Williamsport, PA―The third annual Dr. Alexander Nesbitt Commitment to Caring Award was presented to Reverend John K. Manno, MA, NCC on April 7, 2015 in a surprise ceremony following an End-of-Life Choices seminar at the Elder & Special Needs Resource Center in Williamsport. Dr. Nesbitt presented the award, established by Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak, and named in his honor. The Dr. Alexander Nesbitt Commitment to Caring Award was established by the elder care law firm in 2014. According to Attorney Julieanne E. Steinbacher, the award recognizes an individual in the community who shows an extraordinary commitment to caring that improves the lives of others.
This year’s recipient is a native of Williamsport, a graduate of Williamsport High school, and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1968, after graduating from St. Pius X in Dalton, PA. He received his Masters degree in community counseling in 1982 from Marywood College.
Although he has had appointments in different regions and has served in various positions, Father Manno has most recently served the church and community during local appointments, first at Annunciation Parrish, and currently at Our Lady of Lourdes, in Montoursville.
All who know him would say that Father Manno has a “passion for the needs of the community.” The community will recognize Reverend Manno’s efforts with many organizations, boards and initiatives. According to those who work closely with him, he does not see differences or show preferences in people, and strengthens connectedness by treating strangers as friends, offering humor even in times of sadness or loss and bringing “grace, healing and forgiveness” to daily interactions. He often uses small, personal initiatives to unite people to work together who “need to know each other”. His yearning for unification of all peoples and faiths is reflected through his work on the United Churches interfaith panel, and any frustration would be seen when people choose to hate rather than work to repair relationships.
He has committed countless hours to renovate aging neighborhoods through his work with Lycoming Neighborhood Development Corp. While serving the Annunciation parish in Williamsport, the community will remember his efforts to encourage safe neighborhoods with the West Edwin Coalition of Neighbors. His mantra, “We are one, we are united” led the march to show the community united against street violence.
He committed himself to support of the establishment of The Center to provide a safe and productive location to be used for good by city youth.
His support, leadership and enthusiasm helped to honor the fallen of 9/11 by serving on the Memorial Coalition Organization team to help form the very visible 9/11 motorcycle ride; annually he offers the invocation at the beginning of the ride, and joins the run as participant- many times on his Harley “Fred.”
When the waters of September 2011 brought a devastating flood, there was an instantaneous response by his current church, Our Lady of Lourdes, to open their doors as a haven and a resource to those affected.
His concern for those many lives at risk because of the availability of heroin and its addiction led him to serve with the Heroin Task force. When asked about his influence, Judge Nancy Butts quoted: “Father Manno has been a spiritual leader of the work we have done with Heroin Task Force. He has supported our meetings with his time and energy and love of all people…He worked with the faith based committee to develop the prayers and lessons available to spiritual communities to support their congregations. I have been blessed to have known and worked with Father Manno these many years. His contribution to the criminal justice community of compassion and support is gratefully appreciated. I can't think of a more worthy recipient of this award. “
Reverend Manno makes all he meets feel like his friend. These people will remark on his willingness to be side by side, stand with those who need help, the fact that he personifies his favorite scripture” God is love” (1 John 4:16). Those who have worked with him in ministry would say that his hope for the future of this community might be that we would strive to respect all people, all backgrounds and live in harmony; working together and striving for peace within the community and around the globe.