Legacy of Hope has a knack not only for bringing out the best in people, but for attracting truly exceptional humans to the cause. ,Meghan McVeigh-Maciolek is one of those extraordinary individuals. She exhibits a fierce compassion and dedication to service that would be an outlier in any era, but which is an absolute rarity nowadays. This woman is a juggernaut; she’s as driven athletically as she is tireless in her community service efforts. The following vignette is a perfect illustration of her character. Meghan had set a goal of completing at least 50 miles up and down the fabled “Rocky Steps” at the PHL24 in 2021. At about 4am, after she’d been climbing for 19 hours straight and logged some 35 miles, her Garmin watch died. A panicked search for a battery pack and charger eventually brought it back online (along with her mileage data.) When she realized that her goal was still within striking distance, she proceeded to RUN those steps for the last two hours—after 22 grueling hours of climbing—in order to make it to her goal of 50 miles! She succeeded.
Meghan connected with Legacy of Hope through ,John Sullivan of Earn Your Break during a charity race up a beastly hill affectionately known as “Mother” nestled in Philly’s Wissahickon park. John linked her up with Legacy’s Mike Rowe and Gina Mancuso, who invited her to run the 2021 Love Run as a sponsored athlete. Meghan has been all-in ever since, becoming a pillar of the Legacy of Hope family.
Meghan was born in Philadelphia, raised in Orland, Pennsylvania; and now resides in Fort Washington with her husband, Josh, and their rock star kids, John and Stella. The drive to serve others is in her blood, thanks to her father, Peter McVeigh, who “seemed to have service woven into his DNA.” McVeigh was in the Peace Corps for three years—teaching
English in Ethiopia—after which he started a teaching career at Germantown Academy (GA) that spanned nearly 50 years and included several roles, including founding GA’s community service organization. He retired in 2015, at age 72 and, sadly, was diagnosed with stage II metastatic pancreatic cancer in November of that same year. He passed away in February of 2017.
“The community was absolutely rocked when he died, because he’d mentored thousands of students and had made service part of the GA culture. It’s not just an activity or an extracurricular, it’s a fundamental value of the school—carrying on the things that he did; bringing people together.”
He left a strong legacy in Meghan, who has continued in her father’s footsteps, starting the [GA] alumni community service organization after he passed. “This work, service work, it makes my heart sing. My children are involved not just because I do it, but because they know it’s important. Community service was something I did every single weekend at GA with my dad. As service oriented as he was, dad also had a very wild streak in him, you might say he was impish. He had a card that he’d hand out; it said ‘Please apologize for the behavior of Peter McVeigh on, and there’s a line to fill in the date.’ Every Thanksgiving we share stories about the “good trouble” he got into during his summers in Longport, NJ and have a laugh. They’re epic. But his nature was fundamentally compassionate. He would give back, but he was no BS either. He was a football coach and wanted to push forward with his need to give back. Whether it was teaching, mentoring other teachers and coaches, coaching, service was part of who he was; he passed that down to us. It’s an integral part of who we are.”
Ultimately Meghan hopes to carry her dad’s legacy forward by helping to build a philanthropic, service-based curriculum at GA. “It wouldn’t just be a program but rather something that the students would participate in once a rotation…something that would bring in social activism, philanthropy, education.”
When asked if she has a favorite quote or mantra, Meghan is quick to respond, “Of all the quotes on my dad’s wall, I have two favorites: ‘Service is the rent we pay for living.’ Dad always referenced that quote in any speech he gave. And ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ We are very lucky with what we have; it’s important to give back because of how fortunate we are.”
Playing field hockey and lacrosse in high school and as an undergrad at Dickinson laid a solid foundation for Meghan’s running. She has four marathons, four half marathons, and one triathlon under her belt. She has completed two consecutive PHL24s, logging more than 50 miles each of the grueling 24 hour stair climbs. That seems to have paved the way for her getting into endurance trail racing, as she is training for the ,Everest 29029—where participants have 36 hours to climb the equivalent height of Mount Everest. She’s also preparing for the 36 mile, timed ,Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, as well as the 2023 ,PHL24. Lest she stay idle for too long, Meghan will be running the ,Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon as a Legacy of Sponsored Athlete this Sunday, Mar 26, 2023. Please support this juggernaut’s fundraising as she crushes the 13.1 mile course. If you’re already registered to run the Love Run half marathon or the 7.6k, you can have your registration fee waived by completing this form to receive your fundraising page. Fundraising will be open until April 30th and participants have until that time to raise $250 to have their registration fees refunded.
Meghan shares that “Recently someone made a ,donation to my Love Run fundraiser. I thanked them and they said, ‘you inspire me by doing this work.’ And I said, ‘This is what makes me get up in the morning. And when I can do this, and provide for my family, AND have my kids join me in doing it is just amazing.’” We think so too, Meghan, and we’re honored to have you as part of the family.