I've known Sam since my days as a staff writer at the Observer-Reporter in the late 1990s when Canonsburg was part of my beat. In addition to writing a front-page profile of Sam, I covered his advocacy work on behalf of the last residents of Western Center, and his organizing for one-time U.S. Senate candidate Tom Foley.
Sam was honored Saturday for 70 years of activism (beginning at age 15) , most notably for his service to the labor movement -- from the coal mines of Westmoreland County to the steel mills of Canonsburg. The dinner's organizing committee knew Sam already had more than enough plaques so they instead presented him with the imported Italian hat he's pictured in above.
An aside: Sam's granddaughter, April Starinsky, recently became a news producer at a television station in Orlando, Florida. An Avella-area native, April previously worked at the NBC television stations in Pittsburgh and Steubenville. I know April from our days in the O-R's Young Observers program when we were in high school.