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Culp: Many hats worn, many lives touched
Saturday, January 12, 2013
By Tyler Kolesar Staff Writer
CHESTER HILL - Remember those Energizer bunny commercials where the bunny would keep "going and going?" It's possible these commercials were based off Peggy Culp. Throughout her 76 years, Culp has touched the lives of hundreds. And at an age where most people are slowing down, Culp is still plugging away, even more now than she used to.
Culp said she moved to the Chester Hill area in 1958 after her husband Bill got a job at the old Quaker Market in Chester Hill. She then got a job at W.T. Grant and had that until the birth of her daughter Kim. After that, she was a stay-at-home mom until she took a job as a banquet coordinator at the Harbor Inn. Culp said she was there from the day it opened until the day the restaurant/banquet room closed - a total of 27 years. She loved the job, in which she would mingle with all sorts of people.
"Every party you worked was different," said Culp.
Culp said many of the area groups would frequently hold events there. After time, these people became somewhat of an extended family for her.
"I became such a part of those people that I felt like I was part of the gang," said Culp. "To this day I still have people come to me (and talk of her days there)."
Culp has also been involved with lots of volunteer work throughout the years, whether it was during her stint at the Harbor Inn or after her retirement. She helped out at the orthopedic clinic at the old Philipsburg Hospital, did PTO for the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District, and was a band parent in which she helped with wardrobes. But there's one thing Culp is known for - her treats. She said when she used to travel with her granddaughter's softball team, she would always give away goodies to the players.
"To this day whenever the girls see me out anywhere, it's always ‘Nam,'" said Culp. "I was never ‘Gram.' I was always ‘Nam.' Outside our motel room, I would set up an ironing board. That was Nam's Buffet."
Culp said she would never forget one time when a joke went wrong. She said she sat a jar of pickled pig's feet on the ironing board. The softball girls were grossed out by it, but Culp said a lady passing by actually took the jar and ate the pig's feet.
"I just did it as a joke because I always had everything as junk food," said Culp.
When her grandson played football, Culp would even make goodie bags for the 50-60 players, including coaches.
Another thing Culp is fond of is camping. She said she and her husband had always gone out camping at Black Moshannon State Park. About 25 years ago, the park ranger at the time asked Culp if she would be interested in being a campground host at the park, to which she obliged. Culp said roughly eight or nine weeks out of the year are spent as a park host. Today, she's also a part of the Friends of Black Moshannon. Culp, who's currently the chairperson, says the group helps organize six events each year.
"It's a good job," Culp said about being a part of the group. "I can see progress. We're doing it out of the goodness of our own hearts, and I love that."
If that's not enough, Culp is also involved with her hometown. She's part of Chester Hill's election board, and is currently serving on the Chester Hill Borough Council.
"I enjoy that as well," Culp said about being a council member. "I'm not there for my cause. I'm there for the people's cause."
A couple things Culp is particularly pleased about accomplishing within the borough is the construction of the new maintenance building, as well as starting the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, which they hope will be an annual event.
Recently she was the Chester Hill representative on the Moshannon Valley Joint Sewer Authority. Culp said she arrived on that board during a tumultuous period, but knew that going in.
"That was a big undertaking," said Culp. "I've always been one in life that I don't mind a challenge."
Two and a half years later, Culp said she felt a lot was accomplished there.
"I'm leaving (MVJSA) with a good feeling," said Culp.
However, it's not all been good news for Culp over the years. In 2001, Culp was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She said one day she was fine, and the next she had problems. After seeing a doctor, she was diagnosed around Easter 2001 and began treatment. Culp had to go into surgery and then had radiation treatment for five days a week for two months. She said the first couple treatments were rough, but she didn't get terribly sick during treatment. Still, Culp had her doubts on whether or not she would defeat the disease.
"I didn't have a good feeling that I was going to come out of this," said Culp. "I thought for sure that I was done for. But I was blessed with the fact that I was able to get through it."
Culp said she's used her cancer scare as a "second chance" in many ways.
"Since then is when I've done a lot of volunteer work and getting involved in the community," said Culp. "It just seems like a second chance, so I do whatever I can do."
It's this kind of attitude on life, as she describes herself as being extremely "upbeat," that makes Culp the person she is today. All she hopes for is that she's made a difference in people's lives, as well as given them peace and happiness.
"I can't stand (people being) upset," said Culp. "If I had the power to do all of that (spread peace), that would be such of an accomplishment in life."
Even at 76, Culp still has unfinished business. That's why she'll keep "going and going" in her quest to make the area a better place, as well as making a difference in the lives of its citizens.
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