DAYTON — It was an 830-word nomination.
But all Dayton Development Coalition President and CEO Jeff Hoagland needed was his final sentence to show why Gov. Mike DeWine belongs on the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.
“For his entire professional life, DeWine has been a tireless fighter willing to work on a bipartisan basis to get things done for the Dayton region, state, and nation, including helping the children and disadvantaged,” Hoagland wrote.
Wright Dunbar, Inc., announced Monday that DeWine is one of five Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame 2020 inductees.
The rest of the inductees are Hallie Quinn Brown — for whom the library at Central State University is named — William Hale Charch, John Legend, and Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger.
It’s a top-notch mix of individuals with achievements in the arts, education, science, military, community service, entertainment, and philanthropy.
“Considering the other names on the walk, I am in great company,” DeWine said in an email to the Gazette. “Fran and I have lived our whole lives in the Miami Valley so this is a special honor.”
Hoagland’s nomination highlighted DeWine’s 50-plus years in public service that has taken him from Cedarville to Columbus, to Washington D.C., and back. But DeWine has always had a keen eye on the Dayton area. That has been evident in the last year.
“Dayton was hit by tragic tornadoes,” said Angie Hoschouer, a member of the Walk of Fame Executive Committee. “Who was there? Mike DeWine. And then a mass shooting in August and Mike DeWine was there again. Many may not agree with his politics but he set politics aside and was a concerned citizen of the Dayton region amid all of the chaos. Not to mention his strength shown during the current COVID-19 pandemic. He is a leader through and through.”
DeWine began his public service in his mid-20s when he became an assistant prosecuting attorney for Greene County. He later served as Greene County prosecutor, Ohio State senator, four-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, and attorney general before becoming governor in 2018, the first Ohio governor from the Dayton region since James M. Cox in 1921.
“Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has dedicated his professional career to helping the citizens of the Dayton region and the state of Ohio through an unequaled legacy of service,” Hoagland wrote.
Brown (1850–1949) was an educator, author, elocutionist, historian, civil rights reformer and women’s rights advocate during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The daughter of former slaves, she attended Wilberforce University graduating in 1873. For 10 years she served as professor of elocution at WU and was a leader in fund-raising for the college. Brown is buried at Massie’s Creek Cemetery in Cedarville.
Charch (1898–1958) created one of the most innovative food storage creations of the 20th century: moisture proof cellophane. The cellophane he invented was a translucent natural plastic film made to protect and preserve food from air, moisture and bacteria, revolutionizing food storage.
Legend, a singer, songwriter, and entertainer from Springfield, began playing the piano at age four. In 2018, he became one of the youngest Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony (EGOT) winners and made history as the first African-American man to win all four.
Pitsenbarger (1944–1966) tried to enlist in the U.S. Army during his junior year of high school but his parents refused to give their permission. After he graduated, he joined the Air Force. He served a temporary duty in Vietnam and then volunteered to return. Pitsenbarger was fatally shot while saving the lives of wounded soldiers on the ground.
“We have another year of outstanding inductees,” said Harry Seifert, president and CEO of Wright Dunbar, Inc. “They are all excellent examples of the exceptional people who made great strides in their personal lives and have remembered the Miami Valley as their home.”
Since its inception in 1996 as a part of the City of Dayton’s bicentennial celebration, the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame has recognized individuals and groups for their outstanding and enduring personal or professional contributions to the community, nation and the world.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.