Consumer invents life-saving helmet

Ronald Pitak sits in a room he painted at SERV Centers Passaic County where he is a consumer and a part-time maintenance worker. He also is the inventor of The Pitak helmet for firefighters, miners and rescue workers.

He can cite the countless jobs, positions and hobbies he says he has experienced in his 61 years: an Army paratrooper in Vietnam, a softball and baseball umpire, a scuba diver, a lifeguard, a horticulturist, a hunter.

And now, because of the few years he spent as a firefighter in West Paterson, Ronald Pitak can add one more to his “Jack-of-all-trades” list – inventor.

Ronald, a consumer with SERV Centers Passaic County, is the brains behind The Pitak, a helmet designed for firefighters or miners that has a visor and a molded holder with a replaceable filter that covers the mouth and nose for added protection from smoke and particulate inhalation while on the job.

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19th annual Volley For SERV

Volley For SERV golf and tennis tournament to benefit statewide nonprofit organization

Event to include Super Cash Raffle drawing with $20,000 top prize 

The SERV Foundation, the fundraising arm of the nonprofit SERV Behavioral Health System Inc., is planning its 19th annual Volley For SERV golf and tennis tournament at the exclusive Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

This event, to take place June 15, is the major fundraising effort of the Foundation to benefit SERV’s housing and support programs for people throughout New Jersey with serious mental illness and/or development disabilities. SERV is headquartered in Ewing and has offices in Mercer, Hudson, Middlesex, Passaic and Union counties, as well as operations in Burlington, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

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19th annual Volley For SERV Winners

Winners of SERV Foundation’s Super Cash Raffle announced during Volley For SERV 

The winners of the Super Cash Raffle to benefit the SERV Foundation of SERV Behavioral Health System, Inc. were announced during the 19th annual Volley For SERV Golf and Tennis Tournament June 15 at the Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

The 50/50 raffle raised $24,100, with $12,050 going to the SERV Foundation and the remainder going to the first and second-prize winners in a 40/10 percent split. The first-prize winner of $9,640 was Dennis Kelly of Palmyra. The second-prize winner of $2,410 was Ravi Khehar of Summit.

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SERV consumer has shear talent for barbering

Wayne L., a consumer with SERV for two years, is attending barber school, while also giving haircuts to fellow consumers at Serenity House and the Leonard building.

A shave and a haircut costs much more than the two bits (25 cents) required in the old days, but Wayne L. offers a relatively better bargain in 2009.

A resident at SERV’s transitional Serenity House in Mercer County for men recovering from mental illness and substance abuse, Wayne is honing his barbering skills on fellow consumers at the group home for a mere $5, while also working toward his license.

Before Wayne started classes at the Tri-State Barber School in Philadelphia more than a year ago, he exhibited a natural talent for cutting hair. With encouragement and support from his primary counselor Edward Mitchell and Residential Program Manager Milena Margolin, Wayne, age 44, enrolled in the school and has earned high grades since. “I aced my last written test,” says Wayne, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

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