Editor's note: Every month, The Blaze Magazine publishes an exclusive "In the Hot Seat" interview movers, shakers and celebrities we believe our readers would be interested in getting to know. For the latest issue, Mike Opelka spoke with Joe Kerry, the head of Glenn Beck's new nonprofit Mercury One.
Here is a taste of the newest "In the Hot Seat" sit-down. The full interview is available only in The Blaze Magazine.
Joe Kerry operated behind the scenes at Mercury Radio Arts for years. A lawyer with seemingly boundless energy, Joe worked his way up from a position as a researcher for Glenn Beck to the trusted post as chief of staff for Glenn. Last fall, Joe made a very big move—essentially a career change. He moved out of the shadows and into the spotlight, launching Mercury One—an ambitious charitable operation that is behind this summer’s “Restoring Love” event in Dallas.
BLAZE: Your path to the top spot at Mercury One was not a typical one. Can you explain how the organization came to be and how you ended up at its helm?
KERRY: Glenn had a vision, and that’s how the organization was founded. When I met Glenn nine years ago, he said you’re going to run my nonprofit charity. I was surprised to learn that he didn’t have one. As Glenn’s business grew, I thought that his desire to start a charity had faded and was forgotten. In September 2011, Glenn approached me and asked if I was ready to accept his offer to run his nonprofit charity.
At the time, I was serving as Glenn’s chief of staff and chief researcher. It was an opportunity I could not pass up. Very few people have the opportunity to have their passion be their life’s work. Glenn gave me that opportunity, and it’s challenging but very rewarding.
BLAZE: Mercury One’s mission statement reads: “To inspire, organize and mobilize individuals to improve the human condition physically, emotionally and spiritually with malice towards none and charity for all.” In your first year, what do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment as it concerns the mission statement?
KERRY: Mercury One was formally organized in November 2011. In those short seven months, we have accomplished quite a bit. There are over 300 self-established Mercury One groups across the country and on two different continents.
*We’ve raised over half a million dollars for tornado relief.
*We’ve worked with the Holocaust Museum of Houston in raising awareness and funds for their restoration of the Danish boat Hanne Frank, which rescued Jews from the Nazis.
*We’ve worked with the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation to help them raise funds and awareness for their cutting-edge cancer research.
*And we’re working with Glenn Beck, WallBuilders and FreedomWorks in bringing the Restoring Love event to Cowboys Stadium this summer.
BLAZE: Restoring Love is possibly the biggest undertaking of its kind. Have you set goals for certain things that would let you consider it a success?
KERRY: When Glenn first raised the idea of having an event at Cowboys Stadium, I don’t think there was one member of the senior staff or production team that thought it was a good idea.
I certainly didn’t think we’d sell out the available tickets to the event in two days. I never thought we’d have 30,000 people sign up for our July 27 “Day of Service” in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I never thought that we’d have people from over 30 countries coming out to attend our event, and yet FreedomWorks just reported that they’re coming.
I’m grateful for the support that these numbers reflect. But that’s not how I’d define success. Success would be having each individual that attends this event—either in person or by participating by watching over GBTV—leave this experience with a greater desire to do good, to have a greater sense of community and a deeper appreciation of faith.
BLAZE: One of the main tenets of Mercury One is “Goodness.” Can you teach people to be good?
KERRY: I think goodness can be taught. Not in a classroom or a lecture but by example—by watching other people do good. My life was changed by . . . .