New Castle News

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June 10, 2013

Making a Difference: Firefighter has history of helping

NEW CASTLE — Randy Doherty can’t recall a time he wasn’t helping others.

While still a student at the Lawrence County Vocational-Technical School, he became a volunteer firefighter. Even before that, he remembers as a passerby alerting a Shenango Township family that their trailer was on fire and crawling through a car window to pull an accident victim to safety.

“I guess I was just meant to try to help people somehow,” explained the 44-year-old who credits his parents, Edward and Dorothy Doherty of New Beaver, with installing in him a concern for others.

“It all started with them and the way they raised us,” Doherty said.

That caring nature prompted Doherty’s stepdaughter Brandi Hilke to nominate the assistant Taylor Township fire chief as a person who makes a difference in the community.

“He’s just an all-around nice guy,” noted Hilke, who first met Doherty about five years ago when he started dating her mom, Jodi. The couple married last August.

“A few years ago, I was going through some rough times and he let me move in with them and helped me get a job. Now he’s letting my little brother live there,” said Hilke, who is expecting her third child in September, adding that Doherty is also a wonderful babysitter.

Hilke’s 9-month-old daughter, Rylee, and 6-year-old son, Aiden, love being with Doherty. Aiden especially enjoys “man time” when mom, sister and grandma are sent away for a special guy day filled with video games, cutting grass on the tractor or hanging out at the fire hall.

“Everybody seems to fit right in, especially Aiden who gets away with everything when I’m around,” said Doherty, a foreman at Universal Refractories and West Pittsburg resident.

Doherty has also maintained a close relationship with his two children from his first marriage, 18-year-old Breonna and 17-year-old Randy Jr., who live in Grove City.

Away from his family, job and the fire hall, Doherty also can be found aiding his elderly neighbors with their yard work and home maintenance.

“Helping people is just something I enjoy,” Doherty said. “Life is always going to have its ups and downs, but I’ll keep doing what I do. I guess I’ve just got it set in my head that if I don’t help, who will?”

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