Following stints at Allison’s Esso and Vesta 5 Mine, Jake Blaker served for over 30 years as the director for Parks and Recreation in Greene County until his retirement in November 2019. During this time, the Greene River Trail, the Flashlight Drags at the airport, renovations to the Mon View park and far more are just a few of the feats made by Blaker during his career serving the county.
All of these accomplishments, along with being considered in high regard by many according to his obituary, left Greene County with a heavy heart when Blaker passed away on June 20 of this year.
Bret Moore, who is the current director of the post that Blaker formally held, commented on how the idea came about to create a memorial to Blaker, with this being a bench in his honor.
“Dave Calaverio, the director of the Community Foundation, approached me on behalf of the Blaker family about dedicating a bench in Jake’s honor at a county recreation site,” Moore said, while also elaborating how the specifics on the bench came to be after consulation with Blaker’s family. “After we discussed several options, we decided to place the bench at the Rices Landing Trail Head because of Jake’s dedication to the creation of this wonderful addition to the area. Jake was instrumental in the planning and construction of trail, which will be used by generations of outdoor enthusiast.”
On top of the fact that this memorial bench is being placed at a spot specifically to pay homage to the work Blaker did on the trail, Moore mentioned he has a spot on said trail for the memorial, as even more of a way to recognize Blaker’s work.
“Although there are other memorial benches along the trail, this will be near the entrance and will be a fitting memorial to the years of service Jake gave to create a better Greene County,” Moore said.
According to his obituary, despite all of the passion and time that Blaker gave to his career, his “proudest accomplishment” was his family. Of said family, it is written in his obituray about the love he had for his wife, children and grandchildren. Further, Blaker was just as passionate in his involvement in the community as he served on the Carmichaels Area School District Board of Education, was a member of the Greene Valley Presbyterian Church, the Pennsylvania School Board Association, United Mine Workers of America and the Sons of the American Legion in Masontown, PA.