Service — to his country and his community — has been a priority for Steven Arnold.
The Bowling Green man will be among 20 former Ohio service members to be inducted into the 2022 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame on Nov. 29.
Arnold, who served in the Navy during Vietnam, is also being recognized for his 30-year commitment to Wood County 4-H.
“It’s a great honor and very nice to be recognized, but the reason why I did all this is because I believe 4-H is the best youth development program. It is not as structured and this gives the kids ownership of their projects — 4-H teaches the kids how to think, not what to think,” he said.
His history with 4-H began 30 years ago, after his 10 years of service in the Navy and after he and his wife Donna moved to the Bowling Green area. The couple started their first 4-H club 14 years ago when their daughter Meagan was 9 years old.
More recently, he has been the principal volunteer for a 4-H shooting sports program, which teaches youth how to handle guns properly.
“We have tremendous support among the police in the county and it’s going well,” Arnold said.
He said that his dedication to 4-H is because he wants to be an inspiration and provide a solution — not just complain about inactivity of youth and indifference of some parents. Arnold said that he continues to be impressed with the dedication of the kids and their parents who are involved in 4-H.
He said his military experience taught him that the first duty of a citizen is to be of service and second to offer leadership.
Along with the Wood County 4-H committee, Arnold spearheaded the construction of the 4-H Milkshake Barn on the Wood County Fairgrounds; this is the group’s primary financial support source.
In order to continue efforts to support all Wood County 4-H youth, the Wood County Clover Clover Legacy 501 (c) (3) was established and Arnold was named the first president. He has served as director of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership program. He was also the organizational director for Northwest Ohio Operation: Military Kids.
He is actively involved in the Bowling Green Community Foundation, the Bowling Green Community Band and the First Methodist Church.
He, along with the other nominees, will be honored with medals by Ohio Department of Veteran Services Director Deborah Ashenhurst.
“I will be in a rarefied atmosphere with this honor,” Arnold said, “with past honorees like former United States presidents and sports figures like OSU’s Woody Hayes.”
Arnold, Donna and Meagan will be at the induction ceremony in Columbus.
Charter members of the Hall’s class included 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 hall of fame was established in 1992 by former Gov. George Voinovich to recognize outstanding profession achievement, service to the community and selfless acts of veterans following their military service.
More information can be found at OhioVets.gov.
A special edition on Veterans Day is inserted in today’s newspaper.