OCSEA's Veterans Affairs Committee celebrated Veteran's Day in style this past weekend by honoring OCSEA veterans and all who have served our country. The union's annual tribute to veterans was held at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center in Dayton near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Union leaders spoke about the importance of veterans programs, their concerns for the future and the sacrifices our veterans have made across the nation.
The highlight of the weekend event was the announcement of the OCSEA Veterans' Award, the OCSEA Veterans' Supporter Award and OCSEA's brand new Courage Award.
OCSEA member William Hill was the honored recipient of the Larry Cremeens Veteran Service Award. This award is given only to OCSEA veterans. Hill is a Marine veteran and Customer Service Disability Veterans Outreach Specialist at the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services. On the job, he helps veterans build work skills and transition back into the civilian workforce. Because of an obligation at another veterans event, Hill was unable to attend; however, members of his Chapter 3510 accepted the award on his behalf.
Alvin Thomas was honored with OCSEA's Veterans' Supporter of the Year Award. Alvin Thomas is a Parole Board Officer who is also in the Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction Honor Guard, SEIU union member and strong advocate for veterans.
An extremely emotional moment during the event was the announcement of the first-ever OCSEA Courage Award. The award was given to Theresa Hill, a Registered Nurse with SEIU, who saved the life of OCSEA union brother Matt Mathias after he was brutally stabbed by an inmate last February. Mathias, continuing to heal from his wounds, was on hand to present the award and express his sincere gratitude to Hill in what was an incredible show of emotion for both.
Colonel Elena Oberg, Vice Commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, spoke about her long-standing military family, which helped her make the decision of going into the Air Force. She also spoke about how important the Wright-Patterson force is, by simultaneously supporting Afghanistan, in other conflicts and around the nation where help is needed."They are miracle workers," she said.
“Every veteran has a unique story, but they are each tied together by commitment and service.”
Brock Heath, a Marine Corp veteran, spoke about his own military experience and how he decided to become a Life Coach through his company the Blue Vase Hunters. Ken Harbaugh, a Navy pilot veteran, discussed how his life changed when he came out of the military and how so many veterans have a hard time adjusting after serving.