Best of Columbus 2022: Harry Miller, Matt Amodio and Others Meet the Moment

Celebrating those who inspired us and led with courage and integrity during difficult times

Columbus Monthly staff
Matt Amodio on the set of "Jeopardy!"

Matt Amodio, Ohio State grad and Jeopardy! champion

Matt Amodio is a native of Medina, a graduate of Ohio State University and—as Central Ohioans found out during an exceptionally exciting run on the classic TV quiz show—the owner of the third-longest winning streak in the history of Jeopardy! Amodio charmed us by being one of us: He tuned in to the show as a youth, and when he got his chance to hold the famous buzzer, was ready with a set of tactics to maximize his chances of winning (including dabbling in multiple categories rather than zeroing in on one, and using “What” at the start of all answers-in-the-form-of-questions). In the process, he inspired his home state by accumulating a haul of over $1.5 million.

Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza and Live Music and Natalie’s Music Hall & Kitchen

After Natalie’s shut down because of COVID-19, its owners made a difficult call last summer: to open back up while requiring proof of vaccination from customers and employees, becoming one of the first local music venues to do so. Co-owner Charlie Jackson explained the decision to The Columbus Dispatch: “We just don’t want to go back to the limited capacity,” Jackson said. “We have touring musicians back out on the road, and they need to make a certain amount of money. If [we are] at 30, 40 percent capacity, they’re not going to perform.” Not everyone agreed. On Aug. 14, 2021, anti-vax groups like Moms Against DeWine protested outside Natalie’s in Worthington. The right to pizza shall not be infringed!

Columbus Urban League

The pandemic hit Black-owned small businesses hard. With less access to capital and federal relief programs, about 41 percent shut down across the country in the early months of the health crisis, according to census data. In Central Ohio, the Columbus Urban League attempted to step into this void with its Minority Small Business Resiliency Initiative. The effort, launched in early 2020, engaged more than 2,200 businesses, secured $7.6 million in funding and saved or created more than 1,250 jobs.

In 2021, a partnership with the Columbus Chamber was added to the program, providing nearly 80 Black-owned businesses memberships to the business group. Chamber services—including consulting and marketing support—have helped such beneficiaries as J’s Sweet Treats and Wedding Cakes, Bake Me Happy and Trip Bikes survive and even grow during an extraordinarily challenging time.

Offensive lineman Harry Miller (76) talks to offensive lineman Jack Forsman (61) during the 2022 Ohio State University spring football game at Ohio Stadium.

Harry Miller, former Ohio State lineman

In a shocking Twitter post, OSU offensive lineman Harry Miller medically retired in March, detailing his mental health struggles and plans to kill himself last summer. Coach Ryan Day directed him to medical professionals, and therapy helped.

Bringing legitimacy to pain like his has become Miller’s mission, as he explained in a teary interview on The Today Show. “I have a 4.0 and whatever accolades you might require,” he wrote on Twitter, “so maybe if somebody’s hurt can be taken seriously for once, it can be mine.”

For Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Miller started an online apparel store benefiting Faces of Resilience, an annual event that supports OSU’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. He’ll share his story as the fundraiser’s keynote speaker on Sept. 20. As he told WBNS-10TV, “The wounds are there, so let them be useful.” Well said, well done, be well, Harry.

This story is from the July 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.