Tribute Cincinnati 2009 Honorees

Staff Sgt. Kurtis Dellicker

Staff Sgt. Kurtis Dellicker of Burlington, Ky., enlisted in the U.S. Army as an indirect fire infantryman on Feb. 14, 2005. He was first deployed in November 2005 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in Baghdad, Iraq. After returning home, Dellicker was again deployed in March 2008 to support Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan at Combat Out Post Zerok. He was severely injured on Sept. 28, 2008, by enemy indirect fire while returning fire.

Honoree Update:

Kurt has been very busy since his April 28th 2012 retirement. He went to work with his uncle, assisting in day to day operations of the family’s dairy farm, and feed store. It was while working that Kurt was “blessed with a piece of land” . On that land, Kurt built a house and officially moved in, in September 2012. Shortly after the move he became very interested in emergency medicine and took a basic EMT course. He furthered his education and enrolled at Pierpont Community and Technical College to become a paramedic and is currently working on that goal. He volunteers with an EMS unit and hopes to provide EMS at football games during the season should the need arise. He loves what he is doing and is looking for more ways to volunteer with additional units. His most exciting news yet is that he is on his way to flying helicopters for Aero-Medevac Services , a dream come true for Kurt!

Sgt. 1st Class Ralph “Frankie” Stewart Jr.

Sgt. 1st Class Ralph “Frankie” Steward Jr., a native of Hillsboro, Ohio, graduated from Hillsboro High School and attended Northwestern Arizona University and Central Texas College. Steward joined the U.S. Army in July 1989 and has served on three combat tours in Iraq, where on Nov. 9, 2008, he was injured when a concealed improvised explosive device (IED) detonated as he entered a building.

Honoree Update:

Ralph and his wife Christine are now living in Columbus Ohio.

Staff Sgt. Corwyn Collier

Staff Sgt. Corwyn Collier grew up in Maple Heights, Ohio, and attended Maple Heights High School. He later graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi as an All-American athlete. He joined the National Guard GI program in 2006 and in 2009 was deployed to Iraq, where he was injured by an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) on May 23. He was awarded the Purple Heart and also received an Award for Service from the prime minister of Iraq and the prime minister of defense.

Honoree Update:

Corrie retired in 2012. The same year he received his Masters in Education from the university of Akron. He now teaches 10th grade Social Studies at Maple Heights High School ,which is the same high school he attended. Corrie is committed to fitness and has been featured in Men’s Fitness magazine. He coaches track and does public speaking for track and field events. He was the keynote speaker at the State of Michigan High School Track and Field Clinic.

USO Tribute Cincinnati 2008 Honorees

Sgt. Joel Dulashanti

Sgt. Joel Dulashanti is a graduate of Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, is a U.S. Army sniper and was most recently serving with the 82nd Airborne Division on reconnaissance in Afghanistan. On May 4, 2007, Dulashanti came under fire and was shot three times with AK-47 rounds. While recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., he was personally presented a Purple Heart for valor by President George W. Bush.

Honoree Update:

Joel lives in Midland Ga. And remains active duty but will officially retire on October 23rd, 2013. Joel travels between Cincinnati and the eastern seaboard currently but after his retirement may go to Hong Kong. He has traveled extensively and spent time in Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Europe. He plans on relocating to Chicago or Washington DC . post retirement. Joel earned the Meritorious Service Medal.

Master Sgt. Scott Ford

Master Sgt. Scott Ford of Athens, Ohio, and a Federal Hocking High School graduate, enlisted in the U.S. Army following his graduation in 1993. Ford served all over the world until Sept. 11, 2001. He then started numerous tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq throughout 2001-2008. On April 6, 2008, Ford was shot in the arm, severing an artery and bone. Ford and wife, Sharon, were married at the hospital where he was recuperating. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Honoree Update:

Scott is retiring from the Army.

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Frost

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Frost of Campbell, Calif., was deployed to Iraq as the team leader for a weapons intelligence team. On May 18, 2008, an improvised explosive device (IED) hit his mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) combat vehicle. Frost’s right leg was amputated below the knee, and he sustained additional injuries to his left leg, foot and cheekbone. Throughout his military career, he has received numerous awards and decorations including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Force Combat Action Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal.

