(Editor’s note: The names of the person served and his brother have been changed to protect their privacy.)
To hear Dan Mancini tell the story, what they did for a person served is nothing out of the ordinary. Yet, what Dan did was a perfect example of living Pittsburgh Mercy’s mission and values, especially “Commitment to the Poor: We stand with and serve those who are poor, especially those most vulnerable.”
For their actions, Dan, a counselor on the South Community Supportive Housing team, was chosen as the November 2021 Pittsburgh Mercy Colleague of the Month.
On November 18, 2021, Dan arrived for a normal wellness check at the home of John Doe, a fairly independent individual who is served by the Community Supportive Housing team. Because John usually takes the Port Authority “T” train to see his brother on Thursdays, Dan did not think anything was wrong when John didn’t respond to knocking or phone calls. Dan tried another two times before their shift was over, but had no luck reaching him.
At 8:30 p.m., they received a call from John’s brother, Jim Doe. Jim had picked up John by car earlier in the day to help him with his laundry. After a visit with John at his office, Jim took him to an East End barbershop for a shave and haircut. He expected that John would take the “T” home afterward.
The brother had received no response from John since leaving him at the barbershop, despite calling him every 20 minutes over the previous few hours. By the tone of Jim’s voice, Dan could tell he was distraught.
Dan knew that for the previous few weeks, John has been very suspicious that the “T” train was not operating, but Jim did not know his brother was still declining to use it. Because it was too early to file a missing person report and because their home is in the same neighborhood as the barbershop, Dan told Jim they would look for John.
After going to two other barbershops, Dan found John sitting outside of a legacy barbershop that’s tucked in the middle of a residential street.
“Luckily, (John) had stayed there,” Dan says.
John had mistakenly thought that Jim was going to pick him up and was relieved to see Dan, who called Jim to inform him that John was safe. Dan saved the day and drove John home to the South Hills.
“To me, it just wasn’t a question,” Dan says. “To me, it’s not above and beyond. It’s the basics of what we do. (John) ended up in a situation. If anyone calls and is in crisis and needs support, it’s best to help them.”
“(This) is just one example of how Dan goes above and beyond for the people we serve and for colleagues,” says Mike Goldbach, Mental Health (MH) Residential supervisor, who nominated Dan for the award.
Mike says Dan has also covered calls for the North Community Supportive Housing Team when they were short staffed, hauled residential site garbage containers down the street for pickup when the garbage truck couldn’t make it up the street because of construction, and picked up extra caseloads when their colleagues were out of the office.
Dan also celebrates the successes of their colleagues, such as decorating the office when someone earns a new degree.
Dan gives a shout out to their team members, noting that COVID-19 has been hard on them.
“I like the team,” Dan says. “I like the freedom of the job.”