Time to recognize volunteers

Published 12:20 am Sunday, September 22, 2013

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Ironton and Lawrence County, selflessly putting the betterment of the community above their own needs and desires.

We are blessed with so many men and women who want to make a difference. Some of them need to be recognized once again for what they do and also to help encourage citizens to shine the spotlight on other Lawrence Countians.

Lou Pyles is a perfect example.

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Lou shies away from taking praise or credit for anything and certainly won’t be happy for being singled out for her contributions, but she is involved with so many organizations that simply wouldn’t be the same without her.

Lou is a member of the Ironton Cooperative Club. She has been an integral part of the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Committee, the group that ensures history marches on and that everything goes off without a hitch.

Lou is also the heart and soul of the Ironton Lions Club. She has graciously served multiple terms as president when no one else was willing to step up and has helped subsequent presidents like myself lead the organization. She had a lot to do with the recent installation of the welcome sign atop the former State Route 75 highway tunnel.

Judy Sanders is another one.

Judy volunteers her time with a variety of organizations but has been a vital part of Ironton In Bloom, serving as its public relations person. She isn’t getting paid and it isn’t an easy job. But she does this because she cares about Ironton and wants to see it look beautiful.

Judy does a juggling act that would make a circus performer proud when it comes to making sure all the events IIB is working on gets out to the public, that the meetings are announced, that families are recognized for the beautification efforts and that the organization stays active.

On the other end of the county, Stephanie Burcham is always involved with something.

You would think that as director of Ohio University’s Proctorville Center she wouldn’t have the time to be involved in much else, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Stephanie certainly leads in that role but has been a long-time leader in the Chamber of Commerce, her church and other organizations.

I have often heard it joked that if you want something done, put Stephanie in charge. And I have witnessed first-hand that it is true.

But these three women are far from alone. I could have mentioned every member of the organizations these three are a part of as well those serving in the Friends of Ironton, Ironton aLive, Operation TLC, the Concerned Citizens of Burlington, the Chesapeake Community Center, the Boy and Girl Scouts and many more.

There are literally hundreds of other Lawrence Countians who make personal sacrifices each and every day to make the world a better place, most of the time doing so without much praise or recognition.

Let’s change that last part.

The Tribune is working on a project, in cooperation with the Chamber, that would help these men and women get some of the attention they deserve.

So, who do you know that volunteers to make Lawrence County and the world a better place? Nominate people by emailing me. These can be done so anonymously.

Volunteers have been behind much of the positive progress in recent years and that will be the case in the future as well.

Now is time to make sure they are recognized the way they deserve.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.