COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Every community has it’s own personalities, it’s own charms and traditions. In Columbiana, Kenny Wilson is a fixture that anyone who has ever been shopping, visiting a restuarant, or especially attending a Columbiana Clippers sporting event has seen. Kenny is Columbiana as much as Columbiana is Kenny.
“You go to a soccer game and he is the ball boy, a basketball game and he’s helping set up, or sell programs. You see him at everything,” Columbiana resident John Irving said. “You just have got to love Kenny.”
“He goes to pretty much every single sporting event that he can,” Columbiana resident Jennifer Sloan added. “He came to my door the other day with a list full of every possible sport he could think of that he has been out to.”
Last Friday night before the Clippers boys basketball game, the community presented Kenny with a new Clipper letterman’s jacket along with numerous t-shirts. To say that Kenny was excited is an understatement.
“I was surprised, I was really surprised,” Kenny said. “They had it in the Morning Journal too.”
Irving described how the event came about, “A couple friends and myself were sitting around and said it would be nice to get something set up for him for Christmas. We started a facebook page “Where’s Kenny” and when people in Columbiana see him they put it on there. We put it on there that we wanted to get him a coat for Christmas.”
“Kenny is all over Columbiana. You never know where he is going to be,” Sloan said about starting the Facebook page. “I thought it would be fun if the community took pictures with him and posted where Kenny was at any given time. I think it was in September that John posted something following a football game saying ‘ok Columbiana it’s getting cold. Wouldn’t it be great if our #1 fan had a new coat for Christmas?’ He (Irving) put information about who to give money to, and where to donate.”
“So with a bunch of friends and some local bussinesses, we got him a winter coat, a letterman’s jacket,” Irving pointed out. “The mayor (Brian Blackman) helped pay for the jacket and a bunch of other people kicked in money to give him close to a dozen shirts plus a pair of tennis shoes, a duffle bag, and some gift cards for food. Hogan’s, Joe’s Barber Shop, Main Street Decals, Autograph Network in North Lima, and A to Z Athletics in New Middletown all helped so it was a total effort by a bunch of people.”
Sloan added, “The whole community rallied. Melanie Strohecker made a bunch more sweatshirts, hoodies, t-shirts and things like that with all the different (Clipper) sports on them that weren’t done in time to present that night.”
“Everybody knows him in town. It was just a fun thing to do at Christmas time helping out somebody that does whatever he can to help the community,” Irving added. “He’s just a big part of the community that everyone loves to take care of and give a hand when you can.”
“If you go to Columbiana, it’s Kenny. If you grew up in New Middletown you know Mickey. You would see him walking and you would take him home, and that’s the way Kenny is,” Irving explained.
“He’s Columbiana’s #1 fan. He belongs to everyone. Anyone who knows him, loves him,” Sloan added.
“Hopefully next year we will pick somebody else, or maybe try to get something else for him next year, maybe get Kenny a few more shirts or even a pair of shoes for Christmas. We’ll have to see if everybody can still help out,” Irving concluded.