October 29, 2019

Veterans Day parade focuses on services for vets

BATAVIA, OH — Emily Dillenberger, Christy Panzarella and Nancy Young from the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission will serve as Grand Marshalls in the annual Veterans Day Parade on Main Street in Batavia at 7 p.m. Nov. 11. Lineup for the parade, which goes from Haskell Lane to Clermont Sun offices, begins at 6 p.m. (Lineup is on Haskell Lane.)

Dillinberger, a receptionist, served as an E-3 (Seaman) in the U.S. Navy, in 2012; Panzarella, veterans’ service officer, was an E-3 (Seaman) 2007-2009; and Young, administrative specialist, was an E-2 (Airman) discharged on disability from the U.S. Air Force in 2000.

Commission Executive Director Frank Morrow will deliver the keynote address. He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, 1989-92.

Veterans Services sees more than 1,000 Clermont County veterans a year to help them with everything from disability claims to filing for health care insurance offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“We are seeing more veterans with PTSD for various reasons,” said Rodger Young, Senior Veterans’ Service Officer, and Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret).  “Some of the veterans coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan have as many as eight deployments under their belt. Older veterans who have served in past wars are now retired/retiring and have more time to think about their war experience and fewer distractions to offset those memories.  Most of our claims are for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and hearing loss.”

In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5 percent of deployed and nondeployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20-30 percent. As many as 500,000 U.S. troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The Veterans Service Commission is also seeing more veterans getting enrolled in Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare because of the high cost of medical insurance/treatment.

Among the services offered to veterans at the Veterans Service Commission:

  • Emergency financial aid to eligible veterans and families who demonstrate a need. This can include help with food, utility payments and rent/mortgage payments.
  • Claims assistance with filing VA claims and other benefits.
  • Transportation assistance to VA medical facilities, including the VA hospital in Cincinnati.
  • Flags and grave markers, help with documents and getting copies of lost medals.

For more information on the Veterans Service Commission, go to its website at www.clermontcountyveterans.com. Its office, 76 S. Riverside Drive, Batavia, is open 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 513-732-7363 for more information.

October 21, 2019

Increasing numbers of veterans seek help for PTSD

BATAVIA, OH (Oct. 21, 2019) — As a senior veterans’ service officer at Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission, Rodger Young often helps people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Veterans Services assists more than 1,000 Clermont County veterans a year to help them with everything from disability claims to filing for health care insurance offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Emergency Financial Assistance.

“We are seeing more veterans with PTSD for various reasons,” Young said.  “Some of the veterans coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan have as many as eight deployments under their belt. Older veterans who have served in past wars are now retired/retiring and have more time to think about their war experience and fewer distractions to offset those memories.  Most of our claims are for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) hearing loss, and various exposure claims.”

In one major study of 60,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 13.5 percent of deployed and non-deployed veterans screened positive for PTSD, while other studies show the rate to be as high as 20-30 percent.

As many as 500,000 U.S. troops who served in these wars over the past 13 years have been diagnosed with PTSD. Warning signs include panic attacks, depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, chronic sleep impairment, lack of impulse control and mild memory loss.

“There are a lot of symptoms, and not all people have the same ones,” said Young, a retired United States Air Force Master Sergeant. “It can be hard to nail down. Most veterans think things are normal, until people tell them otherwise.”

Young describes PTSD as “more like overactive radar.” Those with the disorder can feel uncomfortable in settings with lots of people. Most will avoid crowded areas or will ensure a direct path is planned out in advance in case a situation arises.

Vets with PTSD often want to sit with their back to the wall to get a good vantage point. They’ve been trained to look for people with bombs strapped on, and get out quickly. Similarly, they scan crowds, almost like an automatic reaction, looking for anything out of the ordinary. They’re leery of cars pulled over to the left side of the road, even risking a speeding ticket to avoid them, due to suspicions engrained in their military careers.

Loud noises can bring on anger and distraction, and require time to calm down. Young tells of a couple that had to do dishes separately. The rattling noise unnerved the one with PTSD. His heart rate sped up, as his instincts feared a threat. He couldn’t control the reaction.

Some PTSD sufferers encounter nightmares, which may be controlled with medications. They can wake up and hallucinate, like one vet who thought he saw “camel spiders.”

Four hours of sleep is common. Many keep busy while at home, mowing the lawn and doing chores, instead of watching TV. They’re very regimented, used to tools being in order and wallets and keys in a certain drawer.

Young says potential employers may fear that vets with PTSD would “go postal.” In reality, they make good employees because they work hard. Focus on work keeps their PTSD away.

At a more severe level, some PTSD sufferers become suicidal. Young encourages them to text the Veterans Suicide Hotline at 838255 or call 800-273-8255.

The team at Clermont County Veterans’ Service helps get those with PTSD ready for specialized  services from the Veterans Administration.  The VA’s main regional medical facility is at 3200 Vine St. in Cincinnati. VA Healthcare Associates Clermont County has an office at 4600 Beechwood Road and the Georgetown Community Based Outpatient Clinic is at 474 Home Street. For those who can’t get transportation, Clermont County Veterans’ Service offers van service. Call 732-7471 for more info.

Although PTSD never ends, treatment for the disorder has come a long way in recent years, Young said.

“They know a lot more than they used to,” he said, “and they can help people live better with the symptoms.”


January 29, 2019

2 Clermont men inducted into Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame

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.

Cliff Riley

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.

Ron Hartman

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.

Video of induction ceremony


December 28, 2018

Frank Morrow is new executive director at Veterans Service Office

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.


November 1, 2018

Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11 in Batavia

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!


June 28, 2018

Clermont County proclaimed a Purple Heart community

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!


October 19, 2017

Veterans Day Parade in Batavia on Nov. 11

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.


June 12, 2017

World War II veterans to be honored at County Fair

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.


April 3, 2017

Commissioners recognize National Vietnam War Veterans Day

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.


November 3, 2016

Veterans can get Ohio ID card Nov. 12 at UC Clermont

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.