From the Ambridge Connection team
Ambridge Connection shared the above letter on social media and a number people asked for more information on Dan's grandparents. Below is an update from Simpson.
Nov 21st, 2:31pm
I'm thrilled that you shared that letter, because I believe in every word I said, and think other people need to know. You can project it on the side of the Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge if you like haha. Through the years, I've constantly found myself in the position of "defending" Ambridge to all the naysayers who find it easier just to dismiss the town rather than do anything about it. I don't know. It's just so nice to know there are like-minded people out there like you guys who believe in Ambridge and see the town's amazing character and incredible, largely untapped potential. Unlike me, you guys take things a step further by putting your words to action, and I applaud you for it.
Regarding my grandparents: Their names were Paul & Rose Pyrch. They lived in the 300 block of Maplewood, next to the former Russian Club, and later in the 1100 block of Maplewood, in a modest but well kept "mill house" typical of that neighborhood. My grandfather was a Russian immigrant who came to Ambridge in the '30s, looking to take advantage of the many employment opportunities the area's mills offered hard-working immigrants with little to no grasp of the English language, like many others. He worked at J&L Steel on the other side of the river for 40 years. My grandma was a housewife, staying at home and raising their four kids (including my mom), as was the norm for that generation. Neither of my grandparents ever learned to drive or had a car. Luckily, life in Ambridge at that time didn't really require a car, as most of their basic needs were within walking distance. After my grandpa retired from J&L, he and my grandma managed the Russian Club in Ambridge for a time. The building of the Russian Club was on Maplewood and 3rd, but was raised a few years ago, and is just an empty lot now. My grandparents raised their family in Ambridge - my mom, her older brother, and two younger sisters, all of whom graduated from Ambridge High School between the mid-'50s and early '70s. My mom was in the Class of '59. She stayed in Ambridge until 1965, when she married my dad. My grandparents were very simple people of very modest means. Every positive trait I have I attribute to them. In fact, the reason I went into the field I am in (teaching English to adult immigrants in Cleveland) was due in large part to them. I could never repay them, but I could "pay it forward," helping to take the sting out of adjusting to life in a new country for current and future generations of immigrants. We lost my grandpa at the age of 84 when he passed away in 1991. My grandma lived to almost 93. As she was in declining health, she lived the last 10 years of her life with my parents in Akron, Ohio. She passed away in 2007. I'll close by saying that, even though I live in Akron and work in Cleveland and don't know what I can do from this distance, I would love to join your cause and help out in any way I can. If you think of any way I can help, please do not hesitate to ask. I'm planning on being in Ambridge several times in the next few weeks. We always have a memorial service for my grandma at Holy Ghost near the anniversary of her death, which was in December. I'm also hoping to make it to the Christmas parade and light up day (if I haven't already missed it). And my family will be at Holy Ghost on Christmas Eve for services. You guys are heroes! Don't let the haters get you down. Some people just hate it when they see someone doing the things that they don't have the guts or vision or perseverance to do. I promise, you will look back on this time in a few years, and be glad that you never gave up the fight. Wishing you and all your staff at AC a wonderful Thanksgiving! Dan