Paul G. Butler of Clinton County (left) and William C. Graybill of Brown County are among the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame 2020 Class. (Photos courtesy of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services)
Paul G. Butler of Clinton County (left) and William C. Graybill of Brown County are among the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame 2020 Class. (Photos courtesy of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services)
The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS), the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Executive Committee and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation will honor the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame 2020 Class during its annual Induction Ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 10 a.m.

Among those being inducted are two area veterans, Paul G. Butler of Clinton County and William C. Graybill of Brown County.

• Having roots in Wilmington, Ohio, Butler served honorably in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War era. When he returned home, he quickly began making a major impact on his community with a successful career in the insurance industry and as a tireless advocate for veterans.

In more than 50 years of membership with American Legion Post 49, he has held nearly every elected position, even serving as Commander. He has been the post chaplain for 20 years and district chaplain for seven years. Butler has been deeply involved with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6710 for more than three decades, is a Life Member of AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans and is Past Commander of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron 49.

A military historian and an eloquent presenter, Butler is a ready speaker at various Veterans Day programs and has helped put the outstanding accomplishments of fellow service members into the spotlight. He also supports patients as a VA Voluntary Service Representative for the Wilmington Community-Based Outreach Clinic.

Butler has volunteered hundreds of hours to Community Care Hospice since 2014 and is especially involved in the American Pride program – serving as chaplain, providing blankets and pinning veterans during their final stages of care. He also has officiated several weddings and funerals and is a frequent supporter of the Honor Flight program.

Butler is passionate about mentoring and educating children, whether as a participant in Flags for First Graders, as a speaker at various high school programs, or through his many years as Buckeye Boys State chairman. Butler enters the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame at age 71.

• Graybill is an Army veteran from Mount Orab, Ohio, who served honorably in Vietnam and has carried the Army’s values throughout his life. He began his career at Cincinnati Milacron in 1974 and for the past 30 years has conducted a flag-raising ceremony there on Veterans Day – even after his retirement in 2017.

Graybill is committed to ensuring that our nation’s heroes are celebrated and remembered. He led extraordinary efforts to bring the traveling “Vietnam Wall” to Brown County, where more than 10,000 visitors were able to experience the monumental sacrifices that the wall represents. As the owner of Ohio Valley Flags, Graybill is passionate about educating others – especially young people – on flag retirements and proper flag etiquette.

Graybill, known to many as “Chaplain,” became an ordained minister in 1992. He is dedicated to selflessly serving his fellow veterans and their families. He has served as chaplain for military honors and sick and shut-in veterans throughout southern Ohio. He is a member of several veterans organizations, including the American Legion, VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America, and DAV. He also devotes his time as chaplain to provide comfort and care to residents of the Ohio Veterans Home in nearby Georgetown.

His genuine care certainly has made a positive impact on countless lives. Graybill was honored by his American Legion district with the Chaplain’s Award for Religious Emphasis in 2017 and was recognized as Veteran of the Year by the local veterans support group Open Arms Always in 2017.

Last year, he was selected as one of the top 20 nominees for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Citizen Award. Graybill enters the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame at age 73.

In lieu of a traditional public ceremony, this year's induction ceremony Nov. 5 will be conducted virtually and will feature a compilation of individual recognitions of all 20 members of the class. 

Due to safety measures in place during the current pandemic, ODVS reached out to all of the honorees and their families to determine the most meaningful way to safely present them with their Hall of Fame medals and plaques and to allow the newly inducted members to help share their stories before loved ones. During those recognitions, a video with congratulatory remarks by Governor Mike DeWine was shown and ODVS Director Deborah Ashenhurst served as emcee.

The ODVS staff recorded these memorable and very personal ceremonies, and highlights of those moments will be evident throughout the approximately hourlong induction program.

The unveiling of the official 2020 Hall of Fame Induction will occur online on both OhioVets.gov and the Ohio Channel website, OhioChannel.org.
 
The complete list of 2020 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees follows: 

Paul G. Butler, Navy, Clinton County;
David W. Chilson, Navy, Wood County (awarded posthumously);
Richard D. Ellsworth, Army, Licking County;
Timothy A. Espich, Army/OHARNG, Clark County;
Kimberly D. Frisco, Air Force, Greene County;
William C. Graybill, Army, Brown County;
Glenn H. Grismere, Army, Warren County;
Kenneth P. Jakubec, Marine Corps, Mahoning County;
Thomas J. Jenks, Army, Cuyahoga County;
James D. Kaster, Army, Cuyahoga County;
Daniel R. Kirkpatrick, Air Force, Greene County;
Babe Kwasniak, Army, Cuyahoga County;
David C. Lange, Navy, Carroll County;
Jane M. Lengel, Army/OHARNG, Franklin County;
David G. Meyer, PhD, PE, Air Force, Montgomery County;
Carolyn E. Nagy, Army, Lucas County;
Connie Pillich, Air Force, Hamilton County;
David M. Ridenour, Army, Wood County;
James P. Schear, Navy, Stark County; and
Alan R. Wallace, Navy, Fairfield County.
 
Bios for all 20 class members, additional information on the Hall of Fame and past inductees – able to be sorted by class, by county and alphabetically – can be found at OhioVets.gov.

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was established in 1992 by former Gov. George Voinovich to recognize outstanding professional achievement, service to the community, and selfless acts of veterans following their military service. Charter members of the Hall’s Class of 1992 include the six Ohio military veterans who were elected President of the United States and all Medal of Honor recipients from Ohio. Honorees include astronauts, volunteers, community leaders, safety officers, veteran advocates and former government officials.
 
The Class of 2020 was chosen from among 136 nominations. The inductees, who range in age from 44 to 95, span 16 different Ohio counties and four major branches of the United States Armed Forces – the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. This year’s class joins 895 Ohio veterans who have been inducted since inception and represent all eras, branches of service and walks of life.