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Pay It Forward: Galesburg man delivers treats, cleans neighborhood

34-year-old Ryan Crane comes out of his own pocket to support local businesses and clean up around his neighborhood on a weekly basis.

GALESBURG, Ill. — A Galesburg man is giving back to his community in more ways than one.

Ryan Crane, 34, supports local businesses and cleans up around his neighborhood on a weekly basis.

"He's always bringing positivity," Galesburg firefighter TJ Scott said.

"He's just doing so many great things here in Galesburg," pay it forward nominator Ashley Shinn said.

Crane began his community service with the launch of "blessing boxes" to store essential items for residents to grab while in need. 

"Ryan takes time out of his busy life and day to try to spread that kindness," Shinn said.

He has come out of his own pocket to donate boxes of baked goods to local businesses, first responders and frontline workers since March 2021.

"It's always an awesome surprise," Galesburg EMT Travis Kelch said.

Nearly 200 businesses have been on the receiving end of Ryan's generosity.

"He's kind-hearted," Dawn Lair with Harley-Davidson said. "Would do anything for anyone."

"It makes that job that much more worthwhile," Kelch said.

"It just brightens people's day," Scott said.

Ryan also takes his community service to another level.

"Just to bring a little bit of happiness and joy to the world," Crane said.

He picks up trash around the Galesburg area every week.

"I just make sure I do it every week on my weekly walk," Crane said.

"Thank you so much for nominating Ryan for pay it forward," Travis Kershaw with Ascentra Credit Union said. "At Ascentra Credit Union, we believe in listening, caring and doing what's right, and it's that he's doing all of that and more for his community. That's why Ascentra is excited to give you $300, to pay it forward to him."

"On behalf of WQAD and Ascentra, we get to pay it forward to you with $300," Shinn said to Ryan.

"Thank you," Crane said.

Crane also has hosted food and coat drives in the community.

"It's how I am," Crane said. "I try to be bright and positive and this is what I do."

He serves on multiple boards in the Galesburg area. Crane works as a freight train conductor. 

If you know someone you'd like to nominate for the Pay It Forward Award, click here.

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