WARREN - With 83 years in the grocery business under his belt, Barney Macali has a lot to share. There are the stories tucked away in the memory bank - like his start in the business at age 10 when he started delivering groceries after school for a local market in Niles.
''I still remember that 1929 Dodge,'' Macali said, also recalling the soap box he had to sit on to see over the dashboard at that tender age. Nobody cared about the legal driving age back then.
But Macali avoided any moving violations and the food got delivered - free of charge.
The 93-year-old leaves the driving up to his wife Anne these days and for years she was in the habit of delivering him to his Giant Eagle grocery store in the Elm Road Plaza where Macali seems to make a new friend every day.
And he still continues to deliver the food and to share. Sometimes it's a joke with a customer. Or sometimes it's just a wave to a familiar face in the produce section.
''Hey, they're small. Take two,'' Macali points out to one of his customers. ''That guy there takes two pieces of candy every time he's in here,'' Macali says in a hushed voice. ''I don't care about it.''
Macali has better things to care about.
And a lot of it involves sharing and the way he has managed to feed the masses behind the scenes through the better part of his professional life.
It's that charitible work on the part of Macali that has led to his distinction as a Community Star.
Now in it's 13th year, the Community Star program celebrates the volunteers who have had a significant influence on Trumbull County. It is sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle and Trumbull 100.
''I've been a customer at Barney's store for 25 years and after attending last year's Community Stars banquet, I decided he should be nominated,'' said Patricia Dagg of Warren. ''He always greets you with a smile and kind words.''
''I've had many cups of coffee with him,'' said Dagg, pointing out in her nominating letter that Macali arranges for day-old pastries from the bakery for a private summer picnic or to the St. Vincent DePaul kitchen on Niles Road S.E.
''I've known the family for 20 years. Barney just called here one time and asked if we wanted to pickup the pastries. He's given us meats too,'' said Pete Camarata, of St. Vincent DePaul where 22 parishes take turns feeding the needy.
Cases of water go to Relay For Life participants and sometimes going unnoticed are the team meals for the John F. Kennedy High School football team.
Whether it's a smaller gathering involving a neighborhood association or the pantry at First Presbyterian Church of Niles, only a few yards away from Macali's North Crandon Avenue home, the food gets to its destination.
''I've gone from a small canned goods pantry to a full-service pantry with meat, deli and produce and I owe it all to Barney,'' said Sue Jeffers, who has run the church pantry the past four years.
She said up to 500 people leave the pantry with boxes of food that will provide meals for up to two weeks.
''He's very, very generous. Most people don't know about the food that goes to Beatitude House or Someplace Safe,'' said Jeffers.
A few years back, Barney and his wife decided to take advantage of the exercise programs offered at Eastwood Mall through St. Joe's at the Mall:
''He would go to the store in the morning and then show up here three days a week in the afternoon. It's like he was on a mission. In good shape for his age," said Lana Eddy-Campfield, who runs the exercise programs at St. Joe's. "And he made more friends than anyone. He shared what was important to him and listened to us as well. I don't know who helped who more - whether we helped him, or he helped us more.''
Joe Havasi calls Barney, who was actually born with the first name of Palmer, his surrogate father.
''My family and I moved to Niles as Hungarian immigrants in 1957 and even before we knew the language, Barney took us in. My brother and I both worked for the market that Barney and his brother Gil operated on Robbins Avenue,'' Havasi said.
''Barney is just one of those guys who leads by example. He's the one responsible for my work ethic. He's the reason I went to college and raised my own family here in Niles,'' he said.
''He took us to Browns and Indians games. He's just a human being with a big heart,'' said Havasi. ''He's awesome.''
''I think a lot of people shop at his store just to see him, because of his kindness and his smile. Barney started greeting people way before Walmart ever thought of it.''