Winter 2019 Edition
Ashenhurst Makes Early Mark as ODVS Leader
The flip of the calendar brought with it exciting change for many aspects of Ohio government and state agencies, including new leadership for the Ohio Department of Veterans Services. On Jan. 10, newly elected Governor Mike DeWine introduced Maj. Gen. (U.S. Army, retired) Deborah Ashenhurst as the new Director of ODVS.
Director Ashenhurst arrived highly decorated and with 37 years of service with the Ohio National Guard. She also knows how to break glass ceilings.
Under the previous administration headed by former-Governor John Kasich, Gen. Ashenhurst also served at a cabinet level for four years as the Adjutant General and commander of the State of Ohio. In that role, Ashenhurst commanded the 17,000 personnel of the Ohio Army and Air National Guard, Ohio Military reserve and Ohio Naval Militia.
Along with being Ohio’s first female Adjutant General, Ms. Ashenhurst is now the first woman to serve at the forefront of ODVS, which became an official state agency in 2008. She succeeds Col. Chip Tansill, who served as Director from September 21, 2015 until Jan. 13, 2019. Her other predecessors are the late William J. Hartnett (2008-11), Thomas N. Moe (2011-13) and Timothy C. Gorrell (2013-15).
During her military career, Gen. Ashenhurst received numerous awards, including the Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (with one Silver and one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster) and the Joint Service Commendation Medal. She retired from the U.S. Army and the National Guard in October 2015. Her career culminated in service as a special assistant to the vice chief, National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C.
Following her retirement from the military, Gen. Ashenhurst served as the senior vice president, military strategy with R2 Associates. She also served as a commissioner on the Ohio Military Facilities Commission.
See Gen. Ashenhurst’s first address as ODVS Director.
"On the Road" in Search of Outstanding Veterans
In our quest to continue to tell stories of our former service members and highlight their many deeds of benevolence, ODVS periodically will feature videos of Director Ashenhurst and other members of our department meeting up with these laudable men and women of service.
The video series, dubbed “On the Road,” kicked off in February with a vignette featuring Navy veteran Joe Radin, who is also known as “the Flagman” because of his efforts to hand out handcrafted, encased mini flags to fellow veterans as a form of gratitude for their military service and love of country.
Director Ashenhurst recently had a sitdown chat with Mr. Radin at his favorite hangout in his hometown of Beavercreek and asked him about the motivation behind his act of kindness. She also presented him with an ODVS challenge coin to recognize his willingness to go above and beyond to brighten the lives of Ohio veterans.
The videos will be prominently featured on our website, OhioVets.gov, and our social media channels, and housed in a YouTube queue for all to see.
Workforce Team Unveils New Online Trainings
Our Veterans Workforce Team continues to make strides to open up avenues of opportunity for men and women of service.
Workforce Manager Ryan Blackburn and Regional Consultants Dan Semsel and Tiffany Chavers remain committed to educating Ohio’s employers with free, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)-accredited presentations and one-on-one consultations on hiring veterans.
The Workforce Team conducted their first SHRM-accredited online training on Feb. 1. It was delivered to an engaged audience and provided an overview on hiring veterans in Ohio. A few other free online training sessions also are scheduled in the coming weeks: Interviewing a Veteran – March 1, 10-11 a.m. Veteran Hiring Overview – March 15, 10-11 a.m. Managing Veterans – April 12, 10-11 a.m.
You can register for these events for free at our Workforce events page.
The Ohio Veterans Workforce Team was established in October 2016 to empower Ohio employers with knowledge of military skill and culture so they can better recognize the advantages of hiring veterans as well as more effectively recruit and retain former service members as part of their workforce. Find out more at OhioVets.gov.
Identify a Hall-of-Famer In Your Community
We are looking forward to the Enshrinement Ceremony that will mark the Class of 2018’s permanent entry into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame with the unveiling of the group’s bronze plaque in the lobby of the Riffe Center for Government and the Arts. That annual event is set for May 1 in downtown Columbus.
However, now is also the time to be thinking about those individuals across the state who may be worthy to join them in the Hall. If you know a veteran who served honorably and has gone on to other great achievements and contributions to society, please go to OhioVets.gov and find the Hall of Fame nomination form and rules that enable you to nominate a great Ohioan. The deadline for sending all submissions for consideration is June 1, 2019.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame recognizes the efforts of Ohio’s distinguished men and women who have worn the uniform of our nation’s armed forces and then continue to contribute to their communities, state and nation through exceptional acts of volunteerism, advocacy, professional distinction, public service and philanthropy.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame includes captains of industry, professional educators, political champions and civic supporters. Our honorees include some of Ohio’s most recognized citizens including astronaut Neil Armstrong, actor Paul Newman, business entrepreneur and philanthropist R. David Thomas, and surgeon and inventor Dr. Henry Heimlich.
Please nominate someone today so that we can honor and recognize the post-military achievements of our amazing veterans.
Ohio Women Veterans Conference Set For August 10
Women veterans from all across the state and beyond will gather in Columbus the weekend of Aug. 9-10 for ODVS’s biennial Ohio Women Veterans Conference. As in recent years, the daylong conference on Aug. 10 will be held at the Ohio Union on the campus of The Ohio State University. The previous evening, visitors can participate in a social gathering in Columbus that provides more opportunity for interaction and fun.
The Ohio Women Veterans Advisory Committee, in collaboration with ODVS, plans the conference and has set out to attract 1,000 attendees in 2019. First hosted in 2006, the conference is now one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
The conference will feature daylong access to a resource expo, inspirational addresses, multiple networking opportunities and several breakout sessions on topics such as managing finances, wellness, aging and building confidence.
Remember to save the date!
2019 Ohio Women Veterans Conference
Saturday, August 10
The Ohio Union at The Ohio State University