Tiny eyes help show community build is #039;all local#039;

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The little girls bounded out of the front door with a determined and content look on her face.

"I told everyone in the house," she said, with arms crossed and with a big grin stretching across her face.

"I told everyone in the house about our new sign," the diminutive girl said in the direction of Jodi Rowe-Collins at an intersection on Wyanoke Street.

Email newsletter signup

Collins couldn't help but grin back.

"You did?" she responded to the little girl. "That's great. Maybe now people can see this stop sign and they'll stop when you and your friends are out playing."

By day Rowe-Collins is a banker at Ohio River Bank in Ironton, this particular night and on the weekends and any other time she can spare a few minutes of time, she's one of dozens of volunteers with the Friends of Ironton.

Last week, the Friends canvassed parts of Ironton in the second project aimed at replacing some of the worn and faded street signs in the city.

And while one intersection of Wyanoke received a new sign, it was only one of approximately 50 stop signs replaced last week.

What's most amazing isn't that the Friends put up the new signs, it's the tiny, but powerful, effect having new, clean, well-maintained things around the area does for its citizens.

Remember when something new just made you beam with excitement? Perhaps it was a new pair of shoes or a new toy, something new often triggers a smile and a sense of pride.

The same thing can be said for a thin, octagonal-shaped piece of metal with the word "STOP" emblazoned in white letters over the fire engine colored background.

The Friends of Ironton made a little magic happen last Monday evening and all it took was a little bit of money, some sweat and a desire to make a difference.

It took an excited little girl to teach a key lesson about rebuilding a community: It is all local.

Just as the late Speaker of the House "Tip" O'Neill said about politics, all communities are local, too.

Thinking about community building in these almost microscopic, block-by-block level terms puts it all in a new perspective.

What can you do to make a difference in our community?

The next time you walk by a piece of trash on the ground or think about tossing out that cigarette butt, think about that little girl on Wyanoke Street and how proud she was of "her" new stop sign.

Don't trash up her community. She loves it - and so should you.

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