As part of Veterans Month, we featured four local veterans to thank them for their service to our country. We featured just a few veterans, but we want to remind everyone to thank all of the veterans in their lives. Although November 12th was Veterans Day and this month is designated to show gratitude, we should thank those who have served every day and every month.
“We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.” — Ronald Reagan
“It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.” — Barack Obama
Thank you to all the veterans and those who have died in the line of duty in the county, in the state and across this great nation. Without you, we wouldn’t have the freedoms we so cherish.
We kicked off the series by featuring Air Force veteran Jody O’Millian, who serves as president of the county’s United Veterans Council. He’s also a member of the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission, a trustee of the Tiffin AMVETS and is a service officer in Tiffin’s VFW and American Legion. O’Millian is from Tiffin and graduated from Mohawk High School in 1985. Soon after, O’Millian came back from his military service, he started a job at Cooper Tire in Findlay, but he felt something was missing. When he moved back to Tiffin four-and-a-half years later, he still felt something was missing. He later found that his involvement in the aforementioned military groups
helped to fill that void. “It was the camaraderie that was missing,” O’Millian said.
O’Millian’s military career lasted 21 years, 3 months and 23 days. He was a crew chief. He served at Yokota Air Base in Japan for 5-and-a-half years, at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany for 1-and-a-half years, at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for 1-and-a-half years, at Moody Air Base in Georgia for 3 years and at McGuire Air Base in New Jersey for 3 years.
Check out O’Millian’s full story here.
Our second featured veteran was Marine Corps vet John Kreps. Kreps initially decided to join the Army like his father, but changed his mind because he felt joining the Marines would be an “exciting challenge.”
Kreps served because of his family. He was inspired by family members from his mother’s and father’s side serving in the military. “My family has a very long history of military service, leading back to the Revolutionary War,” he said.
Kreps was one of the first members of FAST Company, or the Fleet Antiterrorist Security Team. The team is a reactionary force designed to combat terrorist anywhere in the world at a moments notice. This included embassy security, special weapon security and high-risk target security all over the globe.
See the rest of Kreps’ story here.
Our third featured veteran was Tiffin City Councilman and Army veteran Steve Lepard. Lepard decided to serve because it was a family tradition. He was in the Army from 1972-1974.
Lepard said before recently, he never considered himself a veteran because he didn’t serve in a war.
“I look at my heroes from Attica and from other locations, they all had boots on the ground,” he said.
Every day of his life, Lepard wears a silver bracelet with the name of Staff Sergeant Dale E. Williams. Williams, an Attica native, died in Cambodia in 1970, during his second tour of duty.
Before William’s second deployment, he told Lepard he likely wouldn’t return.
“I think of him every day. For a small village, we had so many people serve in Vietnam. It was unbelievable. Four of them lived on the same road,” he said.
Lepard said he has many friends who are Seneca County veterans. He is friends with veterans from WWII and from the Korean War.
“A good friend of mine who passed away 10-12 years ago, he was a medic,” he said. “He stormed the beaches of Normandy.”
Lepard said he saw the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on some of his friends who served in Vietnam.
“War is hell, everybody loses, regardless if you claim yourself a winner,” he said.
For the rest of Lepard’s story, go here.
Our final featured veteran of the month was Army veteran and Seneca County EMS Director Ken Majors. Majors served as a platoon medic in the 82nd Airborne Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Like some others in the series, he followed a family tradition of military service. He said the military helped to provide him direction into a field that suited his abilities and trained him to a high standard.
Majors said his most memorable moment from his military service was meeting his future wife at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She was from Bloomville, Ohio (which explains how I got here). We were married on May 2, 1987 and for the first 3 years of our marriage, she didn’t see much of me. But we endured, and we are still here 31+ years later. My wife was an Army Nurse and she served with the 44th Medical Brigade & Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg in a surgical Intensive care unit, and post-anesthesia care unit.
Our son Joshua was born at Womack on October 25, 1989 – this is by far the most memorable moment of our military career.
Check out the rest of Majors’ story here.