| The Ohio Military Hall of Fame got its start over lunch.
Bob White, Ed Arthur, Jim Garvey, Roger Holbrook, Charlie
"PJ" Coulter, and Ted Mosure, all Vietnam combat
veterans, had regularly been meeting for informal lunches
to reminisce and discuss issues of the day. At one lunch former
Army Air Cavalry veteran Ed Arthur presented a concept to
his fellow veterans: developing a way for Ohio to honor its
heroic veterans in a unique and special manner.
The group of men turned his idea turned into the Ohio Military
Hall of Fame. The premise of the organization was simple:
Since a low percentage of veterans ever experienced hostile
fire, the ones who did enjoy a special bond with each other.
Of those, an even smaller number have been the recipients
of medals for valor for their battlefield actions. This exclusive
group of veterans could receive the recognition they deserve
through the Ohio Military Hall of Fame (OMHOF).
The proposal for the OMHOF was not initially met with a great
deal of enthusiasm from the Ohio Office of Veterans Affairs:
they were concerned that citizens could confuse the organization
with the already-established Veteran's Hall of Fame.
However, the OMHOF's Board of Directors (comprised of the
six men who met for lunch that day), wouldn't easily give
up. They continued to work with State officials to clarify
the differences between the Veteran's Hall of Fame, which
recognizes inductees for their civilian contributions after
their military service, and the Military Hall of Fame, which
specifically recognizes soldiers awarded medals of valor for
Their perseverance paid off. With the help of David Aldstadt,
the Director of the Governor's Office of Veterans Affairs,
the merit of recognizing Ohio's combat heroes in an annual
public ceremony was acknowledged and, with extensive help
from U.S. Congressman Pat Tiberi, an induction ceremony planned.
OMHOF becomes Reality
On July 7, 2000, the first class of veterans was inducted
into the OMHOF. Representative Tiberi gave the keynote address,
and each recipient was awarded the Ohio
Medal of Valor.
In June of 2002, i5, LLC™ of Powell, OH established
the Ohio Military Hall of Fame Web site at www.ohioheroes.org.
To our knowledge, Ohio is the first State to officially recognize
its military heroes in this manner. The Ohio Military Hall
of Fame will provide information to any other state interested
in doing something similar. We also provide speakers for schools
and other occasions. Starting in 2003 the annual induction
ceremony will always be held the first Friday in May in the Atrium of the Ohio Statehouse.