The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS), the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Executive Committee, and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation will announce the 2020 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame class during their annual induction ceremony on Thursday, November 5th at May 10th Watch
Among the initiates are two area veterans, Paul G. Butler of Clinton County and William C. Graybill of Brown County.
• Butler was born in Wilmington, Ohio, and served honorably in the US Navy during the Vietnam War. Upon returning home, he began a successful career in the insurance industry and a tireless veteran advocate to quickly make a huge impact on his community.
In more than 50 years as a member of the American Legion Post 49, he has held almost every elected position and was even a commander. He has been a post chaplain for 20 years and a district chaplain for seven years. Butler has been closely associated with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6710 for more than three decades, is a lifetime member of AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans, and is a former commander of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 49.
A military historian and eloquent moderator, Butler is a speaker at various Veterans Day programs and has helped highlight the excellence of his peers. He also supports patients as a VA Voluntary Service Representative for the Wilmington Community-Based Outreach Clinic.
Butler has volunteered hundreds of hours for the Community Care Hospice since 2014, and is particularly involved in the American Pride program – as a chaplain who provides blankets and detains veterans in the final stages of care. He has also performed several weddings and funerals and is a frequent supporter of the Honor Flight program.
Butler is passionate about caring for and educating children, whether as a participant in Flags for First Graders, a speaker on various high school programs, or during his long tenure as chairman of Buckeye Boys State. Butler entered the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame at the age of 71.
• Graybill is a Mount Orab, Ohio Army veteran who served honorably in Vietnam and carried army’s values throughout his life. He started his career at Cincinnati Milacron in 1974 and has been raising the flag there for the past 30 years on Veterans Day – even after he retired in 2017.
Graybill is committed to ensuring that our nation’s heroes are celebrated and remembered. He went to extraordinary lengths to bring the traveling “Vietnam Wall” to Brown County, where more than 10,000 visitors witnessed the monumental sacrifice that the wall represents. As the owner of Ohio Valley Flags, Graybill is passionate about educating others – especially the young – about flag retirement and proper flag etiquette.
Graybill, known to many as a “chaplain,” was appointed ordained minister in 1992. He is dedicated to selfless service to his fellow veterans and their families. He has served as chaplain for military honors and sick and incarcerated veterans throughout South Ohio. He is a member of several veterans organizations including the American Legion, VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America and DAV. He also devotes his time as a chaplain to provide comfort and care to residents of the Ohio Veterans Home in nearby Georgetown.
His sincere caring has surely made a positive impact on countless lives. Graybill was awarded the Chaplain’s Award for Religious Emphasis by his American Legion district in 2017 and was named Veteran of the Year in 2017 by the local veterans support group Open Arms Always.
Last year he was selected as one of the top 20 nominees for the Citizen Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Graybill entered the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame at the age of 73.
Instead of a traditional public ceremony, this year’s induction ceremony will be held virtually on November 5th and will include a compilation of individual recognitions from all 20 members of the class.
Due to the security measures taken during the current pandemic, ODVS reached out to all award winners and their families to find out the most secure way to display their Hall of Fame medals and plaques and to give newly inducted members the opportunity to themselves share their stories in front of loved ones. During these recognitions, a congratulatory video from Governor Mike DeWine was shown and ODVS Director Deborah Ashenhurst acted as host.
The ODVS staff recorded these memorable and very personal ceremonies, and the highlights of these moments become apparent during the roughly hour-long induction program.
The 2020 Hall of Fame Official Induction unveiling will be made online on both OhioVets.gov and the Ohio Channel website OhioChannel.org.
The full list of people inducted into the 2020 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame follows:
Paul G. Butler, Marine, Clinton County;
David W. Chilson, Marine, Wood County (awarded posthumously);
Richard D. Ellsworth, Army, Licking County;
Timothy A. Espich, Army / OHARNG, Clark County;
Kimberly D. Frisco, Air Force, Greene County;
William C. Graybill, Army, Brown County;
Glenn H. Grismere, Army, Warren County;
Kenneth P. Jakubec, Marine Corps, Mahoning County;
Thomas J. Jenks, Army, Cuyahoga County;
James D. Kaster, Army, Cuyahoga County;
Daniel R. Kirkpatrick, Air Force, Greene County;
Babe Kwasniak, Army, Cuyahoga County;
David C. Lange, Marine, Carroll County;
Jane M. Lengel, Army / OHARNG, Franklin County;
David G. Meyer, PhD, PE, Air Force, Montgomery County;
Carolyn E. Nagy, Army, Lucas County;
Connie Pillich, Air Force, Hamilton County;
David M. Ridenour, Army, Wood County;
James P. Schear, Marine, Stark County; and
Alan R. Wallace, Marine, Fairfield County.
Bios for all 20 class members, additional information about the Hall of Fame and previous initiates – sortable by class, county, and alphabetically – can be found at OhioVets.gov.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was founded in 1992 by former Governor George Voinovich to recognize excellence in professional achievement, community service, and selfless actions by post-military service veterans. Founding members of Hall’s Class in 1992 include the six Ohio military veterans who were elected President of the United States and all Ohio Medal recipients. Award winners include astronauts, volunteers, community leaders, security officers, veteran attorneys, and former government officials.
The 2020 class was selected from 136 nominations. The initiates, ages 44 to 95, span 16 different counties in Ohio and four major branches of the United States Armed Forces – Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. This year’s class joins 895 Ohio veterans enrolled since its inception and representing all eras, branches of service, and walks of life.