Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ohio House Expands Eligibility for Military Medal

COLUMBUS—Today the Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation to make changes to the qualifications and circumstances through which a service member would receive the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction. The medal was created during the 127th General Assembly to honor Ohioans who have died while serving their country.

House Bill 532, sponsored by State Representatives Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) and Casey Kozlowski (R-Pierpont), expands the ability of families of fallen soldiers to obtain the Military Medal of Distinction, which is available to fallen soldiers who are residents of Ohio or who are stationed in Ohio.

“The passage of this bill will allow us to continue honoring our fallen Ohio service members, and I’m pleased that it received so much support,” Representative Kozlowski said.

HB 532 specifies the process for preparing the medals and who is to be presented with it, as well as requiring that a joint convention of the General Assembly is held each year for the presentation. Furthermore, the legislation includes the ability of family members to request a duplicate medal under certain circumstances and creates the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction Fund.

“I’m pleased that the members of the House were willing to make these changes and update the portion of law dealing with the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction,” Representative Gonzales said. “Recognizing our service members who have died for their country with the Medal of Distinction is the least we can do to honor their sacrifice.”

Earlier this month, the General Assembly held a joint convention to present the Ohio Military Medal of Distinction to the families of 28 service members who died while serving their country in 2011. It was the third convention held for this purpose since the creation of the medal.