Dayton, we thank you.
The Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to pause and express gratitude for our community and for the people and places we love.
It’s been a year filled with tragedy and heartbreak.
But through the pain, we can still find many reasons to smile.
We are grateful to be a part of a community with such a storied past, present and future. And we are especially grateful to be part of a community that has demonstrated its resilience time and time again. In good times and bad times, Daytonians come together and support each other.
Today, we celebrate the little things that make Dayton so great every single day, and the people who became heroes and bright lights in the darkness.
Here are 100 things we are thankful for every day, week, month and year — but especially in 2019.
1. The Dayton officers who saved countless lives on Aug. 4, 2019: Sgt. William C. Knight, Officer Brian Rolfes, Officer Jeremy Campbell, Officer Vincent Carter, Officer Ryan Nabel, Officer David Denlinger. Thank you just isn’t enough.
2. Jeremy Ganger, the brave bouncer at Ned Pepper’s who also is credited with saving lives during the Oregon District mass shooting. You are a true hero, Jeremy.
3. Dayton Detective Jorge Del Rio, who tragically lost his life in the line of duty. Forever in our hearts.
4. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, the first responders, elected officials, the Dayton Foundation, the American Red Cross, The Community Blood Center and the countless businesses and non-profit organizations that immediately jumped into action after tragedies to help the community unite, raise needed funds and begin to heal.
5. Dayton’s everyday “helpers.” These are the people and volunteers who stepped up after the tornadoes and the shooting and poured their hearts into helping their neighbors in big ways and small ways.
>> 100+ Daytonians of the Week: A shoutout to Daytonians who did something when the city needed them
6. People like Dion Green, who lost his father in the Oregon District shooting, and Mike Turner, who lost his son in the same horrific event, but who both have honored their loved ones through acts of kindness and compassion.
7. Dave Chappelle, who brought in a few friends(!) to help Dayton shine again after the darkness with Gem City Shine.
8. John Legend, for a surprise visit to Dayton’s Oregon District one week after the tragic shooting to boost spirits and advocate for change.
9. The women of Heart Mercantile in the Oregon District, who channeled their grief into raising thousands and thousands of dollars through T-shirt sales.
10. The restaurants, stores, bars, staff and patrons of the Oregon District, who are truly #DaytonStrong.
11. The survivors of the Memorial Day tornadoes.
12. Every single volunteer who donated food, water or supplies and helped clean up debris after the tornadoes.
13. Every law enforcement officer and city worker and volunteer who worked to keep this community safe on the day of the KKK rally.
14. Dayton’s never-ending spirit of innovation. From legends of the past, to companies of the future, Dayton shines.
15. The world-famous Wright Brothers and being the true birthplace of aviation.
16. Famous inventions, from the cash register to the electric automobile starter to the pop-top can to Cheez-its
17. Dayton’s amazing arts scene, artists, performers, arts supporters and venues who take pride in collaboration and trying new approaches.
18. The Dayton Dragons, Heater and Gem. There is just something special about baseball in Dayton.
19. Dayton beer. Dayton breweries, Dayton brews, the Dayton beer trail. We simply cannot get enough
20. The Pink Ribbon Girls. What an incredible group of people who are making a difference for the lives of cancer patients in Dayton and nationally.
21. A peaceful walk through Glen Helen and John Bryan State Park
22. Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill, Woodland Lights and A Carillon Christmas.
24. Festivals. We have some of the best festivals around celebrating strawberries, Celtic heritage, Greek food, beer and even sauerkraut.
25. Wu-Tang Wednesdays at The Barrel House
26. Esther Price Candies and its boxes of chocolates, Dayton Strong Bars and golden tickets.
27. Orv and Willa, the Carillon Park resident bald eagles and their offspring Prairie and Aero.
28. Cronuts, sand tarts and butterscotch rolls from Ashley’s Pastry Shop.
33. The Pine Club’s bone-in ribeye
36. Dayton Flyers basketball
37. A century worth of love for the Dayton Art Institute
38. Being the official Land of Funk.
40. Dayton’s resilience and ability to come together to find solutions
41. The Dayton Peace Accords, Dayton International Peace Museum and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize
42. Brunch in the Oregon District
43. Levitt Pavilion and FREE summer entertainment
44. The Bad Juan from Elsa’s
45. The Rubi Girls
46. Oktoberfest celebrations big and small
47. Heart Mercantile’s signs
48. The Dayton Inspires selfie wall
49. Five Rivers MetroParks
50. The Dayton Foodbank and House of Bread.
51. Community murals crafted by some of Dayton’s best artists
52. The old Rike’s windows that decorate the Schuster Center lobby every holiday season.
53. RiverScape River Run
54. The Dayton Region Walk of Fame
55. Donuts. Whether they’re from Bill, Stan or Jim
56. UD, Wright State, Sinclair, Wilberforce, Central State, Cedarville, Antioch
57. Downtown Dayton Metro Library and all of its branches.
58. First Fridays downtown
59. The U.S. Air Force Museum and the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
60. The Oregon District. Shopping, dining, drinking and fun events.
61. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
62. Foy’s, where every day is Halloween.
63. Victoria Theatre, Schuster Center and the new Arts Annex
64. Dayton chefs and Dayton restaurants
65. Square-cut pizza
67. Dayton is within an 8 hour or less drive of at least 10 “major cities.”
68. St. Patrick’s Day is at The Dublin Pub and Flanagan’s Pub
69. FOOD TRUCKS! FOOD TRUCKS! FOOD TRUCKS!
70. Deeds Carillon and the many local treasures at Carillon Historical Park
71. Dayton Children’s Hospital
72. Huffy bike company
73. The Dayton Air Show
74. Dayton Ballet’s Nutcracker
75. The U.S. Air Force Marathon
76. The Neon Movies, The Little Art Theatre and The Plaza Theatre
77. The Little Exchange
78. Small businesses can make it here
79. 4 Paws service dogs
80. Welcome Dayton
81. The Dayton LGBT Center
82. Our code-breakers helped defeat the Nazis in World War II
83. Woodland Cemetery and its breathtaking view of the city
84. Yellow Cab Tavern
85. Summer concerts at Rose Music Center and The Fraze
86. Local coffee. Ghostlight, Press, Winan’s and more.
87. 40 years of tapas and paella at El Meson
88. Art Ball
89. Young’s Jersey Dairy ice cream and family fun
90. Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow and the dedicated volunteers who make it happen.
92. Wright State is home to the Tom Hanks Center of Motion Pictures
93. Hauntfest on Fifth
94. Fireworks along the Great Miami River
95. Edwin C. Moses and his Olympic gold
96. Tech Town
97. Dayton the Ohio Aerospace Hub
98. John H. Patterson
100. Good, kind, giving Daytonians who work to make this a better place to live every single day.
Now it’s your turn! What would you add to this list?