Congratulations to John Hartnett (Meadville) for receiving one of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s first ever Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Awards!
The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent shutdown brought many challenges to cities and towns across the world as they adapted to social distancing and other health and safety requirements. Despite the difficulties, Pennsylvania’s residents showed their resilience and strength by working together to meet the needs of their neighbors.
To acknowledge some of the many people who supported their communities during this time, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) created the Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero Award. The award honors local heroes in communities that PHC has partnered with through Community Heart & Soul, a humanities-based initiative that uses resident stories and community conversations to spark collective decision-making and action.
John Hartnett, nominated by Lee Scandinaro and Autumn Vogel of My Meadville, was among six recipients recognized as Heart & Soul Heroes for their outstanding community service. Each awardee receives a certificate, virtual award ceremony, and a spotlight article.
“The recipients of these awards displayed resilience, compassion, and action in time when their communities needed it most,” said Jen Danifo, PHC’s Senior Program Officer and host of the Heart & Soul Hero virtual award ceremonies. “This is what Community Heart & Soul is all about and PHC is honored to have the opportunity to uplift their work.”
John Hartnett was selected to receive a Pennsylvania Heart & Soul Hero award for selflessly supporting local residents with a substance use disorders during this especially difficult period of social distancing. He is president of the Meadville chapter of Not One More, an organization dedicated to providing resources and support to people in recovery. Not One More strives to end the stigma around addiction and to create healthier relationships within communities.
John quickly transitioned Not One More’s group meetings to an online platform at the start of the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, ensuring life-saving access to a virtual support network. The distance-based approach and flexible scheduling even strengthened connections with those previously unable to join in person due to transportation or scheduling restrictions.
“One of our values is being a healthy community where people have access to healthcare and support services,” said Autumn Vogel. “This community is a better place because John is in it. We’re grateful for him.”