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Patricia Gallagher Newberry
In 2008, air courier DHL left Wilmington, Ohio, sending the small city into a tailspin and transforming it overnight into a poster child of the Great Recession. But a funny thing happened on the way to economic Armageddon: The citizens refused to let their lovely town wither and die.
By her count, she’s made the drive 43 times. She follows state highways east, past the I-275 outer belt, beyond Shawnee State Forest, to a group of bland brick buildings along Ohio Route 728 in Scioto County. Sometimes she travels with just a couple of staff members, sometimes with a busload of high schoolers. She’s missed the trip only twice over the years—once because she was traveling elsewhere and once because she had a speaking engagement.