Every year for the past 15 years, the staff at the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times has put out a call to residents of the Tri-State Area, asking them to help us find 10 unsung heroes, those people who go out of their way to make life better not because they are looking for the spotlight, but simply because it's the right thing to do.
They're the people who spend time with shut-ins, the people who are willing to help by doing tasks as simple as cooking a pot of soup for an elderly neighbor or as complex as helping to build a deck or side a house.
They are our Community Stars, and, each year, we recognize them for their efforts by publishing their profiles in the newspaper, holding a dinner in their honor, presenting them with a small token of appreciation for what they do and printing a group photo in the newspaper.
Their accomplishments and work in our area communities are diverse, but they all share at least two traits - they don't look to be recognized for what they do, and they are humble about their accomplishments.
They are so humble, in fact, that many of those who are selected as stars are reluctant to accept the honor, saying that there have to be those who are more deserving of recognition.
As with year's past, there were many nominees to choose from.
It took some convincing after this year's selections were made, but everyone finally agreed to accept the honor.
And that makes us proud to introduce you to this year's Herald-Star, The Weirton Daily Times Community Stars, Presented by Weirton Medical Center:
Kyle Elder of Toronto, who is very involved in the Jefferson County Relay for Life.
Tom Fitzgerald of Mingo Junction, who is heavily involved with the Mingo Alumni Association.
Betty Hasley of Rayland, a longtime volunteer at the Jefferson County Fair.
Gloria Howard of Steubenville, a senior citizen who always finds the time to help others.
Cathy Llewellyn of Steubenville, who is involved with many local organizations as well as the renovation committee of the Pleasant Hill School House Museum.
Rick and Mary Oddi of Burgettstown, who lead a Cub Scout troop for children who have developmental disabilities.
Janet Polverini, a longtime resident of Toronto who now lives in Follansbee, who is very active with local organizations as well as the Jefferson County Animal Welfare League.
Betty Powley of Bloomingdale, who is always willing to volunteer, whether it's at church or with the Edison High School Band.
Robert Pulice of Weirton, who goes far and beyond being just a good neighbor.
Michael Thomas of Steubenville who for many years has helped find food, housing and clothing for those in need. He's also the founder of U.N.I.T.E.D. F.R.O.N.T., an organization created in memory of his late son.
You'll have the chance to learn more about each of this year's selections when their profiles are published in a special section that will be included in the Oct. 6 edition. And, you'll have the chance to show them how important their work is by purchasing a ticket and attending our annual recognition dinner, which will be held Oct. 7 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.
It's a great way to say thanks for everything our Community Stars do in our area.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)