HUNTINGTON — One man offered up his own life to save countless others and helped to make the United States a global power. A local dentist ushered in the modern era of his profession. Two women blazed new trails, one as a pioneering law enforcement officer and another in service to the children of her community.
They are all part of the 2018 class of Huntington County Honors, which seeks to educate, inspire and instill pride in the community. Some honorees have used their time and talent to contribute to the betterment of life here at home, while others have built on their local upbringing to make a contribution elsewhere.
This is the third year that Huntington County Honors has recognized a group of individuals, shining a light on their achievements and works. The Class of 2018 includes 12 honorees in five different categories.
Among those in this year’s group are John Kissinger, who volunteered in experiments that led to a vaccine for deadly yellow fever, which indirectly allowed the United States to build the Panama Canal. Also included is Dr. Otto King, a Huntington dentist who created a professional journal that united an entire industry. Thais Wilhelm was the first elected female sheriff in Indiana, while Kay Lamont led the way for the creation of Kids Kampus, the child care division of Huntington’s Pathfinder Services.
They will be formally recognized in a public ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, October 20, in the rotunda of the Huntington County Courthouse.
Huntington County Honors recognizes both the well-known and those who are more obscure. Candidates must have made a lasting contribution to the betterment of Huntington County, or brought recognition to the community through their actions or achievements.
“We feel we have another outstanding group of individuals, and we are honored to bring their stories to the public,” says HCH president Joe Santa. “The achievements of these people have not only impacted life in Huntington County, but they have contributed to the rest of the world as well.”
One of the goals of the organization is educational, helping preserve stories that might otherwise become lost to history. Huntington County Honors is working with the Huntington County Community School Corporation to present the legacies of these local individuals and their works to students.
“It’s important that we can showcase these people and instill some pride into what kinds of individuals Huntington County has produced and can continue to produce,” says Santa.
A display featuring the 2018 class of Huntington County Honors will be on view in the Courthouse rotunda following the October 20 ceremony through November, and then again beginning in January at the Huntington City-Township Public Library. Information on all the inductees will also available on the Huntington County Honors website at www.huntingtoncountyhonors.org.
Huntington County Honors announces a new class each year. The organization will also look to individual and corporate sponsorships to help offset operational costs. Anyone interested in sponsorships may contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at Huntington County Honors, PO Box 481, Huntington, IN 46750.
This year’s Huntington County Honors class includes (with category listing and brief information):
ATHLETICS & RECREATION
HARRY MEHRE — A standout high school basketball player at Huntington, Mehre played football at Notre Dame under legendary Knute Rockne and with the storied George Gipp. He went on to be head coach at the University of Georgia and later a newspaper sports columnist.
THE SEIBOLD FAMILY — The first family of horseshoe pitching has produced three generations of champions, including three members of the National Horseshoe Pitchers of America Hall of Fame, led by Mark Seibold’s two national championships and record 22 Indiana titles.
BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL
DR. FSC GRAYSTON — Emigrating from England in the middle of the 19th century, Grayston located in Huntington, where he built a medical practice. In 1860, he was appointed by Abraham Lincoln as examining surgeon for invalid pensioners. He was one of the leading medical men in Indiana during his career.
HOMER HINER — The Huntington County native and Navy veteran established Hiner Transport and built it into a successful trucking company that hauled into 48 states and Canada. He was involved with several local service organizations and was a major supporter of Huntington University.
THE DEWEY & JULIA SOUDER FAMILY — Members of the family have served in leadership of the United Methodist Memorial Home in Warren since 1937. Today, the family oversees three locations, with 750 employees serving more than 900 residents in various levels of retirement living and in rehabilitation services.
COMMUNITY & PUBLIC SERVICE
PETE & ALICE ESHELMAN — The couple established a successful insurance business in Roanoke in 1990 and opened a restaurant in 1993, initially to serve employees and clients. They opened Joseph Decuis restaurant to the public in 2000, and with an innovative farm-to-table focus, it quickly became one of the top 50 establishments in the country, and in the process revitalized the town of Roanoke.
KAY LAMONT — A trailblazer and tireless worker for everyone in Huntington County, Lamont was the first woman to serve on Huntington College Board of Trustees. She served with countless organizations, particularly those related to children. She was instrumental in raising funds to create Kids Kampus, the child care division of Huntington’s Pathfinder Services.
THAIS WILHELM — Indiana’s first elected female sheriff, Wilhelm held the position for 10 years, spending a total of 36 years with the sheriff’s department, and half a century serving Huntington County.
DR. OTTO KING — A prominent Huntington dentist in the early 1900s, Dr, King established the Journal of the American Dental Association, published in Huntington and distributed nationally. The publication connected the country’s dentists with information, innovation and ethics, and ushered in the era of modern dentistry.
JOHN KISSINGER — While a private in the U.S. Army serving in Cuba in 1900, Kissinger volunteered to be a subject in experiments to find the source of the deadly yellow fever. Kissinger allowed himself to be bitten by mosquitoes and he contracted the disease. He survived, and the experiment led to an anti-toxin.
HUMANITIES & CULTURAL
F.S. BASH — Born in Roanoke in 1859, Bash was editor of the Daily and Weekly Herald in Huntington for 17 years. After working for various local service organizations, he wrote a comprehensive history of Huntington County, including interviews with many of the county’s pioneering residents.
DR. FRED LOEW — Huntington County’s first agricultural agent, Loew played a key role in promoting agriculture in northeast Indiana. He created and taught an agriculture curriculum at Huntington College and was instrumental in establishing what is now the Huntington University Foundation.