replies, “Yes I am. I’m trying to escape a robbery I got involved in.” The cop looks at him disbelievingly and asks him, “Were you the one being robbed, sir?” The man casually replies, “Oh no, I was the one who committed the robbery. I was escaping.”

copThe cop is shocked and surprised that the man has admitted this so freely. He says, “So you’re telling me you were speeding…AND committed a robbery?” “Oh yes,” replies the man calmly. “I have all the loot in the back.” The cop is now starting to get concerned and says, “Sir, I’m afraid you’ll have to come with me” as he reaches into the window to take the car keys out of the ignition. The man shouts, “Please don’t do that! I’m afraid that you’ll find the gun in my glove compartment!” At this the cop pulls his hand out of the window and says, “Wait here” as he returns to his car and calls for backup.

Soon there are cars, cops and helicopters all over, everywhere you look. The man is quickly dragged out of his car, handcuffed and taken to a cop car. However, just before he is put in the car and taken away a cop walks up to him and says, while pointing at the cop that pulled him over, “Sir, this officer tells us that you had committed a robbery, had stolen loot in the trunk of your car, and had a loaded gun in your glove compartment. However, we didn’t find any of these things in your car.” The man replies, “Yeah, and I bet that liar said I was speeding too!”

AMBUCS Altoona Newsletter for June 12, 2018

Today’s Meeting:  Induction of 2018/19 club officers and a member’s meeting


Future Speakers:

June 19th – David Wertz of PC Works – discussing Cyber Security

June 26th – TBD

Cohen AllenWhacha’ May Have Missed Last Week: What a great meeting last week as we presented an Amtryke to 4 year old Cohen Allen of Altoona. At the table, Cohen was surrounded by his family…..Mother Stephanie, Father David, Sister Elisa, and Brother Hudson. Cohen was born with a head defect so severe that he was hospitalized for over 650 days at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. His father told me that he quit his job as an on-the-road salesman to devote more home time to Cohen. He then decided to make a career change and has since earned his nursing degree from St Francis. His mother told me that Cohen rides a therapeutic tricycle at his Kid’s First therapy sessions and therefore when he got on his very own new Amtryke, he knew exactly what to do. Before they left the meeting, Cohen’s brother and sister were already planning to ride their bikes with Cohen when they got home. In the picture, Cohen is surrounded by President Kristan, his Mother Stephanie, Father David, and Sister Elisa.


Altoona Mirror LogoOur speaker was Neil Rudel of the Altoona Mirror. Neil is the Mirror’s managing editor and has been for the last 12+ years. Neil, a Johnstown native, came to Altoona when he attended Penn State Altoona as a journalism major. He began writing for the Mirror when he covered PSU-Altoona sports beginning in 1974. He stated that he often filed his stories by slipping them under the door of the Mirror’s then Green Avenue office. The Mirror began publication in 1874 and has changed quite a bit since its inception. Neil noted that the paper, contrary to when he started, is now a morning paper that is published seven days per week. Its coverage area has expanded to now include news and sports in Cambria, Bedford, and Huntingdon counties. He also talked about how newspapers have struggled with the instant access to news that people now have, but mentioned that smaller community papers have been impacted less so than the larger markets. A typical Mirror weekday will see them print about 20,000 papers. On Sundays they print about 30,000 (the largest editions between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg). Neil also discussed his involvement with the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame. Since its first class in 1987, the hall has recognized many great Blair County athletes and coaches and has presented a number of high school athletes with scholarships. To date, 85 inductees to the hall and over $100,000 given in scholarships makes the efforts of Neil and the other HOF member’s time very worthwhile.


Guests of the Day:

…..There were none.


 News of the Week:

…..New president, Kristan noted that grant writer, Dave Aikens, presented her with a $2,500 check for our Amtryke fund from the UPMC Altoona Foundation. Dave has been very busy writing numerous grant requests on the fund’s behalf. Dave’s hard work has paid off from the generous donations that he has secured over the last year or so. Great job Dave and thanks to the UPMC Altoona Foundation! 

…..Mark your calendar….the AMBUCS will face WeCare in the WeCare Softball Marathon on Friday, August 10th, at Seitz field in Eldorado. Tony Miller needs players. Details to follow soon.

T2B logo…..Last week’s Amtryke presentation to Cohen Allen was funded by a very generous donation from Top to Bottom Commercial Interiors! Top to Bottom creates exceptional workspaces by listening carefully to your workplace objectives. Using state-of-the-art software they can design your new or renovated commercial space with furniture, flooring and window treatments. Visit them at or by calling their Altoona office at 942-3250. A big thanks goes out to Top to Bottom from both Cohen and the Altoona AMBUCS!

…..The AMBUCS board resumed their meeting following our regular meeting last Tuesday. The meeting agenda included a discussion on several publicity items and it was decided to share these items in a special meeting this week along with the official induction of the club officers. Also discussed was the current backlog of 10 Amtrykes that we have on backorder. National AMBUCS has announced that most of the Amtryke models are on backorder until July.


