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Service is the Rent...

Meghan McVeigh-Maciolek is an exemplary human being. She's also a badass. Photo: Bryan Karl Lathrop

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.

All smiles 21 hours deep into 24 hours of climbing the Philly Art Museum's "Rocky Steps" Photo: Bryan Karl Lathrop

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.”

Stell and John getting their service on, bringing Thanksgiving meals to those in need. Photo: Bryan Karl Lathrop

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.”

Meghan kept the pep in her step after she was joined by her daughter Stella in the final moments of her first PHL24. Photo: Bryan Karl Lathrop

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.”