DAYTON – The purpose of the Ford Oval Honor program is to recognize individuals who walk and live among us who have, through their actions, demonstrated an “uncommon” commitment to defend the cause of freedom in service to this country.
Ford dealers created this program so that in this small way, veterans know that their sacrifice is appreciated and how important it is that family members know of this service and commitment of their loved ones.
One of this year’s four honored veterans is from St. Paris and is a member of Westville United Methodist Church – Army Sergeant First Class Donzil Hall.
The Dayton Area Ford Dealers, in conjunction with the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, were responsible for selecting the 2021 Ford Oval of Honor recipients.
A ceremony to honor these four veterans was held on July 8 at center stage of the National Museum of the United States Air Force Base in Dayton. This auspicious occasion was held for family, friends and the media.
Veterans names were submitted to a committee which ultimately selected the four finalists.
Over the past several weeks, local television and broadcasting companies presented a compacted biography of each honoree and displayed them at various times throughout their programming:
When Hall graduated from Spencer High School in West Virginia in 1950, his college career was delayed because he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in the Korean War. There he rose to the rank of Sergeant First Class and won a Combat Infantry badge among his medals and when he left the military, Marshall University had a scho0larship waiting for him to play on the baseball and football teams.
Hall lettered for Coach Herb Royer’s football teams in 1955, 1956 and 1957 as an end who also handled place-kicking duties, but he really excelled for Coach Bill Chambers on the baseball diamond.
As a sophomore in 1956, Hall belted three triples and three home runs on his way to second team All-Mid-American Conference honors, and he would move up to first-team all-league recognition both in 1957 – when he batted .390 – and again in 1958. Hall logged a career batting average of .336, legging out six triples among his 23 extra-base hits.
Hall later became a teacher, head baseball coach, assistant football coach and athletic director at Graham High School for 33 years.
He led the baseball team to the 1973 state championship.
In 2013, he threw out the honorary first pitch at the school’s new Donzil Hall Field, marking the 40-year anniversary of the state title.
Hall was enshrined in the Miami Valley Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1991. He was inducted into the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.
Information from John Atkins