Meet the Dayton Civic Leaders award winners

Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

The 2017 Dayton Civic Leaders award winners will be honored at the Boa & Bow Tie Ball on Friday, April 28, 2017.

Dayton, Ohio is home to more than 300 registered nonprofit organizations, and at the heart of them all are volunteer leaders, many of whom are young professionals. These emerging leaders make a sizable impact on the community in many ways. 

JDRF, in partnership with Generation Dayton, will recognize some of the community's standout volunteers at the Boa & Bow Tie Ball at the Dayton Masonic Center on April 28, 2017.

The Dayton Civic Leaders Awards were designed to recognize emerging leaders ages 21-45 within the local philanthropic community who have exhibited leadership and success within their designated nonprofit cause.

The six recipients of the 2017 award were selected among a competitive pool of applicants by a leadership committee of Dayton-area CEOs who are behind the fundraising efforts of the Boa & Bow Tie Ball, which seeks to raise over $145,000 for JDRF Southwest Ohio.

"We received a substantial number of nominations for the 2017 Dayton Civic Leaders award, and are honored to recognize six deserving recipients," said Samantha Redden, JDRF Dayton Development Coordinator. "Young leaders are an essential part of what we do at JDRF, so I know firsthand how critical they are to the work of nonprofit organizations."

This year’s winners will be recognized at the Boa & Bow Tie Ball, and each will serve as a model during the event's unique live bow tie auction. In addition to recognition of the 2017 Civic Leaders recipients, JDRF will also honor their own Volunteer of the Year recipient, Diane Schoeffler-Warren.

What about the Boa & Bow Tie Ball?

The ball is a unique cocktail party that is the first of its kind in Dayton, and will feature entertainment, food and spirits stations with celebrity bartenders, a silent auction, and live bowtie auction. 

More information and tickets for the Boa & Bow Tie Ball can be found at

Meet the 2017 class of Dayton Civic Leaders:

Lauryn Bayliff works for Dayton History and spends much of her time raising funds to educate the public of Dayton’s history. Not only does Lauryn work to preserve the community’s past but she’s also focused on the future. Lauryn has participated in Leadership Dayton, Tipp City Restoration & Architectural Board of Review, Generation Dayton, Association of Fundraising Professionals and more. She is dedicated to the city of Dayton and also her hometown, Tipp City.

Jen Cadieux is one of Dayton’s most involved young professionals. Jen works for the Downtown Dayton Partnership and has served on many different boards in the Dayton area. Some of her most recent involvement includes Levitt Pavilion Dayton, UpDayton, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Generation Dayton, Junior League of Dayton and the Downtown Dayton Plan, Activated Spaces, Pop Up Shop Committee. Jen spends much of her free time giving back to our local community.

AJ Ferguson took on UpDayton’s Director role in 2015. He spends his time with UpDayton supporting other organizations dedicated to growing and changing Dayton. AJ works to engage the people of Dayton to build up the community and make it more attractive to college students and other young professionals. In addition to his job with UpDayton, AJ volunteers for a handful of other non-profit organizations including United Way, Greater Dayton Conservative Fund, and Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District among others.

Jerod Frenzl recently moved to Dayton through AmeriCorps. Quickly he started giving back to the community with his volunteer efforts and his job with Rebuilding Together Dayton. Jerod serves as Generation Dayton’s Community Service Chair and is one of their most involved members. Not only does he dedicate his time to the community but also spends much of his efforts recruiting other young professionals to give back to Dayton.

Cory D.D. Miller was recently voted as one of’s best local celebrities. Cory works for CH Dean and stays well connected in the Dayton area. He’s been involved with many different Dayton organizations and programs including Leadership Dayton, UD Alumni Mentor Program, Crayons to Classrooms Board Member, Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Dayton History Bell Board Member and many others. Cory also started the Beavercreek Young Professional Group.

Lauren Williams works for Capital Senior Living. In addition to her full time job, she has willing stepped into major event leadership roles in the community including chairing Masquerage benefitting Equitas Health in 2015 and taking the lead for Generation Dayton’s GenD Day in 2014. Lauren has also served numerous committee roles with other special events in Dayton including the Alzheimer’s Association’s Longest Day, Paw Patrol’s Foster Program, and Junior League of Dayton. 

Dad learns to walk again for his daughters' sake after doctors said he was paralyzed

Published: Thursday, April 27, 2017 @ 1:51 AM

Man walks with help of physical therapist (stock photo).

Seven months after doctors told him he’d never be able to use his legs again, a man stood up and walked out of a rehabilitation center with his two young daughters at his side.

Cole Thomas, of Rochelle, Illinois, told “Today” that he shattered a vertebra in a September 2016 car crash.

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“I realized I was hurt very badly,” the 34-year-old father of two said. “I looked down at my legs, and I couldn’t feel them, and I was like, ‘Oh, boy.'”

He later learned he shattered his L2 vertebra and had pieces of it embedded in his spinal cord. Doctors told him he was paralyzed from the waist down.

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Determined to walk his young daughters down the aisle someday, Thomas posted a video to Facebook from his hospital bed.

“They told me I will never walk again. I’m bound and determined to prove them wrong,” he said in the video.

Everyone please share!! This needs to go viral across the country, ask your friends to share!! Get this out there, please! Tell all your friends to share!

Posted by Cole Thomas on Wednesday, September 21, 2016

He asked people for help connecting him to resources to help him learn how to walk. A relative reached out with information about the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

He started therapy just eight days after the accident.

After months of hard work and determination, Thomas walked out of the rehabilitation center on Friday with his daughters by his side.

“I know I was going to have to give rehab and therapy 110 percent, just like I did my job. I have to walk again no matter what,” Thomas told “Today.” “I have to be the best I could be.”


