I first met Tricia while she was volunteering at Concordia of the South Hills, visiting the elderly. Her big heart and strong sense of Jewish values were immediately apparent.
But Tricia, 51, is far from your stereotypical “nice Jewish girl.”
Tricia was the first female truck driver for the East Coast division of FEDEX Express.
She has summited Mt. Rainier.
And she was the first female boxing champion in New York state.
“I won, and I’ve got the trophy to prove it,” she said with a wide grin.
Tricia, who has been divorced for nine years, moved from Chicago to Coraopolis in July 2011 for her job. She has a ton of energy, is not one to shy away from a challenge, and has a palpable sense of adventure.
Take her climb of Mt. Rainier, for example.
“It was 2002, and I was scared to death of heights,” she said. “I saw that Shape Magazine was taking a group to climb Mt. Rainier. I had just completed a 50 mile run, and I thought, ‘Huh. I should try that.’ ”
To get in shape for the challenge, Tricia biked across New York along the Erie Canal on a one-speed bike, carrying a 50-pound pack.
The intense training paid off. Out of the 40 women who went on the trip, Tricia was one of only five who actually summited the mountain.
She took up boxing in the late 1990s, around the same time she was studying for her adult bat mitzva.
“I was studying for my bat mitzva and doing 2,000 sit-ups, six days a week,” she said. “My trainer said ‘You have no fancy footwork, but you’ve got the meanest right I have ever seen in my life.’ ”
Upon her trainer’s suggestion, Tricia decided to enter the first female boxing match in New York. Her first opponent, at 188 pounds, outweighed her by far.
“I was scared when I saw her,” Tricia said. “At first, I couldn’t even come out of the bathroom. But I knocked her down. Twice.”
Tricia enjoys taking an active role in the Jewish community. She currently does volunteer work for Beth El Congregation of the South Hills, where she regularly attends services. She took leadership roles at her former congregations in Chicago and New York, and was part of an interfaith conference in Rome and Israel.
“I went on the first interfaith mission of Jews and gentiles in 1999,” she said. “It was the most amazing group of people from Syracuse and New York City. We went to Rome and Israel, and when in Rome, we met with Cardinal Cassidy and discussed the Holocaust and the church’s roll in it. I was told [the mission] was the first of its kind.”
After being single for almost a decade, Tricia is ready to get close to someone again.
“I’m looking for someone who is content with himself,” she said. “Someone who enjoys outdoor activities, but also likes to sit inside on a rainy day with a good book.”
Tricia hopes to find someone who likewise has a sense of community responsibility, and a strong sense of family.
“I want someone who wants to make his community better, and someone who is connected to and honors his family,” she said.
And a good sense of fun couldn’t hurt.
(If you would like to get in touch with Tricia, or be featured in a future “Single Files” column, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)