Mearkle marks the region | News, Sports, Jobs
Amy Mearkle believes in the saying: “You make a living by what you get and you make a living by what you give.”
She saw that what she gave to the community really made a difference, even if it was small acts.
Mearkle said her hard work ethic came from being a farm kid in Everett.
“I was raised on a dairy farm, and my parents and siblings all worked hard,” she says.
Mearkle caught the television news bug in high school when she appeared on Action News for Kids with WTAJ during her junior and senior years.
Throughout those years, she covered everything she could find in Bedford County.
She officially joined WTAJ in 2001, where she was a morning, noon and weekend presenter.
Mearkle left WTAJ in 2011 when DelGrosso offered her a position as director of marketing.
His move was influenced by the need for a more flexible schedule to care for two elderly people.
She said the time had come and she decided to take it.
“Coming from a television background, we knew she had an incredible amount of talent, personality and dedication to her work,” said DelGrosso Park President Carl Crider Jr.
He said his persona as a television personality throughout the region tied in perfectly with the park’s mission to target the various counties.
“He is an exceptional individual who has mastered many areas and has represented our family businesses with the utmost professionalism and dedication”, he said.
“The job felt right to me because it still had aspects of TV, storytelling, community and volunteerism that I loved,” Mearkle said.
Now in her 10th year with Delgrosso, she describes the time as exciting.
It saw the water park’s biggest expansion with Laguna Splash in 2016 and now the addition of a new second sauce factory.
“Watching the growth of Marianna’s three businesses, park, food and fundraisers has been amazing to watch,” Mearkle said.
Over the decade, she learned a lot about technology and advertising trends.
“What I love about my job is interacting with the public and showcasing a tourism hotspot in Pennsylvania,” she says.
Mearkle also enjoys seeing park visitors enjoy the food.
“People really like it, and that’s what makes people happy,” she says.
Executive Director Mark Ickes of Explore Altoona said Mearkle consistently exudes a true sense of collaboration and partnership with other tourist attractions and experiences.
“She believes visitors to Blair County are fully aware of the variety we are blessed with here,” he said.
Ickes said she was a great example of a very effective partner and always exhibited excellent welcoming behavior towards guests and visitors.
Outside of her work at DelGrosso’s family businesses, she volunteers as an emcee for events such as Girls Night Out in Altoona, Chefs on Stage at State College, and Purple Purse through Family Services Inc.
It’s a way to help these groups, she says.
“You may not have the money to donate to all these causes, but you can give them your time,” Mearkle said.
One of her favorite experiences is creating the annual Pink on the Links Golf Tournament which raises money for Girls Night Out and the Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund.
It started as a way to raise money for breast cancer 14 years ago and has really grown, Mearkle said.
The event, held in October at Omni Bedford Spring, raised $168,000 over 13 years.
She is also an active board member of numerous nonprofit organizations such as the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, ARC Federal Credit Union, and a career advisory board for the Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center.
“I feel fortunate that Amy is ready to serve on our Board of Directors, while continuing to give back much of her time to many other organizations in our community,” Steve Dalecki, president of ARC Federal Credit Union, said.
He said when asked to help, Mearkle always seems to say “yes” and find a way.
“His experience and always pleasant personality are welcome additions to our organization,” said Dalecki.
She has also held positions for Allegheny Lutheran Social Ministries and United Way of Blair County.
Mearkle is the 2022 recipient of the Kiwanis Club of Altoona Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award.
Each year since 1999, this award has been given in recognition of an individual who was born, raised, moved to, or lives in the Altoona area with significant contributions to the betterment of the area.
She will receive the award at the annual Kiwanis Installation and Awards Ceremony in September at the Blair County Convention Center.
Mearkle said she has always admired and respected what Kiwanis does and has hosted the awards ceremony for the past 15 years.
Now she is receiving that same award this year.
“I was so surprised to hear that I won the award, I even joked and told Mr. Steven that I thought I wasn’t old enough for this,” Mearkle said. “I am humbled and honored to receive it.”
Mirror Staff editor Cati Keith can be reached at 814-946-7535.
The Mearkle File
Name: Amy Mearkle
Age: 46 years old
Current residence: Holidaysburg
Family: has two sisters and one brother; aunt of eight nieces and nephew; great-aunt of 11 nieces and nephews with number 12 on the way; and aunt to a goldendoodle
Education: Graduated from Everett Area High School in 1994; Elizabethtown College in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a minor in Public Administration
Career: Morning/noon anchor for WTAJ, Bedford County reporter and weekend morning anchor at the station. (2001-11); Director of Marketing and Publicity for DelGrosso’s Park and Marianna’s Fundraisers since 2011