Congratulations to Ken Goddu, who was named the Outstanding Citizen for 2013 by the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce.

He joins an exceptional group of people who have contributed mightily to the community since the first year when the organization named Kennett School District principal and borough councilman Bob Scott as 'Man of the Year' 47 years ago.

Through the decades there is a common thread that runs through this remarkable group of public servants and contributors to society.

First of all, they are, by and large, heavily involved in their community.

They know the people and their needs; they know what's going on in all corners; they show up at events; and they're often in there involved in the leadership.

Think about former Kennett Fire Company President Tony Talamonti -- a former honoree -- who was there at every fire and accident through the years. He saw to it that the trucks were in running order, he designed the Red Clay Room, and he jumped out of bed at all hours when that bell rang. And then when 9/11 happened in New York, he climbed on a fire truck and drove to Manhattan to help clear the wreckage.

These people the chamber chooses generally have abundant energy, which they direct into getting things done.

Former Mayor Charlie Cramer -- an honoree -- comes to mind. He is a humble man who worked at the local food store as a bagger. But he believed in the town and its park -- had a passion for it. Day and night for years he took that piece of Anson B. Nixon land that was littered with trash and essentially undeveloped and turned it into one of the most attractive parks in Chester County.

And even after he was named Outstanding Citizen, he continued his volunteerism for Kennett Square rather than resting on his laurels.

When we think about these people, we also are reminded that they are dedicated to helping others who were not in a position to help themselves.

Sister Jane Houtman -- an honoree -- continually rolled up her sleeves for the migrant community. She helped them with citizenship applications; she took them to doctors appointments; she helped out people in crisis; and she was not afraid to fight for their rights.

Everyone knew they could depend on Sister Jane to help them out when they needed it.

Another thing these outstanding people do is always look to the future.

While some of us are content to sit back and watch the world go by, these chamber honorees are always looking for higher ground.

Consider honoree Kathi Lafferty, who owns and operates the Mushroom Cap store. She also leads the highly successful annual Mushroom Festival.

The thing about her and others is that she never stops coming up with new ideas.

'How about dropping a lit mushroom on New Year's Eve?'

'How about dancing in the street?'

'Who can we get to demonstrate cooking?'

'Let's give the proceeds to local worthy causes.'

That's Kathi -- always moving forward. The passion drives her.

Much more could be said of these outstanding people and valuable members of the community.

They make southern Chester County better and more attractive every year. They are the human treasures of the region.

We have the Chamber to thank for recognizing them.

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