Honored at the second African American Senior Veterans Day Celebration Nov. 11 at New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn were at left, Brigadier General Charles O. Dillard, Ret., with presenter City Councilmember Meeka Owens; center, Jeanette Dillard, RN, U.S, Army, Ret. at right, with event founder Michelle Y. Graves; and at right, the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., U.S Marine Corps, Ret. Photos by Michael Mitchell/The Cincinnati Herald

By Dan Yount

The Cincinnati Herald

The African American Senior Veteran’s Day program was held Nov. 11 at New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn, with a number of veterans on hand for the second senior Black veterans recognition event.

The honorees are Brigadier General Charles O. Dillard, M.D., his wife Jeanette L. Dillard, RN, both U.S. Army veterans, and the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Also recognized as an honoree was Wanda Daniels, USAF Ret., of South Carolina, who is a recipient of the 2022 President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for work with veterans causes.

Veterans enjoy their day at the African American Senior Veterans Day Celebration Nov. 11 at New Prospect Baptist Church.

Dr. Dillard is a living example of what service to your country and fellow man looks like. After a successful career in internal medicine and pioneering organizations and initiatives to help the cause of inner city healthcare, he continues to serve the community in organizations such as A Few Good Men and the Dillard Center Community Resource Fund, an organization he founded to which provides food and other resources to communities in need. He is married to Jeanette and has three adult children and three grandchildren.

Ryan J. Kirchmer, Community Outreach Specialist for Dedicated Senior Medical Center greets Brigader General Charles O. Dillard, Ret. at the event.

Jeanette Dillard, RN, began her nursing career at a leading African American nurse training programs, the Provident School of Nursing in Chicago, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. She pioneered several leadership nursing positions, including charge nurse at The Christ Hospital and Bethesda Hospital in Cincinnati. Her nursing career spanned 28 years, including in the emergency room, substance abuse units and more than 10 years as an Army nurse.

The Rev. Damon Lynch Jr., who is respectfully called “Cincinnati’s Preacher,’’ is pastor emeritus of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, where he was senior pastor since 1970 before retiring last year. He has received a number of honors in his education and community service, including being named a Great Living Cincinnatian by the USA Regional Chamber of Commerce. He said the highlights of his long career include the organization of the first Martin Luther King Jr. March in Cincinnati, along with the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Sr. and Virginia Coffey, and the organization and planning for the development of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He also implemented the Billy Graham Crusade in Great American Ball Park. He is married to Barbara, and they have two children, the Rev. Damon Lynch III and Dr. Crystal M. Lynch, MD, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

GYSGT Dwight Siler Sr. served in U.S Marines from 1978-1998, serving in the Gulf War, Kawie Libration and Cold War, at right is event Master of Ceremonies Lincoln Ware.

Special Citations went to Sandra Jones Mitchell, CEO of SO-ACT, a senior services organization she founded, was recognized for her work in the community, and Charles Winburn, who has released a book titled “60 Seconds to a Focused Life” that will be launched in 2023.

Michelle Y. Graves was recognized by State Senator Cecil Thomas as the founder of the event.

Sergeant Gwendolyn Norman Harris served in the U.S Marine Corp. from 1972-1976 in Quantico, Virgina.

Dr. Patrick Callender, Medical Director/Special Projects and VA Outreach for the Dedicated Senior Medical Center in Columbus talked about the center’s assistance provided by the center to seniors in the area, including veterans.

Entertainment was provided by saxophonist Ed Thomas and Men of Faith from Lee Chapel AME.

Young Marines of Cincinnati assisted with the ceremony.

A 21-Gun Salute was conducted by American Legion Post 534 to open the event.

Speaker Damon Lynch Jr. quoted Gen. Omar Bradley, who said America knows more about making war than about making peace, and that Gen. Douglas McArthur added that war should be outlawed.

State Sen. Cecil Thomas and State Representative Catherine Ingram present proclamation from State of Ohio to event founder Michelle Y. Graves, center, for founding and organizing the African American Senior Veterans Day Celebration.

“We need more prophets of peace,” Lynch said. turning to Verse 61:1 in the Book of Isaiah, which says,  

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

Attending the event were Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Pavan V. Parikh, community activist Iris Roley, and Kwahyia Jones, from the office of Mayor Aftab Pureval.

“Jesus was brought into a pathetic world. He preached on that verse in his first sermon, and it almost got him killed,” Lynch said. “We do not like prophets, for they disturb us.”

 Lynch said although United Nations representatives were searching for weapons of mass destruction  (WMD’s) in Iraq under the presidency of George W. Bush, they could not find them.

SO-ACT founder and CEO Sandra Jones Mitchell received special recognition for her work with seniors.

“But I know where the WMDs are located,” he added. “They can be found where racism exists, where kids are killing each other, where children grow up in homes where there is violence, where students miss out on their education, where people face healthcare disparities, where people live outdoors, where there is hatred because of the color of another’s skin.

“To write anybody off as indispensable is to surrender to the devil. It contradicts the message of the cross, for anybody can be saved.”

Dr. Patrick Callender, Medical Director/Special Projects and V.A. Outreach, Columbus, Ohio.

“You veterans need to take up the cross and let our children learn about the Marines, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force. It’s your job to pass on to them how you got to where you are, for God blessed you with character as a veteran. That’s what we need to do when our kids look up to us.”

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