Sean Manley is a co-founder of Fight4Vets, a community group focused on helping local veterans, and a controller at Tobyhanna Army Depot. A native of Scranton, he enlisted in the Army after graduating from West Scranton High School, serving in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. He later graduated from Marywood University, where he majored in history and religion and minored in art. He lives in Scranton.
Meet Sean Manley…
Tell us a little about Fight4Vets.
We try to be the stop-gap for when the system may fail a veteran in need. We like to fill that hole. For example, we helped out a veteran that had gotten in a motorcycle accident with some of his medical bills. Two years ago, we gave a $10,000 in-kind donation to the Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center to update all of their AV equipment. We also donated to the ongoing effort to put a Veterans Memorial Park near (Scranton) High School, and as recently as last month, we donated $5,000 to Susquehanna Service Dogs to pair a veteran in need with a service dog. And on Nov. 18, we’re putting on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the veterans at St. Francis Commons.
How do you go about raising money for such efforts?
We put on amateur boxing matches. We just did one on Labor Day at the Hilton (Scranton and Conference Center), and our promoter told us that we probably broke the Pennsylvania state record for attendance, as far as amateur events go. We try to only do one boxing match per year, but this year, we were also the beneficiary of The Times-Tribune Golf Tournament. We’ve been around for about three years, and this year, we received our 501(c)3 to make us a legitimate nonprofit.
Was the time that you spent in the service a part of your inspiration for helping found Fight4Vets?
Of course. All through my life, I kind of came from a military background. Veterans and country have always been paramount for us.
What is it that you enjoy the most about the work that you do?
When you’re making large donations to Gino Merli or Susquehanna Service Dogs, it doesn’t get much better than that. The only time is gets better, for me, is when you help someone on a smaller scale, but who doesn’t know where to turn. When you can say, “I got you. I can pick you up.” It’s when you can help someone where the need isn’t so great that the government wouldn’t even bother with them, but they still need a pick-me-up. I like that aspect of it the most.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Mostly watching sports and hanging out with my friends.
Who are some of your favorite teams?
Notre Dame. And I’m a Red Sox and Steelers fan.
Who are some of your favorite musical artists?
I love Boyz II Men. (Laughs) It’s a very deep-rooted thing for me. When I was a kid, my parents got me a Walkman for Christmas, and obviously they wanted to get me a tape to go with it, and they got me Boyz II Men. So that was the only thing I had to listen to. They were the first concert I ever saw. I guess I was kind of indoctrinated, but I’m OK with that.
Austin, Texas. There’s just so much to do, and everything is so relaxed and laid back. And they have a great music scene. I also love going down to Philly.
Favorite vacation spot?
It used to be Mexico. I love the beach setting, but I hate the actual beach. I hate going out on the sand. But me and a few friends used to rent a house on the Outer Banks, and that was just the greatest thing. I just enjoyed myself so much there.
Favorite thing about NEPA?
I was always the guy in high school that said, “I’m getting out of here.” And then when I joined the Army, all I could do was talk about how great Scranton was and how much I wanted to go back. There’s a lot to do around here, but mostly I’ve always just been lucky with the people that I have surrounded myself with in my life. Scranton people and Northeastern Pennsylvania people are just kind of a different breed of people. I’ve lived in Texas and Georgia, and I’ve been to a bunch of different places around the country, and people here are just different. And in a good way.
All-time favorite movie?
Favorite TV show?
“Game of Thrones” and “The Office.”
The Fourth of July.
Biggest pet peeve?
Spelling and grammar. The misuse of things like their/there/they’re. It drives me bananas.
A boxer named Ally.
I love beer.
Is there anything about you that might really surprise people?
Around my friends, in social settings, I’m approachable and I’ll approach others. But with groups, especially in front of groups, when I have to speak to people, like with Fight4Vets, it’s downright frightening for me. And everybody is usually like, “You? You’re afraid of public speaking?” Because I’m outgoing. But there’s just something about when I get in front of an audience, I just get really clammed up.
Who, if anyone, has had the greatest impact on your life? Is there anyone that has really helped shape you into the person you are today?
Definitely my parents. And especially my father. If I did not have him in my life, I don’t think I would know how to conduct myself as a proper man. And both of my parents really instilled in me the idea that you’re never too important to be nice to someone, and that you should always give back, because sooner or later, you’re going to need it. That taught me that you get what you give. You get back what you put into life. Without them, who knows where I’d be?
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at email@example.com.