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Who would belong on real Lehigh Valley Mount Rushmore?

New ProductsAsa PackerU.S. ArmyCharles SchwabMuhlenberg CollegeAir Products and Chemicals, Inc.

Nominations are trickling in for my Hall of Fame of the area's most colorful characters and for the Mount Rushmore of the four greatest Hall of Famers.

I have developments to report, including an expansion of the original request. More on that in a moment.

Every year, I receive nominations for people who deserve recognition, but not necessarily in this forum. This year, these included Alejandra Castillo. Here's part of the email I received from Molly Brown, director of marketing and public relations for The Wescoe School of Muhlenberg College:

"I would like to nominate a local woman for this wonderful Hall of Fame. While her name and fame might not be as strong as Emma T. and the Cipko Brothers, I would pit her dedication and passion (and modesty) worthy of a spot on that mountain.

"U.S. Army SFC Alejandra Castillo. She is married, age 28, mother of two young children and later this year is set for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Alejandra (Alee´) does not know I am contacting you for this nomination. While I suspect there will be many local decorated war heroes, older men with great combat stories, I think the fact that Alee´ will be leaving her family to serve our country along with all the other sacrifices she has already had the courage to make at such a young age is worth a look.

"Alee´ has been a soldier for 11 years. I remember her telling me her Mom would not sign necessary paperwork when she wanted to enlist, so she got Dad to do it. Her mother eventually came around, seeing how determined and committed her daughter was to serve our country."

I wanted to give Castillo, an Allen High School and Wescoe School graduate, a thank you here for her service, but I do not want to see Castillo's face [I'll put a photo of her on my blog] on my Mount Rushmore alongside the likes of Larry Marra, Skip Eckhart and Pumsy. She deserves much better than that.

Castillo wasn't the only person mentioned in such positive terms amid the usual rogue's gallery of colorful characters. One reader misunderstood my call for the faces on the Hall of Fame's Mount Rushmore and instead nominated four people whose faces might go on the Lehigh Valley's real Mount Rushmore, if there were such a thing.

She and her husband nominated General Trexler, former Allentown Mayor Malcolm Gross, former Air Products executive Ed Donley and philanthropist Linnie Fowler.

Several other names sprang to mind for me there — Bob Rodale, Leonard Pool, Charles Schwab, Asa Packer — and it occurred to me that this would make a great separate exercise that we might as well launch here.

If someone really were carving a Lehigh Valley Mount Rushmore on South Mountain, whose faces would you put up there?

I would be inclined to go with people who made a large impact on the area rather than famous people who happen to be from here. But I'll leave it wide open for your choices, which I'll reveal in a column at some point down the line. If nothing else, it will be a great way of recognizing some of the men and women whose vision and generosity helped shape this region.

Meanwhile, I have additional news about what I actually was looking for, which were your nominations to be this year's Hall of Fame inductees and a Mount Rushmore of the most colorful Hall of Famers. I've received good contributions on both fronts, and I'm hoping that will continue.

The most amazing development so far is that I have a volunteer to not only sketch our Mount Rushmore when the selection committee has made its choices, but also to arrange to have it rendered into a papier mache sculpture.

I'll keep the artists' identities out of it until we're further along, but I'll tell you that the talented painter who has volunteered to help me is really slumming when she collaborates with the likes of me and these Hall of Famers.

Still, I'm really excited about it.

One last point I wanted to make. One member of the Hall of Fame informed me the other day that he believes any number of public officials are far more deserving than he is, which is a common complaint. But then he took it out a step further:

"I want out of your Hall of Fame. I don't belong there." Later in the Facebook message, he reiterated, "Honestly, I want to break out of your wax museum."

Actually, turning it into a wax museum is a great idea. If there are any wax artists out there who want to do some free work for me, I'd love to see a full-size wax Ron Angle.

In responding to this individual's request, though, I invoked The Eagles, coming soon to Allentown's new arena. Specifically, the closing stanza of "Hotel California."

"Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,

"I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,

"'Relax,' said the night man, 'We are programmed to receive,

"'You can check out anytime you like ... but you can never leave.'"

Once a Hall of Famer, always a Hall of Famer. You can never leave. 610-820-6105

Bill White's commentary appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

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