Scott Hanson, owner of Arcadia-based HMA Public Relations, traveled to South Africa in May to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Public Relations Global Network, of which he was an original founder.
(This story first appeared in the July edition of the Arcadia News.)
Partnering with the Niall Mellon Township Trust, PRGN members from 26 countries built and presented “The PRGN House” to a needy family in Cape Town.
“We knew we wanted to do something significant to mark the Network’s 20th anniversary,’’ Scott said. “What better way to leave a lasting legacy than building a house?”
Members were able to meet the single mother of two who moved into the house. “She was so thankful and gracious. And emotional,” Scott said.
“To see where they had been living compared to where they were moving was quite powerful,’’ he said.
“The township consisted of tin shacks, no running water and one outhouse for as many as a dozen families. If they had electricity in their home, it was stolen off the high voltage power lines, so you can imagine the fire danger throughout the township.
“Knowing how much we have changed her life gave everyone involved such a tremendous feeling.
“Now, her children will go to school. She’ll be able to get a job and the prestige of being a homeowner in that environment will have lifelong benefits for her,” Scott said.
Scott and his wife, Susan, spent almost two weeks in South Africa. They visited an area outside of Johannesburg, where they went on a two-day safari at the Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge.
“We saw the majestic giraffes and protective elephants. We actually had an elephant charge our safari vehicle,” Scott said.
Scott and Susan enjoyed the balmy weather and coastal restaurants in Cape Town. They attended a gala dinner, where the South African Youth Choir treated them to a performance.
“They were incredibly energetic and inspirational,” Scott said.
There was no shortage of activities in Cape Town. They visited the historic site that was the last stop for prisoners who were being sent to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. They took a tram to the top of Table Mountain for what Scott described as “one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen.”
They visited Cape Point and stood at the southernmost tip of Africa. And they saw where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet – a popular penguin spot.
Scott and Susan ate well throughout their South African journey with fresh seafood and four-course dinners.
“I thought the breakfasts were the best I’d ever had,” Scott said. “I don’t know if it was how they prepared the eggs or exactly what, but the breakfasts stood out.”
In September, Scott and Susan will be going to Frankfurt, Germany, for the next semi-annual PRGN meetings. London, Moscow and Melbourne are bidding to host future meetings.
Scott has traveled to Brazil, Puerto Rico and throughout Europe and the United States. When asked where he would like to travel to next, he replied, “Australia is on the list. The Aussies I know have some of the best senses of humor.”
Scott spent over five years as a sportscaster at what is now CBS 5 and hosted a talk show on Phoenix Channel 11. Every now and then, he appears on Channel 8 during pledge drives.
“I think there’s no place like home,” Scott said. “Travel in the United States is still tops for me.
“Each of our international trips has offered something different, provided us with amazing experiences and given us perspective we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else.
“I do like having friends and colleagues all over the world.”
To see a video of the PRGN’s Cape Town trip, visit click here.
Traveled lately or know someone who has? Contact Kaley here.