It is no secret that some of the best hidden gems in Hancock County lie within our rural communities, and that includes the people. One of those people is Jackie Porcello, a resident of Mt. Blanchard and Co-Coordinator of Mt. Blanchard Heart and Soul. Jackie has been a life-long resident of Hancock County, apart from her time at Tiffin University, spending most of her time residing in her hometown of Mt. Blanchard. Jackie is incredibly active in her community; she is involved in the Mt. Blanchard Beautification Committee, which has lived up to their name and has beautified town. The Beautification Committee assisted with cleaning buildings, adding flowers, building the gazebo in the park, and much, much more. In addition to restoring and improving Mt. Blanchard’s charm, the Beautification Committee also spearheaded events to welcome the greater Hancock County community to their village by organizing events like Christmas in the Village, the bi-annual holiday home tour, Heritage Day, holiday gatherings, and more.
Sometimes it is hard to separate Jackie from Mt. Blanchard, but she does have a life outside her commitment to her community! Jackie enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family – especially her grandchildren. She really enjoys taking them to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan to show them how exciting history can be. But, of course, her interests still lie in Mt. Blanchard too! She thoroughly enjoys doing things around town to help make Mt. Blanchard an even better community. In the warmer months she enjoys going to the pool and watching everyone having a great time. She enjoys her church, where she serves as the social concerns leader, and spending time with friends, and just relaxing on her front porch in nice weather. Her home isn’t to be missed during the holidays, she enjoys decorating her own home as well as Downtown Mt. Blanchard.
Heart and Soul
The Community Heart and Soul process is a partnership between The Community Foundation and Vermont’s Orton Family Foundation, and is an approach to community development and planning that the Orton Family Foundation developed. The goal is to increase local participation in decision-making and invites residents to shape the future of their communities based on what matters most to them. Mt. Blanchard is the second Hancock County community to participate, with McComb being the first to go through the process. Through the Heart and Soul Process, Mt. Blanchard was awarded a two year grant that involves identifying partners and leaders, spreading the word, meeting with community members and identifying what matters most, before formalizing decisions and developing options, all led by community members like Jackie, with assistance from The Community Foundation.
Part of Jackie’s role as Co-Coordinator is being involved and leading each of these steps. Her favorite part so far has been interviewing community members to hear their thoughts on what they value about Mt. Blanchard, including their hopes, concerns and action items as well. The Mt. Blanchard Heart and Soul team has conducted over 200 interviews and will be conducting a Community Summit on April 22 to share what they’ve heard so far. There will be a complimentary meal, children’s activities with supervised child care, a Riverdale Soundstation performance, and more.
Over the past several years Jackie says she can feel the community coming together. With the improvements to the parks, adding a Veteran’s Memorial and gazebo, and bringing back and cementing community traditions that will continue to grow. As Jackie will tell you, the best is yet to come!
Quick Fire Favorites
- Place in Findlay and Hancock County: Riverbend Park
- Local Event: Christmas in the Village in Mt. Blanchard
- Local treat: Dietsch’s black cherry ice cream
- Findlay Quirk/Fun Fact: I enjoy the Christmas lights along Main Street and especially the luminaries on Christmas Eve
- Hidden Gem: County Parks
Fun Facts about Jackie
- Hometown: Mt. Blanchard
- Family: Husband, Gary and grown children with 11 grandchildren
- Pet: Cat, Molly
- Favorite book: Lately it is Dear Bob and Sue by Karen A Smith and Matt Smith
- Favorite TV Show: This is Us
- Most influential person or mentor: Her brother, Tim
- Dream Home Location: Somewhere in the New England area
- If you had to start a new business/job totally different than your current one, what would you choose? An author