During its annual reorganizational meeting, the Veterans’ Service Commission appointed Cliff Riley as the new president for 2013.
Riley is prominently known for his many years of rigorously advocating for veterans and his service during the Vietnam War. Riley served over 700 days in Vietnam and is a disabled Veteran.
Along with civic and industry awards Riley was also named Ohio Vietnam Veteran of the Year by the Vietnam Veterans of America and received their highest award, the President Commendation Medal. The Ohio House and Senate have honored him for his 40 years of Veteran Advocacy and he is a member of VVA, DAV, VFW, Legion and AMVETS. This is his 11th year on the Veteran Service Commission. Regarding his appointment, Riley stated, “It’s truly a privilege to continue serving with the finest staff and team of Veteran Service Officers in the state of Ohio!” Riley said. “Also, the Clermont County Commissioners and the citizens of Clermont County have supported our Veterans with their voice, their action and their treasure, and we sincerely thank each of you.”
Ohio has one of the largest populations of veterans in the nation, although it’s estimated that only approximately 15 percent of those veterans receive the services they’re entitled. Riley is passionate about promoting the services available to the veterans community and believes it is his mission to inform the public of sacrifices made by those who have served in the U.S. Military. Riley explained that today’s veterans are a very diverse group, with a growing population of female veterans and a rise in the National Guard and Reserve Veterans that were activated for the last 12 years of war.
“Not only do we provide help to the older and younger generation of veterans, we are also facing a huge increase in illness claims that include a variety of new disorders as a result of modern warfare. This type of assistance requires educated Service Officers to help veterans walk through the minefield of paperwork” Riley said.
Riley strongly encourages all Veterans, widows or widowers of veterans to call their office or schedule a visit.
Donald Chandler will serve as vice-president, Ken Cook will be secretary, and Bob Derr will continue to serve as an active member. Derr was reappointed for a five-year term commencing Jan. 15, 2013 to January 14, 2018. This year the Board is also very proud to announce its newest member, Joseph W. Johnston. Johnston will fulfill the remainder of the unexpired term commencing Jan. 15, 2012 through Jan. 14, 2017. He is a 100 percent service-connected disabled veteran who served in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars; he was elected National Senior Vice Commander of the 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at the organization’s 2012 National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Johnston joined the U.S. Army in 1966, serving first as an enlisted soldier and later as a commissioned officer. His career as an Army ranger and paratrooper included service as a member of the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Infantry Division, 10th Mountain Division, 2d Infantry Division, 82d Airborne Division, 7th U.S. Corps and Joint Chiefs of Staff. He retired at the rank of Colonel in 1992 and was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2007.
A life member of DAV Chapter 63 in Williamsburg, Ohio, Mr. Johnston has served in nearly all elected and appointed offices, including three years as Chapter Commander. At the State level, he was elected 2nd Jr. Vice Commander in 2005 and consecutively elected 1st Jr. Vice Commander through Department Commander in 2008. He also served as s Department District Adjutant two years, Chief of Staff, Trustee of the State Retirement Fund, member of the State Audit Committee, an Executive Committeeman, and is active in various Chapter and Department VA Voluntary Service programs. He was elected 4th Junior Vice Commander at the organization’s 2009 National Convention in Denver, Colorado and subsequently to 3rd and 2nd Junior Vice Commander in 2010 and 2011. Other national positions he has held include Assistant National Chief of Staff, Convention Finance Committee Chairman, and member of the Columbia Trust Committee and the National Interim Legislative Committee.
Having earned a master’s degree in both business and executive management from Central Michigan University and the Army’s Command and General Staff College, Johnston brings 18 years of experience in management and finance to the board. Since his military retirement, he has worked for nonprofit organizations and he has served as a member of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services for the past 14 years. The Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Service is the largest social service organization in the tri-state area and Johnston currently serves as their Chief Operations Officer. In 2009-2010, he was recognized as a Cincinnati CFO of the year and as a recipient of the Greater Cincinnati Second Act Award in 2011.
This past October Howard Daugherty became the new Executive Director, replacing Danny Bare who retired in May. Daugherty served as a commissioner on the board from 1999-2012 and said that he is honored to now serve as the appointed Executive Director. Daugherty explained, “I’m hoping to create a more visual presence in the county for the Commission and I’m looking forward to collaborating with local agencies to spread awareness.” The Commission is very eager for the year ahead with their newly elected board and Executive Director. In 2013, they are enthusiastic about partnering with the War Bird Museum, promoting local Military Hall of Fame Inductees and working with the local library to create video interviews from World War Two, the Korean War, Vietnam and each Persian Gulf War.
The Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission oversees the operation of the county Veterans’ Service Office and provides emergency financial assistance to veterans, spouses, dependent children, and surviving spouses. The office also assists veterans in obtaining earned benefits and offers a variety of support through their dedicated staff.
For more information, visit their website at www.clermontcountyveterans.com or call (513) 732-7363.