||Brad Meyer, Director of Public and Media Relations
Office: (567) 661-7421 Cell: (419) 351-5253
Owens Welcomes Home National Guardsmen From Active Duty, February 11
Area residents will have the opportunity to honor their local soldiers as Owens Community College hosts a Homecoming Ceremony for the Ohio National Guard's 216th Engineer Battalion on Friday, February 11.
The Homecoming Ceremony for the unit is from 2-5 p.m. in the College's Student Health and Activities Center on the Toledo-area Campus. Owens is located on Oregon Road, four miles from downtown Toledo.
The College will join community leaders and area residents in recognizing and welcoming home the 216th Engineer Battalion from its deployment overseas. Also in attendance will include 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 Gary Dettling, Owens Vice President of College Advancements who also serves as an officer in the National Guard holding Major Rank. "Extending our gratitude to the 216th Engineer Battalion represents a small token of our appreciation for their selfless acts."
Approximately 120 personnel from the 216th Engineer Battalion, which is located in Walbridge, were mobilized to support Operation Iraqi Freedom efforts in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. The area included culturally diverse nations located in the Horn of Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Northern Red Seas regions, as well as the Arabian Peninsula in Iraq.
As part of its mission, the 216th Engineer Battalion provided command and control of engineer assets in the area of operations for firefighting, dump truck and bridge building units. The Battalion was mobilized and departed for its overseas mission in January 2004.
Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, over 7,000 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.
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 release the service member from college courses. In addition, Owens suggests that any reservist with prior student 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 one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 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, and 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.