High honors for veterans and citizens from the UVC

« Austintown Neighbors

The United Veterans Council of Greater Youngstown and Its Environs will host its annual Recognition and Awards Banquet on April 6 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parrish Center in Austintown.

The community is encouraged to join the United Veterans Council in celebrating the achievements of awardees. Tickets are still available for $25 or a table can be sponsored for $200. The evening will feature a dinner, program and awards. The guest speaker will be Mark Cappone, Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.

Anyone interested in attending may contact Jennifer Baun at 314-803-8643. Reservations must be made in advance, as space is limited. A Social Gathering will begin at 6 p.m. The dinner will immediately follow at 6:30 p.m.

There are several very deserving awardees.

The Veteran of the Year is Samuel Swoger III of Austintown. His accomplishments are many, and include holding several leadership positions in local and regional veteran organizations. Swoger is also an instrumental figure who helped develop and currently chairs the Mahoning Valley 9-11 Memorial.

The Citizen of the Year is Andrew Hake of McDonald, who is a teacher and coach at Western Reserve Schools. Hake has reached out to educate his students to become better Americans who are more aware of our country and civic responsibilities. He takes his passion for educating to the football field where the team drew national attention for their respect and patriotism when all the players carried American flags onto the field. Theirs was a lesson to the community and the nation on the respect the symbols our country deserve and what they stand for.

The Youth of the Year is not given to just one person this year. Instead the Wreaths of Veterans, represented by 4-H groups Mahoning County Barnstormers and the Buckeye Bunny Bunch, are the recipients. These young people raised the money for and ensured that all veterans graves in Ellsworth and Berlin Center cemeteries had wreaths placed on them. These young people gave of themselves to ensure veterans who are no longer with us are not forgotten during a season of celebration. They are already expanding their mission for the upcoming year.

Finally, another veteran and community leader will receive a special award for his Lifetime service as a Veteran, the Honorable Robert P. Milich. He was able to help other veterans through is position by establishing the Youngstown Municipal Veterans Treatment Court. It is one of only a few in the nation to offer specialized services including addiction rehabilitation and mental health treatment for military veterans charged with nonviolent misdemeanors and has become the model for all Veterans Treatment Courts in the state of Ohio.

The United Veterans Council of Youngstown and Its Environs, which represents its member Veteran Service Organization throughout the Mahoning Valley, is celebrating its 77th anniversary. In 1969, The Council began recognizing important work and achievements by veterans, who effected a result favorable to the Veterans community. By 1971, this concept expanded to the non-veteran community for public recognition. In recent years, the youth category was added.

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