Senior service: Breen Center Volunteers of the Year saluted

KINGSFORD – Two local residents were honored at the Breen Senior Center in Kingsford’s volunteer appreciation dinner. Tony Alleva and Geraldine Pirlot were selected as the 2013 Volunteers of the Year.

Alleva and Pirlot have spent many years volunteering their time helping out at the Breen Center.

“These two will always do anything that needs to be done at anytime,” said Joyce Posey and Marlene Carter, spokespersons for the center. “They are very nice people. Just good people.”

Alleva was born in Iron Mountain on Jan. 29, 1930, growing up with five brothers and a sister.

Following school, he joined the U.S. Army and was station at Fort Dix, N.J., where he worked as a mechanic.

He and his wife, Kathleen, resided in Milwaukee during their early years of marriage. They then moved back to Iron Mountain, where he has resided ever since. His wife passed away at an early age.

Alleva has three daughters, Pam (Don) Nelson, Rhonda Singletary and the late Debra (Terry) Mott. He also has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

He was employed by Edwards Chevrolet as a mechanic for many years until he opened his own business, Tony’s Automotive.

Alleva’s hobbies include stock car racing at the Norway and Escanaba tracks, snowmobiling, archery, hunting, fishing, traveling, golf and bowling.

In the 1980s, he had a “mid-life crisis” – he took flying lessons, got his flying license and built an experimental aircraft. This was a two-seater with a Volkswagen engine called a Quickie II Dragon Fly. He flew several years out of Ford Airport in Kingsford.

“Now retired, Alleva is always helping family, friend and former customers with their mechanical problems,” says his family.

Most people say “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” His motto seems to be “If it ain’t broke, take it apart and make it better.”

“He is a valued family member who continues to golf and bowl with his main squeeze, Geri Pirlot,” they added.

“He continues to help other people at any time, including the Breen Center,” says Posey and Carter. “He helps out with the monthly pasty sales, along with other handyman work that needs to be done at the center.”

The daughter of Vincent and Gladys Cuculi, Geraldine Pirlot was born and raised in Channing, along with a sister, Gwen Johnson, and brother, Dale Cuculi.

After graduating high school, she attended Gale University in Minnesota. She worked in Chicago at the Santa Fe Railroad as a teletype operator for a couple of years.

She married Roger Pirlot in 1955, at which time she moved to Kingsford, and has lived there since. They raised four children, Keith Pirlot, Vickie VanLaanen, Barbara Shivy and Kevin Pirlot. Roger passed away in 1996.

Pirlot’s children are proud supporters of her volunteer services, which have been many.

Pirlot had worked at Americana Nursing Home as the kitchen supervisor for 17 years and then at Freeman’s Convalescent Home for approximately 10 years as a kitchen supervisor, until her retirement in 1997.

She later worked several years part-time as a helper at the Crystal Lake Senior Center.

Pirlot decided to retire full-time when she met Tony Alleva and they began to travel to Florida during the winter.

The two no longer go to Florida, but are busy spending time together bowling, golfing and playing bocce, along with their many other adventures.

“They always make sure they have time for volunteering,” said her family members.

Throughout the years her volunteer services have been with the Boy Scouts, Camp Fire and Blue Birds when her children where younger.

After her retirement she starting volunteering at the nursing homes and Breen Senior Center making pasties.

“Geri has volunteered for many years with the Breen Center monthly pasty sales,” said Posey and Carter. “She is such a great help to us.”

Speakers for the evening were Clyde Peterson, Marlene Carter and Joyce Posey.

“We had a very nice turnout,” adds Posey and Carter. “We appreciate all of our volunteers we have here at the center.”

Terri Castelaz’s e-mail address is