Plaques serve as reminder of staff#039;s humble hard work

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 9, 2004

Sitting atop my desk, among a small pile of paperwork yet to be worked, rests two small planks of finished wood adorned with metal.

Both small plaques were given to this newspaper's staff as tokens of appreciation.

Around the edges, some of the shiny areas are masked a bit by the fingerprints left by passing hands as staff members read the inscriptions and pondered their meanings. The diversity of the presenters illustrates the diversity of the community this newspaper serves.

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A young Ironton man who devoted countless hours to raising an animal that this newspaper ultimately purchased at the Lawrence County Fair gave one. It was delivered recently along with a plate of cookies. Come to think of it, some of those fingerprints might be better described as cookie-laced fingerprints. The cookies were devoured within an hour, but the plaque's message of thanks remains. And our staff's appreciation and awe at being thanked in the first place also remain.

A uniformed Stephen Saunders, commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 51, delivered the newer of the two plaques last week. That plaque was to thank the staff for its "veteran friendly spirit."

What's interesting about both plaques is how our staff reacts to receiving them.

More often than not, the reaction is one of almost

guilty embarrassment.

While we are all proud of what we do, we don't think of it as noteworthy. Our staff simply views it as part of our duty and privilege to serve this community. So stunned were we, in fact, by the DAV award that we forgot to grab a camera and record the moment.

It can be difficult to describe in a few words what we, as a community newspaper, attempt to do each day.

We try our best to cover our corner of the world better than anyone else on Earth. In addition to our news coverage, our staff is a part of this community and as such cares deeply about its people and their future.

When we publish a controversial editorial, we know we'll likely bump into an adversarial opinion at the grocery store or the gas station. When we write obituaries, we often either know the deceased or at least know of some connection to someone we know.

That connection to a place and its people are among our staff members' favorite parts of working here.

If you don't believe me, I've got two plaques, complete with the proud fingerprints to prove it.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext.12 or by e-mail to