Just before the American League decided to foist the designated hitter on baseball, Bethel Park hardware store owner Ed Evey decided to hire an industrious youngster named Andy Amrhein.
“I started the month of my birthday, when I was 13, and it’s only because I badgered Mr. Evey for five years and he finally gave in,” Amrhein recalled. “First day on the job, I cleaned the toilet. I cleaned the warehouse floor, and I dusted shelves.
“And I did that this morning, again.”
After 47 years, he still reports daily – before dawn, actually – to Evey True Value Hardware on Route 88, for the past quarter century as owner.
“I have absolutely no desire to retire,” he said. “My wife jokes with people when they say, ‘When are you going to retire?’ She says, ‘Well, I got him to semi-retire. He cut down to 80 hours a week.’”
Throughout three-and-a-half decades of marriage, the former Mary Alice Moore has watched her husband not only take care of store business, but also to serve in leadership capacities for a large number of Bethel Park-related organizations.
In recognition of his efforts, Amrhein received the 2019 Outstanding Citizen Award presented by District Judge Ronald Arnoni.
“There aren’t too many people in the community you can recognize as doing so much for so many,” Arnoni said. He also honored Upper St. Clair resident Paula Henderson with the award.
Amrhein serves as president of both the Bethel Park Education Foundation, which he helped establish, and Bethel Park Public Library Board of Directors. He also is a Bethel Park Community Foundation trustee and past president, member of the Bethel Park Police Meritorious Awards Association, plus he previously served on the district board for the Boy Scouts of America.
He gives credit where it’s due for his ability to take on so much.
“I have 35 employees. They are my biggest asset,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything for this community if I didn’t have the amazing staff I have.”
Among his other activities – yes, there are more – are co-hosting the “True Value Home Improvement Hour” on KDKA-AM and appearing as “Handy Andy” on KDKA-TV’s “Pittsburgh Today Live.” He also has several shows on Bethel Park’s BPTV, and he often shares his expertise with groups that invite him to speak.
Doing all of that requires a substantial degree of time management, and Amrhein said he first developed such skills when delivering newspapers before and after school, and then fitting in chores, studying and, if his gregarious personality is any indicator, friends and fun.
“It was the same thing when I started working. Work was a passion, so to be able to still work and not get in trouble with my parents,” he said about his grades, “I learned to handle time.”
Accordingly, he generally wakes up at three or four in the morning.
“I still get a good night sleep. I just go to bed at 7:30,” he reported. “There are enough hours in the day, if you plan accordingly.”
Mr. Evey must have noticed, as he promoted Amrhein to general manager shortly after he graduated from Bethel Park High School in 1978.
“I became Mr. Evey’s partner in 1980, at the ripe old age of 20,” Andy recalled.
Five years later, he married Mary Alice, a member of the Bethel Park Class of 1977. And their three children earned diplomas form the same school: Jaime (2005), Kathryn (’08) and Robert (’10).
Talk about a good bunch of Black Hawks fans, even if there is a designated hitter in high school baseball.