When Neil Hanes joined the DuBois Jaycees in 2013, he never thought of where the road might ultimately lead him. With only a few years under his belt, it did not take long for Hanes to quickly move through the ranks of the Chapter before being named its 59th President in 2015. As both President and a member of the Jaycee organization, Hanes learned many valuable lessons throughout his tenure with the organization.
“I am a strong believer that leaders are not born, they are created,” Hanes said. “When I first I came into the organization as a slightly shy individual who became anxious around larger crowds. It wasn't until later that I realized I was deserving to be at these places, among these large crowds. I was surrounded by members of the Jaycees who challenged and assisted me in becoming the strong leader that I am today,” Hanes shared of his time during his Presidential reign.
After his 2015 Presidency was over, Hanes didn’t stop in pursuing advantageous goals for the local Chapter. In 2016, Hanes wanted to leave a legacy upon the DuBois community from this generation of Jaycees, just like past members did years before in building the City Pool.
“Since I have known Neil he has always been intrigued with the legacy that was left by the DuBois Jaycees from years prior,” said Summer Anderson, a current Jaycee and longtime member of the Chapter. “Neil took it upon himself to do something similar for our DuBois community, and carry on the legacy of the DuBois Jaycees for decades to come and for generations to admire.”
With his new goal in mind, Hanes decided to restore the old wooden bridge that is located on the paved side of the Beaver Meadow Walkway. He got the project approved by the DuBois City Council, and then went on to obtain donations for supplies and sponsorships from local businesses for this project.
In the end, the walkway now has a restored beautiful new bridge and the Jaycees have left their mark on a community they love, all thanks to the leadership of Hanes and the dedication of the Jaycees members. At the closing of the project, Hanes remarked, “I look at the pool and the pavilion we (Jaycees) built back in the day. We all just got together and decided that this generation wants to leave something to the community and this is our way to do that.”
Hanes now has his sights on an even bigger role within the Jaycees organization. He is currently running to be the 2019 Pennsylvania Jaycee President, a feat never achieved by a DuBois Chapter member. If elected, Hanes would serve as the 83rd Pennsylvania President. Hanes is no stranger to leadership roles at the state level, as he currently holds the position of VP Business and International Development. His responsibility includes visiting other Pennsylvania Chapters to get a glimpse into their internal structure and viewing their most successful fundraisers.
Along with other members of the Jaycee organization, Hanes has also gotten to travel to many state and national Jaycees events. In fact, it was during a visit to one of those national conventions that he was inspired to take on a bigger leadership role within the Jaycees. “I had the privilege of meeting 2017 JCI World President, Dawn Hetzel,” Hanes said. “The respect that others had for her and the way that she carried herself around the room was truly inspirational. I had left that celebration with a newfound desire to make a difference within the JCI organization.”
Hanes recently announced his official running to the DuBois Chapter, and submitted all his credentials to the State. In August, elections for the Presidential role will take place at the state convention in State College. There are a minimal number of nominations, a true testament to the responsibility and dedication one must have to take on this role within the Jaycees organization. “I’m not doing this for myself,” said Hanes. “I’m doing this for those Jaycees that will come after me. I want to cultivate a path leading to more opportunities outside of the local level.”
Since his journey began with the Jaycees, Hanes has been a recipient of many leadership accolades from the organization. A few of these honors include being named the 2016 DuBois Jaycees of the Year, the Sandy Hess “Supercharged” award recipient, the 2015 JCI USA Outstanding Local Chapter President and the Charles Kulp Jr. Memorial award which is only given annually to the top ten outstanding local presidents in the nation.
Hanes looks forward to this next step in his tenure with the Jaycees. He has learned so much through the organization and the members that have come and gone through the years. His advice for anyone looking to the join the Jaycee organization is simple, “don't be afraid to step out on your own if it means that you will grow as a person.” For Hanes, he is a great example of someone who has shown that trying something new can lead to growth and prosperity in many ways for a young person in our community.