Know any John Wayne types in your life? Let us know

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2005

On the silver screen, everything seems larger than life.

John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Sean Connery, Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn.

Each of these actors and actresses portrayed heroic characters on film.

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Despite all of those massive, larger-than-life characters these people have represented, none of them have anything on some of the amazing people walking and driving the streets of Lawrence County.

Look no further than one of The Ironton Tribune's Unsung Heroes announced last February.

Each year we recognize Unsung Heroes in our communities in our annual Profile section. If you aren't familiar with Profile, it is the single largest section we produce all year. It's a massive undertaking for our staff, but Profile serves almost as a yearbook for the community by recognizing interesting people and telling their stories throughout the Profile section.

Among those stories are ones such as James "Donnie" Dixon who was nominated for going above and beyond the call by risking his own life. Dixon went into a burning house and carried out a mother and three children.

But not all of the heroes among us risk their life to earn the recognition. Some of them simply give their time, friendship and love to others.

Ohio University Southern instructor Kim Riley was selected by a student who said Riley was not only a great teacher, but also a great person as well.

Kitts Hill has a hero in James "Eddie" Mays. Mr. Mays was recognized for his constant willingness to show kindness and help others.

Whether watching after the homes and pets of friends and neighbors while they are vacationing or delivering kerosene to people stuck in their houses after an ice storm, Mays is always giving.

According to the person who nominated Carl Pete Schwab last year, Mr. Schwab may have earned a special place in heaven by being a hero to heroes.

That's right, Mr. Schwab volunteers by helping a diverse group of local people including veterans and retired firefighters, just to name a couple.

Our county is filled with thousands of Unsung Heroes, but often these people are the kind who shies away from the spotlight. However, by recognizing them, we hope to spark a little heroism that may be hidden in all of us.

Is there a John Wayne in your life? Perhaps he or she is masquerading as a common, soft-spoken neighbor or friend?

Let us know about your unsung heroes among us by writing a few paragraphs describing their heroic characteristics and sending them to us.

Nominations may be mailed to us at: Unsung Heroes, c/o The Ironton Tribune, P.O. Box 647, Ironton, Ohio, 45638 or by e-mail to:

Find out whom this year's Unsung Heroes are in Profile 2005, which publishes on Feb. 27.

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