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Must Reads 2016: The best of Tom Archdeacon

The Dayton Daily News is highlighting the best work of 2016 with the year-ending Must Reads campaign.

Throughout the year, we presented visual tours of some interesting or beautiful locations throughout the Miami Valley. Here's a look.

» MUST READS: Relive the year's top stories

UD legend Bockhorn reflects on losing 2 brothers in wars

Excerpt: "Bucky remembers getting off the bus and numbly trudging back up the lane of the hardscrabble farm from which his family — mom, dad and 10 kids — had tried to eke out a living in southern Illinois.

"'I told Mom what happened and it seems to me that that very same afternoon we got the missing-in-action letter,” he said. “I was old enough to drive and Mom said, ‘You better go over to the mines and tell Dad.’ ”

Former Dayton Flyer lone American medalist in 1980 Olympics

Excerpt: "All these years later – after playing for the teams in Milan and Pesaro, as well as Rimini, Bologna and Marsala, Sicily – Sylvester is still not forgotten by the Italian people..

"'I have about 2,000 Facebook friends and almost all of them are Italian.'"

Swimmer with area ties living Olympic dream

Excerpt: "It’s from the latter that Matthew launched what has already become a storybook career. His passport is stamped full of places where he has competed — including China, India, Spain, Turkey, Dubai, Qatar, Russia, England and the United States.

"Earlier this year he shattered all Sri Lankan records at the South Asian Games in Guwahati, India, winning seven gold medals, two silver and a bronze in the 11 events he swam."

‘You could just see the joy’

Excerpt: "The wrappings on the outside — be they the threads of Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren or Michael Kors, all courtesy of donors associated with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize (DLPP) — finally matched the beauty of the guys they covered.

"This is more evidence that the Belmont soccer team is the most unique prep sports team in the Miami Valley. It’s made up of athletes from 18 nations and four continents. Some are Muslim, some are Christian, 21 are boys and two are girls."

Muhammad Ali’s gift — he elevated us all

Excerpt: "The late Bundini Brown, Ali’s motivator and muse, put it best. He once explained how, as he moved with Ali from the dressing room to the ring, he felt as if his feet were not touching the ground. That was Ali’s gift — he elevated us all.

"And that’s why so many people from so many walks of life are saddened today. The wonderful ride has come to an end."

Parents of slain athlete still trying to cope

Excerpt: "And that’s why I called Kim Hunter the other day.

"She and Kevin Sr. had those same questions after Kordero’s murder in Dayton.

"They struggled and somehow have managed to forge ahead, each full-heartedly honoring their son, but coping differently."

‘Little Miss Sunshine’ to inspire at USAF Marathon

Excerpt: "Since birth, Caleigh’s had over 30 surgeries. Then two weeks ago — five months after she’d begun training with her dad for today’s race — she got the out-of-the blue cancer diagnosis that left the family reeling.

"And yet Caleigh presses on.

"It’s how she’s lived her entire life and why Pat McGohan, the founder of the McGohan Brabender company, where she works, dubbed her 'Little Miss Sunshine' for the way she regularly brings cheer to fellow employees."

‘Block of granite’ battles Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Excerpt: "Stacy smiled: 'Olivia’s getting married next Memorial Day in Nashville and he wants to walk his daughter down the aisle.'

"And that — just like the vision Billy Schmidt had that day several years ago — would be a sight to see:

"A smiling bride on the arm of a block of granite."

Memories of ‘Big Steve’ touch hearts at UD Arena

Excerpt: "He had been the most beloved player on last season’s NCAA Tournament team. On campus, he wasn’t just the tallest of the 11,000-plus students, but he was, by far, the best known.

"Everybody focused on him, not just for what he did on the court — he set a UD single-season record with 55 blocks last year, his only season in a Flyers’ uniform — but for how he was off it.

"He may have rejected shots, but he embraced hearts."

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