Department of Veterans Services | Veterans Hall of Fame - Class of 2013


Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame

On Thursday November 7, 2013 at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial in Columbus, Ohio,
15 Ohio Veterans will be inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2013. The bronze plaques representing each of the classes inducted are permanently on display at the Vern Riffe Building, 2nd Floor located at 77 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

 
Beall  |  Butcher  |  Derr  |  Donovan  |  Easterday  |  Gardner  |  Hinds  |  Kish
Kuffner  |  Seifert Jr.  |  Seman  |  Stanley  |  Swisher  |  Vrabel  |  Williams

Montgomery County
United States Army Nurse Corps Veteran
World War II

 
Anna Beall served honorably as an Army nurse in the Pacific Theater during World
War II. She returned home and began a long career at the Dayton Mental Health Center, retiring in 1983. Anna continued to serve her community through volunteerism, and was honored in April 2013 for 30 consecutive years of service at Hospice of Dayton.
During those years, she provided respite to caregivers so that they could tend to errands as well as comfort to the patients and their families. Each year she gives a talk to students at Stivers School in Dayton about service to country and her own military service,
keeping alive the memory of veterans of all generations. Anna has volunteered at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force as a tour guide. She is also a volunteer with the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress, encouraging other veterans to record their military experiences for future generations. In addition, she holds memberships in Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2800 and American Legion Post 598 in Dayton and is active in service with both. At 90 years of age, Anna Beall continues to serve her community and fellow veterans.

Licking County
Ohio Air National Guard Veteran
Gulf War Era

 
Steve Butcher retired from the Ohio Air National Guard as a Senior Master Sergeant.
Upon his retirement, he and his wife opened a small candy store in Pataskala that is now a thriving full- service restaurant. Twice each year, on dates close to Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Butcher’s Restaurant serves free meals to veterans all day as a “thank you” to those who have served. Steve also served on various city boards and committees.
He was elected Mayor of Pataskala in 2005 and was re-elected to a second term in 2009. As Mayor, he has been involved in the creation of a “Veterans Green,” a public green space adjacent to the city’s Veterans Memorial. “The Green” is also now the permanent home of the local Chamber of Commerce’s farmer’s market. Steve was also instrumental in raising funds for the renovation of the city’s old theater, the establishment of a local museum, and the reopening of a mothballed swimming pool for area children. Steve Butcher’s civic leadership and contributions to veteran advocacy have impacted the Pataskala community in a large and significant way.


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Clermont County
United States Marine Corps Veteran
Korean War Era and Vietnam War Era

 
Robert “Bob” Derr enlisted in the Marine Corps at age 17. Following his military service,
he returned home and established a business which he operated for 36 years. Bob is committed to both civic duty and veteran advocacy, having more than 30 years of volunteer work with the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and over 35 years with the Clermont County Neediest Kids charity. He has also served as a volunteer firefighter. The Clermont County Chamber of Commerce “Salute to Leaders” program recognized Bob for his outstanding service to both veterans and the greater community as Chair of the Fallen Heroes of Clermont County Memorial Committee. The memorial will commemorate the service of the 14 residents of Clermont County who fell during the Persian Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In addition, Bob was a three-term Commander for both AMVETS Post 131 and American Legion Amelia Post 773, and is a life member of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 63. Bob Derr’s life has been dedicated to giving back to his community.

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Summit County
United States Navy Veteran
World War II

 
Harry Donovan returned from his service in the Navy during World War II and enrolled at
the University of Akron. He became a Certified Public Accountant who, after working for others, started his own firm. Harry has also been an active volunteer all his life in his community and with veterans. He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 349 and an active supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project. He has established a scholarship fund for children of veterans. He is a donor and volunteer with the Summit County Stand-Down for homeless and displaced veterans as well as at the new Valor Home, a 30-bed facility for homeless veterans named after his son, Harry Donovan, Jr., a Vietnam veteran. In the greater Akron community, Harry has served on the boards of the Fairlawn Chamber of Commerce, the Honor Flight of Akron/Canton, Hospice & Palliative Care of the Visiting Nurse Service, and Open-M, a non-profit consisting of all faith organizations that provides food, health care, tutoring and social services for those in need. He was honored in 2012 as Summit County Veteran of the Year. Harry Donovan has given selfless service to many causes.


