Well you may have heard the rumors, and they’re as true as they come….
219.com is taking on the monumental task of determining the Region Hall of Fame, highlighting the most influential Northwest Indiana restidents in our history of being on Central time. For the purposes of this article, we’re assuming that’s basically forever.
We hope to determine our very own ‘Mount Rushmore’ which we hypothetically will carve in the Dunes, only to have to move 20 feet the next day with the prevailing wind. Only fitting, we assume.
The first match-up is presented below, and keep on the look out for more on the Region Hall of Fame as 219.com begins to paint this portrait of Northwest Indiana history as you decide it.
Make sure to vote in the match-up below to help us decide!
Jerry L. Ross:
Jerry L. Ross, Crown Point, comes in as a dominating #1 one seed of Region Rats. His hometown has gone as far as to name their elementary school after the guy. For those of you NWI residents with their heads in the sand, you’re about to get a history lesson on a legendary Region Rat.
Jerry Ross grew up and graduated from Crown Point in 1966, and pursued his B.A. and M.A. at Purdue University before entering the Air Force. Colonel Ross logged nearly 4,000 flight hours on over 21 different missions in the Air Force, but that was only a portion of his illustrious career.
If you’re looking for the most experienced astronaut in American spaceflight history, look no further. Ross has the American record for 7 separate shuttle missions spanning from 1985 to 2002.
Aside from his amazing career in the military and in space, Jerry Ross is also a world-renowned author. His book Spacewalker: My Journey in Space and Faith as NASA’s Record Setting Frequent Flyer, is aptly named for his accomplishments. What really stands out is his historical account of one of the most expansive NASA eras in space flight history. For centuries to come, Ross’s account of his missions in space will stand as a point of reference for mankind in their exploration of the stars.
No one reference point can adequately describe the impact Jerry Ross has had on history, not only in our little corner of Indiana but on the entire world. We’re going to appropriately seed him at #1 and pair him against a much younger adversary in this contest, who has himself manged to make an impact, albeit on a smaller scale. While it would be hard to argue that this particular Region Rat could fill the giant shoes of Jerry L. Ross, that’s not up to me. No, that’s for the Region to decide collectively, so here’s our number 8 seed, the always entertaining Mr. Michael Essany.
Michael Essany comes in as the underdog in this match-up as the (8) seed. He was born in Valparasio in 1982, and is likely best remembered for his 7 years featured on E! Television on his own talk show. The excitement in the Region that existed when the 2005 Valpo University grad first began his broadcast was electric, and people all over Northwest Indiana tuned in to witness the unique comedy that was Michael Essany.
The Michael Essany Show was broadcast all over the TV viewing networks, whether it was in the Region or in friggin’ China.
But Michael has proved to all us Region rats that he’s not just a one-trick pony. To date, he has earned a seat on the Chicago Board of Trade and serves as Vice President of Indiana Grain, LLC. It’s no secret Essany has stayed true to his Northwest Indiana roots, and his current endeavors embody the commitment to the community.
Essany has also run for public office on two different occasions unsuccessfully in 2006 and 2010. Don’t let those political defeats fool you, though- Michael has often demonstrated his commitment to bettering the area in which he grew up, and his step into the political realm only represents the kind of personal sacrifice he’s willing to make it happen.
This is certainly in all senses your prototypical ‘David vs. Goliath’ match-up of Region Rats, but think of it as a testament to the quality of individuals which have come from our little section of this world, and the kind of impact which they have made on it.
Here’s a few of the highlights from Michael’s show, in case you happen to be in the dark:
So my fellow Region Rats, what do you say? Weigh in below on your choice for your more deserving Region Rat as we work our way to establishing our very own ‘Mount Rushmore of the Region’.