‘God saved me’

Rostosky founder of Way2BU

Courtesy photos Pete Rostosky, who was an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1983-87, will talk about his NFL career and how his faith and family led him to be successful on and off the field.

When former Pittsburgh Steeler Pete Rostosky was a teenager, he didn’t dream big.

Raised on a beef cattle farm in the Monongahela Valley, he only knew he wanted no part of it after high school.

From his school bus stop, he could see the steel mills along the river with their stacks billowing steam and smoke. His goal was to become a steelworker, because (at the time) they often earned more than college graduates, he said.

During his senior year, a life-threatening accident happened that changed all that. He was hunting alone about two miles away from his home when he was shot.

“I shouldn’t even be here,” he said. “God saved me.”

Rostosky, who lives in McMurray, will share how that incident, the persistence of his mother and guidance of his father led him to make choices that resulted in his NFL career at the 14th annual Altoona Alliance Church Wild Game Feast.

The dinner will begin at 5 p.m. March 16 at the church, 3220 Pleasant Valley Blvd., with doors opening at 4 p.m. Tickets are available for a $15 suggested donation and are available weekdays at the church office.

An offensive tackle for the Steelers from 1983-87, Rostosky will share stories from those five seasons when Chuck Noll was the coach, and he played on teams where Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell were among the players.

“I got a chance to play with my heroes,” he said. “Mike Webster spoke at my high school football banquet, now four years later I am playing with the guy.”

Rostosky, who played defensive end at the University of Connecticut for four years, was switched to an offensive tackle by the Steelers. Not familiar with the position, he said, teammates Craig Wolfley and Tunch Ilkin took him under their wings to help him learn it, and they remain friends today.

He also spoke of Bradshaw’s positive attitude, especially in the huddle.

“He had such confidence,” Rostosky said. “We knew we were going to score. He believed in all of us and we believed in him.”

Believing in others is part of what Rostosky does today. He is the founder of Way2BU, a motivational program that encourages people, especially youth, to be themselves.

“Way2BU is a compliment,” he said, explaining that it can be expressed when someone does something in his or her own unique way instead of trying to imitate someone else.

“God only made one of you. Be you. Don’t try to be someone else. You are one in a billion people. If you try to be someone else, you are not you,” he said.

Rostosky said he will relate how the program came about as well as talk about his outdoor experiences.

Growing up in a rural area, Rostosky said he spent a lot of time outdoors and would go raccoon hunting at night when his farm duties were finished.

“I had to work all the time. My dad was tougher than Chuck Noll. My friends were going to the mall, to the movies. I wasn’t allowed. I had to work.”

It was the dusk to dawn responsibilities of farm life that made him determined not to go into the field.

“Now, I enjoy it,” he said of still working on the cattle farm. “It gives you time to yourself.”

He also enjoys hunting.

“I love God’s nature,” he said. “If I get something, it’s a bonus.”

He pursues game in Pennsylvania as well as traveling with friends and his son to Idaho and Colorado.

“We rough it,” he said. “We pitch tents. Just my friends and our boys. We do it on our own. No guides.”

Rostosky said they hunt for elk and mule deer and, if they get tags, wolves and black bear.

But he does not have to be seeking wildlife to enjoy nature.

On his son’s fall college break, they hiked and biked in Maine and hiked a mountain in Utah during last year’s spring break.

When he is not enjoying the outdoors, Rostosky leads Rostosky Enterprises, a business development company, and Rostosky Coal LLC. He also is involved in men’s and youth ministries at his church.

He and his wife, Connie, have two children, Lydia, a newlywed; and Luke, a senior in college.