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Community Stars a constant in a changing world

We’ve seen a lot of change during the past year.

Everyone’s lives have been disrupted by COVID-19, for example, as we look to navigate through all of the restrictions that have been put into place in an effort to slow its spread.

On top of all that, our country is being put to a test as questions about where we have been and where we are heading have taken center stage.

And, we’re in the midst of a presidential election campaign unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes.

It can be too much at times, it seems, and we can find ourselves looking for a constant, something that has stood the test of time, something that just about everyone can relate to.

Our Community Stars program is an example of just that.

In its 23rd year, Community Stars continues to follow the simple premise it was founded on — to honor residents of the Tri-State Area who do the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do.

Each of this year’s honorees certainly meets that simple criteria, as a quick look shows:

— Susan Adams of Cadiz, who has served many roles in helping to promote and preserve Harrison County history.

— Sheena Sellitti Dunham of Weirton, who stepped up to create a social media account, Weirton Food to Go, to help area restaurants that suffered a big drop in business because of COVID-19.

— Sandy Grimm of Wintersville, who has stayed active since retiring as a teacher and coach by officiating at swim meets and working with mission groups.

— George B. Hines of New Cumberland, whose efforts make his community look just a little brighter.

— Donald Jochims of Hopedale, who helps his neighbors by mowing lawns and removing snow, by working at his church and is active in many organizations.

— Nathan Jones of Toronto, who has not let cardiac conditions and a genetic disorder keep him from serving as the mascot of the Toronto Red Knights for the past 17 years and helping to maintain the community’s pool.

— Rick and Florence Mader of Amsterdam, who have been helping their neighbors for many years, whether it’s by offering rides or baking cookies, digging a ditch or plowing snow or helping with computer, TV or phone issues.

— Tom “Teek” Mort of Steubenville, who has been involved in coaching for more than 42 years and helped lead Catholic Central to a state baseball title.

— Paul Toth of Wintersville, whose big heart makes sure he goes above and beyond to help his family and neighbors.

Members of the Class of 2020, just like all of the previous stars, were selected from dozens of nominations submitted by readers from around the Tri-State Area.

While that process has not changed, there are a few differences in the way this year’s honorees are being recognized.

There will be no recognition dinner this year, another annual event that has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s sad, because for the past several years, more than 200 friends, family members and neighbors have turned out to show their appreciation for all the honorees do. To help make up for that a little, each star will receive a gift certificate that they can use to have a meal at Froehlich’s Classic Corner in Steubenville.

Each star will receive a small memento signifying his or her selection, as well as a $50 gift certificate from M&M True Value Hardware. Scott Campbell, owner of the store located on Sunset Boulevard in Steubenville, and his daughter, Annie, and son, Sean, who help him run the business, also are making a $50 donation in the name of each honoree to a charity of his or her choice.

The support of those area businesses, as well as presenting sponsor Weirton Medical Center, has allowed the Community Stars program to continue for more than two decades, making it among the oldest continuing community recognition programs in our region.

It remains a chance to look at those who are doing good things in our community, and an opportunity for everyone to thank them for all that they do.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

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