BATAVIA, Ohio (Jan. 29, 2019) – Clifford Riley, a Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commissioner, and Ronald J. Hartman, a 46-year member of American Legion Post 72, were inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
The two Clermont County residents were among the 20 people inducted on Nov. 8, 2018, two posthumously.
Riley, 72, of Milford, served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969, two years of that in Vietnam. He was a Sergeant E-5. He worked in the insurance industry for 47 years, working mostly with veterans on benefits.
Riley lobbied for the Agent Orange Act of 1991. In 2016, his lobbying helped to pass the Toxic Exposure Research Act, which requires the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to “establish a national center to conduct research on health conditions affecting descendants of veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their service in the armed forces.”
Riley was instrumental in establishing the Clermont County Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Union Township and each year leads a service to recognize the Cincinnati area veterans who lost their lives during the Vietnam War. He has been a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America for 27 years, and is currently serving his fifth year as president of the Ohio chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America. Riley has been a Veterans’ Service commissioner for 17 years.
Hartman, 71, of Union Township, served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. A Specialist 4, he was stationed in Karlsruhe, Germany. He has been commander of Post 72 for 16 consecutive years, and also served as state commander. He is a volunteer at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and served as vice president of Joseph House, which provides care, housing, food and clothing to homeless veterans.
Hartman has been recognized with several honors, including from the American Legion and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, for his philanthropy and fundraising.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was created in 1992. Each year, 20 men and women are selected from nominations submitted by the public. 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.”
Currently, the Hall of Fame consists of almost 500 members. Twelve are from Clermont County – including Ulysses S. Grant.
BATAVIA, Ohio (Dec. 28, 2018) – Frank Morrow, the new executive director at the Clermont County Veterans Service Office, believes in the mission of his office. “We’re helping veterans and their families,” he says. “It can be challenging to navigate the VA system, but a lot of times, when we win cases, it changes people’s lives.”
Morrow has worked at the Veterans Office since 2001. On Nov. 1, 2018, he was appointed to the position of executive director, following longtime director Howard Daugherty, who retired.
Morrow served in the Air Force from 1989 to 1991 at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he was an avionics and electronics specialist. Why the Air Force? “My dad was an electronics specialist in the Air Force during Vietnam,” Morrow says, and he wanted to follow in his dad’s path.
That’s not the only time Morrow followed his father. After working as wastewater treatment operator for Clermont County from 1993 to 1999, Morrow became a railroad conductor for the Norfolk & Southern Railroad – like his dad – conducting freight from Cincinnati to Danville, Ky., and back again. But he was laid off several times because of low seniority and he decided to try the county again. That led to the position with the Veterans Service Office – and a sense of purpose that still drives him today.
Morrow says he wants to make sure all veterans in the county are aware of the existence of the office, and the services it offers. “Our job is to reach every veteran in Clermont County,” he said. “Every week or two, a Vietnam veteran will walk in who had no idea that they could get benefits. We want to extend outreach as much as possible.”
To that end, Morrow has increased social media posts on the office’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/clermontcountyveteranservicecommission), and will use radio more to get its message out. On Nov. 1, the office sponsored its first blood drive, which Morrow plans to make an annual event. “Some veterans don’t know that we exist,” Morrow said. “We want to make sure that they know about their benefits, and that our office can help them.”
“We take people from the beginning of the process, and walk them through it,” he said. “We have had widows who come in here, very unassuming, not expecting to get anything. They are on a fixed income, and it can be life-changing when they find out they are entitled to a benefit.”
The office keeps busy. In 2018, the staff transported 881 veterans to their VA medical appointments, assisted 1,075 veteran families with financial assistance, and filed hundreds of disability claims for veterans and their dependents.
Morrow, who has been married to his wife, Rusann, for 25 years and lives in Washington Township, is very proud of his Chickasaw heritage on his mother’s side. The Chickasaw were one of the “Five Civilized Tribes” who were forced out of the American South between 1830 and 1850 and marched along what came to be called the Trail of Tears, many settling in Oklahoma.
Morrow researched his mother’s lineage through the Dawes Rolls – which lists people accepted as members of the tribes between 1898 and 1914. There he found the names of his great-great-grandmother and great-grandfather.
Morrow believes in the power of continuing education. In 2010, he received his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, and in 2014, he earned an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan.
To find out more about the Veterans’ Service Office, go to https://clermontcountyveterans.com, or call 513.943.3000. Staff officers can help to provide emergency financial assistance to veterans, spouses, dependent children and surviving spouses; and assist veterans in obtaining earned benefits from the federal, state, and local levels of government.
BATAVIA, Ohio (Nov. 1, 2018) – The American Legion Veterans Day Parade will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11, in the Village of Batavia.
Lineup will begin at 1 p.m. at Baxla Tractor, 610 W. Main St., Batavia. At 1:30 p.m., a presentation will be held on the Common Pleas Courthouse steps in downtown Batavia, and feature a proclamation from Clermont County Commissioners and a patriotic medley of songs. At 2 p.m., the parade will begin at Baxla and proceed into downtown Batavia.
Bob Proud, former Clermont County commissioner, will be grand marshal of the parade. The master of ceremonies will be Ron Hartman, a 2018 inductee into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. He is also the current commander of American Legion Post 72.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, also known as the Great War. In 1919, the American Legion was chartered by Congress as a patriotic veterans organization. The Legion’s efforts led to the creation in 1921 of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, the forerunner of the Veterans Administration. The organization was instrumental in winning passage of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, otherwise known as the “GI Bill.”