Honoree Update:

Chris and his wife Cathy Neary met shortly after his last USO Tribute Cincinnati event. Both were recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center. Chris lost one leg while serving (he has recently had his other leg amputated due to deterioration). In 2009 Chris re-enlisted and worked at Andrews Air Force base. He and Cat were married on August 21st, 2010 but not before Chris completed a cross country bike ride from San Francisco to Virginia Beach. He rode 52 days, over 3500 miles as a single amputee, along with 1500 other riders; a mix of disabled cyclists and adventurers . While on the road Chris met another cyclist who as he likes to put it, was also engaged and avoiding wedding planning! They remained in contact and because of a recent move to a home in Fairfax Va. are now neighbors and great friends. Chris’s new home will come in handy for their new baby! Chris and Cat will welcome their first little one in March of 2014. Until then Chris is enjoying his work as a GS-12 Technical Intelligence Officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency which he began in November 2012, following his retirement from the Air Force in October of 2012. Cat is pursuing her passion for creative cooking and attends Culinary Arts School. Chris received the Meritorious Service Medal in October of 2012.

Spec. Jeff Lynch

Spec. Jeff Lynch of Fayetteville, N.C., has served two tours of duty in Iraq, each resulting in a stay in a military hospital. During his first tour, Lynch was stationed in Mosul, Iraq, and on mission when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated below his Humvee. Following his recovery, he returned to Iraq in 2007, where he suffered an adverse reaction to his medication, which resulted in a stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Honoree Update:

Jeff has made quite the journey from Walter Reed to civilian life. Retired, he has been busy with new ventures. He received his B.S. in Biology and hopes to teach. He serves as a mentor to wounded veterans and is part of a new documentary that brings to light the invisible wounds that veterans suffer with. (Hopelivesthere.com) Jeff enjoys woodworking and makes flag cases and furniture for veterans. He and his wife were surprised by Holidays For Heroes and were taken to Nantucket where they renewed their wedding vows. The Lynch’s took their first family vacation to Disney World! Jeff , his wife Christy and their little miracle Catelyn live in N.C.

Spec. Brett Hendrix

Spec. Brett Hendrix of Forest City, N.C., joined the U.S. Army in 2003 and was deployed to Iraq on Aug.15, 2005. On June 27, 2006, an improvised explosive device (IED) hit his Stryker. His injuries required the amputation of his right leg above the knee, and he sustained traumatic brain injury, lumbar and vertebrae damage, two broken femurs, a broken left tibia and 85 percent nerve damage to his foot. Hendrix’s unit, the 172nd Stryker Brigade out of Fairbanks, Alaska, received the Valorous Unit Award for their work in Iraq, and Hendrix received the Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman Badge.

Honoree Update:

Hoss medically retired on the anniversary of his alive day. He has traveled to Florida and worked on the Wounded Warrior Project, attended college and secured an internship with the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office. He remains active in his commitment to helping his fellow veterans and has worked with General Meyer and Sloan Gibson on Project Enduring Care as well as projects for the USO. In 2011 he returned to Walter Reed in order to receive treatment for unhealed wounds. Hoss has undergone over 70 surgeries as well as hyperbaric chamber treatments. Most recently he had a skin graft that has been successful. Hoss credits his late father (who passed away in January)as a motivating force that helps him stay positive.

USO Tribute Cincinnati 2007 Honorees

Spec. Sue Downes

Spec. Sue Downes of Tazewell, Tenn., enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2004 and joined the military police. She was deployed to Afghanistan in Feb. 2006 with a military police company. On Nov. 28, 2006, Downes was part of a convoy of Humvees when two mines detonated under the road, throwing her from the Humvee and killing two U.S. soldiers. Her injuries required amputation of both legs and 10 surgeries. Downes is the mother of two children.

Honoree Update:

Sue Downs is President of Feed Our Warriors. Feed Our Warriors is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting veterans with food, clothing and assistance in housing.

Spec. Natasha McKinnon

Spec. Natasha McKinnon of Ashtabula, Ohio, joined the U.S. Army on Jan. 22, 2003, after attending Kent State University in 2002. She was deployed to Iraq in June 2005 to perform security duties for convoy missions. On Oct. 4, 2005, she was a passenger in a Humvee on a convoy mission when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded through the front seat. McKinnon sustained injures to both her legs, requiring the amputation of her left leg and surgery for shrapnel injuries to her right leg. In 2006, she participated in the Paralympics.

