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Ironmaster honor goes to good citizens

What exactly is an "Ironmaster?"

It is a person who does good in the community, who strives to make downtown Ironton a better place. That person is the Ironmaster.

Ironmaster Days begins today and will end Saturday night.

But each year at the annual

event, the Ironton Business Association presents a plaque to one citizen who goes above and beyond, naming the person that year's Ironmaster.

"We look at people who have done a lot in the community or are active in the community," Rich Patrick, IBA president, said.

He said Ironmasters are, more or less, people who do a lot, try to better the town and make it safer.

"You have to have a love for your town and a desire to see it grown," 2004 Ironmaster Joe Unger said. "It's easy to be a (critic) and difficult to be a doer."

This is one way to let people who try to better the community know that the rest of the town notices their efforts, Patrick said.

"It's a nice thing to get and they know what they are getting," Patrick said. "They don't pursue it, but they're perceived as someone who works in the community and does good."

Don Mootz, who was the Ironmaster in 2002, said humbly that he only involved himself in community service so, thought it was an honor, he did not deserve it.

"I consider it an honor coming from the city and the other people involved," he said."I was no more deserving of that than anyone else was, but they surprised me with it."

Randy Lilly, 2003's Ironmaster, was away on vacation during Ironmaster Days that year but said it was a privilege to receive the honor.

"You feel proud and pleased that other people in the community have recognized your efforts in the community," Lilly said.

Those efforts do not end, Unger said he still tries to give back to the community because he does love the town.

"I try to be a community giver and not a community taker," he said.