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One Shine at a Time, Shoeshiner Albert Lexie Donates Tips and Raises $100,000 for Free Care Fund at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

Shoeshiner Albert Lexie has achieved a remarkable milestone, raising more than $100,000 for the Free Care Fund at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh by donating tips from his business over the last two dozen years.

Children's held a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006, to recognize Lexie's commitment to the patients of Children's. Physicians, nurses and other staff from the hospital, as well as friends from throughout western Pennsylvania, were on hand for the celebration.

Following comments by Roger A. Oxendale, president and CEO of Children's, and Steven G. Docimo, MD, chief of Pediatric Urology - both regular customers of Lexie's - the shoeshiner was given a plaque commemorating his achievement. A second plaque will be placed in the hospital.

"It is inspiring to see what Albert has achieved through his hard work, generosity and dedication to the patients and families of Children's," Oxendale said. "Even after nearly a quarter of a century, Albert remains motivated by one thing: to help families in a time of need. We're humbled by his achievements and proud to honor this milestone he has reached."

Lexie, a 63-year-old Monessen, Pa., resident, has been shining shoes at Children's since 1982 and accepting tips from customers on behalf of "his kids," as Lexie refers to the patients at Children's. Charging $3 per shine, Lexie donates all tips to Children's Free Care Fund, which ensures that all children receive medical care, regardless of a family's ability to pay.

At age 15, Lexie built a shoeshine box in high school shop class. He now uses that same box to shine shoes at Children's every Tuesday and Thursday. On those days he makes the trip by bus from his hometown to Oakland, leaving home at 5:50 a.m. and arriving at the hospital at 7:25 a.m. In addition to shining shoes at Children's, Lexie travels to Salomon Smith Barney in Pittsburgh and the business districts of Charleroi, Donora, Monessen and Monongahela to offer his services. His yearly income is only about $10,000, and he donates roughly $10,000 a year to the Free Care Fund.

Lexie was recognized in 2001, receiving an Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the organization's Western Pennsylvania Chapter. In 1997, he received a Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen. He also has been recognized by several Rotary organizations in the Monongahela Valley.

Read more about Albert Lexie.

Visit Albert's personal Web site.

Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 22, 2008
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Last Update
February 22, 2008