FAIRBORN — Additional plaques are now hanging in Fairborn City School’s Hall of Honor after six individuals were enshrined April 27 in honor of their service to the district and community.
Kathleen Russell-Rader, Robert Bilott, James Routt, Doyle Wright, Edwin Burkhart and JoAnn Shephard-Collins were recognized at the 31st-Annual Hall of Honor Ceremony.
Kathleen Russell-Rader is a 1972 graduate of Fairborn Baker High School. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Bowling Green State University as well as a masters from the University of Dayton. She taught English for 22 years at Fairborn High School and Baker Middle School.
“I hope for my students that I was a spark by instilling confidence in them, making a difference in their lives, empowering them to take control of their own learning and the evolution of their behavior, attitudes and thinking,” she said.
Robert Bilott is a 1983 Fairborn High School graduate who received his juris doctorate from The Ohio State College of Law. Bilott is a partner at Taft Stettinius and Hollister LLP and practices law out of the firm’s Cincinnati and Kentucky offices.
“I have to thank the staff, teachers, people in the Fairborn City Schools system who helped all of us get through the system,” Bilott said. “I think it really helped me be able to get out and go far away to college, down to Florida, away to a new city for law school, then move to a new city where I started work. Then during my work, working with all kinds of different clients … really be able to adapt and change a lot quicker than maybe other people who weren’t brought up in this school system.”
James Routt, Jr. is a 1998 graduate of Fairborn High School. He earned his firefighter certification from Sinclair and Clark State Community Colleges. He currently serves as a lieutenant with the City of Fairborn Fire Department and is also the director of the Miami Valley Music Men.
“I always knew I wanted to help people. I think that’s my calling to God — to help people,” Routt said.
Doyle Wright, a 1985 Fairborn High School graduate and 32-year law enforcement veteran. He earned his degree in criminal justice from Clark State Community College and has served the Village of Enon, Clark County Sheriff’s Office and City of Beavercreek. He is currently the assistant police chief within the Village of West Milton.
“I look back over my life and career and all my accomplishments and as I reflect, none of them would have been possible without the educational foundation I received right here in the Fairborn school system,” Wright said.
Edwin Burkhard is a 1924 graduate of Perrysburg High School and former principal of Fairborn and Bath High Schools. He earned his master of arts from Kent State University and began serving Fairborn schools in 1948 until his retirement in 1966. Craig Moore accepted the recognition on Burkhard’s behalf.
JoAnn Shepherd-Collins is a 1967 Fairborn High School graduate and local volunteer. She attended Clark State Community College and serves several community organizations including the Fairborn Veterans Memorial Committee, Fairborn Senior Center, Gold Wing Road Riders and Red Cross.
“If you care about something, truly care and are passionate about something, it’s worth the time and trouble,” Shepherd Collins said. “I’ve been recognized as volunteer, but what they don’t understand is that a volunteer is not just one person. A volunteer is made up of groups of people … I am blessed that my husband of 49 years has backed me, loved me and supported me with a family in letting me have the privilege of helping others.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.