Once Upon a Hero 

 “We hope that Don’s valiant light will always shine bright in our charitable journey of ‘paying it forward.’   

May his memory live on and inspire others in our community as well.”  – The Spillane Family 

        On May 14, 2010, Don Spillane, 47, of Cranberry Township, went out for a bike ride on his Harley Davidson.  He came to McConnell’s Mill State Park and got flagged down by a teen.  Her girlfriend had fallen and was in dire need of help.  Even though she was a total stranger, Don ran to her aid.  He was part way down the cliff and was climbing down to save her, when he lost his footing and plummeted.  Don died shortly after the paramedics arrived. 

       It was a devastating loss for his wife, Donna, his two daughters, Dawn and Dana, and his circle of friends.  My husband Paul and I were included in that circle.  Paul and Don had been friends since they were both ten years old.  I can honestly say, “We lost a wonderful man on that tragic day.” 

       Dawn Hack is the eldest of the Spillane girls.  She decided in her grief she would find a way to honor her late father.  In January 2013, she founded the nonprofit organization called Once Upon a Hero.  Dawn and her dedicated group of volunteers sponsor two fundraisers every year – a golf outing and a Halloween bash.  The monies raised at these events are donated to a family or an individual who has a financial need. 

       “Over the past five years, we have helped out seven families. I think my Dad would be really proud to know that the organization was started in his memory and that we have been able to help a lot of people,” said Dawn. 

       OUAH recently held their annual golf outing on August 11, at Stonecrest in Wampum.  Their second fundraiser will be held next month.  The Halloween Bash will be held from 6-11 p.m., Oct. 20, at Mars VFW Post 7505 on Mars Valencia Road.  It will feature music from The Fabulous Gunslingers, dinner, dancing, a costume contest, 50/50 raffle and Chinese and silent auctions. 

       The recipient of this year’s fundraising efforts is Stephen Popson of Cranberry Township.  Nine years ago, Stephen survived a car accident but soon afterwards his health began to decline.  His heart was no longer functioning properly.  He has numerous surgeries and is now on the heart transplant list.  Stephen is no longer able to work or provide for his family.   

        Once Upon a Hero is working with Stephen and his family to help ease some of their financial burdens. “It feels really good to help people that need it especially being part of a team that wants to make a difference too,” Dawn added. 

         If you are interested in attending the Halloween Bash,
          visit onceuponahero.org or call (724) 452-5167. 
Or if you wish to volunteer and be part of the OUAH team, visit their website.