WILMINGTON — Congress’ and the country’s job to look after returning veterans is not done, U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio 15th district) told a Veterans Day audience on courthouse square.
Stivers was one of several speakers at the annual Nov. 11 program held on the brick walkway of the Clinton County Veterans Memorial located near the downtown intersection of Main and Walnut streets.
“When they come home, they deserve health care, mental health care, and they deserve an opportunity to get a job and a safe, good place to live. And we’ve got to continue those efforts going forward,” said Stivers.
The congressman said he is “so proud to have written a couple pieces of legislation” that deal with situations returning veterans can face in civilian life after serving in the military.
One of those legislative measures, Stivers said, is the Hire at Home Act, which helps veterans to leverage the skills they obtained in their military service and “translate” those skills to civilian employment. For one thing, the law helps streamline the process of receiving a state certification for a variety of job skills that veterans have gained in the military, he said.
Speaking specifically of veterans who return to civilian life with medical issues picked up from their military service, Stivers said “care for their physical and mental health wounds” should be ensured after the veterans’ military discharge.
“They do sometimes come back hurt, and we’ve got to look after them,” he said.
Clinton County Commissioner Patrick Haley told a story about a World War II veterans event he witnessed a number of years ago at Union Station in Cincinnati. Veterans in their 70s at the time were there with their spouses, and when music was played they danced to it. One veteran’s wife was confined to a wheelchair, said Haley, but the man picked up his wife from the chair and held her and moved through motions in a makeshift dance.
“I remember thinking that is so representative of that generation and what they stood for,” Haley said of the Americans who experienced World War II as well as the Great Depression — people who comprised the greatest generation as they were later described by broadcast journalist Tom Brokaw.
State Sen. Bob Peterson (R-17th district) said in his Columbus office there hangs a painting of a beautiful rural scene that bears the phrase “land of the free because of the brave.”
Wilmington Mayor Randy Riley, Clinton County Auditor Terry Habermehl, Clinton County Veterans Service Commission Executive Director Ray Souder and American Legion Post 49 Chaplain Dennis Hasz also spoke during the program.
American Legion Post 49 Auxiliary President Shirley Mitchell read a roll call of residents’ names that are engraved on the most recently installed memorial brick pavers that make up the veterans memorial walkway.
The newest memorial pavers are for Richard E. Bias, Jackie L. Byrd, David E. Conger, Russell L. Conger, Keith A. Gates, Frank “Ron” Gibson, Richard D. Hartley, Henry D. Henthorn, Thomas W. Kuehn, C. Arnold Lansing, Harold E. Moon, Raymond E. Moon, Code J. Pennington, Floyd W. Powell, David G. Redmond, George F. Redmond, John D. Redmond, John Franklin Reno, Harold Smith and James Lucas Taylor.
For information on ordering a Clinton County veteran memorial brick, contact staff at the Clinton County Veterans Service Commission, located on the courthouse side of 43 S. Walnut St. in Wilmington, near the memorial.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.