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Five inducted into Wall of Fame

Oct. 25, 2013 @ 12:08 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Five of the city's most influential residents were inducted into the Greater Huntington Wall of Fame Thursday evening during an annual ceremony at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

Ottie Adkins, Josephine J. "Jo" Fannin, the late Dr. Will E. Neal, Edward H. Seiler and the Rev. Dr. F. Emerson Wood joined the 112 inductees whose plaques are currently displayed in the arena's lobby.

Although each new inductee expressed great appreciation for the honor, they said they were surprised they were chosen.

"I've been on the board of the City of Huntington Foundation for several years and this is one of my favorite things we do, but I never ever dreamed I would be elected to the wall," said Fannin, who is CEO and president of the Hospitality House of Huntington. "It's a very humbling experience and a feeling I can't really describe. This is for all the volunteers and the 25,000 people that the house has taken care of."

Adkins, who had a successful boxing career before becoming police chief and later serving as Cabell County Sheriff and Cabell County Assessor, said being part of the Wall of Fame is one of the best honors he has ever received.

"It's hard to put into words but I am truly honored," he said. "To be honored by people who I served makes it even more special. I enjoyed being a public servant and I appreciate this."

Seiler, who has spent his life helping veterans through the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and Huntington's Homeless Veterans Resource Center, said he could not imagine his life would lead him to the Wall of Fame.

"It's an honor that I never expected and one that I very much appreciate," he said. "Growing up in Huntington, I never dreamed I would ever be on something like the Wall of Fame. I grew up hanging out in pool halls and hustling pool, but I guess I bloomed. I had a very nice career in health care administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs."

Wood, who was born in Herndon, W.Va., and has traveled extensively during his life, said he was lucky to end up in Huntington.

"The last 40 years, Huntington has been home to us and that's unusual for a pastor in the United Methodist Church," he said. "We're thrilled to death we got to stay in Huntington, in fact, the two people who are my heroes are the bishop who appointed me to Johnson Memorial so we didn't have to move and then (former West Virginia governor) Cecil Underwood who gave me a job in his administration so we wouldn't have to move from Huntington. This is home. It's a great honor to be on the wall."

Mary Witten Neal Wiseman, the granddaughter of the late Dr. Will E. Neal, who died in 1959 after 52 years as a physician and many more years as a public servant on the local, state and national levels, said she thinks her grandfather would be proud of the honor.

"I'm thrilled to have him be honored with this," she said. "There aren't a lot of people around who remember him, but he was quite well-known during his time and much-beloved. This is a wonderful way to honor people who were important in Huntington's history."



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