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Noble County
United States Army Veteran
Korean War

 
After his return from Army service during the Korean War, Carlos Easterday and his wife, Donna, saw a need within their community to provide support and hope for those less fortunate during the holiday season. They decided to offer a free community-wide dinner on Christmas Day, and Carlos recruited others in the area to put their plan into action.
The first year 160 meals were served or delivered at what became the annual “Friends Serving Friends Free Community Christmas Day Dinner.” The event has been a blessing for many people, and also an annual tradition for families or individuals to be part of it.
Now in his 80’s, Carlos still plays a leading role in an effort that every year serves 300 meals with an additional 300 delivered to homes in the community. Carlos has also taken on the responsibility of ensuring a flag is placed on the graves of veterans in his area, and recruits the help of local teenagers to honor these men and women. He is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8040 and the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 625, where he is a past commander. Carlos Easterday has been a difference-maker in the lives of many in his community as well as to other veterans.


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Trumbull County
United States Army and Ohio Army National Guard Veteran
Korean War Era and Vietnam War Era

 
Roger Gardner is a veteran of service both in the active Army and the Ohio Army National Guard. Since 1957, he has been a member the American Legion Post 540 Honor Guard in Cortland, and served as Commander and Captain since 2000. Under his leadership,
the Honor Guard has participated in 2,281 funerals. Roger is an active participant in Memorial Day and Veterans Day activities each year, to include placing flags on the graves of veterans in six cemeteries throughout Trumbull County. As Post Commander of American Legion Post 540, Roger was instrumental in the construction of several veterans’ memorials in the area, most notably the Korean War Monument in Trumbull County Veterans Park. He is also a member of the VA’s Volunteer Service and volunteers for the Warren Community Based Outpatient Clinic, where he has logged over 2,300 volunteer hours, in addition to nearly 6,000 volunteer hours at the Youngstown VA clinic. Roger is a frequent speaker in the “Tell America” program in six local school districts, sharing his military experiences and encouraging patriotism among young people. Roger was recently named Mahoning County United Veterans Council Veteran of the Year, and has been honored with the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association Award for Community Service for his work as Captain of Post 540’s Honor Guard. He has also received the Warren Tribune-Chronicle Community Star Award for his many contributions to the Warren area. Roger Gardner exemplifies caring and commitment to continue serving the veterans of Trumbull County.


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Delaware County
United States Marine Corps Veteran
Vietnam War

 
David Hinds returned from his Vietnam War service to his hometown of Zanesville and embarked on four decades of service to community and other veterans both in Muskingum County and later in Dublin. In 1979, he received the honor of a Presidential Outstanding Community Achievement of Vietnam Era Veterans award in his home county. In 2013,
he worked tirelessly as a member of the Dublin Veterans Park Committee to raise thousands of dollars for the establishment of a Grounds of Remembrance Memorial in Dublin Veterans Park. During the intervening years, David has chaired many major veteran-oriented projects, to include the Zanesville Vietnam Veterans Outreach Program, Zanesville Marine Corps League Toys for Tots, Zanesville and Muskingum County Marine Corps High Schools Youth Physical Fitness programs, Zanesville Marine Corps League Distinguished Musician Award, Zanesville Medal of Honor Monument and Eternal Flame, and dedication of Zanesville’s Clint Kramer Park, which honors a local veteran. He has also served as a volunteer for several civic causes, among them the Zanesville Meals on Wheels, Jaycees Toy Drive, Zanesville Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Salvation Army, and the Dublin Food Pantry. The Zanesville Jaycees recognized him with the Outstanding Jaycee Leadership Award. David has also been honored with the National Meritorious Service Medal of the Marine Corps League, the State of Ohio Marine Meritorious Service Award as the State Judge Advocate, and the Marine Corps League Detachment Commanders Award. David Hinds has lived a life of service to both veterans and community. David was also a firefighter for 23 years, the last ten as an arson investigator and special duty sheriff.


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Trumbull County
United States Army Veteran
Korean War

 
Alexander Kish served in the Army during the Korean War. He has since worked to honor both living and deceased veterans as well as currently serving military. Alex was instrumental in bringing the Western Reserve National Cemetery to Rittman, Ohio to provide a final resting place for Ohio veterans. He organized an Honor Guard whose membership rotates between several veterans’ organizations to provide full military honors during burials at the national cemetery. Alex helped raised funds to provide over 400 phone cards to veterans at the Brecksville VA Hospital as well as to active duty soldiers at Fort Drum, New York. He arranged for transportation, hotel reservations and admission tickets for local World War II veterans and their families to the dedication ceremonies of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. His work in his greater community includes organizing a fundraiser with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 120 to provide a summer camp experience for the underprivileged children of Trumbull County, serving as vice president of an organization that provides transportation to medical appointments and shopping for senior citizens, and helping to establish a community block watch in Newton Falls. Alex is also Past Commander of AMVETS Post 112, American Legion Post 236 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3332. Alex Kish has dedicated his life to recognizing the contributions of veterans and caring for those less fortunate.


