Hi, I’m Tom Shakely. I’m Executive Director at the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. Our primary work is operating a National Crisis Lifeline for patients and families facing euthanasia and related denial-of-basic-care situations.
I believe that the American dream requires a humane concern for the common good and a constitutional way of life. There tends to be lots of talk about human dignity and human rights, but practically no one talks about human responsibilities and duties. Since every generation has to relearn how to be more humane than coarse, I’m interested in more comprehensive thinking about these topics. When I think about what it means to be humane, three questions stick in the back of my mind: Who are we? Why are we here? How will we live? All of this is probably just a contemporary (and less succinct) take on Washington’s belief that “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom,” but in any event these ideas root most of what I do and write.
I wrote Conserving Mount Nittany, and helped create the Nittany Valley Society, a Central Pennsylvania cultural conservancy for a stronger spirit of place. This is my hobby and my attempt to help make Pennsylvania’s greatest community even greater, particularly through Nittany Valley Heritage Walk, Nittany Valley Press, and the Novak Fellows. I created Ambo, a subscription service for fostering stronger Catholic communities. I tend to be a generalist, but specific interests include history, culture (particularly nationalism/localism, neighborliness, and family), aesthetics, human dignity, and bioethics.
I volunteer through the Penn State Alumni Association, where I’ve helped create the Robert K. Zimmerman Endowment for Student Broadcasting and Michael D. Walsh Student Broadcasters Trustee Scholarship to support free speech. In the broader community, Centre Foundation’s Shakely Family Conservation Fund is a personal way to make an impact. I serve on the board of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia which operates Guiding Star Ministries, a maternity home offering women a way to raise their children while equipping them for a successful life in the highest-abortion zip code in the city. I created the John & Marion Shakely Charitable Fund at the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia to honor my grandparents by supporting students. I’m also a past member of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s pastoral council.
I’m a Penn State Alumni Association Life Member. As a Catholic and eighth generation Pennsylvanian, I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus and Sons of the American Revolution, along with Democrats for Life. I’m also a recreational traveler and runner. I’ve lived in Philadelphia, New York, and State College.