Couple married almost 70 years dies minutes apart

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 2:23 PM

Krzysztof Szkurlatowski/Freeimages

An Illinois couple married for 69 years died minutes apart, according to their daughter.

Isaac and Teresa Vatkin died last weekend, their daughter, Clara, told WGN.

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The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, according to Clara, and had a loving marriage until the very end.

The couple's health had declined in recent years and they were both taken to the hospital last weekend. When doctors determined that the couple did not have much time left, they were placed side by side so they could hold hands. Teresa died first, and Isaac died not more than 20 minutes later, according to Clara.

Couple says 'hello and goodbye' to baby born without brain

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 4:42 PM

Gitanna/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Oklahoma couple who decided to carry their baby without a brain to term in hopes of helping others has said "hello and goodbye" to their newborn girl.

According to the Facebook posts of Keri and Royce Young, baby Eva Grace was born April 17, and died the same day. 

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In February, Royce Young's Facebook post about his wife's reaction to learning their baby would be born without a brain went viral. Keri Young asked the doctor if she carried the baby to term, if she could donate the baby's organs to help others.

It was unclear from the new Facebook posts if the Youngs were able to donate Eva's organs, but Keri Young said that she would share more about Eva's incredible story at a later date.

Daytonian of the Week: Patrick Himes

Published: Wednesday, April 26, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

In May, Himes will travel to Abu Dhabi to play for U.S. troops.
Jim Ingram/Contributed

Daytonian of the Week Patrick Himes may be a stranger to you now, but ask almost any musician in the area and they’ll have plenty of good things to say about the man. 

The multi-instrumentalist and producer has worked with hundreds of musicians near and far, including touring the country with Set The Controls, a Pink Floyd tribute group. Himes also organized the band for the recent Talking Heads Stop Making Sense tribute to benefit the Dayton Ballet Barre. He also plays guitar for Dayton’s Bribing Senators and drums for the Nashville-based band The Sandwich.

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It seems the in-demand knob twister never has time for a rest. However, Himes will take a break from his studio duties next month to perform with Black Jacket Symphony in Abu Dhabi for the U.S. troops.

“It’s an honor to be invited,” Himes said. “Hopefully we can bring some happiness to a serious situation.”

What do you do? 

I am a recording studio owner (Reel Love Recording Company), producer, engineer and musician. 

What superpower would you love to have?

The superpower I would love to have is the power of teleportation or duality. Being able to be in two places at once or get somewhere far away quickly would be extremely beneficial for a touring musician and local business owner.

What do you love about life in Dayton?  

I love life in Dayton for many reasons. My family is here. So many great longtime friends and new friends as well. The cost of living is low. There is enough bigger city accouterments to keep things exciting and fresh, but the small-town local vibe is very welcoming and homey. 

The music scene, of course, is and always has been one of the best. It's so diverse. We have some of the most talented artists spanning literally all genres of music, and they all support each other. Venues support other venues. It's not cutthroat, but there is still a friendly competition. One problem living here is not being able to do everything, because there is always so many great things happening, many times in the same day. In the words of (Dayton musician) Tod Weidner, “Don't ever complain that there is nothing to do in Dayton!”

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What’s your favorite spot in Dayton?

I have several spots I love. Some that come to mind are Blind Bob’sOld Yellow Cab and Oddbody’s for live music. I love Tumbleweed Connection too. The American Slovak Club is a great place. I love Christopher's RestaurantThai 9CJ ChanCorner Kitchen and Jay's Seafood. There are so many others. Skyline Chili too! 

Why did you decide to settle in Dayton?

I moved (to Nashville) in late 1999 and moved back to Dayton in late 2004, then back to Nashville in early 2007. Initially, (my girlfriend) Anne and I moved back in 2015 because of a family health emergency. But it was rather serendipitous because Nashville has changed so much. It's still a cool city, but the development and gentrification has really changed the landscape both physically and fiscally (laughs). It's gotten crazy expensive to live there, which is detrimental for independent musicians especially. I spent almost 15 years in Nashville and it was very good to me. I have many great friends there still and still visit regularly. Hell, The Sandwich is playing two shows there this weekend with Salvador Ross. But Dayton is and always will be home. 

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How did you get involved with your line of work? 

I got involved in music at an early age. I started playing guitar at 8 years old. My fascination with recording started soon after as well. I blew up many of my dad’s old cassette recorders just plugging my guitar into them or an amp (laughs). When my first real band were runners-up in the Dayton Band Playoffs at Canal Street Tavern, we got studio time at FJM. I have been hooked on the recording process ever since. 

Performing live and recording go hand in hand. I can't live without either one. Plus I love traveling, and being on the road certainly kills two birds with one stone. On the flip side, creating in the studio is also very gratifying on a more cerebral level. When you can listen back to something you've created from scratch and be proud of it, that feeling is hard to beat. I love sharing those moments with the artists that choose to work with me. If things get hectic, it's usually just a musical frustration that we overcome together.

If you could change or bring one thing to Dayton, what would it be? 

I believe we need improve our ability to care for those suffering from addiction, abuse and poverty. We have a network of people who do care, but (we also have) an infrastructure that impedes progress at times. 

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What do you think Dayton will look like in 10-15 years?

I hope Dayton is still affordable to live in. I would like to see a continuation of diversity and cultural acceptance. The arts in Dayton are certainly on a high level, and I want this city to be recognized for its wealth of great visual, musical and physical arts. We have such a diverse and rich tapestry of multifaceted artists here that deserve to make their dreams come true. We not only have those artists, but an unbelievable support system of patrons who appreciate them as well.