A large crowd filled the Clermont County Commissioners chambers Wednesday, March 18 to honor two local service members. Second Lieutenant Matthew Dean of the U.S. Army and Lieutenant Junior Grade Dean Ritchey of the U.S. Navy were recognized for their military service by local officials.
Commissioner Bob Proud thanked both men for their service to the country and presented them with certificates of appreciation.
The men received challenge coins from Clermont County Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg and Dan Bare, executive director of the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission. They were also presented with a congressional proclamation by Congresswoman Jean Schmidt’s field representative Stephen Caraway.
"It is an honor to be here today and to be honored by the citizens of Clermont County," said Dean. "It is always nice to be honored by your home town for your efforts and we have been through a lot."
Dean expressed appreciation for all the support he received from family, friends and residents of Clermont County while he served in Iraq. He also mentioned that his grandmother was in the audience and was a veteran of World War II.
Dean is a 2003 graduate of New Richmond High School, and a graduate of Wright State University. He served with G Company in Baghdad, Iraq. He served as leader with 42 soldiers in his command and reported great teamwork and cooperation among his soldiers. According to Dean, the men worked together so well as a team that they could carry out missions for which they had not been trained, often filling in for those with specialized training.
"When I showed up, the men were already in mid-tour," said Dean. "The men were already into a routine as far as operations."
His next duty station is Ft. Carson, in Colorado Springs, Colo. where he will be working as a maintenance control officer.
Lt. JG Ritchey addressed the audience, which included a delegation from First Baptist Church of Glen Este and Pastor Brent Snook.
"I don't feel that I even deserve to stand here," said Ritchey. "I will be going to Baghdad in about two weeks for my first tour."
Ritchey thanked the citizens of Clermont County, the commissioners, his family and the members of First Baptist Church of Glen Este for the support shown to his family.
"Our home church is being a support and I know that my wife will receive support from the community while I am gone. It is just fantastic," said Ritchey. "It is an honor to wear the uniform of this country. My grandfather was a member and also was one of the 'greatest generation'. In the military today we all serve as volunteers, we have that luxury. The 'greatest generation' did not have that luxury. Many of them were drafted. My grandfather was one of those and I am just so honored to serve this country and to follow in his footsteps."
"The true heroes of this conflict are the 4,000-plus soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and their families," said Ritchey.
Ritchey is from Union Township and is a graduate of Milford Christian High School, the University of Cincinnati and Thomas More College. He will be working in military intelligence in a joint environment with other branches of the military when he is deployed to Baghdad, Iraq.
Ritchey joined the military when he graduated from high school.
"After 9/11 I decided to go back into the military and get my commission as an officer," said Ritchey. "The year after our country went into Baghdad, I began my paper work for my commission. I have been commissioned for four years as a reserve officer. I will be serving one year active duty with eight months in service in Iraq."
"I am very appreciative and very grateful and very humble that I can serve my country," said Ritchey.