Shining Stars shined brightly in 2017

For the last year, we've been sharing stories of local shining stars.

For the last year, we've been sharing stories of local shining stars.

Now, we take a moment to look back.

NEWS9’s Jennifer Black says it’s been her honor to meet and talk with such selfless and humble people during the last several months.

What she found is you can be young or old, paid or volunteer, there are special people making an impact on their community in all corners of the Ohio Valley.

Shining Stars take to the streets they call home, looking for ways to better their community.

"Use whatever God's given you to the best of your ability and hopefully go home tired at night, but at least fulfilled and know that you gave it your best," said Mark Nelson, whose family was featured in this piece on March 8.

They make a difference in the lives of those who live close by, or are in some cases, overseas.

“As long as there are still people serving, and we have their names and addresses, we'll continue to do that. Remember them," said Doris Crawford in this April 5 piece about Harrison County’s Military Support Group.

Shining Stars carry on the legacies of those we've lost too soon.

“I would hope he would walk in with a big smile on his face, and just say, 'good job' and tell everyone how much he appreciates them for carrying on his legacy," said Troy Fernandez, a karate teacher featured on May 3.

Sometimes to find a Shining Star, you don't have look far. They're family.

“When you have a child with autism in your family, you have to learn it's not always going to be perfect," said Jason Polgar, in this July 5 piece, a Follansbee teen is making it his mission to help other families who have a child with autism.

“They use their struggles to strengthen others.

“We all have the same basic desires," Polgar said. "We all want to be loved and we all want to give love ourselves."

They extend a hand to pass on their passions.

"I spend all my time doing music," said Elena Polinski, a high school senior who was featured in this June 21 piece about her work volunteering with special needs children. "I practice all the time, and I just feel like it's an honor to give Holden and Kyle and all my other students an opportunity to play music because of how much it's impacted my life personally."

For some Shining Stars, it's about turning near tragedy into tenacity. And creating beauty for all to all to behold.

"Our children grew up here, our grandchildren are growing up here. We're just trying to make it better. I don't know if we're making a difference, but we're just trying to make it better for the people who are here. I hope it makes a difference," said Ron and Julie Dumoulin, a Wellsville couple who are caregivers to their community.

Shining Stars find hope, even when faced with life's hurdles.

"No matter what you're doing, find a way. If you feel like you can't do something, you can. There's always a way."

Those were the words of Bailey Gallagher, a hearing impaired 12-year-old competitive shooter who overcame that to become one of the best in the country for her age.

And Shining Stars don’t do it for the attention, or the money. They do it for the memories.

"I consider myself the richest man in the world," said Patrick McLaughlin, who was featured on Dec. 20 for his volunteer work with Historic Fort Steuben and Nutcracker Village. "I've had so many memories. Just the friends I have met during the festivals. The memories. I'm the richest man in the world."

We want to continue to bring you good news from right here in the Ohio Valley in 2018, so please be sure to nominate someone that makes a difference in your life.

You can do that here on the right side of the page.

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