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Rotary, Lions Clubs Install Peace Pole at Renzie

New addition part of world-wide art installation

By Vickie Babyak
The Tube City Almanac
May 22, 2024
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

Craig Anlauf helps position the new Peace Pole in Renziehausen Park. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Spreading a universal message of peace, members of the White Oak Rotary Club and McKeesport Lions Club gathered Thursday evening to install a Peace Pole at the entrance of the Stephen Barry Field in Renzie Park.

“It’s the first year the Rotary Club and Lions Club collaborated on a project,” said Dan Dougherty, governor-elect of Rotary District 7305.

Incoming Rotary Club president Craig Anlauf said, “We're stronger together and it's the beginning of a long relationship.” Both clubs have common goals in serving their communities, he said.

The Peace Pole Project was created in Japan during the 1980s and was inspired by the work of philosopher, poet and singer Masahisa Goi, who believed that a common worldwide prayer for peace could unite the world in harmony.

“World peace comes about when each individual lives in a peaceful setting,” Goi wrote. “Likewise, when each individual lives in a peaceful setting, it means that world peace has been realized.”

After his death in 1980, his daughter carried on his work and spread the movement worldwide with the theme “May Peace Prevail on Earth” translated into local languages.

The Peace Pole Project now estimates that there are over 200,000 poles on every continent. The Peace Poles represent hope for global peace, no matter what race, religion or creed, and are a reminder to celebrate our common humanity.

White Oak Rotary Club and Lions Club members also planted hosta and flowers at the entrance of Stephen Barry Field. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport’s peace pole is now included on the global Peace Pole Map and park visitors can scan a QR code located on the pole to direct them to information about the project.

The Renzie Park pole carries the motto “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English and many other languages, including Braille, to represent diversity of the city’s people and their native dialects that have been spoken throughout the years.

Dougherty said the Rotary Club and City Administrator Tom Maglicco worked together to identify the best location for the Peace Pole. Maglicco suggested the clubs adopt the flower bed at Stephen Barry Field and placing the pole there.

Both sides agreed that field — which hosts International Village each summer as well as ball games — was an ideal spot.

(Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Dougherty said it was only later that he learned that former McKeesporter Stephen Barry, for whom the field is named, was a prominent Roman Catholic lay leader who became nationally known for helping the poor. Barry, who died in 1952, was honored in 1947 by the National Holy Name Society for his charitable works.

Dougherty said the link to Barry’s work adds further meaning to the site of the Peace Pole.

Club members worked Thursday to remove bushes and weeds from the designated area, planting flowers to enhance the appearance of the field entrance.

Busy Beaver of White Oak donated daylilies, the Lions Club donated hostas, and the City of McKeesport provided a truckload of mulch.

McKeesport Lions Club members from the left Ernie Oatneal, Annette James and Linda Povirk, all from McKeesport. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

“I purchased hostas for the project because I wanted an easy maintenance plant that grows nicely, as well as spreading and blooming every year,”  Lions Club member Annette James said.

White Oak Rotary Club members said that Rotary International’s incoming president, Stephanie Urchick, has a passion for peace and conflict resolution projects, and they were grateful to McKeesport Lions Club for their help with the Peace Pole Project.

Vickie Babyak is a photographer and freelance writer from Dravosburg. She may be reached at vbabyak@yahoo.com.

Editor’s Note: Dan Dougherty is a board member of Tube City Community Media Inc. He did not see this article prior to publication.

Originally published May 22, 2024.

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