Valley veterans inducted into Ohio Hall of Fame - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Valley veterans inducted into Ohio Hall of Fame

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Vrabel - Gardner - Kish Vrabel - Gardner - Kish

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Three Valley veterans now have their names engraved on a bronze plaque, honoring them as members of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame class of 2013.

They are among 15 other veterans who were inducted during a ceremony held on Thursday at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial in Columbus.

The bronze plaques representing each of the classes inducted are permanently on display at the Vern Riffe Building, 2nd Floor located at 77 South High Street, Columbus.

The Mahoning Valley inductees include:


Mahoning County
United States Army Veteran
Korean War
Joseph K. Vrabel returned from his service in the United States Army during the Korean War and went to work serving his fellow veterans, joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1956 and soon becoming Post Commander. Joe's service continued as a Life Member of the American Legion Mahoning Valley Post 15, where he served five years as Post Commander, going on to serve as Mahoning County Commander, Dynamic Ninth District Commander, and during 2003-2004, served as the American Legion Department of Ohio Commander. He was an avid supporter of the American Legion's Buckeye Boys State, promoting the program whenever he could. He secured several local sponsorships, as well as providing his own personal donations to allow the youth of his area to get a first-hand experience in state government.
Joe was also very active in the Gifts for the Yanks program, and raised funds to continue the mission of providing gifts for hospitalized veterans at Christmas. He was instrumental in obtaining a van to transport veterans from Youngstown to the Cleveland VA hospitals and clinics. He also served as Post 15 Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Advisor for 15 years and was a former Ninth District SAL Advisor. In addition, he spent countless hours as a member of Mahoning Valley Post 15's Honor Guard and Color Guard, providing final military honors to his fellow veterans. Joe also served veterans as an active member of eight other organizations. He was known locally as the "Veteran's Veteran." Joe sponsored numerous bowling, golf, and other teams as the owner of the Hillcrest Tavern, and he and his family sponsored youth softball teams in his hometown of Poland.


Trumbull County
United States Army and Ohio Army National Guard Veteran
Korean War Era and Vietnam War Era
Roger Gardner is a veteran of service both in the active Army and the Ohio Army National Guard. Since 1957, he has been a member the American Legion Post 540 Honor Guard in Cortland, and served as Commander and Captain since 2000. Under his leadership,
the Honor Guard has participated in 2,281 funerals. Roger is an active participant in Memorial Day and Veterans Day activities each year, to include placing flags on the graves of veterans in six cemeteries throughout Trumbull County. As Post Commander of American Legion Post 540, Roger was instrumental in the construction of several veterans' memorials in the area, most notably the Korean War Monument in Trumbull County Veterans Park. He is also a member of the VA's Volunteer Service and volunteers for the Warren Community Based Outpatient Clinic, where he has logged over 2,300 volunteer hours, in addition to nearly 6,000 volunteer hours at the Youngstown VA clinic. Roger is a frequent speaker in the "Tell America" program in six local school districts, sharing his military experiences and encouraging patriotism among young people. Roger was recently named Mahoning County United Veterans Council Veteran of the Year, and has been honored with the Tri-County Funeral Directors Association Award for Community Service for his work as Captain of Post 540's Honor Guard. He has also received the Warren Tribune-Chronicle Community Star Award for his many contributions to the Warren area. Roger Gardner exemplifies caring and commitment to continue serving the veterans of Trumbull County.


Trumbull County
United States Army Veteran
Korean War
Alexander Kish served in the Army during the Korean War. He has since worked to honor both living and deceased veterans as well as currently serving military. Alex was instrumental in bringing the Western Reserve National Cemetery to Rittman, Ohio to provide a final resting place for Ohio veterans. He organized an Honor Guard whose membership rotates between several veterans' organizations to provide full military honors during burials at the national cemetery. Alex helped raised funds to provide over 400 phone cards to veterans at the Brecksville VA Hospital as well as to active duty soldiers at Fort Drum, New York. He arranged for transportation, hotel reservations and admission tickets for local World War II veterans and their families to the dedication ceremonies of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. His work in his greater community includes organizing a fundraiser with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 120 to provide a summer camp experience for the underprivileged children of Trumbull County, serving as vice president of an organization that provides transportation to medical appointments and shopping for senior citizens, and helping to establish a community block watch in Newton Falls. Alex is also Past Commander of AMVETS Post 112, American Legion Post 236 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3332. Alex Kish has dedicated his life to recognizing the contributions of veterans and caring for those less fortunate.

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was created by former Governor George V. Voinovich in 1992 to demonstrate his concern for Ohio veterans returning home due to military downsizing as a result of the end of the Cold War.

Former Ohio Bureau of Employment Services' Administrator, James Conrad, proposed the Hall of Fame to recognize the post-military achievements of outstanding veterans and realized how such a program would spotlight all veterans' contributions to the civilian workplace.

In 1992, a special panel of representatives from the state's veterans organizations was brought together to discuss the idea of establishing the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

The panel endorsed the idea for the purpose of increasing awareness of the lifetime contributions of veterans after completion of honorable
military service.

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is not a military hall of fame.

Those selected for the honor of induction are veterans who have honorably served their country through military service and who have continued to serve and inspire their fellow man with their deeds and accomplishments throughout their lifetime.

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