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Published 1/5/2004
Owens Honors National Guardsmen Called to Active Duty

The Ohio National Guard's 216th Engineer Battalion line up prior to the Deployment Ceremony. More than 700 area residents had opportunity to honor their local soldiers as Owens Community College hosted a Deployment Ceremony for Ohio National Guard's 216th Engineer Battalion.

The Deployment Ceremony occurred in the College's Student Health and Activities Center on the Toledo-area Campus.

Owens Community College President Christa Adams, Ph.D., and Board of Trustee members Jack Sculfort and Dee Talmage joined community leaders and area residents in recognizing the 216th Engineer Battalion prior to its travel overseas. Also in attendance included several state senators and representatives.

"Owens Community College is proud to honor our brave servicemen and servicewomen for dedicating their lives to preserving liberty," said President Adams. "Our nation would not be experiencing life as we know it without their selfless acts in defending America's freedom."

Approximately 100 personnel from the 216th Engineer Battalion, which is located in Walbridge, have been mobilized to support Operation Iraqi Freedom efforts in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. The area includes culturally diverse nations located throughout the Horn of Africa, South and Central Asia and the Northern Red Seas regions, as well as the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq.

As part of its mission, the 216th Engineer Battalion will provide command and control of engineer assets in the area of operations for firefighting, dump truck and bridge building units. The 216th Engineer Battalion unit is expected to depart for its overseas mission in early January.

Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, over 5,000 members of the Ohio National Guard have answered the nation's call, serving in geographical regions ranging from Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf. During the past year approximately 40 Owens students from the Toledo-area and Findlay-area Campuses have been called to serve their country in the military.

Jeff Gagle of Maumee (center) poses with his family (left to right) Matt, Jonathan, Elaine and Tiffany following the Deployment Ceremony at Owens Community College. Comparable to the National Guard of other states, the Ohio National Guard has a long history of service to its citizens and the United States. Its heritage is rooted in the militia system that has played a vital role in conflicts, wars, civil disturbances and natural disasters throughout our nation's history. The overall mission of the Ohio National Guard is to provide trained units and equipment capable of protecting life and property, and preserving peace, order and public safety.

The Ohio National Guard maintains a presence in 54 of the state's 88 counties. Ohio's Air Guard units are dispersed in seven geographical locations to include Cincinnati, Columbus, Mansfield, Port Clinton, Springfield, Toledo and Zanesville. The state's Army Guard units occupy several training sites and 51 armories statewide.

For those reservists who are currently pursuing their college education, Owens Community College is committed to assisting them in fulfilling their military commitment.

Owens students called to active duty should contact the College's Veterans Representative, ensuring that they receive a full refund on their paid semester tuition and fees. Once the College receives a student's military orders, an Owens representative will complete the proper paperwork to the release the service member from college courses. In addition, Owens suggests that any reservist with prior students loans contact their servicing agents and request forbearance on their loan.

For more information, contact Owens' Veterans Representative at 1-800-GO- OWENS, Ext. 7342 or (567) 661-7342.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 26 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo- area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 40,000 credit and non- credit students making it the number one choice for Northwest Ohio college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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