On behalf of the Tener family, it is with great pride that we thank the mayors and their staff, countless local individuals from the historical society, and the transportation agencies at the city, state (PennDOT), and federal levels, and of course the support of the people of Charleroi and Monessen, for the work to preserve and maintain the John K. Tener name on the new bridge spanning the Monongahela River.
Our family was in your cities in 2006 for the Mid-Mon Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, in which our Great Uncle John K. Tener was inducted for his role as a big league pitcher as a player and later as National League President in 1913. As we walked the original bridge during our visit we amassed three generations of Teners on the bridge that day. Although I will not be able to attend this dedication, there will be Teners on hand to witness the ceremony.
John K. Tener has not only impacted the citizens of Charleroi and the state of Pennsylvania with his service as a local banker, sports figure, governor and congressman, but the many lives that he touched locally and within his family.
It is quite fitting that during Congressman Tener’s career one of his major accomplishments was having a prominent role on the Rivers and Harbors Committee. And now the new bridge dedicated in his name will continue to keep a watchful eye on the very waterway he had influence on.
A slogan coined by a local Washington County judge during his political days of campaigning was “Honest John,” and he lived up to that nickname with his constituents and won the governorship in 1910. His nickname was soon transformed to “Popular John,” as he will be remembered, in which he was credited with establishing the state Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the Department of Labor and Industry, to name a few. Each of these accomplishments impacted the people and resonates today. He was most proud of leaving the commonwealth free of debt at the end of his term as governor.
Governor Tener was a quick-witted, gentle giant of a man never afraid to back away from an issue or problem, and always one to politely comment. It was during a bill-signing that one of his proponents had said, “Your action today will prove to be the high spot of your inspirational career.” To which Gov. Tener responded, “No, this isn’t the biggest act of my career, I would have you know, gentlemen, I once shut out Boston,” referencing his big league baseball career as a pitcher.
As your mayors this week celebrate the opening of the new bridge and providing the two cites to once again have a link for commerce as well as ease of travel for your citizenship, the Tener family extends a heartfelt thank you for your commitment to keeping the Tener name on the bridge, and to honor John K. Tener, a proud Charleroi resident. We, too, are proud of our great uncle and equally proud of the Charleroi and Monessen citizens.
Thank you for allowing the rich heritage that John K. Tener started in your community to be kept alive for yet another century or more.
James E. Tener