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Article published March 4, 2013
Peter E. ConnorClearfield Township
All my life I have had a Butler address, although I never lived in the city, but only in the surrounding townships. During World War II, when I was a young boy, Main Street on Saturdays was sidewalk-to-sidewalk full of people shopping, with the ever-present police officer leaning against the bank building at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets. The Main Street of that time is now gone, but what is not gone is the great leadership that has made the city of Butler and Butler County stay alive and prosperous as financial times evolved and changed. Now, because of their efforts, in 2013 we have a modern school system. When the decision was made to start a community college, our Butler County leaders didn’t look for an empty city building that could be converted into classroom space. Instead, they bought acres of beautiful Pennsylvania rolling hills and built a campus that now is referred to throughout Western Pennsylvania as the Cadillac of community colleges. For a small town of less than 20,000 people, our local hospital is another real winner. It is a newly remodeled, big-city-type medical center, rarely found in small towns. As great as all these things are, I believe the greatest achievement has been the creation of Sunnyview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. It often has been said that the mark of any great civilization can be seen in how well it treats the least fortunate among them. Sunnyview is Butler’s “shining light on the hill.” In January, my wife fell and broke her left hip — requiring an operation in which titanium rods were placed in her femur bone and hip. The operation was done at Butler Memorial Hospital. She only stayed at the hospital for three days, then was transferred to Sunnyview’s rehabilitation unit for the rest of her treatment. Each day of her treatment I went to Sunnyview to be with her. My first impression of this nursing facility, full of sick and infirm senior citizens, was the incredibly sunny-day, fresh-air scent that was inside the building complex. There are few public buildings in Butler that smell as fresh and clean as Sunnyview. Then I noticed the wide aisles and lots of wall-length curtained windows that were designed to let the sunshine in. There are large lobbies. What a nice facility it is. So, it was sad to see in the Butler Eagle that Sunnyview recorded a financial loss of about $808,000 last year. Perhaps what is needed each year to correct the shortfall is a separate fund drive to help finance Sunnyview in the same way the citizens of Pittsburgh hold a yearly fund drive to help fund Children’s Hospital.