From Texas, with love. Last September, Connie McDonough-Hoyle, a 1972 graduate of Camden Catholic High School, wrote a Facebook post asking her 200-plus friends to spread the word that her 70-year-old husband, Paul Hoyle, needed a kidney and was seeking a donor. The post was shared on a Camden Catholic alumni page, where it was read by Sharon Williams of Burleson, Texas, a former classmate who hadn’t seen McDonough-Hoyle since their high-school days. Nonetheless, she quickly offered to be a donor. Months of tests showed Williams to be a match, and on Aug. 13 her kidney was donated to Paul Hoyle at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden. The surgery was a success, and both Hoyle and Williams are doing well. Paul Hoyle said, “For one thing, it was amazing that I found a donor. The odds that she would match was another."
Love and faith. On Sept. 15, more than 75 residents from the Philadelphia area took part in the third annual Love ALL: Get on Court, Build Bridges, Connect Hearts at the Westtown School in West Chester. The event, hosted by Interfaith Philadelphia and Level 7 Tennis, brings together athletes from diverse backgrounds to help them find common ground through tennis. The daylong activities included youth and adult tennis clinics and ended with an exhibition match between former pros Fazal Syed and Punch Maleka. For more information, visit interfaithphiladelphia.org/love-all.
All aboard. On Sept. 14, the Colebrookedale Railroad celebrated its 150th anniversary with a community festival that concluded with a 1920s-themed Evening Soiree in the railroad yard in Boyertown. The passenger railroad, built in 1865 to connect travelers to ironmaking sites in Northeastern cities, declined in use for about 40 years and was even out of service for a while in the late 2000s. In 2009, the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust was founded to begin investing in the railroad’s resurgence as a heritage line. Over four years, about 230 volunteers spent 100,000-plus hours and $8 million contributed dollars to restore nine miles of track, 11 bridges, and several century-old mahogany passenger cars. They also rebuilt passenger boarding stations in Pottstown and Boyertown. Nathaniel Guest, executive director of the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, said the group had nicknamed the railroad the Secret Valley Line: "It reflects the fact that it’s a hidden gem that is yours to discover here in eastern Pennsylvania.”