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 battlefield action.
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.