BY JORDAN WHITEKO
MULTIMEDIA CONTENT MANAGER
Melanie “Taylor” Bradburn has a voice that almost any Pittsburgher would recognize immediately. Bradburn, a parishioner of St. Anne Parish, Rostraver, has spent more than two decades in broadcasting, most recently alongside co-host “Bubba” on 100.7 Star’s morning drive radio show.
But her happy and energetic voice takes on a more serious tone when she talks about losing her father. Edward Monaghan was 69 when he suddenly collapsed, succumbing to a heart attack in 2014.
“My father was one of the best listeners. If you would go to him with a problem, he’d be so pensive. In some way he always gave the best advice,” Bradburn said.
Bradburn and her mother, Virginia Monaghan, immediately turned to God for comfort. The pair attended Mass at St. Anne Parish the next day.
“We wanted to ask God for some guidance,” said Monaghan, a parishioner of The Epiphany of Our Lord Parish, Monessen.
Both mother and daughter believe it was God’s will that inspired them to find a way to keep Edward’s memory alive. The family founded the Edward V. Monaghan Charitable Youth Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization with the goal of providing educational and recreational opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
According to his family, Edward was an outstanding father, husband, coach, counselor and elementary teacher for 35 years. Every day he saw disadvantaged children who could not afford the proper equipment for their studies and extracurricular activities.
“Eddie was broken up about the type of kids that he had, and they were very neglected in many ways,” Monaghan said.
In the last five years, the foundation has provided more than $8,500 for approximately 650 young people. Funds have been donated to libraries, autistic youth at Highlands Hospital, Connellsville, schools to purchase television and recreational/educational equipment, the Homeless Initiative Bag Brigade, and Duquesne University’s School of Nursing, providing money for tuition and supplies for students.
Bradburn often talks about the foundation on-air. She hopes listeners will stop what they are doing and turn up the volume to hear an important message: We must pay it forward.
She believes her father’s passion for helping children developed from his strong Catholic faith.
His family said that he even tracked down Catholic churches so the family could attend Mass when they traveled.
Edward was also passionate about education. As the worldwide coronavirus pandemic forced school closures, the foundation took action to assist young people in need, providing laptop computers so several students could continue their education through distance learning and not fall behind.
The foundation has been developing plans for sports camps and other recreational activities for when outdoor activities recommence. In the past, the foundation supported organizations like the Monessen Civic Center’s basketball program and the Rostraver Elementary School’s Little Birdie Project.
Since its creation more than five years ago, the foundation has remained self-sustaining, thanks to its generous donors, and has not had to have a single fundraiser.
This reminds Bradburn and Monaghan how Edward donated clothes and shoes to schools so students could grab what they needed.
“When he saw a student walking down the hall with a former jacket of his on, that was all the recognition he needed,” Monaghan said.
When asked what her father would think about the foundation carrying on his memory, Bradburn said, “I think my father would be absolutely thrilled and honored.”
Monaghan added, “I think this would make him happy and I know he sees.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, Monaghan often thinks of Edward.
“Edward would tell me, ‘We have to maintain our faith; what else do we have?’ And that is what I try to think of every day.”
Virginia Monaghan presents a donation to Amber Miller, left, and Courtney Kline Williams of the Women with Children Center of the Washington (Pa.) City Mission to provide gym shoes for children living at the shelter.
Melanie “Taylore” Bradburn in the studio