Joe Michna, who helped hundreds of people with legal, debt, consumer, housing and other problems, as manager of the town’s Citizens Advice bureau, passed away on December 11 aged 68.
Saddened colleagues remembered his passion and “relentless pursuit” of the organisation’s core ethos ‘To provide the advice people need for the problems they face.’
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Ross Brooks, Citizens Advice Hartlepool’s acting manager, said: “He was an adviser at his core and for those of us who knew him best, this was what he loved doing most of all.
“Irreverent, stubborn, taciturn, irascible and at times dogmatic, he was all of those things.
"He was also gregarious, caring, honest, trustworthy with an ingrained sense of integrity and there lay his true calibre.
"His character spread beyond his Citizens Advice colleagues."
In 2015, Joe lost his left leg after developing an infection that left him needing a wheelchair.
But he was back at work just two weeks later.
Outside of Citizens Advice, Joe had a deep and abiding interest in politics at all levels and was a councillor in his hometown of Middlesbrough for 27 years for both the Liberal and Green parties.
Along with his love of all things football, his other great passion was travelling to remote locations across the globe.
Due to poor health he was sadly unable to pursue his love of travel in the latter years of his life, instead focusing on his work.
Upon celebrating his 30th anniversary in 2018, Joe told the Mail: “This job, with all its ups and downs gives me immense job satisfaction.
“I still get a buzz when I arrive at the office each morning.”
One of his proudest moments was securing a £500,000 lottery grant in 1999 to build the service’s Park Road offices.
A trustee summed him up stating: “Joe gave 110% of his energy to Citizens Advice but only 10% to himself.”
Mr Brooks added: “There is no doubt that his contribution to the community of Hartlepool was truly massive.”