NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (April 20, 2023) – The Tuscarawas County Commissioners have been honoring some local award winners.
They invited local American Legion Veteran of the Year James “Denny” Ross to their meeting Monday to publicly congratulate him and present him with a plaque expressing their gratitude for his service to the country and fellow veterans. Board Clerk Rhonda Jordan read the inscription.
“We appreciate all of your hard work and dedication to the veterans in our area. Every veteran deserves a supporter like you in their corner. You are doing phenomenal things for phenomenal veterans. We wish you all the success in the future. You are a true example of a great American veteran.”
The award wasn’t the first for Ross, a past Ohio Veteran and Vietnam Veteran of the Year who earned a Purple Heart while serving as an Army combat engineer during the war. He says the greatest honor for him has been giving those who’ve sacrificed so much for their country their final salute as a member of the Newcomerstown Honor Guard for the last 25 years.
“It is tough anymore, getting older, burying some of your friends and stuff. Of course, a lot of them you know the families and of course you present the flag to them and they’re crying and stuff. They don’t realize it hurts us, too.”
The commissioners on Monday also welcomed Ohio Big Brother of the Year Dan Warther. The award is from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in recognition of the time and energy Warther has dedicated to his “Little” – 13-year-old Cooper Winters. He’s been mentoring Cooper for more than six years now and finds the role extremely rewarding.
“It’s amazing when you impact a family how far that can reach into the community: friends, family. There’s hardly a month that goes by without somebody saying, ‘How’s your Little? How’s everything going?’ I’m involved in everything and maybe once a year somebody might say something about the Exchange Club or something.”
Warther also received a plaque from commissioners commending him on the achievement, which puts him in the running for the National Big Brother of the Year award. In it, they call him a “true example of a great mentor” who has “built a legacy” with the time he dedicates to others.