Veterans Appreciation 2017

Ohio Flame was proud to select four US Veterans this year to honor as part of our annual Veterans Appreciation event!  Veterans were chosen based on the submissions of their loved ones telling us why they are special to to them or how they served our Country.  Congratulations to all of our US Veterans!
Actual submissions are below:
Veterans Appreciation 2017 submission from Ronda Roxbury:
"My Son Robert Roxbury was stationed in Afghanistan. In 2013 while on a mission, his unit was attacked. His truck hit an IED and exploded underneath his truck. Robert was in the turret and thrown to the grown. Besides a severe concussion, several stitches and many bruises, he lived. In fact they all did.
My son was  awarded a medical discharged from the Army. He suffers with a TBI and PTSD. He had a hard time holding down relationships. His wife left him with his 2 year old daughter 2 years ago. Robert's Dad and I do everything we can for him to include allowing Robert and his daughter to move back home with us. He just moved out last week to a house he is renting around the corner....i would love for him to win this fire pit because he loves to sit in his back yard burning branches and such. How do I know? Because he took our fire pit...and I'd like it back for our Fall bon fires. Thank you for considering my hero, Robert Roxbury."

Congratulations on your son, Robert Roxbury, being selected as one of the Veterans we will be honoring this year!



Veterans Appreciation 2017 submission from Sherry Joki:
"I found my step father dead on our basement floor and was suffering from PTSD, on top of my depression/anxiety. I felt like no one could ever understand what I was going through and that the pain/memories from that day would never go away. Everything changed the day I met Jesse, who was going through his own kind of PTSD from his deployment and his uncle passing away. His uncle was the only person who understood everything he was going through from being deployed, and he was gone forever. We both were unfortunately going through a drinking stage to get rid of the pain. As I talked to Jesse more and more, I realized how similar we were and I began to trust him more than any other person I knew. He became my counselor, my safe haven and my best friend. Months passed and both of our PTSD seemed to have lessened and our happiness grew. Somehow, in this crazy mixed up world, we found each other, confided in one another and moved to Ohio to start our life together. He finally got comfortable enough in Ohio that he joined the VFW and has become an active member, now being the Senior Vice Commander and hopes to be Commander one day. I cannot express how proud I am of him for everything he’s done for the community and post. He’s always the first person to lend a helping hand and doesn’t expect anything in return. He is very passionate and has the utmost respect for Veterans and their families. Jesse brought me to church and did something I never thought was possible, showed me who Jesus was and brought me to him (I was even baptized in 2015 at our church)! He has always been the “rock” in our relationship. I have always been the “worrier” and bad thinker. Every time I have doubts, he assures me as long as we keep our faith in God, and leave it in his hands, we will be okay. Of course I would roll my eyes at that, but he’s always been right. Jesse has always supported me in every little idea I’ve had and he’s the first person to tell anyone that I can accomplish anything I want. The only thing I’ve ever really wanted in life was to be a mother. In 2016, God blessed us with a beautiful healthy baby boy. While I was pregnant, Jesse went to every appointment with me, made sure I had everything I needed and always assured me everything would work out fine. (I had a lot of anxiety when I was pregnant and don’t know how he had the patience to put up with me) We were unsure whether I’d go back to work part time or if it was worth putting our son, Jonathan, in day care. I didn’t like it (and still don’t), but it was decided that Jesse would work full time and I’d stay at home with Jonathan. It just didn’t make sense for me to work part time or full time and pay someone else to watch over our son. It would have been a waste of money and time. From day one, Jesse has been right by my side and supported Jonathan and I. Whether it’s missing out on a few extra hours of sleep just so he can spend time with us after a long day at work, not going out with friends because the baby is sick, making sure he’s at Jonathans doctor’s appointments, picking up extra jobs and working 12+ hour days to pay bills, or getting in the 20 minutes of “man time” with Jonathan (watching TV in his recliner), he’s been there +100%. He can go to bed at 11PM and wake up at 6AM go to work for 13 hours, with his back in horrendous pain and still walk through our front door smiling big and wide and thank me for dinner. He will then spend time with us until it’s time for bed. This is an everyday thing, and yet he still wakes up and does it the next day. Added onto everything he does with work and at home, he has his responsibilities at the VFW post and he is the Vice President for the Youngstown Blue Coats (a non-profit organization that collects coats, gloves, hats, blankets, boots, etc. for homeless Veterans). On the side, he also helps friends and family with any projects that come up and the truth is, I don’t know how he does it all and stays sane. He is a man of very many talents and he continuously exceeds in everything he does. Ever since that first day when he walked into the bar, he’s been nothing but accepting, encouraging, supporting, loving, inspirational, kind hearted, thoughtful, faithful, and the MOST influential person I have ever met. I am beyond thankful for and proud of my Veteran."
Congratulations on your Veteran, SGT Jesse M Regan, being selected as one of the Veterans we will be honoring this year!
Veterans Appreciation 2017 submission from Lisa Maze:
"I am nominating my father, SSgt. Paul Dean Maze who proudly served in the USAF from 1964 to 1968 as an aircraft seat ejection technician, stationed at Davis Monthan AFB, Tuscon, AZ. I am not just nominating him because he is a veteran and a patriot, but for his character, his integrity, his moral compass and many, many other reasons which I hope I may convey.
He is a proud patriot who instilled a love of this nation in my brother and me, so much so that we both proudly served this country as well. I am proud to say that a "Maze" has served this country in every war and conflict that this nation, since her birth, has been involved in; not to mention the countries our ancestors immigrated from. My father never let us forget that fact growing up and especially in today's world- we are a family of fighters, standing up for those who can’t fight for themselves, to always defend our freedoms and rights, to never compromise for your beliefs, to never back down and to always stand for what is right, no matter how hard it is.
He is an amazing father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He has shared his words of wisdom and advice based on his experiences, but always encouraged and allowed me the space and freedom to live my life to find my own way, many times the hard way and when I came back to him with my tail between my legs, admitting my defeat, he always made sure that no matter what, I knew that he was proud of me, I was always loved and that I was a stronger and more capable woman for my experience.
He taught me a love of outdoors; his "church" as he called it. He taught me to respect nature and her creatures. He taught me how to fish, making sure I baited my own line, took off my own fish and to clean them myself. He taught me how to drive and dock a boat. He taught us how to shoot and hunt. 
As the oldest and as his only daughter, I was never coddled or spoiled, but always knew that there was a special bond between us as father and daughter. He taught me the importance of integrity, a firm handshake and when you gave your word, it was as good as a written contract.
We have had our ups and downs over the years, many of them very bad and leaving us estranged for too many years. Our relationship has been far from perfect, as I am my father's daughter, his mini-me of sorts; proud and stubborn, but given where we are and the relationship we have today, I wouldn't change anything because it is what was brought us both to where we are today.
I could go on and on, but I want to get to the main reason for my nomination.
My stepmom, Annie, had a brain-stem stroke at the end of February 2016. The doctors gave her a 7% chance of survival and prepared our family for the worst. However, my dad was not about to give up and was a daily fixture at the hospital, either sitting at her bedside or sitting in the family waiting area, waiting until he could go back into her room to be with her. Annie spent much of the first 60 days unconscious, with the doctors not knowing if she would ever wake up, but my dad sat with her, talking with her, never willing to give up on her and her strength to come back to us.

