Over the years, this region, like many, has had its economic struggles. Certainly, Stark County’s median income lags behind its sister cities in Ohio, for any number of reasons.

However, the one resource which we have never have lacked is good and generous people.

By now, it comes as no surprise to us when residents pitch in to help someone in need; often people whom we don’t even know. What we may not realize is the extraordinary level by which we accomplish it.

Back in November, when a Canton police officer was injured while trying to prevent a crime, several people who witnessed the incident ran into the adjoining store and bought first-aid supplies to attend to his wounds.

That random act of kindness encapsulates, perfectly, the caliber of people we are.

Consider that every summer, a veritable army of people put their lives on hold and devote their time and talents to ensure that the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival goes off without a hitch. People who may never receive a plaque or their pictures in the paper, do all they can—for no pay—simply because they love this community and are proud that we’re the cradle of the world’s greatest game.

This time of year, organizations unique to Stark County, such as the Canton Negro Oldtimers and Community Christmas pull out all the stops to make sure that needy families and senior citizens are not overlooked in the hoopla of the holidays and after.

Stark County is where you’ll find missions such as Samaritan’s Table in Canton, which has served 582,000 hot meals since its founding in 1986. Every week, 80-plus volunteers give their all to make sure their guests are not just fed, but also are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve. The same can be said of the Canton Calvary Mission and Love Canton, which offers year-round services to people of all ages.

Others such as Refuge of Hope, Stark County Harvest for Hunger, the Timken, Aultman and Stark Community foundations, and the Sisters of Charity Foundation literally have changed our community for the better.

Some, such as True Vine Ministries, Hope Outreach Ministry, and Mighty Wind Christian Outreach, are less known, but the service they render is no less important.

For the past year, The Canton Repository has published “Stark’s Famous,” a daily feature recognizing residents past and present who made significant contributions to this community. It therefore should come as no surprise to anyone that most of the people listed stand out because of their service to others.

People who claim that this community is awash in failure and despair aren’t looking hard enough. Every day, Stark County residents perform extraordinary acts of charity and kindness to help someone else. In doing so, they lift all of us.

Some deeds are highlighted, but in truth, most aren’t, and believe it or not, that isn’t a bad thing.

You know you live in a good community when there simply are too many compassionate and outstanding people and organizations to list.