The D&L Blog

Delaware & Lehigh - Introducing: Steve Sofranko
Image courtesy of Steve Sofranko.

Growing Up, Returning Home

Steve Sofranko was born and raised in Jim Thorpe. He went to Marian Catholic High School as a teenager and then to Susquehanna University to complete his education. Throughout the years, he enjoyed playing football and that was one of the ways he maintained his health.  

However, his career would bring him outside of Pennsylvania to New Jersey, where he did retirement planning with Merrill Lynch, and then to Wall Street in New York City where he would stay for 20 years. When the 2008 financial crisis struck, Steve was one of many to lose his job. While that brought its own difficulties, it also spurred his decision to move back home, where he settled in Lehighton.  

“I was tired of the city life; going, commuting. It’s great when you’re single but once you have a family and all of that, it’s kind of difficult…so we came back home. We bought our house in 2010 and I love it. And I’m finally getting to take advantage of the beautiful scenery that we have here, too.” 

These days, Steve gets out on the D&L Trail, or one of the other local trails, about three to four times a week. That wasn’t something Steve was always able to do.  

Kickstarting His Health & Wellness Journey 

Over the years, Steve began to develop several ailments regarding his health and physical capabilities. He was constantly in pain. Daily activities that he used to be able to do, like tying his shoes, or walking to his car, were now a struggle. 

Steve before his health & wellness journey began.

“Two spinal surgeries, diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritic knees, subluxation of the cervical spine and neck, and heart failure,” (Kona World, 2022).  

Steve knew that he wouldn’t be able to just let things be. He has two children and a wonderful wife. “I really just wanted to enjoy my time with them. Not just live, but thrive,” (St. Luke’s University Health Network Interview, 2023).  

Around four years ago, Steve kickstarted his health and wellness journey with the help of St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN). Ken Szydlow, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer of SLUHN and Board Member of the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (DLNHC), as well as the person who nominated Steve, had this to say: 

“I admire Steve Sofranko. He has faced many serious health challenges head on. He sought out care as a St. Luke’s patient and with his health care partners, he put a plan together that involved both surgical and lifestyle interventions. Now he is following a series of St. Luke’s Fit for Life recommendations that include participating in the Get Your Tail on the Trail program sponsored by St. Luke’s and DLNHC. I look forward to seeing him on the trail.” 

Get Your Tail on the Trail

Formed by DLNHC and SLUHN in 2013, Get Your Tail on the Trail (GYTOT) is a free health and wellness initiative aimed at helping people of all ages and abilities meet their personal fitness goals and experience the outdoors on local trails via day-to-day challenges, public events, and motivating incentives. 

Since the start of his journey, Steve has been a large advocate for GYTOT and logs his miles in the online portal. 

“If you’re competitive, even just a little bit, it’s nice to go in and see how many miles you’re putting on. GYTOT runs little competitions or events where you can [earn health and wellness incentives] which is nice, and you meet some other people that are biking. You know, if nothing else, it’s just a nice day outside to meet other people…” 

Most recently, Steve attended the GYTOT 165 Mile Challenge kickoff event at Sand Island in Bethlehem on May 7. He also promotes the program heavily on his social media where he posts about solo-rides, trips with his wife, and more.  

#DoItAt50 & Building A Community

Many of Steve’s posts can be seen with the hashtag “Do It At 50.” This was the true turning point for Steve – a campaign that would allow him to share his experience and maybe encourage others along the way.  

Steve & Karen biking along the D&L Trail.

“I’ve learned that there’s a lot of people that were in the same position I was in: unhealthy, unhappy, stagnant in their life. I wanted to use my story to maybe inspire other people to believe that anything’s possible… I started at 50. You could start at 40 or 30 or 60 – whatever. It’s up to you.” 

Steve mentions that various people have reached out to him to share their own stories or ask for support. Through his presence on social media, his work with St. Luke’s, and his frequent outings on the D&L Trail, Steve is helping to build a community that encourages one another; that celebrates each other’s successes and motivates them to keep going.  

Keep Moving (Forward)

Steve and Karen after a day on the Trail.

Steve turned 52 in May. To honor that, he completed 52 miles in one week between both walking and biking. He has lost over 150lbs and no longer needs to take as many medications as he once did to mitigate his heart issues and diabetes.  

Steve wants to maintain the health that he has worked so hard to get back because for him, it’s not just about the physical benefits of staying active and getting outdoors, it’s the mental as well.  

“I’ve noticed a complete change in myself, in my mental state when I go out. You know, it’s not just a physical thing. There are endorphins that are released when you go out and I can tell from day-to-day whether I exercise just in my mood and my energy level. I think it’s important to be outside and to enjoy where we have.” 

For Steve, the D&L Trail has been a significant part of his health and wellness journey.  

Appreciating What We Have

“I lived here for close to 10 years before I got healthy enough [to use the D&L Trail] and I’ll never look back. I mean, I just love every part of it. The more that I’m on the D&L Trail, the prettier it is. My wife is big on trying new things, so she has me going up and down [the Corridor.] Now we’re driving down to Ironton and places like that rather than just driving to Jim Thorpe and doing my normal routine.”  

Steve notes that this is only his second year really getting outdoors regularly. He plans to enjoy not just the D&L Trail, but the Switchback, and plenty of other trails not just within the Corridor, but beyond as well.  

He hopes that everyone can get out and take advantage of the outdoor recreation opportunities we have available in our own backyards.  

You can learn more about Steve Sofranko and his Health & Wellness journey on Facebook, Instagram, and even TikTok under the username sofranks1971! 

And if you would like to start your own health and wellness journey through the Get Your Tail on the Trail program, visit to register for the free program and begin logging your miles to earn incentives.  

This article was written as part of the DLNHC Faces of the Corridor campaign. If you know someone or group that you think should be featured, visit this page to learn how you can nominate them.