Allen Harr, Assistant Vice President, Small Business Partner, Altoona First Savings Bank
Beyond community banking, tell us what you are involved with in your community.
Allen: I am involved with the following organizations:
- Bedford County Chamber of Commerce-Currently serve as Chairman of the Board
- Bedford County Humane Society-Currently Serve as President
- League of Pretty Good Guy’s-committee that formed to oversee the WWII Monument project for the Borough of Bedford/Visitors Bureau. The committee has since done the Korean War Monument and is in the process of raising the necessary funds for the Vietnam Statue to co-exist with the current monument.
- Serve on the Community Foundation Fundraising Committee
- Former Treasure of the Chamber Community Foundation
- Former Chairman of Downtown Bedford Inc.
- Bedford Rotary-Past President
- Bedford Lions Club-Past President
- Bedford Elks Lodge #1707-Past Exalted Ruler & former Corporation Board member
Can you share with us the reason you are so passionate about the organization(s) with which you are involved?
Allen: I feel that being involved in your community is something that everyone should do. I am very fortunate that I have an employer that supports me and allows me to give back through the various organizations that I am part of and passionate about. The two organizations that I am currently involved with and serve as chairperson, are two of my most passionate organizations.
The first being the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce. This organization is the flagship for bringing all of the various community organizations together through leadership, education and marketing. I am grateful to be part of such a diverse group of leaders that serve on the chamber board as well as a highly motivated staff that supports the board’s vision. Our President/CEO, Kellie Goodman-Shaffer is a highly motivated leader and is always looking for ways to keep our membership informed and educated on the events that are taking place within our community. The board of directors along with the vision from Kellie have recently decided to purchase the Russell House in Downtown Bedford and make it the new and permanent location of the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce. It has been a long process securing the grant monies and donations from the community but it in the end, it will be definitely be an asset to Bedford County and to downtown Bedford. I am proud to be part of such a great board of directors and having the envisioning keeping the Bedford County Chamber at the forefront of Chambers across the state of Pennsylvania.
The second organization I am proud to be part of is the Bedford County Humane Society. This organization, too, has a great diverse group of people who also serve on the board. The vision to build a new shelter for the animals of Bedford County was by Dr. William R. Newman. I am glad to be part of and serve on the board that carried out Dr. Newman’s wishes. Just this month, we finished a newly erected 6500 square foot building that will temporarily house the less fortunate animals of Bedford County. This new facility will streamline the intake of animals seeking medical attention, food, water and basic care until they meet their new family. The new facility will also provide a clinic that will be later staffed by Veterinarians that will treat the animals at the shelter and will provide services for spaying and neutering. The Board of Directors and the staff have put countless hours in to making this visioning a reality.
What prompted you to be a #DifferenceMaker in your community?
Allen: I do not count myself as a difference maker in my community but I do feel that giving back and making your community a better place as one of my life goals. I enjoy meeting people and helping at whatever capacity that helps improve the community we all live in. I would also like to thank my wife, Chris, for allowing me to participate in the various organizations. Being part of various organizations tends to put home duties on the back burner. My wife has a great understanding of my role in the community and is willing to work with me, (most of the time). She is my biggest supporter and is always there to help.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with your community?
Allen: My greatest reward is seeing the end result, and how it impacts my community. The recent acquisition of the Russell House by the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce and how it will serve the community is a prime example of this reward. The new Chamber location will be future incubator sites for small business to get themselves established in the Bedford Community business market as well as an educational hub for training purposes for the members of the Chamber. Good things to come in the future for the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce.
You obviously have a strong desire to give back to your community, does your volunteer work ever mix with your professional life?
Allen: I would say that my community involvement does roll over into my personal life. I say this without hesitation because most of my community involvement includes my family and friends. Many of my friends have the same envisioning and desire to improve the community we live in. I guess surrounding oneself with positive thinkers provides you with a positive tool of making things happen within your community.
You are obviously very busy, what is your favorite way to unwind at the end of the day?
Allen: I would say that my favorite way to unwind at the end of the day would simply be to share a bottle of wine with my wife and enjoy the company of our two recently adopted cats, Danny and Meadow. I say recently because I served as President of the Humane Society and at each board meeting, until I adopted, I was greeted with grief (kiddingly). My wife and I are truly blessed with having them as part of our family.