Shining Stars: Judy Bratten may be from N.Y., but she is all Steubenville now

Judy Bratten is one of Steubenville's hardest working heroes behind the scenes.

Judy Bratten is one of Steubenville's hardest working heroes behind the scenes.

She’s Historic Fort Steuben's executive director, and her name is synonymous with the city's inner workings, from the Nutcracker Village to summer concerts, festivals, and much more.

And while we know about the countless events Bratten oversees, now we're getting a look at the woman behind those operations.

Bratten is this week’s Shining Star.

She hails from New York City -- born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, she says -- but her faith led her here.

"We were attracted to the catholic community in Steubenville surrounding Franciscan University," she said.

During the past 30 years, Bratten has made the Ohio Valley her adopted home.

Bratten was named as the first executive director of Historic Fort Steuben 14 years ago.

It's a role she didn't see coming.

"I was actually working at Gabriel's Care Center out in Hopedale as an activities person, and a gentleman brought his mother in, and we got very friendly, and he turned out to be Jerry Barilla, who was at that time he just started getting involved with the Fort, and they were looking for a full-time director," Bratten said.

Bratten's background in public relations and education made her a perfect fit for the job.

"I love working with the kids,” she said. “I love doing school tours; I love putting games and puzzles and activities with the children. And I love to see the interaction in the community. We have a great community here in Steubenville. "

Her resume is impressive, to say the least.

Bratten is involved with the Ohio River Scenic Byway, Steubenville Revitalization Group, the Steubenville Christmas Parade, the Nutcracker Village, festivals and summer concerts.

"It's a wonderful way to spend my time,” she said. “I really feel it's satisfying, especially when I see happy faces. I do have to say when we started the Nutcracker Village, we had people who lived in Steubenville all of their lives, older people, who came in and were weeping because they hadn't seen so many people in the downtown in 30 years, and it just gave them hope and a desire to help and hope for the future.”

If you know someone whose story deserves a Shining Star – like Judy’s – nominate them here.

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