Category: Inspiration

People Who Inspire: Jon Jackson on a mission to Keep Yinz Warm

Keep Yinz Warm - Jon now with bags cropped - main photo

Five years ago, Jon Jackson was a 12 year old passenger in his mother’s car when he looked out the window and saw something he had never seen before. It was a homeless man, lying in a fetal position under a bridge. The image left an indelible impression.

“I had heard of homelessness, but I had never seen it,” he said. On this bitter cold, January day in Pittsburgh Jon knew it wouldn’t be the last time either. Continue reading


People Who Inspire: Chuck Hubbell on being Santa Claus

santa to try

When Chuck Hubbell was in high school and recited “Twas the Night Before Christmas” in class with surprising perfection, he found his voice. When he was 35 years old and began uttering, “Ho, Ho, Ho!”, he discovered a real joy deep within him. And 13 years later, when he tried the red suit on and it fit, he knew that he was indeed, Santa Claus.

It’s not a movie. This is the real life story of someone who grew up without really knowing about Christmas. Continue reading

People Who Inspire: Tuffy Shallenberger on giving thanks and giving back

Tuffy to useTerry “Tuffy” Shallenberger, Jr. knows the meaning of hard work. It’s a lesson his parents taught him and his first big client proved true. And for that he is grateful.

“I was running a bulldozer in 7th grade. After school and in the summers, I worked with my parents (Terry and Norma) in the family’s pool business. They taught me that if you want something, you have to work for it,” he said.

Tuffy embraced hard work, so much so that he considers it to be his only hobby. “It’s all I know,” he said.

While he didn’t like school work, he loved being a student of construction and surrounded himself with people who could teach him the trade. One of those people was a family friend who did municipal work. Continue reading

8 things a cancer patient wants you to know

Jaynette last chemo

I remember a conversation I had with my mother 25 years ago when she was going through treatments for ovarian cancer. She wanted to talk about planning her funeral. Although this is a topic anyone can discuss at any time, I brushed it off saying something like, ‘Oh mom, you’re going to be OK. We don’t have to talk about that now.’

Several years later, I read an article about how having this conversation empowers the patient. There are enough things a cancer patient can’t control. Planning anything – including a funeral – is something they can control, so let them do it.

Ever since then, I’ve wondered how family and friends can best support their loved ones living with cancer. So today, I had a conversation with someone who knows this subject well – Jaynette Brown. Since being diagnosed with stage III breast cancer 14 months ago, she has undergone 52 cancer treatments of radiation and chemo and is now being treated with therapies to treat a host of side effects.

What do we need to know? Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

People who Inspire: Dan Petrowski on living and serving abroad

In the 1960’s, Dan Petrowski was a young boy growing up in a small Pennsylvania town. From the pages of his grandmother’s National Geographic magazines, he could see a world filled with people and cultures far removed from the life he knew. More than anything, he wanted to go to the places he saw. That yearning continued through high school…

Behind the scenes with Director, Paul Ruggieri on the making of “Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black”

Inside a footlocker and tucked away for almost 70 years was a Veterans Day story waiting to be told. The trunk belonged to Elizabeth Black, a World War II Red Cross volunteer who took her bravery and artistic talent to the front lines to sketch the faces of World War II troops. It contained a treasure trove of more than…

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