The Walk of Fame Class of 2020 offers a first-class mix of individuals with outstanding achievements in the categories of Arts, Culture, Education, Invention, Science, Military, Community Service, Significant Personal Achievement, Entertainment, Media and Philanthropy. The Class of 2020 will be inducted this year due to the pandemic restrictions last year.
The 2021 Inductee Luncheon will be held on Tuesday, October 12 at Sinclair Community College Conference Center in Building 12. Individual tickets for the event will go on sale at a date to be announced later.
“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.”
The 2020 class of inductees are: Hallie Quinn Brown, William Hale Charch, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, John Legend, and AFC William H. Pitsenbarger.
Hallie Quinn Brown (1850 – 1949) an educator, author, elocutionist, historian, civil rights reformer and women’s rights advocate during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The daughter of former slaves, Brown attended Wilberforce University graduating in 1873. She became a teacher and later became a dean at Allen University and the Tuskegee Institute. After attending the Boston School of Oratory, she became an accomplished speaker, travelling nationally and internationally to speak on topics of African-American Folklore and Song to Civil Rights and the Temperance Movement. For ten years Brown served as professor of elocution at Wilberforce University and was a leader in fundraising for the college. She helped to establish the National Association of Colored Women where she served as president for four years and as honorary president for the remainder of her life. Brown also served as president of the Ohio State Federation of Women’s Clubs for seven years. The Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in St. Paul, MN is named for her as is the library at Central State University. Ms. Brown is buried at Massie’s Creek Cemetery in Cedarville, Ohio.
William Hale Charch (1898 – 1958) inventor and scientist who gave us one of the most innovative food storage creations of the twentieth century: moisture proof cellophane. The cellophane Charch invented was a translucent natural plastic film made to protect and preserve food from air, moisture and bacteria, thereby revolutionizing food storage, safety and cleanliness. Working for the DuPont Corporation, Charch tested more than 2,000 formulas before devising a workable process to manufacture the new product. By 1927, DuPont was selling more than $3.7 million worth of cellophane. During World War II, cellophane was classified as an “essential material” used for the packaging of G.I. rations. Charch then spent the remainder of his career at DuPont contributing to the development of Teflon, Orlon, Dacron and Lycra. William Hale Charch was born in Dayton, graduated from Stivers High School, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at Miami University and a Doctorate’s degree in Organic Chemistry from Ohio State University. Mr. Charch is buried in Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio.
Mike DeWine (1947 – ) Greene County Prosecutor, Ohio State Senator, U.S. Representative, Lt. Governor, U.S. Senator, Attorney General and Governor. Mike DeWine has worked tirelessly to preserve and share the rich heritage of the greater Dayton area. His work includes the support of major projects at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Energy Department in Miamisburg, the creation of the National Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and the National Aviation Heritage Area, and the Wright Dunbar Main Street Program. Gov. DeWine has been on the front lines of helping children and the disadvantaged by launching the Crimes Against Children Initiative, combating the opioid crisis, reducing the time for DNA testing supporting criminal investigations, passing strict drunk driving laws and improving education for increased job opportunities. Mike DeWine graduated from Yellow Springs High School, married his childhood sweetheart, received a bachelor’s degree from Miami University and a juris doctor’s degree from Ohio Northern University Law School. He maintains a home in Cedarville where he entertains many from around the state of Ohio at his annual ice cream social.
John Legend (1978 – ) singer, songwriter, artist and entertainer. John Legend was born in Springfield, Ohio and began playing the piano at age four. He graduated from Springfield North High School and attended the University of Pennsylvania. Legend began his career in New York nightclubs and soon found himself collaborating with the best of R & B and hip-hop artists. In 2018, Legend became one of the youngest Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony (EGOT) winners and made history as the first African-American man to win all four awards. Overall, Legend has won 25 awards from 70 nominations which include 10 Grammys. Legend’s foundation, the Show Me Campaign, seeks to give every child access to quality education and to elevate and celebrate teachers. The campaign also works to end the school to prison pipeline and to address systemic issues in our criminal justice system that disproportionately impact the poor, minorities and disadvantaged. John Legend has performed concerts and has lent his name to world-wide charitable efforts in support of equal access to educational opportunities, HIV/AIDS awareness, disaster relief and advocacy for troops and veterans and much, much more. His support of the Springfield community is evident through benefit concerts and performances for the Springfield City School District, the Springfield Center for Innovation: The Dome and victims of the Oregon District mass shooting. John Legend has made an enormous humanitarian impact regionally, nationally, and internationally.
William H. Pitsenbarger (1944 – 1966) Airman First Class, USAF. Born and raised in Piqua, Ohio, Pitsenbarger tried to enlist in the U.S. Army as a Green Beret during his junior year of high school but his parents refused to give their permission. After he graduated from high school, he joined the Air Force and in 1962 found himself on a train bound for Air Force basic training. Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered for Pararescue and was trained and assigned to the Rescue Squadron based at Hamilton AFB, California. He served a temporary duty in Vietnam and then volunteered to return. Pitsenbarger received orders in 1965 to report to the 38th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Bien Hoa Air Base in Saigon. On May 11, 1966 near Cam My, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties. Pitsenbarger rode a hoist to the ground where he coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, and prepared casualties for evacuation. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind to perform medical duties during a period of heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. He courageously resisted the enemy, distributed vital ammunition to his fellow soldiers, repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire and returned fire whenever he could. Airman Pitsenbarger was fatally shot and perished while saving the lives of wounded soldiers on the ground. For his courage and gallantry, Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross. In 2008, his family accepted the Congressional Medal of Honor from the Secretary of the Air Force. William H. Pitsenbarger is buried in Miami Memorial Park Cemetery in Covington, Ohio.
For information on how you can sponsor the event, purchase a ticket or learn more about the Walk of Fame, visit the website at www.daytonregionwalkoffame.org.
“We thank you in advance for supporting Wright Dunbar, Inc. and the programs we offer to the community,” said Harry Seifert. “Now, more than ever, your support is important to keep our mission of neighborhood revitalization alive in the historic Wright Dunbar Neighborhood.”
About the Walk of Fame and Wright Dunbar, Inc.
Since its inception in 1996 as a part of the City of Dayton’s bicentennial celebration, the Dayton Region Walk of Fame has recognized individuals and groups for their outstanding and enduring personal or professional contributions to the community, nation and the world. The Walk of Fame honors them by setting memorial stones in the sidewalks of Dayton’s historic Wright-Dunbar District. The stones can be enjoyed year-round on West Third Street between Broadway and Shannon and on North and South Williams Streets.