Honoree Update:

Tasha, now retired, attends North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. She is pursuing a B.S. in Animal Science. Following graduation in 2015 she plans to continue her education in veterinary school.

Sgt. Nathan D. Toews

Sgt. Nathan D. Toews of Kingsburg, Calif., joined the U.S. Army on Jan. 21, 2003, and was a mechanic with 2-15 Field Artillery (2-15FA) of the 10th Mountain Division. Toews was deployed to Iraq in June of 2004. Eight months later, he was deployed to Afghanistan, supporting the 10th Mountain Division. While serving in Afghanistan, his convoy was ambushed and hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), causing life-threatening injuries. His recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., entailed multiple surgeries to reconstruct his skull and his eye socket, and to implant a prosthetic eye lens.

Honoree Update:

After Walter Reed, Nathan moved to PA where he attended Dickenson College in Carlisle Pa.. During college, he devoted extensive time to service trips. He went to New Orleans 4 times for a total of four weeks to support the ongoing effort to repair/rebuild people’s homes from Hurricane Katrina. Nathan went twice as a participant, once as a team leader, and he coordinated one as a student leader. He also went on a service trip to Guatemala over his first winter break to build a school and again over another winter break ,to Nashville for flood relief work. For one month during his last summer of college, He lived and studied in the Arava desert in Israel. Nathan graduated Cum Laude with a degree in sociology and currently resides and works for the government in Washington D.C.. He received the Bronze Star.

Cpl. Chad Watson

Cpl. Chad Watson of Mount Zion, Ill., joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in 2004 while attending Indiana University on a wrestling scholarship. He was deployed to Iraq in September 2006 with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Regiment, 4th Marine Division, when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated under his Humvee. He received medical care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., before transferring to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to receive physical and occupational therapy. Watson has received a Purple Heart.

Honoree Update:

Chad attended Indiana University, and received a B.S. in Career and Organizational studies. He worked for a short while with both the CIA and FBI. Chad is currently Director, WorldAware Operations at Aon Crisis Consulting. He is Midwest Area Outreach Coordinator at Wounded Warrior Project, where he has been recognized Veterans Advisory Council for leadership and contributions in the field of community service to our nations wounded service members and veterans. He received the Northwest Side Irish Parade 2010 Humanitarian of the Year award for service to wounded warriors and caregivers, as well as the Battle of the Badges 2010 Hero Award for work to improve the lives of our nation’s veterans. In November 2012 Chad was recognized by Careers and disAbled Magazine, as the “Employee of the Year” for professional and advocacy efforts on behalf of people with disabilities in the workplace and in the community for the Equal Opportunity Publications Award. He also lends his expertise as Honorary Executive Chairman for Medinah Patriot Day and acts as a Representative for the Illinois Veterans Task Force. He was Appointed by Governor Quinn and Illinois State Task Force to help advise Military and Veteran initiatives for the state of Illinois.

Spec. Richard Yarosh

Spec. Richard Yarosh from Upstate New York joined the U.S. Army as a cavalry scout in June of 2004. In December of 2005, he was deployed to Iraq. On Sept. 1, 2006, Yarosh’s Bradley was hit with an improvised explosive device (IED), causing an explosion that ignited the fuel cell. Yarosh received third-degree burns to 60 percent of his body and lost a portion of his right leg. After spending months in intensive care, he was discharged to outpatient treatment and has spent time receiving physical therapy at the Intrepid Center at Fort Sam Houston. In 2009, a painting of Yarosh by artist Matthew Mitchell was displayed in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Honoree Update:

Rick is working for the Sitrin Company. He is starting up a program to treat returning veterans suffering with PTSD and other ailments. He had a house built and graduated from the Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities at Cornell in 2012. He has been doing speaking engagements at West Point and spoke to the USO in Guam last year. In 2010 Rick was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

USO Tribute Cincinnati 2006 Honorees

Staff Sgt. John Borders

Staff Sgt. John Borders was serving his fourth combat deployment, his second to Iraq, when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded under his truck. He suffered two broken legs, had multiple fractures in his ankles and left knee, contusions on his lungs, a lacerated liver and numerous burns and shrapnel wounds.

Honoree Update:

John remains active duty and works at MacDill Air Force base as a counter intelligence agent. He is an avid cyclist and has participated in the Ride To Recovery. He and his wife Mollie have two children; Brittany(19) attends college in Florida and Xander(9)is in fourth grade.

