Best of the River Wards 2012: Best Teacher and/or Coach

Win­ner: Of­ficer Ernie Rehr, dir­ect­or of Rizzo PAL at 2524 E. Clear­field St.


Ernie Rehr said he has a very large fam­ily.

That fam­ily isn’t just made up of his wife and two kids, he said, but of the thou­sands of Port Rich­mond kids he’s worked with coach­ing golf, wrest­ling, bowl­ing, bas­ket­ball and more.

“I’ve been to lots of wed­dings and com­mu­nions,” he said with a laugh as he thought back on all the events he’s been in­vited to by his “PAL kids.”

Now in his 22nd year of work at the PAL, Rehr dis­cussed all the activ­it­ies the cen­ter of­fers to the neigh­bor­hood, like a girls’ pos­it­ive im­age pro­gram, an after-school home­work pro­gram, karaoke nights, self-de­fense classes and com­munity ser­vice op­por­tun­it­ies.

“School, PAL, church, we all have a part in kids’ up­bring­ing,” Rehr said, adding that par­ents are an enorm­ously im­port­ant part of the PAL’s suc­cess, and thanked them for mak­ing PAL of part of their kids’ lives.

He ad­ded that his philo­sophy is that em­power­ing chil­dren leads to end­less pos­sib­il­it­ies.

Rehr would know—the re­cre­ation room at the PAL is filled with trophies and ban­ners cel­eb­rat­ing the wins of the vari­ous teams and groups to which Rehr ded­ic­ates his time.

He said the work keeps him young.

“I know in my heart I’m help­ing to de­vel­op bet­ter cit­izens for Phil­adelphia, and the coun­try,” he said.

Vis­it the Phil­adelphia Po­lice Ath­let­ic League on­line at phillyp­, and call the Rizzo PAL at 215-426-6583. 

-Mi­kala Jam­is­on

Run­ner Up: Pat Cain, soc­cer coach at the Fishtown Ath­let­ic Club, www.fishtown­

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