Some people chuckled when the young talent retention group UpDayton launched its Dayton Inspires initiative last year.
Others straight up laughed at the notion that Dayton is inspiring or has inspired.
The reaction was in part a symptom of the low self-esteem issue Dayton Art Institute External Affairs Director Alexis Larsen and others see.
“Dayton has so much going for it and so much happening, but it suffers from a lack of touting all that it has to offer people. Sometimes I think the people living here don’t believe in their town like they should,” she said as part of a Dayton.com article featuring her as the Daytonian of the Week. “This is a city where you won’t be swallowed up. It’s a city where you can establish yourself and be someone. It’s a place where you can be connected and build a much fuller, richer life because of it.”
Some of these naysayers and doubters are just jerks.
I can’t help them.
Others are misinformed or willfully turning a blind eye to the excellence around them.
Dayton’s future, present and past are chock-full o’ inspiration.
This was true even before hometown boys Orville and Wilbur Wright set up their first bike shop.
Anyone who needs a little inspiration should take a trip down to the Wrights’ stomping grounds, the Wright-Dunbar Neighborhood.
The neighborhood of course bears the name of the Wrights and their friend, celebrated poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Henry Ford’s museum in Michigan got some great Wright Brothers stuff, but it didn’t get everything.
The neighborhood includes Wright Cycle Company and Visitor Center and the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial — parts of the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. But these are not the only things in the neighborhood that offer inspiration.
More than 150 examples of Daytonians that have made a difference decorate West Third Streets’ sidewalk between Broadway and Williams streets.
The Wrights were the first named added to the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.
Five new people were officially induced into the walk this week.
•Olympic gold medal runner Robert Keyser Schul (still the only American to ever win the 5000 meter race)
• Keyboardist, songwriter and funk singer Keith D. Harrison
•Philanthropist, dancer, model, aviatrix and all-around cool dame Zoe Dell Nutter
• 30-year “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” trumpeter Eugene Edward “Snooky Young Jr.
• Gerald Sharkey, who is called the Father of the National Park in Dayton for his work to recognize Dayton’s heritage and spare more of it from the wrecking ball.
Anyone who needs a little shot of Dayton pride need only stroll around the neighborhood and read the stories of the incredible people who have and continue to shape this community.
If that doesn’t do the trick, there are always mirrors you can look in for answers.