WDIY's John Pearce Honored by Northampton County for Mental Illness Advocacy
WDIY volunteer on-air host John Pearce was recognized by the Community Support Program of Northampton County on Monday with an Award of Appreciation for his decades of advocacy for those with mental illness.
Representatives of the Lehigh Valley chapter of NAMI — the National Alliance on Mental Illness — presented Pearce with the award at the county's Human Services Building in Bethlehem. County Executive Lamont McClure also read a County Proclamation, naming Pearce as an outstanding community member.
Pearce's advocacy for mental health has been a frequent topic of his WDIY interviews on Lehigh Valley Discourse and Perspectives. But his work has extended beyond the airwaves, including serving as a board member and facilitator for NAMI LV, as well as a member of Merakey's and Northampton County's MH/EI/DP boards.
The Community Support Program of Northampton County's Award of Appreciation was established in 2019. According to Wendy Heatley, Human Services Program Representative of the PA Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS), the award is given, "to acknowledge and honor our community partners who have gone above and beyond to make Northampton County a better place for individuals with mental illness."
Janet Verga of Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania nominated Pearce for his support and advocacy of mental health.
During his career, Pearce taught French and Spanish at Muhlenberg College in Allentown for 40 years. After retiring, he joined WDIY as a local host and board operator for WDIY's broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition. He has gone on to host a wide variety of community interviews as a rotating host of Lehigh Valley Discourse before the launch of his standalone monthly show, Perspectives, last year.
Listeners know Pearce from his unique signoff, "Remember to be gentle with your neighbor."