Four men were honored at the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission Dec. 21 after being recently inducted into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in recent years.
The two induction ceremonies are held in Columbus each year, so Clermont County Veterans’ Service commissioners held a ceremony Dec. 21 at their office to honor the men at home for their contributions.
The veterans honored were Specialist Four John McDonald of the United States Army, Private First Class Larry Isaacs of the U.S. Army, the late Ulysses S. Grant of the U.S. Army, and Clermont County Town Crier Bill Knepp of the U.S. Army.
The Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor honors Ohio veterans who receive medals for valor while serving in the armed forces. Classes are inducted to the hall of fame at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus each year.
Larry Isaacs was inducted to the hall of fame in 2011 and John McDonald was inducted in 2010. Both men are from Clermont County.
McDonald served during the Vietnam War and was inducted as a result of his heroism in ground combat against an armed force in the Republic of Vietnam March 10, 1968.
During a search for missing members of McDonald’s reconnaissance element, he fired and entered the enemy bunker, killing enemy soldiers while his platoon retrieved the missing members.
He was honored and received a Bronze Star with Valor Device for his service.
“I want to thank everyone for being here and yes, this is a great honor,” McDonald said during the ceremony. “And I thank God I am from this country.”
Isaacs was inducted for his actions on March 26, 1966 during the Vietnam War.
He was serving as a squad point man during a search and destroy mission in Vietnam. Because of his actions searching for Vietcong, he helped prevent his squad from receiving Vietcong fire.
“Private First Class Isaacs’ personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service,” Howard Daugherty, president of the commission, read at the ceremony.
Isaacs earned a Bronze Star Medal with a Valor Device for his service.
“This is not just for me, it’s for all the guys who came home during that era and the guys who didn’t come home,” Isaacs said.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Ohio Department of Veterans’ Services selects and honors veterans who have honorably served their county through military service and continue to serve citizens through their actions and accomplishments afterward.
Ulysses S. Grant was inducted as part of the first class of the hall of fame in 1992. Although he had already passed away, many people acknowledged Grant’s accomplishments then and also acknowledged his accomplishments at the ceremony Dec. 21.
Loretta Fuhrman, who has been the long-time caretaker for Grant’s birthplace in Point Pleasant, spoke about Ulysses S. Grant and the contributions he made throughout his life, during the ceremony.
Grant was born in Point Pleasant and raised in Georgetown. He attended local schools until he was appointed to attend West Point Military Academy. He served in the Civil War, served as Secretary of War from 1867-1868 and later became the 18th president of the United States.
Grant was one of six presidents with military service to be inducted as the first class of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
William “Bill” Knepp, of Clermont County, was also inducted to the hall of fame. Knepp, who served in the Korean War, followed his military service by contributing to the Milford community.
Daugherty said Knepp spoke frequently at Live Oaks Vocational School in Milford and was also a guest lecturer at Harvard Business School. He has made appearances at local elementary schools to speak about the Declaration of Independence, United States Constitution and the importance of patriotism as the Clermont County Town Crier.
“Sir, I congratulate you and it is an honor to stand beside you,” Daugherty said as he introduced Knepp.
Knepp explained that he and his wife, Nancy, became engaged to be married just before he was drafted, and the draft letter he received explained that recently married couples could delay their service if they chose to.
Nancy wouldn’t allow this to happen and told Knepp to serve his country. Knepp said he would not be where he is today without her support.
Knepp was inducted to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Nov. 10, 2011 at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial in Columbus.
“I accept this honor on behalf of, first of all my wife, Nancy, who encouraged me and second, the men who served with me and the people of Clermont County who supported me,” Knepp said.
In addition to veterans’ service commissioners, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt was also present at the ceremony to congratulate and thank the veterans.
“Your valor, your courage an your love of our nation does not go unnoticed in Clermont County,” Congresswoman Schmidt said. “To John and Larry and to my dear friend Bill, I want to thank all of you for what you’ve done.”