Newspapers looking for Community Stars
STEUBENVILLE — The unsung heroes in our community might not always get the notice they deserve, but their efforts are vitally important to the lives of everyone they touch.
That’s why the Community Stars program was launched in 1998 by the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times– to honor those people who do the right thing for no other reason than it is the right thing to do. Weirton Medical Center is returning as presenting sponsor for the program, with special support continuing to come from M&M True Value Hardware.
Work performed by the stars always is appreciated, Scott Campbell, owner of M&M said, but their efforts are even more critical in helping members of our area who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think every year it is important to recognize those who are helping the community, and it’s even more important this year, because there are so many things that are not on the positive side, and this is a very positive thing to do,” explained Campbell.
“We need more and more people to contribute to the community, and this is something that encourages people. I don’t think anybody does the volunteer work just to receive an award, but sometimes awards are out there for people who are giving.”
Community Stars is among the longest-running recognition programs in the Tri-State Area, and the criteria used to make the selections is quite simple: Nominees must work to make their communities better places to live. There are no age restrictions — past nominees have ranged from their pre-teens into their 90s — but all must be a resident of Jefferson or Harrison counties in Ohio, Brooke or Hancock counties in West Virginia or Washington County in Pennsylvania.
Members of the Class of 2020 will be selected by a panel that includes staff members and editors of the newspapers. This year’s recognition will be just a little bit different. Because of the uncertainty created by changing restrictions that have been put into place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, the annual recognition dinner that annually attracts more than 200 attendees will not be held this year. Newspaper officials are hopeful that a small recognition event can be organized in the fall.
Profiles of the stars will be included in a keepsake publication that will be inserted into the newspapers. Each of the honorees will receive an item commemorating their selection, and each will receive a $50 gift card from M&M.
Campbell said the business was increasing its commitment to the program.
“We generally give a $50 gift certificate to the recipients of the Community Stars awards,” said Campbell, who was joined for the interview by his daughter and son, Annie and Sean, who help run the store at 4148 Sunset Blvd. “This year, on top of that, we will let the recipients of the Community Stars awards pick a charity, and we will give a $50 donation in their name to the charity of their choice.”
Sean is credited for the added participation, Scott Campbell said.
“It’s all about being a part of the community,” Scott Campbell explained. “It’s something a little extra, and it goes to the charity of their choice.”
That commitment captures what the program is all about.
“Our Community Stars come from all parts of the Tri-State Area, and they truly are special people,” said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. “You might never see their pictures in the newspaper or read their names, but their efforts are special, and they touch all of our lives every day.
“Community-minded businesses like M&M Hardware and Weirton Medical Center ensure the annual program remains special,” Gallabrese added. “And this year’s additional support from M&M will help area organizations continue to fill their vital missions. It’s another example of how the Campbells are willing to help residents of the region.”
Nominations can be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; by mail to Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times, City Editor Mike McElwain, Attn. Community Stars, 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, Ohio 43952; or dropped off in person at the newspaper office during regular business hours. No matter how you choose to submit your nomination, the deadline is Aug. 12.
“Our business has been very, very blessed this year,” Campbell said. “It’s nice that people recognize us and that we can recognize them.”