Former Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mark Singel, Pittsburgh Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze, retired NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and other prominent individuals who grew up in Cambria County, but now live elsewhere, are teaming together to get the message out about the importance of continuing mitigation efforts to slow the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each person will make a video about mask-wearing, physical distancing, hand-washing and other steps that can be taken, along with offering words of encouragement, as part of In This Together Cambria’s “Because It’s Home” project.

“They still care about this community,” Todd Holsopple, an In This Together Cambria organizer, said. “They still care about their hometowns because it influences and impacts who they are so very much.”

Several individuals have been approached about making videos that will be shown at In This Together Cambria’s Facebook page and at inthistogethercambria.com, every Wednesday, beginning on Wednesday. 

Singel, Heinze and Hawkins are the first three to complete their clips.

“Cambria County boasts a wealth of exceptional former residents across many fields,” Ashlee Kiel, an ITTC organizer, said. 

“From athletes to scholars to authors to politics, those who call our county home have made indelible marks on our culture and society. We’re thrilled to have so many of these accomplished individuals helping us reach out as we work to curb the spread of this virus in the communities they once called home.”

In This Together Cambria started late last year as a community to offer support during the pandemic.

“Because It’s Home” is the group’s first project that extensively involves people living outside the area.

“Our focus has always very much been upon this county itself, but that doesn’t preclude the fact that there have been so many people that have had an impact not just across the nation, but across the globe, that are from this area,” Holsopple said. 

“We have a lot of people from this area that continue to follow those people, and look up to these people and admire them. So the thought was ‘Why don’t we reach out to them to see if they can help us with the outreach?’ ”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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