On Friday, Nov. 9, a blood drive sponsored by the Clermont Veteran Services Commission will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at 101 E. Main St., in front of the County Administration Building. Please register here: www.hoxworth.org/groups/clermontveterans. And enjoy a free hotdog from Baxla Tractor!
On June 25, Commissioners designated Clermont County a Purple Heart county. The County joins Tate Township and the Village of Bethel as a Purple Heart Community.
This designation reflects the percentage of veterans who live in Clermont County, and the high level of support residents of the county give to our military and veterans.
Steve Thompson, who served as a sergeant in the Marine Corps on three tours of duty in Iraq from 2004-08, accepted the proclamation.He was injured by an IED during Project Phantom Fury in January 2005. Steve is now a social studies teacher at Clermont Northeastern High School.
Daniel Hof, who was wounded in 2005 in Iraq and is commander of Clermont County Post 156 of the Purple Heart, presented Commissioners with the banner shown in the above photo.
We appreciate the service these brave men have given to our country!
BATAVIA, Ohio (Oct. 19, 2017) — The Clermont County annual Veterans Day Parade will be on Saturday, Nov. 11. Parade lineup begins at 1 p.m., the program begins at 1:45 p.m., and the parade will begin at 2 p.m. The parade will begin at the Baxla Tractor lot on West Main Street, and continue east to the Central Joint Fire-EMS firehouse on East Main Street.
Fire vehicles are asked to line up at College Drive. Other participants are asked to line up at Baxla.
The parade is sponsored by the Clermont County Council of the Ohio American Legion. Any questions, please direct to Steve Foster at 513.827.2514 or Don Chandler at 513.374.4223.
Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day in honor of the Armistice that ended World War I. In 1954, it became a federal holiday known as Veterans Day, to honor all those who have served in the U.S. military. Clermont County government offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10, in honor of Veterans Day.
BATAVIA, Ohio (June 12, 2017) – The Clermont County Fair will hold the annual Salute to Veterans, Troops & Their Families at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 23. This year’s Salute will recognize veterans of World War II, said Bob Proud, the longtime organizer and emcee of the event.
“We want to get the word out early to American Legion posts and VFWs, and to families,” Proud said. “We want to recognize and honor our World War II veterans while some are still among us. We’re hoping that families will be able to bring them to the event.”
The Salute will be held at the Multi-Purpose Building at the County Fairgrounds, which is air conditioned.
Thursday, July 27, is Veterans Day at the fair. Military vehicles will be included in the tractor pull that evening at the Grandstand.
Veterans are admitted free to the fair all week as long as they have their ID with them, said Fair Board President Dan Hodges.
A complete fair schedule can be found here: http://www.clermontcountyfair.org/fairschedule.htm.
For any questions on the Salute to Veterans, Troops & Their Families, call Proud at 513.518.2230.
BATAVIA, Ohio (March 30, 2017) – An act of the U.S. Congress honoring Vietnam veterans with a day of recognition was signed into law, designating March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. With the passage of this law, Vietnam veterans will be commemorated annually for their service.
Clermont County Commissioners, in honoring the designation of March 29 with the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 being signed into law, would like to extend the honor to all Clermont County Vietnam veterans and thank them for their service, valor and sacrifice for our country.
At 6 tonight there will be a 50th Vietnam anniversary observance at the Union Township Park Helicopter Memorial, presented by Clermont County Vietnam Veterans Chapter 649.
BATAVIA, Ohio (Nov. 3, 2016) – Clermont County veterans can obtain an Ohio Veterans ID Card at a Veterans Breakfast being held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, at UC Clermont College. The breakfast will be held in the student lounge (Jones 99).
Thanks to recently passed legislation, Ohio Veterans ID Cards can be issued to veterans who have been honorably discharged from active duty. Veterans must bring in their DD-214 papers. The ID card will allow veterans to take advantage of the many discounts offered to veterans by merchants throughout the area.
Beginning Nov. 14, veterans will be able to get their ID card at the Clermont County Recorder’s Office, 101 E. Main St., Batavia. It is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary, and the ID card is free. Again, veterans must bring in their DD-214 papers, so that their discharge can be recorded.
BATAVIA, Ohio (Oct. 26, 2016) — Clermont County’s Veterans Day Parade will be held Friday, Nov. 11, in the Village of Batavia. Lineup begins at 6 p.m. at the U.S. Post Office, 575 West Main St., Batavia, and the parade starts at 7 p.m.
The event will feature bands from several local high schools. Ron Chapman, Commander of the American Legion Department of Ohio, will speak during the event, said Steve Foster of the Clermont County Council of the American Legion, which sponsors the parade.
Those who want to join the parade can look for a sign for their community at the post office, Foster said.
“We are one of the few counties that actually holds the Veterans Day parade on Veterans Day,” Foster noted.
Other veterans-related events that week include:
Clermont County’s Veterans Day Parade will be held Friday, Nov. 11, in the Village of Batavia. Lineup begins at 6 p.m. at the U.S. Post Office, 575 West Main St., Batavia, and the parade starts at 7 p.m.
The event will feature bands from several local high schools.
More information on the parade and other veterans events can be found here.