Larry Richert’s Hometown Heroes 2017

Larry’s Hometown Heroes was held on Thursday, March 2, 2017 with CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett as our keynote speaker.

Click here to see photos from the event.

2017 honorees:


Tony Accamando
Tony Accamando has committed his time to the great cause of helping veterans get the help they need in their daily lives. His organization, Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans, has raised money to provide service dogs to deserving veterans in our area. Adding to his astounding resume, Accamando is also the co-founder of Veterans Cable Services, which exclusively hires veterans for tech-industry jobs. Recently a service dog was presented to Army veteran Capt. John Kelly during the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers game at Heinz Field. With a goal of 22 service dogs going home with veterans there is still a lot of work to do, but the work done by Accamondo already is astounding and well deserving of recognition.


Justin Brown
Justin Brown has always had a passion for helping people in need that him to form his organization, Storehouse for Teachers. The organization, now known as The Education Partnership, provides school supplies to local kids in need at no cost. Recently, his outstanding work in fundraising helped to expand their facility which led to 2,638 teachers in 86 schools providing classroom supplies to over 32,000 students. Since its conception, the organization has distributed nearly $8 million worth of school and classroom supplies to students in southwestern PA. His passion for education and willingness to help others has created opportunities for local children in need to succeed now and create bright futures.


William Day
St. Barnabas Heath System and the Pittsburgh Steelers have two things in common, great leadership and William Day. Day worked with the Steelers for 25 years and is one of only three St. Barnabas Health System CEO’s since the organization’s founding in 1900. Aside from growing St. Barnabas into Pennsylvania’s largest health care concern of its kind, Day is also the creator of Presents for Patients, a five-state program raising gifts and visits for hundreds of thousands of nursing home patients. The book, An Outstanding, Outstanding place, gave the CEO the name, Day the Builder, as he has overseen $100 million in building and capital improvements. Although he always passes off the credit to the managers and employees of St. Barnabas, Day has been the innovator of numerous projects and events that have helped hundreds of thousands of local people and that deserves true recognition.


Diana Napper
Diana Napper used a tragedy in her life to help others in an incredible way. After losing her best friend to breast cancer Napper started with one Glimmer of Hope pin that expanded to other items of jewelry that are now sold today to raise money to fight breast cancer. That one pin helped to create what we know as today, A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, and the organization has raised over $3.4 million. They do numerous fundraisers each year and have also helped fund the “Home for Hope” Integrated Center at the Allegheny Wellness Pavilion in Wexford and purchased top of the line equipment for the Allegheny Health Network. Born and rasied in Pittsburgh, Napper has given back immensely to the community and women all over, a true deserving person and honoree.


Paul Abernathy
A coat and blanket are necessities that we overlook during the winter, but Fr. Paul Abernathy knows that these are things not everyone has the opportunity to own for themselves. Abernathy is the director of the organization called FOCUS, Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve. Their mission is to provide action-oriented and sustainable solutions to poverty communities across America. In the Pittsburgh center, they donate hundreds of backpacks each week to children in the Hill District and Southside Public Schools while also providing professional development classes to promote employment for adults. They expanded to open a free medical and behavioral health clinic for those who don’t qualify for medical. Abernathy has devoted his life to helping others without receiving the proper recognition he deserves.


Mike Gallagher – Lifetime Hero
Mike Gallagher is a native of Pittsburgh who has spent his life in the media covering events from the Super Bowl to the NBA Finals to one of his proudest moments of being asked to produce a film on the life of Dan Marino by Dan himself. In 1992 Germany’s “Stern Magazine” called Gallagher America’s most innovative television producer for his work with an 11 year aspiring sports caster. His life has been full of incredible experiences but he has also persevered through struggles including two major car accidents that involved 47 reconstructive surgeries and now suffering from stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease. With a passion for media, helping others, and his hometown of Pittsburgh, Gallagher is truly amazing story teller with quite a story of his own that deserves a night in the spotlight.

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Photos of the 2016 Hometown Heroes Event here.

Here’s a list of past recipients of Larry’s Hometown Heroes:

2016 Hometown Heroes
Darla Poole Brescia (Grey Paws Sanctuary)

Lexi Campbell (founder, Camp Cranium, summer camp for brain injured children)

Dave Gray (Champions Youth Fitness)

Carol McCaskey (Backpack initiative to fight hunger in elementary school children)

Rose Ann Milbert (Littlest Angels program, makes burial gowns for deceased infants)

Lifetime Hero: Dr. James S. Withers, founder Operation Safety Net, medical treatment for the homeless.


2015 Hometown Heroes
Lisa Bills (child and family services and adoption agency)
Sister Mary Thaddeus Markelewicz (co-founder, McGuire Memorial Foundation serving those with mental and physical disabilities)
Joel Vanucci (founder, Project Succeed Program, helping struggling youth obtain high school diplomas)
Officer James Williams (implemented and trains for Project Lifesaver International)
Renno Young (saved elderly neighbor from burning home)

Lifetime Hero: Dr. Stanley M. Marks, chairman UPMC Cancer Center


2014 Hometown Heroes
Anne Davis (founder, Horses for Hope, a therapeutic riding center)
Hazel Jackson (founded a youth culinary and food service ministry)
Monica Michna (established Achilles International Pittsburgh-enable those with disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics)
Terri Suica-Reed (co-founder PHASE 4 Learning Center)
Megs Yunn (founder, Beverly’s Birthdays – birthday parties for homeless children)


2013 Hometown Heroes
Jamie Holmes (founder, Jamie’s Dream Team)
Sergeant Patrick Manning (built Penn Hills Field of Dreams baseball field)
William Neal (founder, Champions Enterprises sports programs for youth)
Paul Shields (college student who ran into a burning building to save the life of a neighbor)
Summer Tissue (founder, Military Connections, which sends care packages to military personnel abroad)

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