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Best Local Celebrity 

Stephen Johnson

Unlike most of the city's reality-TV publicity whores, firefighter Stephen Johnson didn't try to become a star. This summer, the single father of five was surprised by Ty Pennington, the superanimated, tool-belt-toting host of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Pennington and his crew converted Johnson's 1,200-square-foot shoebox into a 4,200-square-foot, six-bedroom, five-bathroom mansion. He got a one-year, $200-a-week food allowance and college scholarships for his kids, two of whom were a pair of at-risk neighborhood brothers he'd adopted. Johnson was nominated for the show by Mary Seymour, a paramedic he'd saved after she was shot in the chest while responding to an explosion at the home of Donin Wright in south Kansas City. Johnson made the long dash to drag Seymour out of the line of fire, but he remains humble about his abrupt stardom. Johnson still moonlights as a barber when he's not making stops on the philanthropic speaking circuit, retelling his tale at churches and schools.

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