Brian Smith may be among the last to learn that he is the Ripon Commonwealth Press’ Person of the Year. 

   Before this newspaper was off the press, the Ripon College religion professor was winging his way today (Wednesday) for the jungles of Central America. 

   This excursion marks the third time Brian has accompanied Ripon College students to work at the Panamanian mission of Ripon native and Capuchin priest Father Wally Kasuboski.

   Brian helped students organize events to raise money to offset the cost of the trip for the 10 of them who will accompany him.

   Once there, they and 30 other Ripon-area residents will continue to build a dam in the mountains to secure a constant water supply for 1,300 residents in Wacuco and the surrounding communities.  

   Just another adventure for a 72-year-old former Jesuit priest who devotes his life to improving the lives of others. 

   But don’t think he’s completely unselfish. 

   “He comes back 10 pounds lighter and 10 years younger,” said Brian’s wife, Mary Kaye. 

 Read the full story in the Jan. 3, 2013 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.