Capt. Ryan C. Kules

Capt. Ryan C. Kules was deployed to Iraq on Feb. 2, 2005, as a part of 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. Ten months into his deployment an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded below his Humvee, instantly killing two soldiers in Kules’ vehicle. He was thrown more than 100 feet from the vehicle, severing his right arm and left leg. He also suffered internal and external injuries. In addition to being awarded a Purple Heart, Kules was presented with a Bronze Star prior to his injury.

Honoree Update:

Ryan currently serves as a Director of Alumni for the Wounded Warrior Project. He works with transitioning service members recovering from severe injuries connecting them with the support and resources they need to build a career in the civilian workforce, whether it’s drafting a resume, working on interviewing skills, or lending a hand in identifying jobs that fit a participant’s strengths. Ryan was an Under Armour Freedom Hero. He has spoken about Wounded Warrior on various television networks including CNN and CBS. Ryan and his wife Nancy have three young children and live in Washington D.C.

Lance Cpl. Carl J. Schneider

Lance Cpl. Carl J. Schneider, a 2001 graduate of LaSalle High School in Cincinnati, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves on Sept. 11, 2001, just two hours before the tragic events of that day. On May 11, 2005, during Operation Matador, the Amtrak train he was riding in hit a land mine and exploded. Schneider suffered third-degree burns on his hands, arms and face. He has undergone several surgeries and an extensive rehabilitation and occupational therapy program at Brooke Army Medical Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

Honoree Update:

Carl finished his BLA in May of 2011 and received his Masters in occupational therapy in December 2012. He lived in Washington for a short time in 2012 before moving back to Cincinnati. He currently works as an occupational therapist at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. When not working Carl spends time with his girlfriend, Charlotte and his 3 yr. old niece and month old nephew. Another nephew is on the way!

Pfc. Marissa Stock

Pfc. Marissa Stock was deployed to Iraq in May 2005. On Thanksgiving Day, Strock’s unit responded to a call regarding potential casualties. While en route, an explosive device detonated underneath her Humvee. She suffered multiple broken bones and lost her left foot. At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., she underwent extensive medical care and rehabilitation.

Honoree Update:

As a bilateral BK amputee, she has far surpassed all initial hopes in her recovery. After seventeen months at Walter Reed for rehabilitation, she continues to defy the odds and challenges herself on a daily basis. She is currently living in Petersburg, VA with her fiance. They will soon be relocating to Michigan where her fiancé will attend prosthetics school and she will attend school for nutrition and personal training. She is adding a new member to her household; a St. Bernard/ Great Dane mix that will be her service dog and companion.

USO Tribute Cincinnati 2005 Honorees

Lance Cpl. Daniel Hamberg

Grosbeck, Ohio, native and 2002 Colerain High School (Cincinnati) graduate, Lance Cpl. Daniel Hamberg, 21, served in Afghanistan as an infantry rifleman with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. He was seriously injured on June 5, 2004, in a vehicle accident. He was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where he received extensive treatment for an open fracture of his pelvis, internal bleeding, and nerve damage to his right leg and foot.

Petty Officer Joseph “Doc” Worley

Originally from Georgia, Petty Officer Joseph “Doc” Worley was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in early 2004 serving with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine regiment, 1st Marine Division, from Camp Pendleton, Calif. With only a week left in his tour, Worley was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and shot six times. He used his medical training and went to work on himself, tying a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and then giving himself a shot of morphine.

Honoree Update:

Doc officially retired in 2006. Two more children have come along since 05. Doc completed his Associates degree in political science. He is active in promoting America’s Vet Dogs (vetdogs.org), an organization that trains and provides service dogs to veterans. Doc and his dog Benjamin travel to schools to raise awareness about service animals and veterans. Doc, his wife Angel, Abby, Izzy, and Luther reside in Georgia.

Cpl. Ryan Groves

Former Mount Union student and Charlestown, Ohio, native, Cpl. Ryan Groves volunteered to go to Iraq and was stationed with the 3rd Battalion 1st Marines, in Fallujah, Iraq. While visiting his original battalion, rockets attacked his truck, damaging his legs. A Baghdad hospital removed his left leg, and Groves underwent 38 surgeries to repair his right leg at National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda, Md.