On Memorial Day 2016, 90 days after her stroke, Daddy brought Annie home. For someone given a 10%, AT BEST, chance of survival, her coming home was a miracle. Since the day she has come home, my father has selflessly been her primary and daily care provider. He has and continues to do everything to assist her and care for her. In addition Annie’s care, he has assumed the tasks that she used to do around the house; the chores, shopping, meal preparation, driving my two nephews to school each day, etc. He does her daily therapies with her each day and never asks for help from anyone.
No matter how hard their days are, the medical emergencies, the surgeries, the sleepless nights, the extreme financial situations and burdens, the sacrifices that he has made, yet my father never complains. He will tell you that he does all this for his "little darlin", his wife and his best friend. 
It is very hard on them both, as Annie was always a very strong willed and independent woman. She and my dad were a great example of a couple who complete each other, yet were still strong individuals. However, this stroke has proven to be a perfect example of "in sickness and in health" as my dad has never given up on her. In her lowest moments, he has not ever let her give up, reminding her that she is here, with her family, and that she is needed, wanted and is here for a reason.
I wish that I felt my words did justice to the life and example that my father lives and is. I could fill pages with memories and experiences to tell his life story and for strangers to clearly see the character, integrity, selfishness, the honor, loyalty and love that my father lives each day. I can only hope that this nomination does that in some small way."
Congratulations on your father, Paul D Maze, being selected as one of the Veterans we will be honoring this year!
Veterans Appreciation 2017 submission from Nicole Patrick:
"My father [Joseph Protain] is a veteran of Desert Storm and during that time he was married to my mother and had my older sister and I. Growing up we were able to see parts of the world that most don't see in a lifetime, but we were too young to fully understand what my dad was doing. We knew he had a job to do and could be gone for a period of time. Once he was honorably discharged, we moved back home from California to Ohio. Shortly after returning back home, my mother left my dad and they ended up getting divorced. We lived with our dad from then until we graduated high school. During this time not only did my dad have to adjust to "civilian" life, but he also faced a challenge of raising two girls by himself. Times did get tough but my dad always managed to make things work and we always pulled through! My father still to this day is is the same way...if things get tough he is always by our sides to make sure everything turns out fine. I truly believe that my sister and I wouldn't be the women we are today without the love, drive , passion and determination without my dad by our sides. As he always says "nothing in life is easy you just gotta lace up your boots a little tighter and fight". In 2002 we lost our little sister, Donna Jean, who was two (2) to childhood cancer. At this point in my life never did I see my father so broken. This was a very hard and difficult time in our lives but we managed to pull through. Now that I am 30 and married with two (2) kids of my own, now I fully understand how hard my dad really worked and did everything under the sun to make sure we had everything we needed and or wanted. Being a parent is not easy by any means, but knowing help is only a phone call away, I always know I can count on my dad. My children absolutely adore my dad! The day my daughter was born I will never forget what he said to me. He thanked me for a healthy and beautiful granddaughter and told me he never has been so proud of me until the day I brought my daughter into the world! Fast forward 4.5 years now I have my son. At one point I thought my dad would never give him back! My kids light up my dad's face when they are around and the love between the three (3) of them is something fierce! My dad has helped me more than he knows and for that I will always be in his debtness for that! The love between a father and daughter is strong, but the love between a "Papa" and his grandchildren is a bond that nothing in the world can break! My dad deserves the best and in my eyes, I won't accept anything less for him! I wish you were able to meet him because then you can truly understand how special my dad Is! I want to thank you for your time in reading my email and hopefully you would choose my father as the winner!"

Congratulations on your father, Joseph Protain, being selected as one of the Veterans we will be honoring this year!