The March 20th meeting at the Borough of Munhall was a giant success, garnering local media attention (click here for article) and a lot of buzz from locals and family members (click here). Here is a recap of the meeting including the Opening Statement made by foundation President, Jim Deibel, and the powerpoint presentation given to the Borough of Munhall county.

Opening Statement

Prepared Statement to the Borough of Munhall Pennsylvania, Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Honorable Mayor Bodnar, distinguished members of the Borough Council, my name is Jim Deibel, I live at 6513 Hillswick Drive, Plano, Texas 75093.  I stand before you tonight as a representative of the Hays Family, whose heritage is manifested in Harden Place, otherwise know in these parts as Hays Mansion.  I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity you have afforded me and want to provide you with the assurance that, based on over a year of research into my family, I have discovered over 415 living descendants of Abraham Hays, a founding pioneer of this remarkable city.  Abraham and his wife Fannie Pittee forged the Allegheny Mountains in 1767, 12 years after the Battle of Fort Duquesne to settle their claim along with others from Baltimore County Maryland, particularly, James Whittaker. They were run off by the Indians and after two years, came back in 1769 and finally made a home here.  From then to now, this area has become synonymous with the building of our great country.  The people who have been born, raised and died here, and their children and grandchildren who have done the same became the backbone of the Industrial Revolution of this country.  After all of my research, I can attest that we are all immigrants to this land and the spirit of enthusiasm for a better life, and the character created of life’s struggles are what we want to preserve.

I traveled here last July for the first time with my father and son to visit his mother’s grave in Homestead Cemetery. Prior to that, in honor of my father, based on one comment made at his 84th birthday dinner table, I set out to find his living cousins, none of whom he had ever known.  Please go to the foundation website to read my story.  From then to now, I have been blessed to meet many cousins anew and provide the impetus to save our family’s heritage and the heritage of this fine town.  Please join us in our passion to preserve and restore this incredible window to the past and help make our journey one of collaboration with family and friends as we strive to make history not only for the family but for the citizens of Munhall, PA, Homestead, PA and the greater Pittsburgh area.

Thank you again and if I may, I would like to provide you with a brief summary of our progress."

Download link for powerpoint presentation: Download