Photo by Elizabeth Perry
Paul Kamenar shares some photos from his time in the body building circuit from his Elliott home.
By Elizabeth Perry
Paul “Do Do” Kamenar, retired from the police force and from amateur bodybuilding years ago, but he’s still known locally for both.
“Everybody knows ‘Do Do,’” Kamenar said.
In the 1970’s, Kamenar was a paid McKees Rocks firefighter, then a police officer whose beat was walking the McKees Rocks projects, where he and his four brothers were raised by a single mom.
Kamenar started a weight lifting gym in the McKees Rocks police station basement for at-risk youth and began training for amateur bodybuilding competitions in his late 20s.
In 1979, Kamenar’s hard work paid off when he was crowned Mr. Sto-Rox. The father of two and grandfather of six still tries to keep fit. He exercises for a half hour every morning and splits cordwood to keep fit.
“What I really like to do, is go to these Doo Wop [Doctor] Dances,” Kamenar said.
Kamenar takes his friend, Patty Sircone, to dance at Mickey’s Place on Pine Hollow Road the last Friday of the month. He brings her a dozen roses each time they go out, because that’s how his mom taught him to treat a lady. His mother gave him two pieces of iron-clad advice when it comes to women.
“When you go into a woman’s house, you take your shoes off,” Kamenar said. The other was to always tip his hat to a lady, which he still does to this day.
At 65, Kamenar said he “got set back,” when he was diagnosed with cancer. He didn’t want the chemo because it would have cost him his hair, so he opted for radiation treatments instead. Though it was challenging, Kamenar said he’s been cancer free for nearly a decade. He credits his faith in God for his recovery.
Kamenar is still active in the community. He runs a senior citizen club on Helen Street which has 15 members, makes pierogi dough at the Ukrainian Church down the street for their fundraiser and he tries to help people out wherever he can.
One of the kids who used to come to his gym to lift weights, Billy Hamilton, has struggled with alcohol addiction, scrapes with the law and homelessness.
“He come down and he looked me up,” Kamenar said.
When Hamilton came to Kamenar for help, Kamenar gave him a place to sleep, as well as helping him find odd jobs.
“I told him he’s like my son,” Kamenar said.
Hamilton said, “Do Do” was everybody’s weight lifting coach when he was a kid, and that he did come to him when he faced struggles as an adult. Kamenar is “special,” Hamilton said.
“He’s kind to me, he lends me a hand, he gives me help where nobody else does,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton isn’t the first guy he’s helped in that way, Kamenar said, and he’s well known in town as someone willing to give a person a break.
Kamenar said he remains healthy because he, “never drank, never smoked, never took a drug.” Still, when it comes to people who are struggling with addiction, Kamenar has empathy.
“That could be me,” Kamenar said.