Author Mitch Albom to speak in Scranton next month

Hospice of the Sacred Heart has announced that Mitch Albom, author, philanthropist, columnist and sports reporter, will speak in Scranton as part of the year-long 20th Anniversary celebration of Hospice of the Sacred Heart. Albom will speak at the Theater at North on Thursday, April 20, at 7 p.m. A book signing will follow in the Theater at North Gallery.   

Author of Tuesdays with Morrie, Albom’s books have sold over 39 million copies and have been translated into over 45 languages. While nationally recognized for his sports writing, Albom is perhaps best known for the themes of hope and kindness that weave through his books, plays and films. In his talks and presentations, he brings the same inspiring message of community building, giving and purpose. 

His breakthrough book, Tuesdays with Morrie, became an international phenomenon with over 14 million copies sold. Now in its 20th year, Tuesdays remains one of the top selling memoirs of all time and was adapted into an Emmy Award-winning TV movie produced by Oprah Winfrey, starring Jack Lemmon and Hank Azaria.

Albom has founded 10 charities, including nine in the Detroit area, such as S.A.Y. Detroit, which operates a family health clinic; A Time to Help, a volunteer organization; and A Hole in the Roof Foundation, which repairs faith-based homeless shelters. He also directs the Have Faith Haiti Mission in Port Au Prince, which helps impoverished children and orphans, as well as the Chika Fund, which provides life-saving medical costs and health care.

A columnist for The Detroit Free Press since 1985 and a panelist on The Sports Reporters podcast, Albom has been named the #1 Sports Columnist in the Nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) 13 times. In June, 2010, he received the APSE Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement, the biggest prize in sports journalism, and in June 2013, he was inducted into the Sportswriters Hall of Fame.

He is the author of eight bestselling books, with five debuting at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List, including The First Phone Call from Heaven; Have A Little Faith; The Five People You Meet in Heaven and its sequel, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven. Albom is currently developing an hour-long drama series based on the novels for FOX.

His bestseller, Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and Making of a Family, is the true story of Chika, a young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change Albom’s heart. Albom’s latest book, The Stranger in the Lifeboat, will be available for sale immediately following the April 20th event and Mr. Albom will gladly sign them.  

Albom hosts two radio shows on WJR-AM and has appeared on The Today Show, Oprah, and CBS Sunday Morning. His articles have been featured in The New York Times, GQ and Sports Illustrated.    

Tickets for “An Evening with Mitch Albom” are $55 and are available by visiting the Hospice of the Sacred Heart website ( or at the Theater at North box office. Box office hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday 3 to 6 p.m. and the evening of the show starting at 5 p.m.

Doin’ Dunmore: Shrine of Sacred Heart restored thanks to Pat McMullen

By Steve Svetovich

Early last month the Dunmore community was in shock over vandalism to a statue of the Blessed Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The shrine is located on the campus of Marywood University and owned by the Sisters of I.H.M.

It can easily be seen while driving on Interstate-81. Located on the Dunmore side of the campus off I-81, borough residents were enraged that vandals would attempt to destroy the shrine.

Then local residents and volunteers came to the rescue.

Pat McMullen, 22, of Roaring Brook Township, in particular.

Son of Kristi Walsh and Patrick McMullen, the North Pocono graduate owns Electric City Power Washing, LLC.

He volunteered his time and utilized his skills to restore the statue and its foundation and remove all of the graffiti vandals inscribed on the shrine.

After about four or five hours of hard work, the young man was able to completely restore the shrine and remove all the graffiti. The statue was as good as new, even better.

“There was graffiti on both sides of the statue,” he said. “It was not easy to get off, but I have the power washing equipment to do it. The hardest part was getting all of the graffiti off because it soaks into the rock.

“I was able to power wash everything and clean up the statue and foundation.”

McMullen said it felt good to give back to the community.

“My dad called me to tell me about it,” he said. “He said it would be nice if I could clean it up.

“I immediately jumped at the opportunity to help out. I was honored to do it because the Sisters at I.H.M. do a lot for the community. I thought I could give back. I like giving back. The surrounding community has always been good to me.

“The Sisters of I.H.M. were very happy. I’ve received a lot of thanks from them and other people in the community. I must have received a thousand calls. I liked doing it. I think it’s terrible that it even happened. And the police still don’t know who did it.”

McMullen has owned and operated Electric City Power Washing, LLC, for the past year and a half. He also works for Standard Iron Works, a structural steel business owned by his mother and her two brothers in Scranton.

His dad used to run the former McMullen’s Restaurant and Bar in the Green Ridge section of Scranton. His grandfather, also Pat McMullen, was the owner of the popular establishment which was sold several years ago.

McMullen said he hopes to eventually expand his power washing business. “I wanted to own a business ever since I was in the eighth grade,” he said.

As far as his latest project, he says, “I wanted to make this religious shrine look nice. As it should be.”

Spirit of Hope raises $50,000+ for Cancer Institute

A check presentation representing the proceeds of a recent Spirit of Hope celebration included, from left: Karen M. Saunders, President of Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Leo Vergnetti, Chairman of the Spirit of Hope Board of Ambassadors, and Laura Toole, Executive Vice President of Northeast Regional Cancer Institute.  

The Spirit of Hope Celebration Board of Ambassadors recently presented the Cancer Institute with a $54,789 check from their 2022 Spirit of Hope event.  

“On behalf of the Ambassadors who truly exhibit the ‘Spirit of Hope’ we are thrilled to present you with these funds to help individuals receive early detection and free screenings,” said Leo Vergnetti, Chairman of the Board of Ambassadors. 

The Board of Ambassadors, a group of community volunteers, hosted the tenth annual Spirit of Hope Celebration in November at Mohegan Pennsylvania. More than 300 people were in attendance. The event featured cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, music and a silent auction. Bob Durkin was the Tribute to Courage Honoree.  

Proceeds from the event benefited the Cancer Institute’s Community-Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. This program helps individuals in northeast Pennsylvania get their recommended colorectal, breast, cervical, and lung cancer screenings. 

The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute is a nonprofit community-based agency serving seven counties in northeast Pennsylvania with offices located in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Focusing on surveillance, community and patient services, and hospital and practice support services, the Cancer Institute invests 100% of its resources locally.