Humans of BluePath: John Hannah, Walkathon Committee

How it All Began: While employed as a policeman in the ‘90s, I volunteered by doing carpentry at another service dog organization. When I retired from law enforcement in 2010, I made an offhand comment that I was newly unemployed and wouldn\’t mind using my time to aid in their mission. I began work the next week as “the person who fixed things” around the building. It was here that I became aware of autism service dogs and the great work that people like the Sandlers do on behalf of the autism community.

Favorite Part of Volunteering for BluePath: I’m a member of BluePath’s Walkathon Committee, which means I attend monthly meetings to help organize their annual Walkathon. I also play music for all of their events. It is such a pleasure and a privilege to work with people as smart, capable, and articulate as those at BluePath. Their work creates ripples of positivity in not just the life of the child who receives the dog but also in their family, their school, and their community. I play a small part in making a big and positive impact in people’s lives. It’s incredibly rewarding.

Fondest Walkathon Memory: As anyone who attended this year’s Walkathon knows, the weather was not ideal. We were worried that the pouring rain would deter people from coming out. However, what ended up happening was that we had a fantastic, large, energetic group of people that showed up despite the rain to support the organization and its mission. That made every meeting and every phone call and every email worthwhile; it was a great feeling.

Advice for Prospective Volunteers: One dog can make such a huge difference in the life of a child. It can help create a sense of normalcy while decreasing the amounts of worry and stress felt by a family. The reward you get in the end is so much greater than the work you put in, and seeing the good that results from your efforts really makes you want to get involved to support that mission and make that mission continue. It’s absolutely worth it.

Fast Facts:

About John:

  • Dream Vacation Spot: Zion and Bryce (since he’s already been to the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, and Lake Havasu!)
  • Favorite Way to Relax: Mixing and remixing artists’ songs
  • Ideal Celebrity Guest at a BluePath Walkathon: George Clooney (both because of his role in Ocean’s Eleven and because he’s a philanthropist who gives back to his community)
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