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Serving those who served

Alex Green • Aug 28, 2014 at 4:04 PM


It was all for the vets.

Several vendors — mostly healthcare and veteran organizations — set up booths in the Camp Perry Conference Center in Port Clinton Wednesday to inform veterans of options that many never knew were available.

"Veterans don't always have all the (information)," said Julie McCormick, director of veterans services for Stein Hospice. "It leaves them oblivious sometimes."

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, Stein Hospice and about 40 other agencies tried to educate veterans of their options during the health and information fair.

Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky was another vendor, and although the care facility, with more than 400 beds, is one of the state's largest, many local veterans have never heard of it, said Rick Hatcher, chief business development officer at Stein Hospice.

"Ohio Veterans Homes has been around since 1888," Hatcher said. "But there's veterans in the area who still don't know they are eligible."

Vendors shook hands with veterans to provide them with information, but also to thank them for their service.

Much of the day was about commemorating the several veterans in attendance, a group that served in a multitude of different wars.

Stein Hospice held a pinning ceremony Wednesday to honor the veterans in attendance.

Hatcher spoke during the ceremony and explained how certain generations of veterans have received different reactions from the American public.

"I got to wear my uniform in airports," Hatcher said, a retired Command Chief Master Sergeant in the Ohio Air National Guard. "That was not always the case."

That's especially true for Vietnam veterans, who were looked down upon for serving in a war that countless Americans strongly opposed, Hatcher said.

He asked the Vietnam veterans in attendance to stand up, as they were presented with wrist bands that, by tradition, can only be passed on from Vietnam veteran to Vietnam veteran.

He lauded the veterans for making an imperative decision back in the 1970s.

"Vietnam veterans said never again are we going to let our veterans be (disrespected)," Hatcher said.

But Wednesday was not solely about Vietnam veterans.

World War II, Korean War, Gulf Coast and Iraq War veterans attended.

"That's exactly what it was, it was a success," McCormick said.

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