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They span every county in the northwestern section of Indiana with life stories of valor, genius and innovation.

Their stories of selfless sacrifice during times of war, the ability to touch thousands of people through the generations with their literary prose or music and their pioneering and societal changing inventions give us all reason to be #RegionProud.

As the South Shore Wall of Legends prepares to induct its two newest honorees Thursday at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond, we all should reflect on these home-cultivated sons and daughters of Region greatness.

On Thursday, the late billionaire businessman, lodging mogul and Region philanthropist Dean White and legendary World War II fighter pilot and Tuskegee Airman Quentin Smith will join the Legends legacy as the 69th and 70th honorees.

Both are worthy pioneers of transformational change in their fields — giants in the greater world. Both also happen to have Region roots — White in Crown Point and Merrillville and Smith in Gary.

Like many of the legends on the wall, neither man is alive today.

But their memories provide Northwest Indiana with a heavy dose of pride. The Wall of Legends honorees are a collective dose of reality to the often-imagined chip of inferiority many in our Region have felt in the shadows of Chicago and Indianapolis.

Now White and Smith will be enshrined beside military Medal of Honor recipients who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country.

They'll take their place beside volunteer heroes of the American Civil War, including the 20th Indiana Volunteer Infantry and its Crown Point Col. John Wheeler, who died at the Battle of Gettysburg.

On the wall, White and Smith also will be in the company of satirist and broadcast legend Jean Shepherd, best known this time of year for creating the classic story line behind the movie, "A Christmas Story," which was based on his childhood in Hammond.

Anyone in our greater Region of Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski and Starke counties who hasn't visited the wall and taken in its honorees should do so.

It's one of those inspirational points of homegrown human greatness that remind us all what Northwest Indiana can accomplish for the greater good of humanity.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.