By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Shinnston resident Pat Kovalck, after taking the oath of office, became a member of Shinnston City Council at its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 12. Kovalck, a native of Enterprise and a 1998 graduate of Lincoln High School, was appointed to the vacated council seat of member David Signorelli, who died in late November.
Kovalck said he’s proud to be a member of the city’s leadership team. “I felt honored to be sworn in,” he said. Mayor Sammy DeMarco, as is the custom, administered the oath of office.
Kovalck said he likes the concept of many people – from the mayor, city manager, other council members to all city employees – working in tandem, each using their own particular skills to better the city.
“It’s important to keep a team mentality to move forward to get Shinnston where it needs to go,” he said. “We’re all working together. Our current and past city councils have developed a team strategy that lends itself very easily to progress.”
Shinnston City Manager Travis Blosser said he’s pleased Kovalck is on board.
“I welcome Pat to council,” Blosser said. “He’s a nice addition. I look forward to working with him to move the city along in a positive manner.”
While Kovalck said he’s particularly interested in the city’s public works management and funding, when asked if he had any pet projects, he said he’s not ready to focus his efforts in one area only.
“First, I want to get an idea of how everything works together,” he said. “I’ve got to get a feel for all of it before I start to pick specific projects.”
Kovalck said he has had direct Shinnston ties for decades. “Although I was raised in Enterprise, I have been a part of the Shinnston community since joining the Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department in 1996,” he said. “I now proudly hold the rank of captain. The members of the Fire Department are very close. And I’m proud of the hard work that gets done by them day in and day out.”
He began his experience with city government in 2013 when he was asked to join the Shinnston Development Authority and worked on the BAD Buildings Committee. “This was my first look into city government,” Kovalck said. “And I feel there are great strides to be made over the next few years.”
Kolvack attended Fairmont State University and graduated from the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in 2003. After working at the Harmer Funeral Home in Shinnston for 17 years, he has been a licensed funeral home director there for 11 years. Kolvack said his late employer, David J. Harmer, would tell people, “Shinnston is the geographic center of the universe.”
Kolvack said, “That would always get a chuckle from people. But in our Shinnstonians’ eyes, I think we believe this to be true. We are proud of our past accomplishments and look forward to the challenges that are on their way.”
Kolvack, the son of Michael and Cathy Ashcraft Kovalck, is married to Abby Riley Kovack and has a young daughter. Pat said his most important job, ultimately, is being a good husband and father.
“My goal is to make Shinnston a place that our children will want to raise their children,” he said. “I feel very honored to serve Shinnston as a funeral director, fire captain and, now, as a city councilman.”