A "Tonight Show" trumpeter, an aviatrix, a funk pioneer, an Olympian and a community activist called the Father of the National Park in Dayton were induced into the Dayton Region's Walk of Fame during a luncheon held at Sinclair Community College's Ponitz Center on Thursday.
Keith D. Harrison, a Grammy award-winning keyboardist, songwriter and singer, best known for his work with the funk bands Faze-O and Dazz Band, counted his induction as a highest honor of his musical career.
“To say that this day has been unbelievable is an understatement,” Harrison said during a speech in which he shared lessons learned from his parents and family and community love.
The other honorees were Olympic gold medal runner Robert Keyser Schul; philanthropist, dancer and aviatrix Zoe Dell Nutter; 30-year "Tonight Show with Johnny Carson" trumpeter Eugene Edward "Snooky Young Jr. and Gerald Sharkey, who was recognized for his work to preserve, recognize and spare Dayton's Aviation heritage from the wrecking ball.
Sharkey died in 2014 at his Oakwood home. His son Jeffrey Sharkey spoke in his stead.
Sharkey said his father was inspired to push for what is now the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park after visiting the Freedom Trail in Boston.
Parts of the aviation park — the Wright Cycle Company and Visitor Center and the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial included — are in the Wright-Dunbar Neighborhood, with the Walk of Fame located on West Third Street’s sidewalk between Broadway and Williams streets.
U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice, a 2007 Walk of Fame inductee, gave Sharkey high praise during a video played at the ceremony.
“He was truly one of those people who left the community better than he found it,” Rice said in the video.
Cox Media Group Ohio, which includes “Dayton Daily News” and WHIO-TV, along with CareSource and Wright State University were gold level sponsors of Thursday’s ceremony.
More than 150 people have been induced into Walk of Fame since its inception in 1996.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were the first inductees.
Schul, the only American to date to win Olympic gold in the 5,000 meter race, said it was “neat” to be in a hall with the Wrights.
“I consider it a great honor to join those that brought fame to the Dayton area in so many fields,” Schul said.