FAIRBORN — This was a year like no other.
Phrases like “remote learning” and “social distancing” became part of every day vocabulary in 2020. Businesses had to change the way they operated. Schools had to adjust how they educated their students. Meetings were held online via Zoom and other similar applications.
But 2020 wasn’t all about COVID-19, although it dominated the headlines.
Here are the top five stories for Fairborn as chosen by the staff of the Daily Herald.
As mentioned above, COVID-19 took over the country. Businesses were shut down and when they were allowed to reopen they had to operate under specific guidelines. Schools went 100 percent remote in the spring, and opened in the fall with strict social distancing and mask requirements in place. Students had the option of in-school or remote learning. Winter sports, which were deep into tournaments, were cancelled. Two basketball teams were actually on the court warming up for a state semifinal. Spring sports never took place.
The election was delayed/postponed the night before out of concern for large numbers of people gathering in one place to vote.
Restaurants and other businesses deemed essential were allowed to stay open. But restaurants had to close dining rooms and could operate via drive through and carryout only. Curbside pickup became and is still the norm.
Government offices closed and eventually reopened with limited capacity during meetings and in public areas.
2. Coach, athletic trainers save life of student athlete
In October, Fairborn High School baseball coach Bronson Marlett and athletic trainers Jaci Combs and TJ Tillman were recognized for the actions they took to save the life of student Bennett Hart. Hart has a rare heart condition that left him in cardiac arrest during a baseball conditioning practice. In that situation, Hart had less than a 1 percent chance of survival, however his coach and athletic trainers beat those odds.
The actions of Marlett, Combs and Tillman were nothing short of heroic. After recovering at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the school was able to welcome Hart back into the halls. Though he is no longer allowed to play the sport, the baseball team has welcomed him back in whatever capacity they can.
The story has been a bright spot in the news cycle this year, and a triumph that is all the more worth celebrating. Mayor Paul Keller summed it up well: “These are things that bring us together, keep us strong, and make us proud of our community.”
3. Fairborn’s 70th Anniversary
The year 2020 marks 70 years since the towns of Fairfield and Osborn merged into one city. In January, the plan was to spend the year covering events that celebrated that anniversary and brought the community together. Though as we all know, the events of 2020 had other designs in mind.
Though a majority of the events were cancelled, Fairbornites still celebrated with the September fireworks, and the “Legends of Fairborn” project, which recognized ten individuals, both living and deceased, who have contributed to the prosperity of the city.
4. Dayton’s race for Space Command HQ
The race for Space Command HQ ended for Wright-Patterson in November, as the base was knocked out of the running to host the newest branch of the military.
Ohio lawmakers and the Dayton communities rallied around this bid, drawing the eye of Department of Defense officials with the support and high quality of life the area provides their military and veterans. Ultimately, however, Dayton did not make the cut, as the Air Force announced the final six candidates on Nov. 19.
That being said, the creation of the Space Force will mean more jobs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base regardless of where Space Command finally settles. The National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) will be jointly located with the National Space Intelligence Center (NSIC), providing intelligence and analysis for both branches.
5. Fairborn protests the death of George Floyd
The people of Fairborn have a history of standing up for what’s right. The people of Fairborn also have a history of looking out for the first responders that live and work here.
The death of George Floyd reignited a serious and painful conversation about race and policing across the United States. That conversation is still going on, and is far from seeing its resolution. However, specifically in Fairborn, the protests on June 5 painted a different picture than many around the country.
The protests were peaceful. The attendees made their voices heard. Along the march, business owners and other citizens provided water and snacks. Fairborn police were not in riot gear. In fact, some walked with the citizens and had conversations with them.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.