Honoree Update:

Ryan has furthered his education at Georgetown University and The Ohio State University College of Law, where he received his Juris Doctorate. He will begin working at Baker Hostetler LLP in Columbus, Ohio, where he currently lives. When time allows Ryan enjoys kayaking , fishing, golfing and cheering on the Buckeyes!

Staff Sgt. Joe Bowser

Staff Sgt. Joe Bowser of Lexington, Ky., first joined the U.S. Army in September of 1980. Moved by the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the growing war on terror, Bowser re-enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves and was called up to active duty in December 2003 to go to Iraq. He was injured by a 122-mm rocket that hit his camp in Balad on the evening of April 12, 2004. He arrived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where his treatment required that his right leg be amputated below the knee. Bowser was an honoree at the 2004 USO Riverfest Fireworks Gala in Cincinnati and was awarded the Bronze Star at the 2005 USO Riverfest Fireworks Gala.

Honoree Update:

Joe is a Staff Assistant for the Secretary of the Army. He was married to Michele on his alive day April 12, 2007. Between the two of them they have six kids, Rebecca, Justin, Elizabeth, Andy, Jeremy and Ryan .They also have two granddaughters, Madison, Bridget, and one on the way.

USO Tribute Cincinnati 2004 Honorees

Staff Sgt. Paul Brondhaver

New Richmond, Ohio, native Paul Brondhaver, a staff sergeant of the Ohio National Guard, was sent to Iraq in February 2004, where he commanded the Army’s 216th Combat Engineer Battalion. After his Humvee broke down, he and his friend were hit by a grenade. Brondhaver was thrown 12 feet in the air from the hit and suffered more than 300 shrapnel wounds throughout his body. Despite these injuries, there was not a single broken bone.

Honoree Update:

Paul Brondhaver is currently owner of Purple Heart Services, an LLC that provides key skills and capabilities to improve combat safety and improve the quality of life for combat and non-combat personnel and their families. A percentage of Paul’s profits goes towards Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He remains involved in veteran causes such as the Keith Maupin Yellow Ribbon Foundation and the USO. He joined President George W. Bush in 2006 to throw the first pitch at Great American Ballpark. He was awarded the Anthony Munoz Man of the Year award for his work with inner city youth and is a recipient of both The Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Paul continues to heal from wounds received ten years ago. He credits everything he has survived and accomplished to his wife Lisa, his three children and his faith. They are Paul’s heroes and the driving force behind everything he does. He is grateful and humbled by their bravery and commitment through the past ten years.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Metzdorf

Staff Sgt. Daniel Metzdorf of Altamonte Springs, Fla., joined the U.S. Army in June 1995. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and then to Iraq in 2004, where he was injured by a roadside bomb on Jan. 27. His injuries required the amputation of his right leg above the knee. Metzdorf was awarded the Bronze Star; the Purple Heart; two Army Commendation Medals; three Good Conduct Medals; five Army Achievement Medals; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Two National Defense Medals; Multinational Forces and Observers Medal; Combat Infantry Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; British Foreign Jump Wings; and he was honored as a Distinguished Member of the 505th Regiment.

Honoree Update:

Dan now lives in Fort Benning, Ga. where he teaches advanced marksmanship. He will retire later this year with 20 years of active duty service. In addition to work, Dan is working towards his BA. He received the Order of St. Maurice in the rank of Centurion (Patron St. Of Infantryman).

Staff Sgt. Michael McNaughton

Michael McNaughton of Denham Springs, La., was deployed with members of the Louisiana Army National Guard to support Operation Enduring Freedom. McNaughton, a member of the 769th Engineer Battalion, was clearing mines when he stepped on an anti-personnel mine and lost his right leg. Staff Sgt. McNaughton was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, five Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Louisiana War Cross, the Driver’s Badge and the Air Assault Badge.

Cpl. James Edward Wright

Cpl. James Edward Wright grew up in Seattle, Wash., and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2000. In early 2003, he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning to the United States, Wright immediately began training for a second deployment, arriving back in Iraq in February of 2004. On April 7, his vehicle received a direct hit from an insurgent rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), which severed both of his hands and severely wounded his left leg. He was awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat V for Valor by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and the Purple Heart by Gen. William Nyland, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.

Honoree Update:

Ed has worked for a defense contractor and is now in the process of establishing his own company. He married his wife Cody in 2010 and they are the proud parents of Claire, who is almost two. Ed is continuing his education at Lonestar College and is working towards his bachelor’s in history. He and his family live in Conroe , Tx.