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Operators Resurrect Charity Donation After Holiday Robbery

The theft of an Easter Seals donation jar containing approximately $50 disturbed the quiet Easter Sunday afternoon for the employees of a pharmacy in Drexel Hill.

The theft didn't sit well with Norristown High Speed Line operators Joe Novak and Frank Daly at nearby 69th Street Terminal either.

"When we found out about the incident, we knew we had to do something," said Novak. "It really wasn't right. That money was there for disabled kids so that they can go to camp and other things. So what we decided to do was take up our own collection here with all of the drivers so we could replace the money." As operators from 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby found out about the plan, they eagerly contributed their coffee money to the cause.

"We are a part of this community so we felt we needed to step up; with the other operators this was so easy," said 23-year veteran Frank Daly.

Operator Al Williams contributed the container to collect the donations - which quite fittingly was an old coffee can. "This was such a worthy cause, you just wanted to give." Operator Robert McFalls was inspired for a more personal reason. "I have children with special needs. It was just the right thing to do."

In a short period of time, the operators raised over $70 dollars - more than the amount that was stolen - before taking it to Upper Darby Police who then contacted Easter Seals representatives.

"I was just so impressed by what these guys did," said Carl Webster, Executive Director of Easter Seals of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Division. "Their actions and generosity speak to all of the positive things in human nature in terms of doing what is right in reaching out to others in need."

For spearheading the effort, operators Novak and Daly were recently presented by Upper Darby Mayor Thomas N. Micozzie with the Mayor's Service Award at a small ceremony. "The Mayor in support of Upper Darby City Council, would like to recognize these guys," said Mayor Micozzie. "This honor is the highest award Upper Darby presents to individuals who go out of their way for society. SEPTA has been a partner with Upper Darby for a lot of years and when things like this happen, we have to show how proud we are."

Accompanied by Chief District Officer Leslie Hickman and James Schirg, Deputy Director of Surface Transportation, Novak and Daly humbly accepted the award. "These guys are great and really deserve this recognition," said Hickman. "They along with the other SEPTA operators truly showed their care and concern for people extends beyond just operating their vehicle."

Daly and Novak collected donations in a large coffee can then took it to Upper Darby Police

Operators Daly and Novak are congratulated by Chief District Officer Hickman (l) and Upper Darby Mayor Micozzie (c)

Frank Daly and Joe Novak are Norristown High Speed Line operators but encouraged others at 69th Street Terminal to donate