Jerry Lyons centers life around work, community service
Jerry Lyons, 53, Somerset Township, dedicates numerous hours each week to his fire department in between his jobs and other community organizations. (Staff photo by Bruce Siwy)
In fact, he has in many ways modeled himself after American icon and personal hero, Benjamin Franklin. Much like the original "big" Ben, Lyons has a history of journalism, Freemasonry and firefighting.
"My whole life centers around my work and my community service," Lyons said.
It's a life that began — and continues — in Somerset Township. Lyons, 53, is a county auditor, substitute teacher and recording secretary for the Somerset Volunteer Fire Department.
His long and diversified resume working at his family's motel. He discovered pure fascination, however, in broadcasting. When he was only 14 years old, Lyons began hanging out at WVSC, a radio station along Husband Road.
"Everybody knew WVSC," he said. "It was a very local station, very community-oriented."
He eventually got his shot working as a part-time announcer.
"It was a great time to get into radio," he recalled, "because it wasn't so automated."
Lyons continued to work at the station after graduating from Somerset Area School District. He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and a master's degree from Point Park University in Pittsburgh.
For 25 years he hosted a radio program at WVSC, right up until the station was bought out and disbanded by a corporate competitor. Later he worked as an assistant editor and associate producer for the WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh.
"I traveled back and forth every day because I didn't want to leave the area," he said. "I like the people. Everybody is much more (friendly) in this area."
According to Lyons, working and contributing to his community come natural. At one time he worked at five separate places — a personal record.
"I've had a lot of jobs over the years," he said. "The doors keep opening up and I just keep moving on to new opportunities."
His list of careers is probably matched or surpassed by his other organizational work.
Lyons has been a firefighter for 35 years and continues to go on calls as a driver and operator. He has reached the 33rd and highest degree with the Free and Accepted Masons, serving at one time as the district deputy grand master of the 41st Masonic district. This gave him oversight of all Masonic lodges within Somerset and Cambria counties.
In addition, Lyons is a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee for Somerset County. He takes on the master of ceremonies role at several area events including the Somerfest parade.
"Seven days a week I'm somewhere either working or in a community group," Lyons said.
And he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Not in the near future would I consider giving anything up. I meet a lot of great people in everything I do."