5/25/21- RICK KAZMER
United Way of the Laurel Highlands
When Smith Propane & Oil propane General Manager Zac Cromie heard about an opportunity to help people in Cambria and Somerset counties keep the heat on during the winter, he said supporting the cause was an easy decision.
As a result, the company has donated $3,500 to help.
The United Way of the Laurel Highlands supports programs in Cambria and Somerset counties that provide heating assistance to community members who are having trouble paying their utility bills. The donation will aid that work.
Cromie said Smith Propane’s donation continues a tradition for the company of giving back to communities where service is provided.
The company, headquartered in Loyalhanna, is expanding into the Laurel Highlands. The company plans to open an office in Windber this summer. Smith Propane services all of Cambria County and portions of Somerset County.
“It’s also the simple fact that we want to be a part of the community,” he said. “I think that starts with trying to help people in the community.”
Smith Propane was founded in 1972, as Smith Oil Company, by John A. Smith. The company has grown to serve more than 3,000 homes in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The business remains family owned and locally operated. The company employs about 20 people.
Last year Smith Propane & Oil bought McKelvey Oil Co., which was based in Johnstown. It’s part of the expansion effort. Cromie said that his company provides fair and transparent pricing, which is part of building trust in the community.
The donation to the United Way of the Laurel Highlands comes at a crucial time, as many families in the region are struggling from the pandemic. The United Way will direct the funding to programs that provide heating assistance to those who need it most.
Utility assistance is typically one of the most requested services among people calling the PA 211 network, a United Way call center that helps connect people in need with key services.
“I was thrilled to see the email (about the donation opportunity) when it came because United Way is known for charitable giving and action in the community. You see it at work locally,” Cromie said. “It’s boots on the ground locally.”
United Way of the Laurel Highlands President and CEO Karen Struble Myers said the donation from Smith Propane & Oil will go a long way in the community.
“We’re grateful for businesses like Smith Propane who understand the importance of strengthening the regions they service,” Struble Myers said. “With so much uncertainty over the past year, it is reassuring to know that there’s a safety net for our neighbors in need.”