Allegheny West Magazine

West Allegheny Featured Stories


Founded in Friendship TC House Story and Groundbreaking

Born and raised in the West Allegheny community, Chris McGough has found his way into the hearts of its people. Whether it’s his involvement in West Allegheny School District, serving on the altar at St. Columbkille Parish, or assisting the WA Indians’ head football coach, Chris has always called this community “home.” He, in turn, has inspired them to build a home for individuals like him living with Down syndrome.
Founded in Friendship TC House Story and Groundbreaking

Findlay supervisors Janet Craig, Tom Gallant and Ray Chappel with TC House board members and supporters at the groundbreaking on March 1, 2014.


We Have a House to Build

   Tyler Palko remembers it like it was yesterday. While the then-rising football star wanted to help lead his team to victory, he was more concerned about how he could help make a difference in the lives of others, including his friend McGough, now a special needs, 25-year-old adult.

   While some might view McGough’s disability as a setback, he, his family, and friends have always seen the daily challenges presented to him as an opportunity to grow, learn, and be thankful for the wonderful relationships that have formed while learning to embrace differences and help one another. In McGough’s 25 years, he has defied the odds and lives an active and productive life in inspiring fashion.

   “As a parent, you always want your child to have the perfect life,” said Steve, Chris’ father.

   He explained that when he and his wife, Linda, found out that Chris was diagnosed with Down syndrome, they feared how he would be treated because of it.

   “But then, you stop and think, aren’t we all different?” he said.

   Embracing their son, they worked to create the best possible environment for him to succeed. It just so happened that the best possible environment happened to be right where they lived on Timberglen Drive, in the company of their neighbors, the Palko’s. Steve recalled how Bob Palko was a gym teacher at Wilson Elementary School.

“[Bob] greatly helped build Chris’ motor skills from an early age,” said Steve.

   As the years went by, wherever Bob and his son Tyler played football, Chris was always right alongside them.

Living with Down syndrome presents many challenges, among the most difficult are the fear of being treated differently and struggling to gain independence. Adults living with Down syndrome are often forced to live in group homes outside of their chosen or desired location - places where they might not feel comfortable or like an outsider.

   Anyone who knows Chris knows he is anything but an outsider. He sports his red and grey West Allegheny colors with pride, always wears a warm smile on his face, and seizes opportunities to help others. It’s not Chris’ disability that makes him different; it’s his ability to find hope and happiness each day. He graduated from West Allegheny High School in 2007 and the St. Anthony’s Program at Duquesne University. Today, he enjoys working as a valued member of the team at ACHIEVA, an organization that serves individuals with disabilities. One of the most special things about Chris is that he inspired an organization dedicated to helping others.

   In 2005, Tyler and a group of family friends formed TC House, a nonprofit organization with the mission to build a group home where individuals with Down syndrome can live independently in a family community, as a part of the community.

   “Chris has taught me more than I could ever imagine – more than I could ever teach him,” Tyler said, explaining how he was inspired by Chris to form TC House. “TC House is a big byproduct of the West Allegheny community… Between golf outings and donations, it’s great to see everyone come together for the cause.”

Bob Pompeani, KDKA sports director and friend of the TC House, has been emceeing the event since its inception nine years ago.

   “Everyone comes together to support a great cause,” he said. “Each year registration fills up quickly. The support is a testament to Tyler and Chris’ friendship... They still have a long way to go and we are looking forward to the outing again this year.”

   On March 1, 2014, after years of planning, fundraisers, and donations, Tyler, the TC House Board of Directors, friends, family, and Findlay Township supervisors broke ground at the site of the house on Oakwood Lane in a new Maronda Home Development in Imperial.

   Once completed and fully staffed, the house will be home to four individuals with Down syndrome. Working with ACHIEVA, the TC House’s Broad of Directors will identify candidates for residence in the house. Chris is a candidate for residency.

   The house’s construction is being overseen thanks to the generosity, time, and donations of Mike Cain at Mascaro Construction, and Jeff Dezulovich at JAD Construction. Jennifer Lindemuth has also been a driving force, donating her time and talents overseeing the house’s interior design. The work needed to build and furnish the house also has been undertaken by members of the community, including Ray Tomnay, the project’s masonry sub-contractor, Rosedale Technical Institute, Rusmur Floors, and many others.

   Mike and Jennifer explained that while the organization raised substantial funds for construction, seizing on opportunities to receive donations has been helpful, and in turn created instructional opportunities. Rosedale Technical Institute donated students and staff to install electrical and HVAC throughout the house.

   “They’re going to get a lot of hands-on training, and it will give us a lot of help along the way,” said Jennifer.

   “When people can learn from this and provide, it’s a win-win for everybody,” explained Mike.

   With the momentum in their favor post groundbreaking, the team explained that they still have a long way to go before finishing the house this coming fall. They will continue to rely on donations, time, and generosity from the community to make the house a reality.

   Once complete, the house could become a prototype for future group homes.

Although the structural foundation for the TC House may have just been laid, the friendships that created its impetus formed years ago. The team hopes to have the house move-in ready by Thanksgiving. Its residents will then have all that much more for which to be thankful.

   To learn more about the TC House, please visit the website: The annual fundraiser for the project, the 10th Annual TC House Golf Outing, will take place on June 27 at The Club at Shadow Lakes. Allegheny West Magazine will continue to share house construction updates.


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