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3 veterans to join Ohio's hall of fame

COLUMBUS - Three veterans from northwest Ohio are among 19 to be inducted Nov. 9 by Governor Taft into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame as the class of 2000.

The hall of fame was established to honor military veterans, but valor in the line of duty isn't a consideration. Instead, the hall “recognizes people who made significant contributions to their state and their communities,” said Shannon Scherer, director of the hall of fame.

“These people came home, and they're really the quiet members of their communities,” Ms. Scherer said. “They work in their schools, their hospitals, their veterans organizations and, sometimes, their contributions go unrecognized.”

Those to be inducted are:

  • J. Ronald Bowman, 69, an Army veteran of the Korean War and of the Ohio National Guard, in which he became a major general. He is a Lucas County Common Pleas judge.

  • Joel C. Davis, 71, an Army veteran of the Korean War who is a former treasurer and village councilman in Luckey. He is treasurer of northwest Ohio chapter No. 131, Korean War Veterans Association, of which he is a past president.

  • Clarence W. Seaver, 81, an Army veteran of World War II who is a member of the Erie County board of elections and a trustee of Providence Hospital, Sandusky. He is a former member of the Erie County board of health. He is a former chairman of Goodwill Industries, the Sandusky youth advisory commission, and the Sandusky YMCA.

    Judge Bowman was particularly active this year in events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. He was grand marshal for the 2000 Memorial Day parade, was master of ceremonies for the dedication of the Vietnam Peace Memorial in the Toledo Civic Center Mall, and is often called on to give speeches on behalf of veterans.

    He noted that in the hall of fame, he'd be among the likes of the late Maj. Gen. Walter Churchill, head of the local grocery chain, and the late Kenneth Rieger, a longtime reporter and editor for The Blade and a former president of Local 43, The Newspaper Guild.

    “To join people like General Churchill and Kenny Rieger is just a wonderful honor,” Judge Bowman said. “It's a payback for being one of the lucky ones to come back with both arms and both legs and my head still on top of my shoulders.”

    Mr. Davis has a long record of service in his adopted hometown of Luckey, where he has lived since 1953.

    “It'll probably be one of the greatest things that'll ever happen to me,” Mr. Davis said, noting that past classes have included generals and Medal of Honor winners. “I'm none of those. I was just a GI who came back home and wanted to help everybody out.”

    Mr. Seavers was busy yesterday, as most days - spending time at the board of elections and putting out signs for Democratic candidates.

    He said he didn't expect to be chosen for the hall of fame.

    “I think you should give back to the community, if you're able,” Mr. Seavers said. “There's a lot of people who do that, they give back.”

    This year's class was chosen by a committee of representatives from veterans groups, the past three classes of inductees, the governor's office of veterans affairs, and the Ohio Veterans Home from among 91 nominees, Ms. Scherer said.

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