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Shining Star: Sophie Schoolcraft

Many people say if you want to make a difference in Jefferson County, you need to know one woman in particular. She’s Sophie Schoolcraft, a name synonymous with giving. And at nearly 90-years-old, Sophie is showing no signs of slowing down.

Many people say if you want to make a difference in Jefferson County, you need to know one woman in particular.

She’s Sophie Schoolcraft, a name synonymous with giving.

And at nearly 90-years-old, Sophie is showing no signs of slowing down. She's out every day, 7 days a week, in the evening -- whatever it takes.

While her load may have lessened, she still carries a huge responsibility of caring for the people of Mingo Junction.

For decades, she's served as Mingo’s director of social services, and throughout the year, she sees to it that children go back to school with backpacks filled with supplies. As lines for distributions at Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas will show you, the need is there.

“At one time, it was just the holidays, and once in a while during the week, but now it's every single day. People do not have food,” she said.

Because of that, Sophie carries out a mission, much like her parents did.

“My parents were always good to the neighbors because, at that time, a lot of people didn't work, and my family helped feed other people,” she said.

“Every time I come down here, I'm amazed what she can do for the residents here in Mingo,” said Kate Sedgmer, executive director of the Jefferson County United Way. “But not just in Mingo, the residents in Jefferson County as a whole.”

Sophie will be the first to tell you, she doesn't do it alone. She has an army of volunteers at her side.

“I came in to pay my water bill,” D’Andrea Harper said. “We were talking and I said ‘well if you need my help,’ and she said ‘come on down!’ And I've been here ever since.”

“You don’t say no to Sophie,” Harry Brockway said.

She also takes students under her wing to help on distribution days.

“They learn so much from her,” Cathy DiBenedetto said. “They learn giving, to be a kind person and just teaches them value of life and to give.”

These are valuable lessons, from someone who doesn't like the spotlight.

“I'd rather have you talk to these people,” she said. “They are so good to me.”

“She's a selfless person,” Suzanne Kresser said. “A beautiful soul.”

“Sophie is the most humble, generous, thoughtful woman that I've ever met,” Eileen Nestor said.

She does it all because Mingo means so much.

“It's just me,” she said. “Mingo is Me.”

This week’s Shining Star is a shining example of the phrase...

“It is better to give than to receive.... to me,” Sophie said.

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