Joker…..Winner – Winner – Chicken Dinner! Actually, many chicken dinners as Dean McKnight strode to the head table when his ticket was drawn last week and quickly made his card selection. What do you know….he chose the Joker that has eluded so many before him. Dean’s share of the raffle pot was $800! This week, we will start with a new deck, two Jokers, and a starting pot of $50.


In Closing:


AMBUCS Altoona Newsletter for June 4, 2018

Today’s Meeting:  An Amtryke presentation to 4 year old Cohen Allen of Altoona and our guest speaker, Neil Rudel of the Altoona Mirror.


Future Speakers:

June 12th – TBD

June 19th – TBD

June 26th – TBD


Whacha’ May Have Missed Last Week: Our speaker was Tom Duvall of Express Employment Professionals – discussing today’s workforce. Express LogoTom took a moment and thanked the club for what we do to assist the needs of disabled individuals in the community, an effort he appreciates since he is the father of a special needs child. Tom then began his talk by saying that even though the economy is generally good, it has been a rather slow pace to recovery. That and the cautious approach to risks and expansions by businesses has left many companies doing more work with less employees. He went on to say that a mass exodus of baby-boomer workers, estimated at 50,000 per day, has left the labor force shrinking rapidly. While a 5.2% unemployment rate is considered “full employment”, the local rates of 4.4% (Blair) and 3.2% (Centre) remain below “full” and 5.3% (Bedford) and 6.5% (Huntingdon) are slightly over. Tom stated that it is an employee’s market with fierce competition for skilled workers presenting companies with the challenge of wage pressure…..stating that “$12/hour is the new $10/hour”. Due to this shift to an employee’s market, many employees are looking to shift jobs/careers for a number of reasons including: advancement opportunities, improved work environment, better compensation/benefits, reward/recognition, and leadership possibilities. Tom stated that businesses, to keep pace, must consider reviewing wages, providing rewarding benefits, and reducing barriers to hiring workers. He stated that some companies that are having difficulties in finding “drug-free” applicants, are re-evaluating as to whether or not their open positions require the need for the employee to be drug-free! Tom finished by saying that the formula to find the top talent should be: Right Pay -> Right Skills -> Right Person.


Guests of the Day:

…..There were none.


 News of the Week:

…..Acting President, Kristan, read and passed around three thank you letters from Dreams Go On, the Arc, and the Miracle League for our recent donations.

…..Grant Writer, Dave Aikens, reported that the Morrison’s Cove Herald ran two stories about the AMBUCS two Thursday’s ago. One covered the check presentation by the Nason Foundation and the other was of our Amtryke presentations of several weeks ago.

…..Mark your calendar….the AMBUCS will face WeCare in the WeCare Softball Marathon on Friday, August 10th, at Seitz field in Eldorado. Tony Miller needs players. Details to follow soon.

…..Program Chairman, Ken Decker, noted that he is down to just two months to fill for programs…..July and September! Why not take one of these months (or share one with a fellow Ambuc) to provide interesting programs for our meetings.


…..We had two Ambucs trying to pick that Joker out of the deck last week and we still didn’t have a winner! Since the card deck went missing the week before; that week’s ticket winner, Bill Hoyne, chose his losing card at the beginning of the meeting and then Dean McKnight tried his luck at the end of the meeting. Since there were no winners, this week’s lucky ticket holder should be trying their luck of finding that Joker out of the remaining 15 cards with the pot for the day being over $800!


…..Today we’re about to meet new Ambuc Rudy Turco.  Rudy has joined the club as an associate member and is a good friend of Dave Aikens. The reason he joined as an associate member is that Rudy will not be able to attend our meetings due to his long time battle with Huntington’s disease. Rudy spent 27 years in the Air Force and retired as a Colonel. He lives in Duncansville and has two grown sons who live out of the area. Rudy joined AMBUCS because of his passion for veterans and his interest in the AMBUCS veteran’s initiative to provide Amtrykes for vets. As a matter of fact, Rudy recently donated $1500 to our club to cover the cost for the first Amtryke for a local disabled veteran; in anticipation of us getting that program established! Other causes that Rudy supports are the Gary Sinese Foundation and Funds for Freedom. Welcome aboard Rudy and thanks for your service and your AMBUCS donation!


…..The AMBUCS board met last Thursday. The board invited Jim Foreman of WeCare to the meeting to describe the means in which ProCare provides services to those disabled individuals who are unable to pay. This was done to determine our future funding of WeCare. After listening to Jim’s remarks, the board felt comfortable in providing future funding. The board also agreed to establish a corporate membership which will allow businesses to have up to three members join the club at a quarterly cost of $249. A $1,666 donation to National AMBUCS for the scholarship fund was approved. The club regretfully dropped Amanda Marin from the membership. Due to the length of the agenda, it was decided to resume the board meeting after the club meeting this week.

party hat…..June birthdays and club anniversaries include:

Birthday:                         Jim Berkhimer – June 13th

Club Anniversaries:      Karen Lemme & Derek Martin – 2016

Michele Lloyd & Dean McKnight – 2017


In Closing:



OMG“So….I’m getting circumcised tomorrow!” My good friend told me that he’d had that done when he was a few days old. So I asked him, “Does it hurt?” He said, “Well, I couldn’t walk for about a year!”