January 11, 2013 Dear Fellow Veterans, The year 2012 is now behind us, but as we all set ourselves to the

many tasks which lay ahead of us in this New Year, it’s important to take a look back and consider all that we’ve accomplished for Ohio’s veterans over the past 12 months. Passing New Legislation to Benefit Veterans: Thanks to the cooperation of the General Assembly and the support of Governor Kasich, Ohio veterans benefited from a number of legislative victories. Eight major bills became law with the Governor’s signature:  House Bill (HB) 490, whose many provisions included permission for county veteran service officers to directly access DD 214’s from county recorders; added a member of the National Guard Association to our department’s Veterans’ Advisory Council; and made spouses and children of deceased service members from anywhere in the nation eligible for in-state tuition at Ohio’s public colleges and universities. HB 459, made Ohio the first Purple Heart State in the Nation. HB 337, waived the skills test portion of a commercial driver’s license for veterans who already possess those skills from military training. HB 284, permitted a physician assistant degree from an accredited institution and three years of military physician assistant experience to count toward state licensing. HB 280 and HB 555, created more Ohio War Orphans scholarships by opening it to children of deceased veterans who received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. HB 197, strengthened Veterans Courts by requiring judges to consider military service during sentencing. Senate Bill (SB) 134, gave Vietnam veterans their long-delayed recognition by setting aside March 30 of each year as Vietnam Veterans Day. An official commemoration is being planned now for this year. SB 222, required the POW/MIA flag to be displayed at rest areas along the Ohio Turnpike and interstate highways.

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Other bills signed this year named roads across Ohio for service members who have fallen in the line of duty and specified that Ohioans killed in combat since September 10, 2001, and their next-of-kin, will be awarded the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction. Getting Veterans Employed: The implementation of Battlefront to Homefront, an initiative of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, the Ohio Adjutant General, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, helped more veterans get jobs. Battlefront to Homefront connects returning Ohio National Guard members to employment counseling and referrals, with follow-ups throughout the new veteran’s re-integration process. In addition, Ohio is continuing multi-agency efforts aimed at employing all eligible veterans – a process that’s placed over 2,400 veterans in jobs in the past 12 months. Connecting More Veterans to Benefits: Statewide marketing and outreach efforts contributed to new VA spending in Ohio of $480 million. This spending was driven by the VA’s ranking of Ohio as 8th best in the nation in 2011 in connecting aged and low-income veterans to VA pensions, and the doubling of our rate of increase in connection to VA compensation. These two programs brought $1.7 billion in direct payments to our veterans. Preserving a Memorial: Our Ohio Veterans Home – Sandusky was awarded a $798,987 grant by the VA to clean and improve the headstones and grounds of its cemetery. These grounds are the final resting place of the Home’s earliest residents, the veterans of the Civil War, up to the residents of today. The Ohio Veterans Home Cemetery will thus be preserved as an appropriate memorial for the veterans of today and the future. None of these accomplishments were possible without the dedication, cooperation and tireless work of everyone in our Ohio veterans’ community, from our department through every county veterans service office and all of the veterans service organizations. We continue to face challenges in 2013 – improving our ability to connect veterans to jobs and benefits, planning and executing our Vietnam Veterans Day commemoration, as well as continually looking at ways to improve services to those who’ve earned and deserve them the most. But with your help, I’m confident that we’ll have many more great accomplishments to reflect on next year. Sincerely,

Thomas N. Moe Director Ohio Department of Veterans Services

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