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Auglaize County
United States Navy Veteran
World War II

 
John "Jack” Kuffner was a veteran of the Navy, having served as an aerographer from 1946 to 1948. He was an attorney-at-law for 50 years. He served as the assistant prosecuting attorney for Auglaize County for 24 years, prosecuting attorney from 1967 to 1968, and was County Court Judge, during which time he received the Ohio Supreme Court Award for Superior Judicial Service. Jack served on the St. Marys Board of Health, the Western Auglaize County Red Cross board, and the St. Marys United Way Fund board. He served as president and lieutenant governor of Kiwanis and received a Hixon Fellowship from the organization. Jack was a member of the Jaycees and the Auglaize County Democratic Executive Committee. He was a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion. Jack was a 50-year member of Mercer Lodge 121 and named Mason of the Year in 2008. As a dedicated member of Zion Lutheran Church, he served as elder and deacon, and was on the finance committee and building committee. Jack was a Golden Age Member of Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge 767, past president of the Auglaize County Bar Association, a 50-year member of the Ohio State Bar Association, where he was granted honorary life membership, and a 50-year member of the American Bar Association. After retiring, he served as a member of the Auglaize County Veterans Service Commission. He and his wife Alma donated their woodland to the Heritage Trails Park District.


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Montgomery County
United States Army and Army Reserve Veteran

 
Harry Seifert returned from serving in the Army to complete his college education and begin a long business career in Dayton. He also served his community in a number of ways to facilitate veteran employment and business development. Harry is a past president and board member of the non-profit City-Wide Development Corporation which incubated new businesses, significantly contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods and re-energizing downtown Dayton. He played an important role in the creation of Tech Town,
a technology-based district under development in the eastern part of downtown Dayton, and is actively involved in developing a Vet Town district for veteran-owned businesses. While serving with both the City-Wide Development Corporation and as board member of Dayton’s American Veterans Heritage Center, he paved the way for the city’s first Community Covenant. This covenant brought community business leaders together with the Dayton VA Medical Center to commit to support the employment of veterans throughout the Miami Valley. Harry led the drive to restore the neighborhoods and homes of the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar into the Williamsburg-equivalent of a late-19th century working-class neighborhood – which has now become a National Park that honors both the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar. He also serves as the president of the Wright-Dunbar Business Neighborhood and the Third Street Historic District, where his leadership led to revitalizing that portion of the eastern anchor of Dayton’s Heritage Corridor into a thriving commercial district. Harry Seifert has made a direct and lasting impact on preserving the Dayton area’s heritage while also serving it today as a business leader who helps others succeed.


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RONALD J. SEMAN

Cuyahoga County
United States Air Force Veteran
Korean War

 
Ronald Seman returned from his Air Force service during the Korean War and began a
career in the communications field while maintaining a focus on veterans. He originated
“The Cleveland Veteran” radio program on WERE radio which exclusively promoted veterans’ activities and was even able to secure Bob Hope to appear on the program. While at the Cleveland Press newspaper, Ron persuaded the management to feature a weekly veterans’ issues column that he wrote. He continued this practice by authoring the weekly “Veterans Beat” at the Bedford Times Register and the Maple Heights Press. For 15 years, he volunteered as an assistant to Chester Koch, who coordinated patriotic activities in Cleveland for 55 years. When Mr. Koch died in 1989, Ron continued in his stead. He organized, chaired and served as Master of Ceremonies for Cleveland’s annual Memorial Day, Flag Day, and Veterans’ Day programs. Ron was also a speechwriter, event planner and veterans’ representative on the Cleveland staff of Governor George Voinovich. In addition, he has served on the USO of Northern Ohio’s governing board and actively assisted that organization in supporting military service members and their families. Ron is a member of the Polish Legion of American Veterans, U.S.A., the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Catholic War Veterans. Ron has spent most of his life both informing and honoring veterans.


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Pickaway County
United States Army and Army Reserve Veteran
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm

 
Sharon Stanley was an Army nurse on both active duty and the reserves who continued to serve her community after retirement. She served at the national level as Chief Nurse of the American Red Cross from 2009 - August 2013. Under her leadership, Red Cross nurses received training and experience in all areas of service, to include disaster response and the National Student Nurse Program. Sharon was responsible for the volunteer management of over 15,000 Red Cross nurses and volunteer nurses. She also increased the presence of Red Cross volunteer nurses in both military hospitals and the VA healthcare system. In addition, she has been a part of the Community Health Resilience Initiative for the Office of Health Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security. Sharon also serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Nursing. She is directly involved with Wright State University in developing a national standardized program of disaster training that will provide nurses with a certificate in Disaster Nursing, helping to fill a knowledge gap among different state and community disaster protocols. Sharon was honored in 2013 as one of only five nurses from the U.S. to be awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. Throughout her life and career, Sharon Stanley has improved the lives of countless service members and civilians.


