Everyday Heroes

Hometown Heroes Share Spotlight With Music Legend

Honored by radio host Larry Richert as "ordinary people doing extraordinary things"

At Sparkt we're all about celebrating people who are doing good things to help others and make their hometowns better places to live. So we wanted to share this year's News Radio KDKA's "Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes" awardees. The heroes were honored at a dinner Tuesday night at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh (PA).

The theme of the seventh annual awards was "Love is Stronger than Hate," a nod to the mantra that emerged after the October massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Keynote speaker, Tree of Life Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, focused on the idea that love can overcome any obstacle, as the awardees have demonstrated.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer, songwriter, producer and record executive William "Smokey" Robinson was this year's Lifetime Achievement Honor winner (pictured with Steelers Hall of Famer Franco Harris) for his six decades of good works.


"Our annual 'Hometown Heroes' event is an opportunity for us to recognize the powerful contributions by individuals in our local community. This year, we are privileged to be able to spotlight 'Smokey' Robinson for the tremendous work he is doing both in Pittsburgh and beyond," said Michael Spacciapolli, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Entercom Pittsburgh, the owner of KDKA. "We are also humbled to have Rabbi Myers speak to our heroes and guests this year following such an unfathomable tragedy."


The five individuals honored as Hometown Heroes will receive a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice. This year's honorees are (L-R above, with Larry third from left):

  • Steven D'Achille - Following the loss of his wife to post-partum depression, D'Achille founded The Alexis Joy D'Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health at West Penn Hospital.
  • Corporal John Lingo - Lingo, part of the German Township Police Department, stepped into the line of fire and took down a gunman who shot four people in a magistrate's office.
  • Debbie Thackrah - Founder and president of Feeding the Spirit, a special non-profit dedicated to nourishing the bodies, minds and spirits of those in need in the Greensburg community.
  • Joyce Erdner - Founder of The DoorWay, an organization that serves those who need a second chance from dealing with abuse, addiction and neglect.
  • George O'Donnell - Runs Friends to Friends, an organization bringing kids with and without disabilities together through sports and mentoring.

Congratulations heroes and thank you for making the Pittsburgh region a better place! Thank you to photographer Drew Moniot.

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