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County lost many in 2009

New Year’s Eve is always about the excitement and promise that the fresh calendar brings.

But it is also a good time to reflect on all the people we said goodbye to in the prior year. And our community lost so many good citizens and leaders in 2009.

Every person who passes away impacts dozens — and sometimes hundreds or even thousands — of lives. No one is inconsequential and we should all pay our respects to every man, woman or child who left this Earth this year.

There were also many prominent citizens or community leaders who passed away.

Owen Pleasant certainly fit that bill. As the last direct descendent of the original group of slaves who settled Burlington, our community lost a kind man, great historian and link to our region’s past.

Longtime business owner Jim Kennedy passed away in October. Kennedy was known for his sharp wit and dedication to civic organizations like Rotary, of which he was a longtime member who had perfect attendance for decades.

Anyone familiar with Chesapeake or South Point schools saw the impact of Grover Lloyd “Joe” Smith Jr. The longtime educator passed away in the summer.

The list goes on and on. Ironton business owner Jake Scherer. Coal Grove educator and police officer John Goldcamp. Lawrence County Fair leader Doug Clark. Former county treasurer Kenneth Howell.

And this only scratches the surface of all those we have lost.

So, as we celebrate the start of a fresh year filled with hope and promise let’s not forget all those who are still with us in spirit.