There's an office on Benner Pike with a magnificent view of the Sydney Opera House on New Year's Eve.
Dan and Kay Barker paid extra for it and the high-resolution vista is the first thing you see when crossing over the threshold into the modest-looking headquarters of FireOne, mounted elegantly in an understated frame with white matting.
If you looked at the photo closely — really closely — you still probably wouldn't be able to pick out Dan Barker, who is represented as one of a million or so pixels scattered somewhere over the Sydney Harbor Bridge. He and his wife have traveled to Australia seven times to help facilitate the use of their company's soft/hardware in the city's annual New Year's fireworks show.
Work has provided the Barkers with a sorely needed excuse to see the world. They are not what you'd call "vacation people" and are somewhat famous among family and friends for cutting trips short in order to get back to their desks on Benner Pike.
"We're just really ordinary people," Dan Barker said.
The Juniata Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America disagrees, and to prove their point, they'll be honoring the Barkers with 2018 Joseph and Suzanne Paterno Community Impact Service Award during a dinner held on May 1 at the State College Ramada Inn and Conference Center.
Each year, the award is bestowed upon people who reflect BSA values and the Barkers' work with groups like Easter Seals, Special Olympics and Schlow Centre Region Library fit the bill.
"The Barkers continue to leverage their accomplishments to better our community, in a way consistent with the Scout Oath and Law, and we are proud to celebrate their contributions to Centre County at this year’s dinner,” Chuck Apgar, district director of the Juniata Valley Council, said.
Kay Barker just considers it milk money. She and Dan met young, married young and had children young. Those first few years together were lean and her mother used to leave $20 at Meyer Dairy so that whatever their worries, dry cereal was not among them.
Hot dogs and radio waves were their stepping stones to a better future. The Barkers pivoted Dan's career as a broadcast consultant into an upstart station called 3WZ.
Looking for some publicity for their new venture, they connected with the group behind The Great American Fourth of July Fireworks celebration (now know as Central Pa. 4th Fest).
"We grilled thousands of hot dogs and gave them away to everyone," Dan Barker said.
Free food only gets a guy so far in life. He eventually got the idea to set the fireworks display to music and the software and equipment he helped to develop attracted the attention of parties — both people and actual celebrations — far outside of State College.
FireOne was an unplanned offspring of that interest.
"I realized we had invented something. I had no idea what we had done," Dan Barker said.
The fireworks game has taken the Barkers to Paris, Italy, Japan — even Latvia. Back home, they aren't much better at taking vacations, instead preferring to keep busy.
Sometimes too busy.
"We're not 25 anymore. I have to remind (Dan) of that," Kay Barker said.
Both hope that the service award they'll receive next month acts as a reminder —especially to young people — of the value of getting involved in your community.
"The more I think we give of ourselves the more we receive back," Kay Barker said.
For more information on the Juniata Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America's Good Scout dinner, visit www.jvcbsa.org.