The mission of the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame is deceptively simple - it seeks to honor outstanding individuals from our area and to preserve the cultural heritage of our communities.
That spirit was certainly on display Wednesday night in the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland, Pa., when members of the Class of 2012 were inducted. Each is an example of people who are dedicated to making our region thrive.
The Nutting family of Wheeling, for example, received the Family Heritage Award, which was accepted by Robert Nutting, chief executive officer of Wheeling-based Ogden Newspapers Inc. (which owns this newspaper among its many holdings) and principal owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nutting blended the event's theme of achievement in life and sports while accepting the award on behalf of his family.
Also honored were James E. Pastore, who runs a successful recycling business and helps promote area athletics; J. Roger Glunt, a Pittsburgh homebuilder and real estate developer, who received the Distinguished American Award; and Rob and Karrin Campf, who received the Do Right Award for their efforts with the Forever Safe Farm and Animal Education Center in Salem.
Special recognition went to House Speaker John Boehner, who was on hand to officially accept last year's Distinguished American Award. Boehner had been scheduled to speak at last year's dinner at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville, but debt-ceiling discussions prevented him from traveling from Washington.
As part of the evening's festivities, scholarships were presented to several area students who are pursuing vocational education, and several area teachers received grants.
Each of this year's honorees has spent a lifetime helping others in our area, a point that was driven home by master of ceremonies Mark May, a former University of Pittsburgh and Washington Redskins star lineman and current ESPN commentator, and Holtz himself.
Holtz has experienced much success in life, as a football coach at several colleges, including Notre Dame; as a motivational speaker; and as May's partner as a college football analyst on ESPN. Yet he has never forgotten his roots, and the lessons he learned about life while growing up in Follansbee and East Liverpool.
It's that spirit that is kept alive at the hall of fame and museum, located at 120 E. Fifth St. in East Liverpool.
Congratulations are in order for this year's honorees - their work in our communities continues to make our region a special place to live.