Sandra Ripley is a self-described hometown girl.
Ripley, 43, was born and raised in Murphysboro and if you talk with her very long, you will soon discover a pride for her community that runs deep. In fact, visit for any length of time and Ripley might even begin to cry as she considers everything that the Apple City means to her.
“I am passionate about Murphysboro,” she said before reciting a laundry list of community organizations and causes she involves herself in and supports.
It’s a good thing she loves her city so much, because as administrative assistant to Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens, she is involved in much of what happens in the community.
“Here at the city, I wear a lot of different hats,” she says. “While administrative assistant is my main title, I don’t have just one. Most of the other city employees just call me the Jill of all trades.”
Ripley services as the city’s human resources coordinator, deputy city clerk, city treasurer and secretary of the fire and police pension boards.
“I find that the more I become involved, the more I become responsible for,” she admits.
Outside of city offices, she’s just as involved. She is the secretary for Murphysboro Baseball Incorporated, the city’s youth baseball and softball organization. Additionally, she assists with the city’s annual brew fest, volunteers for the American Red Cross, volunteer in Murphysboro schools, spearheads much of Murphysbor’s “Community Night Out” evening and organizes a variety of events affiliated with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
“A lot of my friends, family and coworkers have been affected by cancer — it’s a disease that affects to many. I’m passionate about helping out,” she said.
Ripley said not only does she want to assist with what she deems as worthwhile causes, she also wants to help her neighbors.
“No. 1, it is because I cannot say no and I love to help. I think that’s why I volunteer for so many things, I just like to help,” she said. “I hate to disappoint people. I feel like being involved and helping out is important. I think it is good to be involved in your community.”
Ripley says her entire family (husband Daniel and 13 year-old twins) all are involved in Murphysboro and adds that her children volunteer with several organizations.
“My daughter works at the MBI concession stand, my son umpires and they pick up litter. Any time you see me, I’m always picking up litter. People ask, ‘What are you doing?’ and I tell them I’m picking up trash. When they ask why, I tell them, ‘Because you’re not.’ I always have to be moving and doing something.”
Ripley encourages others to volunteer just for the help it provides and the personal satisfaction.
“We all need to help out and I believe for people to think that they should get paid for all they do or for their time is ridiculous,” she said. “We just have to support each other.”
Whether it is picking up trash, organizing events or establishing a cell phone text system for the annual Murphysboro Apple Festival, Ripley dedicates herself to supporting her community and her neighbors, although she thinks of them as more than that.
“Murphysboro is family,” she said.