Winter 2020 Edition
Help Us Select the 2020 Ohio Veterans HOF Class
It's time to start thinking about recognizing the veterans in your community who've made a difference. The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is accepting nominations to recognize those who served in the U.S. Armed Forces and continue to contribute to our communities, state, and nation through exceptional acts of volunteerism, advocacy, professional distinction, public service, or philanthropy.
Each year, the Hall of Fame inducts up to 20 former service members based on recommendations from an Executive Committee of veterans from throughout the state and approval from the Governor of Ohio.
To be considered, the veteran must meet the following criteria:
- Be a past or current Ohio resident
- Have received an honorable discharge
- Be of good moral character
This Hall of Fame sets the standard for recognizing Ohio’s veterans for accomplishments beyond their military service. Chances are you know a veteran who deserves to be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. You are encouraged to nominate that deserving veteran today.
Nomination deadline is June 1, 2020. Guidelines, a sample nomination, and more information are available on our Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame website.
Hall of Fame nomination form
Hall of Fame rules
Hall of Fame sample nomination form
SB7 Opens Doors for Military Members, Spouses
In his lengthy career as a statesman, Governor Mike DeWine has displayed a deep respect for service members past and present as well as military family members. That commitment was evident again recently in one of Ohio’s premier settings – the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton.
On Jan. 27, Governor DeWine signed Senate Bill 7, which provides military members and their spouses with better employment opportunities by simplifying the process to transfer their occupational licenses to Ohio. State Senators Bob Hackett and Peggy Lehner co-sponsored the bill.
SB7 requires licenses to be issued in a timely manner and at no cost to military members and their spouses who hold valid credentials in another state.
“Military families are vital to our state and nation, and this new law will eliminate the red tape they encounter when relocating to Ohio and resuming their careers here,” Governor DeWine said.
The Governor signed the measure before a gathering that included dignitaries Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Ohio Representatives Rick Perales and Casey Weinstein, U.S. Congressman Mike Turner, and ODVS Director Deborah Ashenhurst.
Appropriately, the museum is located on the outskirts of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which is the largest single-site employer in Ohio along with being the state’s largest military installation.
Similarly, the Governor signed House Bill 18 at the Ohio Statehouse on Feb. 25. HB18 offers a one-time, refundable tax credit to veterans who have paid state income tax on disability severance payments and provides veterans a two-year period during which they can claim the retroactive credit. Director Ashenhurst joined the Governor, Lt. Governor Husted, Senate President Larry Obhof, State Representatives and bill co-sponsors Erica Crawley and Nino Vitale, and others for the signing.
Dayton, Springfield Prove to be Veteran-Friendly
ODVS enjoyed separate trips to western Ohio in February, during which Director Ashenhurst was able to interact with supporters of #OhioVets and learn more about the ways those in the area value former service members.
On Feb. 4, the Director and other department representatives enjoyed visits to the University of Dayton and the Worthington Industries plant in Monroe, Ohio. At UD, the Director met with a few of the 370 military-affiliated students on campus along with university leadership to discuss how to improve transition to student life, resources available for the ROTC cadets, and opportunities ahead.
Later in the day, the group headed to Worthington Industries, the $3.3 billion steel processing company which was founded decades ago when Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame honoree John P. McConnell took out a $1,200 loan.
The facilities at Monroe and nearby Middletown have a total workforce of 158 employees, 24 of which are veterans. The Director met with several of them, listened to their stories, learned about their roles with the company, and offered words of gratitude while presenting them with an ODVS Challenge Coin. Air Force veteran and Human Resource Manager Mike Perry led a tour of the Monroe plant.
The following week, the Director again headed west, this time to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new state-of-the-art VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Springfield on Feb. 12. She joined Tuskegee Airman Donald Elder, Ohio Veterans Hall of Famer Debborah Wallace (Class of 2016) as well as other dignitaries and organizers.
The new, 12,500-square-foot facility will offer more than 4,000 veterans in the Springfield area outpatient primary care, home-based primary care, laboratory services, physical therapy, audiology, and social work.
On The Road to Wright-Patterson AFB
ODVS has been busy going out “On the Road” across our great state capturing and telling the amazing stories of Ohio’s veterans. From our 3 for 3 interviews highlighting the different branches of the military on their birthdays, to our guide to great places in Ohio to Explore Women’s Military History, our newest hire, Ryan Griffin, in the communications department is a true storyteller. Griff’s monthlong daily social media posts for African American and Women’s History months have uncovered in detail, the role Ohioans have played in shaping the history of our country and the military.
Col. Chuck Jones discusses exhibits in the National Museum of the U.S. Air ForceCol. Chuck Jones discusses exhibits in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Capturing veterans, like WWII D-Day survivor Charles Dawson and Pearl Harbor survivor Joe Whitt sharing their eyewitness accounts of some of our country's iconic moments in their own words are segments you should check out online. Our latest two videos come straight from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton and feature Col. Susan Richardson with many of the exhibits delving into the role women have played as well as Col. Chuck Jones, who will show you inside several of the historic planes he actually piloted.
If you know of a great story you would like to ODVS to document, leave us a tip.
State Approving Agency Paves Way to Higher Ed
Many of you may not be aware that the Ohio Department Veterans Services is the administrative body for the State Approving Agency (SAA). The SAA is an education program approval and compliance team that serves as a link between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Ohio’s colleges, apprenticeships and On-the-Job Training facilities. There are more than 760 Ohio schools approved for use of GI Bill® benefits. The SAA team approves education programs so that veterans may use their GI Bill® education benefits at approved schools. In addition to these duties, the SAA also performs regular audits of GI Bill® recipient records to ensure students and schools are being paid correctly.
There are 52 states and territories that have a State Approving Agency and all have membership within the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA). Twice a year, NASAA hosts conferences to relay the latest information from the VA and upcoming changes to GI Bill® benefits. Recently, members of the Ohio SAA, including Deputy Director Jonathon Field, traveled to NASAA’s winter conference in Washington, D.C. As part of this conference, NASAA gave U.S. Senator Jon Tester an award for his efforts to improve the GI Bill®.
While the SAA’s work is mostly done behind the scenes, it plays a crucial role in the educations of Ohio’s veterans and a starting point for schools interesting in becoming approved. Last year, the GI Bill® paid more than $100 million in tuitions and fees for student veterans in Ohio.