Upper Arlington residents will be familiar with this year's inductee to the city's Wall of Honor.

Upper Arlington residents will be familiar with this year's inductee to the city's Wall of Honor.

R. David Thomas (1932-2002) was selected last week as the 2012 inductee to the city's Wall of Honor. He will be recognized with a permanent bronze plaque in the plaza in front of Upper Arlington's Municipal Services Center.

Thomas was best known as the founder, chairman and CEO of Wendy's International Inc., which as of March 2010 is the world's third- largest hamburger fast-food chain. Thomas opened his first Wendy's restaurant in Columbus on Nov. 15, 1969. The chain now has about 6,650 locations in 26 countries.

Once a high school dropout, Thomas attended and graduated from high school in 1993, "in order to relay a message to future generations about the importance of obtaining an education," according to information provided by the Upper Arlington Historical Society.

Thomas was also awarded an honorary membership inSigma Phi Epsilon from Duke University, and was also a Freemason and a member of the Shriners.

Kitty Munger, director of communications for Wendy's Co., said Thomas would have been proud to receive the recognition.

"We are honored that our founder, Dave Thomas, is being included on the Upper Arlington Wall of Honor," Munger said. "The impact Dave had in the business world, especially the restaurant industry, is significant. But his generosity to the central Ohio community is one of his greatest legacies. We know he would be proud to be remembered in this way."

Along with his career in the business world, Thomas also focused on children's health-related causes, such as St. Jude's Research Hospital, and donated millions to Nationwide Children's Hospital.

In 1992, he founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which provides grants to national and regional adoption agencies to make adopting children easier and less expensive.

Thomas was also a veteran of the United States Army, serving during the Korean War before being honorably discharged in 1953 with the rank of staff sergeant.

Those selected for inclusion on Upper Arlington's Wall of Honor must have lived in the city at some point during their lives, must be deceased, and must have made a significant contribution to the city, state or nation.

Some of the faces that can be seen on the wall include OSU football coach Woody Hayes, former Ohio Gov. James Rhodes, breast cancer research fundraisers Stefanie Spielman and Cindy Dyas, and Arlington founders King G. Thompson and Benjamin S. Thompson.

The plaque honoring Thomas will be dedicated during a ceremony at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 20. The public is invited to the ceremony outside the city's Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.