This is the first in a series of articles about outstanding Brookline residents.
We are living in challenging times where tragedy and suffering dominate national and global headlines every day. It can be difficult to remain positive. One Brookline resident and town employee, however, is doing his part to change this and spread a bit of optimism and humor throughout the town he knows and loves.
Hank Hryniewicz (pronounced Her-na-witz) has been working full time as a Brookline Police Department Traffic Control Officer since February of 2016, and has developed quite a following on Twitter, documenting the daily activity along his route. Using the Twitter handle @HankWH, he now has over 460 followers who enjoy seeing his selfies with dogs he meets around the neighborhood or photos of local turkeys with silly captions. His tweets capture the natural beauty of Brookline, as well as the rhythm of the area, including its restaurants, shops, residents and workers on any given day.
Taking to social media is nothing new for Hryniewicz. Prior to working as a Traffic Control Officer, Hryniewicz was the Executive Sports Editor at the Boston Herald.
“Tweeting was something I did every day in my previous job in the sports world,” said Hryniewicz. “When I joined the Brookline Police Department full time earlier this year, I already had a lot of experience tweeting and thought it would be fun to tweet about things I came across, walking the streets of Brookline each day. I just like to have fun with it and spread a bit of goodwill and cheer. I never take myself too seriously.”
His current role is well suited to his personality, because it allows him to connect in different ways with many types of individuals within the community. The crux of his job is distributing parking tickets, but in his position he also serves as a crossing guard in the mornings and afternoons during the school year.
“I truly love my job, because it affords me the chance to be outside and walk the streets of Brookline, meeting and interacting with all sorts of people,” said Hryniewicz. “Sure, people complain sometimes when I write them a ticket, but, overall, I find that this is an extremely welcoming and friendly community. For a relatively big town, people really do know and care for each other.”
For Hryniewicz, using social media is simply another way of building connections. He is a bit embarrassed by the notoriety he is receiving for his tweets and is quick to point out that he still has a lot to learn, having only been on the job for six months or so.
“Many of my fellow parking control officers have been on the job for decades, and they deserve a lot of credit for their hard work and all they do for our community, “said Hryniewicz humbly.
When not on the job, he can often be found out on the golf course, grilling in his yard, or spending time with his wife, May, and their four children.
“At this stage in my life I try to find the good that is out there,” said Hryniewicz, “I know the world is far from perfect and it can be easy to become consumed by negative thoughts all the time, but I truly believe in finding the positive and basking in it.”
By glancing at his Twitter feed, one can see that Hryniewicz really does practice what he preaches. And in doing so he demonstrates that a lot of good can be found in the people and places all around us here in Brookline.