I am deeply saddened by the news that my good friend and a terrific public servant, Somerset County Commissioner John Vatavuk, has lost his battle to cancer.
John’s passion for Somerset County was evident in everything he did. Though he and I were of different parties, we were united by a passion to move Somerset County forward. I remain deeply grateful and indebted to him for the time he spent with me after I was first elected introducing me to the people and concerns of Somerset County. John was a dogged advocate for Somerset County wherever he went.
John was also a passionate advocate for the environment and for education, where he spent many years educating students. He ensured Somerset County remain engaged in the conversation statewide through his involvement with the County Commissioner’s Association of Pennsylvania and other boards. He was a driving force in the Somerset’s role in Commissioning of the USS Somerset, honoring the memory of those who died on Flight 93.
It’s impossible to think of John without remembering his determination to complete Route 219. During his tenure, he was known by name by every Secretary of Transportation and Governor. I can think of few prouder days for him than when he cut the ribbon on the new section of Route 219 just a few months ago. Now, each time I say “219” I will undoubtedly think of my friend John and hope to see his dream become reality.
I send my thoughts and prayers to his wife, Janet, and his entire family.
Somerset County and our Commonwealth are better places because of his service and I am a better person because of his friendship.
-Senator Pat Stefano