It is always a pleasure to meet someone that truly brightens your day. A person who makes it their mission to ensure you have a smile on your face. Ambler is lucky enough to have one of those welcoming people, and his name is Paul Catanzaro.
Though he has myriad passions, Paul is beloved by many in the Ambler area as the warm-hearted YMCA employee. He makes it his job to memorize the names and interests of every morning regular of the 80,000 square foot building. His early morning small talk brings about a sense of community in the massive center.
I have personally known Paul for well over ten years. I met Paul at the then, Fort Washington YMCA, at 5 AM when I took my son for early morning wrestling workouts. He always cared for the team like family, preparing fresh fruit and coffee for them, to make sure they were happy and nourished on their way into school. Over a decade later, my son and his teammates still beam when they talk about him.
Paul cares greatly for the residents of Ambler, but he also empathizes for folks that most of society has turned their back on. Paul’s role of greeting you at the gym is secondary. His full employment is working as head chef at Montgomery County Prison.
Shortly after the holidays, I had a conversation with Paul, and I asked how he enjoyed the his time. With joy, he shared the details of the meal that he prepared for the residents of Montgomery County Prison. He takes special joy and pride serving his residents holiday meals. He helps these prisoners to celebrate the holiday as they are away from family, understanding that they are not defined solely by their bad actions.
Some time later, Paul said that he mentors prisoners in his kitchen who show an interest and aptitude in cooking. He teaches them so when they finish serving their prison time, they will be employable in a restaurant. He believes if they are able to support themselves they can reform and be a good upstanding citizens that can serve the community in better ways.
Paul Catanzaro truly cares about the residents of Ambler, and takes a forward looking perspective on it, trying to enhance it by reforming those who most would throw away. That’s why he deserves to be Ambler’s resident of the week.
Written by Jacob and Andrew Johanson