While there certainly was some bad news to come out of our community during the past week, there were several positive events that help to showcase the good things about where we live.
A great example was Monday night at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville. That's when the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times teamed with Weirton Medical Center to present our annual Community Star Awards. The event, which has been held annually since 1988, is simply a way to recognize people who make our communities better places to live.
The 11 people we honored this year - Kyle Elder of Toronto, Tom Fitzgerald of Mingo Junction, Betty Hasley of Rayland, Gloria Howard of Steubenville, Cathie Llewellyn of Steubenville, Mary and Rick Oddi of Burgettstown, Janet Polverini of Follansbee (who was a longtime resident of Toronto), Betty Powley of Bloomingdale, Robert Pulice of Weirton and Michael Thomas of Steubenville - had the chance to sit back and enjoy a meal with their friends and family members and get to know their fellow stars.
The dinner started just after 6 p.m., and had pretty much wrapped up by 7:30 p.m. As each star was introduced, they received their medallion recognizing their achievement and then had the opportunity to address the audience. All offered a very simple thank-you to everyone involved in the selection process and each was quick to thank the many people who always step up to join them in their efforts. More than a handful of the 150 people who were in attendance said they couldn't believe how quickly the evening went.
Having had an opportunity to be a part of the Community Stars program from its beginning, I was not really surprised. You see, those who are selected to be honored know that their actions are far more important than any words anyone can offer. They are the people who identify a challenge and step up to take it on. They never dwell on the obstacles or listen to those who tell them why their efforts are futile, that their's is a fool's errand.
They, quite simply, get the work done.
We're sure that they are many more people like them out there, and will be looking for our readers to help us identify them. While the nomination process won't officially began until August, it's not too early to begin thinking about your friends and neighbors who deserve recognition and whose name you can put forward as a possible member of the Community Stars Class of 2014.
Another example of people standing up for our community could be seen at St. Florian Hall Tuesday night, when the United Way of Jefferson County held its 19th-annual Taste of Jefferson County.
About 300 area residents attended the event, which carried the theme of Gems and Jeans. It offered those who attended the chance to enjoy a night out with the their friends, sample the offerings of several area restaurants and bakeries and to take a chance on winning some great prizes.
Not lost on those who took part in the event was that it is a fundraiser for the United Way's annual campaign. This year's goal is $440,000. That's a great deal of money - but the need is there, and those dollars will go to support agencies that help area residents.
As Tony Mougianis, who is serving as campaign chair for the second year in a row, said while offering remarks during the taste, the campaign will be a success thanks to the efforts of all in the community who are givers.
Mougianis, board President Dave France, Executive Director Beth Rupert-Warren, Jodi Scheetz, who served as event chair, and all of the volunteers who worked to put on the event, are to be commended for their efforts.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)