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Franklin County
United States Navy Veteran
Vietnam War Era

 
Carl Swisher returned to Columbus from his Navy service in 1964 and started his own
painting business, Swisher and Sons, in 1965 – a business he still oversees today.
Carl also served his fellow veterans and his community’s youth. He joined the American Legion through his father in 1971, and held every office at his 12th District post in Franklin County, including Commander. Later he became the American Legion’s Department of Ohio Commander and served four years on the National Executive Committee. At the national level, Carl was appointed to the Foreign Relations and National Legislative committees, and committees for Post and Membership activities. He was a liaison for the Children and Youth Committee, Internal Affairs, the Resolutions Subcommittee, and the Finance Commission. Carl is an avid supporter of the Columbus Veterans Day parade and has personally sponsored a float for the past 15 years. He currently represents the American Legion on the Franklin County Veterans Service Commission, and serves as representative to the Mayor’s Advisory Board, Milvets, and Mott’s Military Museum. He serves on the American Legion’s Americanism and Government committee, and with Operation Flag, which restores veteran cemetery plots in need of repair. Carl also chaired the Buckeye Boys State committee for over 15 years, helping thousands of teens to understand and appreciate state government. Carl chaired the American Legion’s Special Olympics committee and has sponsored many youth sports teams. Carl is a Life Member of the American Legion, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Navy League Association, and the Masons. He is also a Kentucky Colonel and a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. Carl Swisher’s life exemplifies service to veterans and community.


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Mahoning County
United States Army Veteran
Korean War

 
Joseph K. Vrabel returned from his service in the United States Army during the Korean War and went to work serving his fellow veterans, joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1956 and soon becoming Post Commander. Joe’s service continued as a Life Member of the American Legion Mahoning Valley Post 15, where he served five years as Post Commander, going on to serve as Mahoning County Commander, Dynamic Ninth District Commander, and during 2003-2004, served as the American Legion Department of Ohio Commander. He was an avid supporter of the American Legion’s Buckeye Boys State, promoting the program whenever he could. He secured several local sponsorships, as well as providing his own personal donations to allow the youth of his area to get a first-hand experience in state government. Joe was also very active in the Gifts for the Yanks program, and raised funds to continue the mission of providing gifts for hospitalized veterans at Christmas. He was instrumental in obtaining a van to transport veterans from Youngstown to the Cleveland VA hospitals and clinics. He also served as Post 15 Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Advisor for 15 years and was a former Ninth District SAL Advisor. In addition, he spent countless hours as a member of Mahoning Valley Post 15’s Honor Guard and Color Guard, providing final military honors to his fellow veterans. Joe also served veterans as an active member of eight other organizations. He was known locally as the “Veteran’s Veteran.” Joe sponsored numerous bowling, golf, and other teams as the owner of the Hillcrest Tavern, and he and his family sponsored youth softball teams in his hometown of Poland.


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Franklin County
United States Army Veteran
World War II

 
John Williams served in the Army during World War II in one of the final horse-cavalry units. Once his unit shipped overseas, it was reformed into a heavy pontoon engineer battalion, and he served in combat in southern France and Germany. After the war, John attended Ohio State University on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a degree in commercial art and advertising. He later secured a job with the U.S. Postal Service where he designed mail delivery system training aids. John became a volunteer activist in 1974 when he filed a class action complaint of discrimination against management at the Columbus Post Office. This led to the implementation of an Affirmative Action Plan that removed politics from the postal promotion process, creating equal employment opportunities for minorities and women. Later, he co-founded, and was a charter member and first Chair of the Trustees of the Reeb-Hosack Community Baptist Church, where he continues to serve as Chair of Media, Public Relations, and Church History ministries. John has written many columns for the Call and Post and Columbus Post newspapers. His work with the South Linden Area Commission and as a board member of St. Stephen Community House was instrumental in uniting independent block watches into the Greater Linden Block Watch Alliance, which he co-founded. He has also been the Publicity Chair for the Linden Operation Pride Task Force and a member of the Community Identity Team for the South Linden Strategic Marketing Program. In addition, John served as Trustee/Treasurer of the Urban Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Columbus Urban Growth Corporation. John’s favorite saying is, “I’d rather wear out in serving others, than rust out in idle retirement.”