It's hard to believe another Community Stars celebration has come and gone - this event that has been the newspaper's tradition since 1998.
Each year a group of area residents are applauded for their volunteer service and servant hearts that make the Ohio Valley such a special place in which to live.
The banquet last Monday night at St. Florian Hall gave 12 area residents their moment to shine before an appreciative audience of family, friends, former Community Stars and newspaper staff as they represented the 15th group of individuals honored.
Community Star Jean Bartholow, right, with husband, Rick; grandson, Ryan Lancaster;
and daughter Carolee Lancaster
Community Star Doris Matyas, center, with, from left, Linda Hodgkiss, Lola Swanagan, Mary Ann Parker and Dr. Jane Shaffer
With Community Star Ed Waldman, middle, are, from left, friend Carole Garcia, wife “Toots” Waldman, daughter Cindy Strauss and friend Manny Garcia
Suzanne and Dr. Tom Brown at right with their daughter, Sarah Tegano, left, and Suzanne’s mother, Braunda Berresford
Community Star Ruth Byers, seated right, with, front row, from left, Kaylee Klein, Betsy Gaumer, Lisa Walters, and back, Linda Hodgkiss, Fran Fleishour, husband Larry Byers, Kelsey Argabrite and Connor Byers
I couldn't help but flash back briefly to that initial year when we held the event at what was then Lenora's in the Hollywood Shopping Plaza. Those of us who had written the stories on the honorees were then given the task of presenting their awards and saying something about them. For me, that meant singling out JoAnn Birney, then of Richmond; Tinnie Reed of Wintersville; and Bill DeNoon of Bergholz, who sadly passed away recently.
Our 2012 honorees were a lovely mix of men and women and teens. Sweet. The honorees were Herbie Devore and Carina Devore, both of Mingo Junction; Dr. Tom and Suzanne Brown of Wintersville; Ruth Byers of Steubenville; Jean Bartholow of Colliers; Dee Ann Horstman of Scio; Doris Matyas of Toronto; Douglas Jackson of Weirton; Drake Johnson of Follansbee; Diane Salsberry of Bloomingdale; and Ed Waldman of Smithfield.
I always enjoy this annual outing, but hey, what's not to like? Good food. Good people. A good time.
I was there with my newspaper peers Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, who served as master of ceremonies; Craig Howell, managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times; Jody Wisbith, city editor of the Herald-Star who helped pin on corsages and boutonnieres without injury; and last but certainly not least, food editor and staff writer Esther McCoy, who really does a lot of the legwork and detail stuff to make this event something special. Her hubby Lamont, by the way, always assists, too, offering a well-thought-out prayer before the banquet begins.
As for me, I'm always busy with the camera and remind you that this report and others will now include some video footage I do at events which are posted online with my stories at our website at www.heraldstaronline.com under the community category.
So one more time with feeling - congratulations, Community Stars!