He said, as the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame has proven, there are new legends made every year.
The founding father in this year’s class of inductees is none other than David Foster, the county’s first merchant and largest landowner. His gifts included land for the county seat along the banks of the Wildcat Creek, as well as the Normal School and Grace Methodist Church in Kokomo.
The hero is Maj. Gen. William Kepner, who ran away from home and joined the Marines at the age of 16. His career took him from the infantry in World War I, to the Army Air Corps as a pilot of balloons and dirigibles, to World War II as a pilot of fighter planes and bombers and commander of all air forces over Europe. He was decorated for bravery in two wars, won national and international balloon races, and piloted a National Geographic balloon flight that set a new altitude record before a near-disastrous crash landing.
The CEO is Bob Knowling, who was born in Kokomo and credits the Kokomo YMCA for much of his success later in life. Knowling worked through the ranks at Indiana Bell, became vice president of network operations and technology for Ameritech, and eventually the CEO of Covad, one of the companies that helped build America’s broadband infrastructure. He recognized early on the potential of digital technology in telecommunications, and pushed its acceptance and development throughout his career.
Hingst is one of the three contemporaries being honored. Sadly, his recognition is posthumous. After a stint in the Army during WWII and a wound suffered at Normandy, Hingst graduated from Purdue University. He met his wife, Hilda, at Purdue and moved to her hometown of Kokomo, where he went into business. His leadership benefited education, social services, economic development and business, and his philanthropy was frequent and generous.