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Hard work, dedication earn citizen of year title

Why is it Americans are fascinated with bad guys and gals? Think about it for a moment. We suspect if you asked a group of school children, they would more easily recognized bad guys than good guys.

Even more adults could probably tell you more about the exploits of criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow than the good done by Mother Teresa.

We're all guilty of it. Something about the seedier among us just captures our attention.

But those folks are not the true heroes of our society.

Each day men, women and children dedicate themselves to giving more than they take. Those precious few are rare indeed. We honor a few of those people today as we celebrate Profile 2005.

We honor Rick Jansen as our citizen of the year. While Jansen is relatively new to the area, he's helped lead a grassroots effort that has done more for the community than many of us do in a lifetime of living here.

Jansen and the Friends of Ironton have filled in gaps of both leadership and need in lots of areas in the community. From replacing street signs in and around Ironton to purchasing new bullet-resistant vests for the Ironton Police Department, the Friends' actions have been seen all over the place.

Then, just when we all thought the Friends' activity had subsided a bit, they announced plans for a motorcycle rally and car show, the Rally on the River. The amazing thing about this was, not only did it bring thousands to Ironton for the weekend; through the hard work of the Friends not a single negative incident happened as a result of the rally. And, when the crowds left the city was actually cleaner than when they arrived.

The group has helped pay for some of the start-up costs of the Ironton Port Authority and donated money to other area charitable causes. They've replaced roofs on bathrooms at Lake Vesuvius. The list could go on and on.

Not to rest on its laurels, the Friends, under Jansen's lead, have recently announced plans for a Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in May.

All of this has come about because one man, Jansen, saw a need and helped rally the support of others in the community with a singular purpose: improving the community. For that Jansen is definitely a good guy worthy of our honor and our thanks.