Behind the Scenes: Admin. assistant finds ‘place’ at Hero Fund

Sharon Terry

I FOUND MY PLACE. When I walked through the doors here at Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, I KNEW.

I started at the Carnegie Hero Fund as a temporary employee in August 2022. Aside from being a retired teacher in two Pittsburgh-area public school districts, I’ve had vast experience working with non-profit organizations and community services. Community work has been an underlying theme throughout my entire life.

I was the first African American woman electronic court recorder for the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in the early ‘80s. Bankruptcy Court was extremely popular and the electronic court recording system had just been established. I was there for 10 years.

In the 10 years following, I worked at Mercy Community Programming, starting out as a prenatal outreach worker and working my way up to eventually fiscal manager for the pediatric department until being asked by the principal of a charter high school to establish a new program. I became the school’s adult literacy coordinator and career teacher. While there I decided graduated Cum Laude from an online program at Jones International University in Colorado with the purpose of demonstrating that no matter what obstacles are in your path, if you really want to obtain a dream, DO IT … and I did. While, I felt extremely accomplished, I still had the call of community in my blood.

Constant community involvement was a daily occurrence, even in my personal life, having been married for 26 years to an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor, which made me the First Lady, and with our family of two children, we were the First Family where ever my husband served for 20 years. Service followed me wherever I went.

Community, administrative work, and teaching have always been my life but finding the right fit truly seemed to be the challenge. I was working with a temp agency when I came across a notice for a part-time administrative assistant position at the Hero Fund. Once I read and researched about the organization, I felt like this was the perfect place for me. Of all the work that Andrew Carnegie had accomplished, his establishment of this Commission was what I believed in — people that gave of themselves without any regard to their personal welfare to help another human being, and unselfish service of the highest level to ensure the safety and security of others.

When walking through the doors at the Hero Fund, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I knew all the years of teaching, studying, organizing, and administrative work would come together and be of benefit here. I truly believed I had found my work home, work family, and a place where I belonged and would want to stay!

Working at the Hero Fund has allowed me to still be a part of a nationwide outreach. The work here is beyond satisfying, important, and enlightening. I could finally see the big picture. I am able to use my expertise, knowledge, and skills to help ensure a smooth working environment for the entire office staff.

On Feb. 18, 2023, I started another new life chapter, I turned 70 years old! Seventy years of living, and I couldn’t think of a better place, way, or people with which to begin this new course in my life, than the Hero Fund. The possibilities are endless. The opportunity for me to be able to utilize my abilities for the good of this office, the Commission, and my work family, puts a smile on my face and a song in my heart EVERY DAY. The motto I live by is: Stay Safe, Be Blessed and Always Grateful. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission has helped to make that possible for me. I FOUND MY PLACE.