Corvette Club of Northeastern PA Turns 50

The Corvette Club of Northeastern PA, the regional affiliate of the National Council of Corvette Clubs, is now in its 50th year. Members own one or more old or new versions of the Chevrolet model, and plan fun activities and get-togethers with their vehicles.

Occasionally members have Sunday rides to visit a landmark in Northeast PA. The group even organized a drive on the NASCAR track at Watkins Glen, NY. Members also attend Corvettes at Carlisle every August, which is one of the biggest Corvette events in the world. Most recently, 17 members drove to the 16th annual Springfest Corvette Show at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.

The Corvette Club also hosts ice cream rides to various ice cream parlors. Members participate in many local events, especially parades including the annual St. Patrick’s Day and Armed Forces Day parades in Scranton and the Memorial Day Parade in downtown Pittston. The number of Corvettes in the parades varies from five to 20. Also for Memorial Day, the club rents Pocono International Raceway to use as a driving school. Additional club activities include poker runs and road rallies, to area restaurants. Members are invited to the 56th Annual NEPR AACA (Northeastern Pennsylvania Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America), at the Wilkes-Barre/Wyoming Valley Airport on June 4. On June 11, members will showcase their vehicles at the Valero gas station on Wyoming Avenue in West Pittston for an annual fundraiser called Vettes for Vets. Chairman Ron Gitkos funds the event. Admission is a $10 donation, which benefits many veteran organizations. Club charity work also includes toy and monetary donations to Toys for Tots, monetary donations to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), animal shelters, food banks and libraries in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.     

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the club will host a summer picnic on August 13 at the Lion Pavilion in Plains. Former and current members are invited. Festivities include food, games, live music and memorabilia.

Scranton used car salesman Carl Evans formed the club in 1967. He and six friends, who also owned Corvettes, decided to start their own club. Founding members included Dave Castellani, Gary Lamberton, Jack Bolish, Pete Noto, Bud Kilcullen and retired race car driver Joe Amato. They had their first meeting at the former Topper’s Diner in Clarks Summit. The group started the tradition of Sunday rides in 1978.    

In 1990, the club hosted the NCCC (National Council of Corvette Clubs). People from all over the US came to Split Rock Resort in the Poconos for high-speed, low-speed and drag races. What started as a club of seven, gradually grew to the current 165 members. Board members hold monthly meetings to plan club activities. “It must be fun because we stick around,” said Barbara McCracken, a member since 1969. “It’s fun and we form good friendships,” said Pat Cockerill, the club’s secretary.

President Tina Gittleman owns a 2001 red Corvette. Vice-president Jim Cockerill owns a 1967 black convertible. His wife and club secretary Pat Cockerill has a 2013 black Grand Sport. Treasurer Mary Ann Abbott is a spouse member because her husband Carl owns a red 2001 Coupe. Membership directors Robert and Susan Nerbecki have a red 2007 convertible C-6. Board members Carol and Alan Reese own a 2016 ZO6. Board member Barbara McCracken owns a 1996 collector’s edition and a 1982 collector’s edition. Board member Sandy Fumanti has a white 2005 Corvette. New members are always welcome. Call 570-417-1646

–Ben Freda