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Dan Harney Memorial

Dan Harney Memorial

Dan Harney


As a former student in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley and the pre-med department at the University of Illinois, Harney started what would become a career in accounting and finance with the Ford Motor Company.  While at Ford, he continued his education at California State University, Long Beach, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in accounting with a Master's Program in Production Management.  He stayed with Ford for 19 years and then moved to Rockwell International where he worked for another eight years and became Controller of the Los Angeles Aircraft Division and Saberline Product Line.

Harney became Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in 1978 and called it his "second career".  The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international Catholic lay person organization whose purpose is to serve those in need.  Through a spirit of justice and charity and by person-to-person contact, the organization's members help those who are suffering or in distress.  Before Harney's arrival, the Society operated one St.Vincent de Paul Thrift Store.  His efforts increased that number to seven, and the sales volume of that operation also increased from $142,000 to $1.7 million annually.  In addition, special activities includ¬ing two medical clinics and three programs for the incarcerated and their families were implemented. In 1994 Harney became the President of the Council of Orange County, Society of St.Vincent de Paul.

From 1978 to 1983 the Society saw an increasing need for food resources within the county.  During that time, the drain for food assistance on other resources grew from $50,000 to $323,000.  A study, conducted from 1980-83 in response to the growing need for food, revealed that 2.5 million pounds of salvageable food was being wasted each month in Orange County.  With these statistics and some help from the coun¬try's first foodbank in Phoenix, the Food Distribution Center Serving Orange County was established.

Under Harney's direction, the Food Bank (now known as the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County) grew from 10,000 to 51,200 square feet at its previous location in the City of Orange.  Harney envisioned that the expanding need for food in the community was going to require an even larger facility to operate efficiently.  With that in mind, he spearheaded the process with the Navy for the acquisition of a 121,000 sq ft warehouse at the former El Toro Marine Corps air station.  In 2007 the renovations to the building were complete and operations commenced.  Today food distribution has grown to an annual rate of 15 million pounds distributed to more than 480 agencies.  This means the food bank food reaches at least 240,000 Orange County residents each month.  Through May 2011, the food bank has distributed over 283 million pounds of food.

The St.Vincent de Paul Society  also collaborates with other entities to provide Christmas toys for county residents in need and a Summer camp for disadvantaged youth.  A program known as Lights-On provides transitional services  to newly released ex-offenders. The value of community service provided through St.Vincent de Paul activities exceeded $28 million this past year.

When he found time in his 40 hour per week volunteer schedule, he enjoyed a game of golf and many trips to the Baja peninsula.  He was involved in a variety of task forces, including the Orange County Homeless Issues Task Force, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as well as Regional and National Committees of the St.Vincent de Paul Society including the Executive, Conference Affairs, Conference Concerns, Financial Planning and Building Committees as well as the Second Harvest Foodbank Network.

To keep his generous spirit alive, Second Harvest has established the Dan Harney Memorial Fund to provide critical funding for the programs he so passionately believed in. If you would like to partner with Second Harvest in honoring Dan's legacy of giving, please visit our online donation form. Check the "honor gift" box and enter "Dan Harney" to associate your gift with the memorial fund.

Final Resting Place
Ascension Cemetery
24754 Trabuco Rd, Lake Forest

Hungry? Find Food.

Second Harvest Food Bank works with partner agencies to distribute food throughout Orange County. Find an agency near you that can help.