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For the past few weeks, we’ve been highlighting Penguins fans on the FIRST LINE in the fight against Covid-19 on our social media pages (nominate your essential employee, healthcare worker or volunteer here).  We wanted to give you a little more info on some of those making a difference, so every Monday we’ll be introducing you to one of those nominees in our FAN FILES feature.  

Today, we’re chatting with James Harbert.

Q: Are you an essential worker? 

A: Yes – I am a part-time grocery store employee who works in the “Front End” department.  My responsibilities are customer service related to include helping shoppers with whatever their needs are or answer questions they may have.  My primary job is parking lot attendant with duties including handling the shopping buggies to ensure they are clean and ready for the next customer, to make sure the customer sanitizing cart wipes are stocked at the store entrance, and shopping buggy collection for the sanitizing team to disinfect. 

Q: For you, what has been the most challenging part of this transition?

A: Working at a grocery store I have been delegated as the family grocery shopper (It is more like I get sent on a scavenger hunt after every shift). 

Q: What hobbies or activities have you focused on while social distancing? 

A: Nothing different than before.  Enjoy odd jobs around the house, cooking and looking forward to putting in a vegetable garden.

Q: Is your family, neighbors or community doing anything unique to stay connected?

A: My wife helps handing out bag lunches at the elementary school where she works, and my son gets together with his friends using Zoom.  

Q: What type of music or artists do you listen to?

A: Depends on my mood but mainly rock.  Lately I have been listening to John Prine radio on Pandora but Jimmy Buffet/Margaritaville is always my go to station on Sirius XM.

Q: When you are home, what are your favorite snacks?

A: Trail mix, sourdough pretzels, fig bars and anything my wife bakes though I do miss the chocolate covered Swedish Fish I would get at the hockey games.

Q: Do you have a book, recipe or TV recommendation?  

A: I have avoided the TV binge watching but must confess I watch all the Tiger King episodes.  I have also enjoyed Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” on Netflix.  I just finished reading “The Spy and The Traitor” by Ben MacIntyre and started reading “The Splendid and the Vile” by Erik Larson.

Q: Do you have any suggestions that may help others physically or emotionally? 

A: Being a recently retired Civil Engineer, learning to pace myself helps me avoid stress.  My part-time work at the Grocery store keeps me active so I rarely find myself getting bored or depressed.

Q: What’s your favorite hockey memory?

A: November 13, 1999 opening day when my 3-year-old son was interviewed before warmups and quoted in the local newspaper saying, “Where’s the hockey players?”  Also remember Darcy Verot skating past the visiting bench during a game and hitting several players with his stick just like the Hanson brothers in Slapshot.

Q: When hockey returns, what excites you most? 

A: Enjoying a pre-game adult beverage with my wife at Stix Sports Bar then watching an entertaining hockey game with my Season Ticket Friends.