Year in review: Our 10 favorite Tom Archdeacon columns of 2022

Here is a look at Tom Archdeacon’s top 10 favorite columns of 2022

Archdeacon: Left for dead, boxer Jeff Camp shows his fight

Jeff “The Nightmare” Camp – who’d been an amateur boxer of note here and now was a colorful pro known as much for his nickname and custom-made gold fight garb and mask as his 5-2-1 record – had been shot five times last Oct. 15 by an unknown gunman who had been sitting alone in a Chevy Equinox parked near the rear of the store.

Camp was a kind-hearted assistant manager there and the first bullet from the .45 caliber pistol hit him in the left temple. He fell and immediately was shot twice more in the back, once through the left forearm and another bullet grazed his neck.

When he’d stepped outside to put some empty boxes in the trash, he said a red flag went off when he saw the car: “I wondered why it was parked on the side when there were plenty parking spaces up front. And when I walked passed it, another red flag went up. There was a person in there looking straight ahead. He wasn’t talking on his phone, nothing like that.”

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Archdeacon: Sully is ‘having a life again’

He’d always been an athlete other people noticed – already as a junior at Centerville High School, he was captain of the football team and the starting fullback; at the U.S. Air Force Academy, he was a sturdy left winger on the hockey team and a promising engineering student – but this time his sporting effort had people truly alarmed

He was driving golf balls mightily off a tee, but there was one, big problem.

He wasn’t on the golf course, he was standing just off the berm on Interstate 75 in Warren County and he was in full meltdown mode.

It was February 7, 2016 – Super Bowl Sunday – his 44th birthday.

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Archdeacon: Former Belmont soccer player, once in refugee camps, finds his purpose

Bibebibyo “Bibe” Seko was in the audience at Eichelberger Hall inside Stivers School for the Arts in April of 2019, surrounded by some of his former Belmont High soccer teammates and their coach, Julie Raiff.

Up on the stage was newlyminted Dayton Police Officer Ndayisaba Ramadhan – just Ramadhan to those who had known him since he was a four-sport athlete at Belmont and then an assistant coach for Raiff.

“When I saw Ramadhan up there in his uniform, I was like ‘Wow! That’s a really good career. A noble career,’” Bibe recalled a few days ago. “He’s just a great guy and I saw his motivation and I started to think, ‘Maybe I could do that, too.’”

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Archdeacon: The unforgettable Renate Frydman and her message of hope

Credit: (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley

Credit: (U.S. Air Force photo by Wesley

She was going through the checkout line at a Meijer store a few years ago when she said the young woman bagging her groceries suddenly stopped her and asked: “You look familiar. Did you come to my school?”

Frydman nodded: “Yes, I was at Trotwood one time.”

That’s when the young woman smiled: “Well, I don’t remember a lot about high school, but I do remember you!”

Renate Frydman’s had that effect on a lot of people, from other students across the Miami Valley to inmates at the West Central Juvenile Detention Center in Troy to people from around the world — including some of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize winners last year — who visit the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB and are moved by her presentation at “Prejudice and Memory: A Holocaust Exhibit.”

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Archdeacon: Don’t count out Issiah Evans

He said didn’t realize what had happened until he heard his horror-struck friend, James Gaddis, who was just a couple of feet behind him, begin screaming: “Oh my god!,” “Issiah!”

Issiah Evans – the 16-year-old, standout linebacker for the Trotwood Madison football team and 4.2 GPA student who’d already gotten college scholarship interest as a sophomore – said he “probably froze there for a few seconds not reacting.

“When it didn’t light on four of five tries, I thought it was a dud. It never sparked down. But when I tried again – I don’t even know if I touched the wick – it just blew up in my face.”

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Archdeacon: A man of letters bringing WWII experiences to life with coming book

SPRINGFIELD – You could call 98-year-old Walter Stitt a man of letters.

It was during the Battle of the Bulge, the bloodiest conflict for U.S. forces in World War II. He was a 20-year-old gunner in a Sherman tank with Task Force Lovelady, a revered combat unit in the U.S. Army’s 3rd Armored Division.

A German fired his Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon and the shell ripped through the tank as Stitt was leaning forward, looking into the gunner’s periscope.

Under more fire, they finally escaped into a woods and were rescued, and Stitt was rushed to a field hospital.

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Archdeacon: A promise kept, ‘Dad we did it! Love, me’

When the funeral director told her he’d stuck the note in the hip pocket of her dad’s pants, she’d shook her head and asked if, instead, he could put it in the inside pocket of his sport coat.

“I wanted it close to his heart,” Christine Lindsey said quietly the other evening as she sat in a white Adirondack chair overlooking the 18th green at the NCR South golf course.

When the field of 120 golfers tees off Thursday in the first round of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at the famed course, there will be several with bigger names and more impressive credentials than hers.

But few have a more heartfelt story related to this tournament than Lindsey.

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Archdeacon: Born out of 9/11 attacks, Secret Smiles bringing needed comfort to area families

Secret Smiles of Dayton was born out of the Sept. 11 attacks, first as a group that helped people in New York and then, after a year, with its attention turned to the Miami Valley.

For Tracy Janess, deeply shaken by the loss of her beloved sister, the effort was a way to help other people and to try to begin to heal herself.

As she’s told me in the past: “No matter what happens. No matter how evil something is, I believe goodness will prevail.”

For over two decades now, Secret Smiles of Dayton has given out close to 9,000 beds, many of them to children.

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Archdeacon: The old neighborhood gathers at the Field of Dreams

Mark Dempsey was sharing some of his fondest baseball memories.

Not from his days as a Hall of Fame player at Fairview High School or as an Ohio State star. And not from when he pitched for the San Francisco Giants.

He was going back to the times when he reached his greatest heights.

Dempsey was talking about those pre-teen days in the late 1960s when kids in their close-knit, Lower Dayton View neighborhood fashioned a ball field from an empty lot behind what they called The Warehouse at the dead end of Tennyson and Lexington avenues.

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Archdeacon: Bodybuilder, ‘always a beast,’ soon could become Mr. America

KETTERING – The dream he had as a young, self-conscious, avoid-the-whispers teenager entering Fairmont High 13 years ago is about to become gleaming-muscle, body-sculpted, wildly-applauded reality on an Atlantic City stage 13 days from now.

By the time Drew Plumlee was a high school freshman, his embrace of sports was growing as his vision was decreasing.

When he was eight years old, he was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a genetic, retinal disorder that causes a loss of visual acuity and eventually presents some significant challenges, from needing magnification to read to being unable to drive a car.

Plumlee didn’t want his diminished sight to be the first thing people thought of when they heard his name and he sought to change the narrative in the Fairmont weight room and on the wrestling mat.

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