WARREN - Ruth Jean Hawkins said she lives by the motto, ''You can do it if you try.''
The 86-year-old West Farmington woman was among 11 community-minded people honored Tuesday as Community Stars.
The award program, now in its 10th year, is sponsored by the Tribune Chronicle and Trumbull 100.
2011 Trumbull County Community Stars honored Tuesday are, front row from left, Aruthenia Simmons, Marjorie Dangaran, Ruth Jean Hawkins, Elizabeth Cole-Clark and Hannah Emerson; and back row, from left, Gretchen Reed, Frank Manios, Betty Strawderman, Jim Young and Debbie and Harry King.
Hawkins was nominated for her service at the Farmington Senior Center, which she helped open in 1984 with her late husband.
''Everyone used to say you can't do it,'' she told the more than 300 people gathered at Packard Music Hall to honor this year's Community Stars. ''But yes, you can.''
Betty Strawderman, 53, of Howland, described as ''a mother to many,'' was recognized for opening her home to dozens of children. She thanked her own children for not only sharing their home, but ''for also sharing their mother.''
Pastor Aruthenia Simmons, 58, of Warren, recognized for the work she has done at the outreach ministry Pathway Sober House, said everything she does, she does to the honor and glory of God.
''I realize that I could not do this without God,'' she said.
The Class of Community Stars 2011 also included:
l Elizabeth Cole-Clark, of Warren, who serves on several boards, including the Executive Board of the Trumbull 100, Community Development Block Grant, City of Warren Citizens Advisory Committee and Trumbull Town Hall. Clark said she was humbled to be in the company of so many honorable people.
"What I do is very small compared to what you all do," she said.
l Marjorie Dangaran, 67, of Warren has served with the Trumbull County Medical Society Alliance as Health Promotion chair or co-chair for the last 33 years. She also serves as a volunteer for Trumbull Mobile Meals.
"I find it amazing to be standing here," she said of her recognition.
l Hannah Emerson, 11, started a toy drive / fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation last year, collecting more than 170 toys that were donated to the foundation. She said she intends to conduct a similar effort this year and possibly participate in other volunteer opportunities.
l Harry, 68, and Debbie King, 69, of Cortland spend 25 hours a week and more than 1,300 hours a year running the Cortland Area Cares food pantry and distributing the food to those who need it. The couple credited the "wonderful" volunteers who help them.
"We don't do this alone," said Debbie King.
l Frank Manios, 78, of Warren served as a Marine during the Korean War and founded Franklin Pharmacy and Franklin Health Care. He has served on the boards of numerous charities and community organizations and has been honored with his work for St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and in promoting and preserving Hellenic ideals. He said he loves to tell people he's from Warren.
l Gretchen Reed, 77, a retired teacher from the Liberty school district, has headed up the Blott Needy Kids Program for the past 26 years. The program identified needy kids and helped get them food, clothing and books. In 2010, 90 children and 40 families in the district were helped. She said she tends to get herself over committed and recognized her family for "coming to bail her out all the time."
l James Young, 72, of Cortland was nominated for his dedication to veterans. A veteran himself, he served in the U.S. Air Force and was assigned to the Presidential Ceremonial Honor Guard and Drill Team. As a member of the Trumbull County Honor Guard with Cortland American Legion Post 540 he has helped the honor guard participate in 1,307 military funerals since 2005, including 248 in 2010 in both Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
The Community Stars program, started by the Tribune Chronicle in 2002, honors ordinary people for doing extraordinary things either through ongoing volunteer efforts or isolated acts of heroism.
The paper received more than 50 nominations, all of them very deserving, remarked Sue Shafer, Tribune Chronicle community events coordinator.
Master of ceremonies for the event was Guy Vogrin, a copy editor and Page One adviser at the Tribune Chronicle. He said this was his eighth year of narrating the stories of the honorees, and he has always found one common theme: community service and love of neighbor.
Tribune Chronicle publisher Charles Jarvis said just over 100 people have been honored with Community Stars awards through the years.
"We really appreciate our Community Stars," Jarvis said. "And we appreciate the people who come to honor the Community Stars."
Likewise, Ned C. Gold Jr. of Trumbull 100, who assisted Tribune Chronicle General Manager F. Len Blose in presenting plaques to the honorees, said Trumbull 100 looks forward to participating in projects for the betterment of the community.
"And that's what Community Stars is all about," he said.