County veterans to be honored
By PATTY RICE GROTH
The Crawford County Veterans Hall of Fame will induct six new members on November 11, 2011, at Bucyrus High School . The ceremony will start at 7 p.m. with bands from the county’s high schools providing the music. All county residents are invited to participate in ther ceremonies.
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners have issued a proclamation honoring this year’s inductees, and it is printed here in its entirety.
Office of the County Commissioners
“Recognition of the
Crawford County Veterans Hall of Fame 2011 Inductees”
WHEREAS, the Crawford County Veterans Hall of Fame was established in 2007 to acknowledge the dedicated military service and sacrifices performed by Crawford County, Ohio individuals; and
WHEREAS, Crawford County, Ohio has many residents who have served in the Nation’s Armed Forces to guard, protect and maintain the freedoms and democracy of this United States of America; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners wishes to honor the 2011 Crawford County Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees and applaud the dedicated efforts of those responsible for initiating and continuing the recognition of deserving individuals into the Crawford County Veterans Hall of Fame; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Board of Commissioners, Crawford County, Ohio does hereby acknowledge and honor the 2011 Crawford County Veterans Hall of Fame Inductees; as well as encourage and support all veterans, military personnel, active and reserve; that have answered the call of duty and served our Great Nation to allow everyone a life of freedom and democracy.
The 2011 inductees are:
Lawrence L. Bittikofer
Lawrence Bittikofer was born in Bucyrus , Ohio , on April 19, 1928. On May 13, 1942, he entered the military at Fort Hayes , Ohio . He was assigned to the Hq. Btry. 410th AAA Gun Battalion. During his time in the service he participated in five major campaigns which included serving in Africa, Italy , Germany and others.
Mr. Bittikofer was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Campaign Medal, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars and the World War II Victory Ribbon. He was discharged on November 23, 1945, at Indiantown Gap , PA.
In 1946 Lawrence started working for the Defense Department as a civilian at the Shelby Air Force Depot in Shelby , Ohio . In Shelby he met his wife-to-be and was married on June 25, 1949. In 1958 he was transferred to Warner Robbins, Georgia . He later moved back to Ohio to work at Gentile Air Force Depot in Dayton . When Gentile closed he began working for the Defense Electronic Supply Center in Dayton . In October 1976 he retired from the Federal Civil Service with a total government service of 34 years.
After his retirement, he moved back to Bucyrus where he enjoyed his farm and gardening. He was a life member of American Legion Post #181, a life member of VFW 1078 and a life member of the Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #669.
Oliver L. Blackburn
Oliver Blackburn was born May 4, 1925, to Donald and Ethel (Ralph) Blackburn of Gallipolis, Ohio . Ollie graduated in 1943 from Bucyrus High School and enlisted May 29, 1943.
Basic training started June 15 at Fort Bliss , Texas , then on to Camp Carson, CO. Ollie served in the European Theater, 80th Inf. Division 3rd Army.
Ollie participated in a crossing of the Rhine River into Germany with General George Patton’s Third Army. He and other soldiers were crossing the Rhine in rowboats when they came under heavy fire from the Germans. Many of the small boats wee hit and sank, including Sgt. Blackburn. He rescued two soldiers and aided them in reaching a small piece of land. Ollie said, “We got to shore and found a pillbox, but there were 20 German soldiers in it and we were prisoners of war,” Blackburn recalls. “Two days later he convinced the 20 Germans to surrender as more of our troops crossed the Rhine .
Oliver received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, four Battle Stars, Meritorious Union Award, Good Conduct Medal, Prisoner of War Medal, Combat Infantry Badge and the Victory Medal.
Oliver returned from the service in 1946 and went to work at the New York Central Railroad. Then he joined the Timken Company, retiring in 1983. Oliver married Mabel Palmer and they have two children, Jack and Jerry Blackburn.
Oliver was a member of AMVETS, VFW, American Legion and Moose Lodge. He was also a Little League manager and a Bratwurst Festival Marshal.
WWII POW and Veteran
Harold Romanoff was born February 23, 1919, in Toledo , Ohio , and passed away on April 30, 1995, in Bucyrus , Ohio .
On February 23, 1944 (his birthday), 2nd lieutenant Harold Romanoff, a co-pilot part of the 376 Unit Bomb Group, 514 Squadron, was sent on a bombing mission over Steyr , Austria . Their unit came under heavy attack and their B24 lost two engines, top and rear gun turrets, and lost rudder control. They bailed out. The crew lost both tail and top gunners and the remainders were taken captive and sent to Germany .
Harold and his crew were held as POWs for 15 months at Stalag Luft I in Barth , Germany , on the cold Baltic Sea . The only things that saved Harold from the Jewish concentration camps was that he was an officer and this was the end of the war. Stalag Luft I was liberated by the Russians in May 1945 and Harold returned to the U.S. May 13, 1945.
Most of the stories told by Harold to his son, Mike, were about the lack of food and the cold, but their treatment was mostly humane.
Harold was awarded the Air Medal in November 1944, six months after being shot down. It took awhile, but in 1988 he was also awarded the POW medal.
In 1952 Harold moved to Bucyrus to purchase Lords Jewelers and in 1960 he moved the jewelry business across the street and re-named it Romanoff Jewelers.
He was very active in the community and served on the boards of the YMCA, Salvation Army, Kiwanis and First Federal Community Bank. He was also a member of the Moose, Elks, American Legion and Bucyrus Country Club.
In 1947 he married Mary Romanoff who still resides in Bucyrus. The couple had two children: Michael who resides in Bucyrus and Lisa who lives in Charlotte , NC . They also have three grandchildren; Regan, Kiley and Marna.
Daniel G. Schwan
Daniel G. Schwan was born August 11, 1944, in Willard , Ohio . He was the son of Dr. George and Florence (Korb) Schwan. When he was four years old his family moved to New Washington, Ohio.
Daniel entered the military at Fort Hayes , Columbus , Ohio . He took his Army Basic Training in South Carolina and his Army Medical Training in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was deployed to Chu Lai, Vietnam , where he was killed on August 16 in a surprise attack on the camp base where he was stationed as a combat medic. He died of wounds as a result of hostile fire.
PFC Schwan was promoted posthumously to grade of Cpl E-4 as of August 22, 1968, under provisions of PL 680 77th Congress as amended.
Daniel graduated from Buckeye Central High School in 1962 and was quite active in high school athletics. He was also inducted into the first class of Buckeye Central Hall of Fame on December 28, 2001.
Daniel went to Capital University where he graduated with a degree in psychology in 1967. He served on the staff of Franklin County Child Welfare, Columbus , Ohio , as a social worker prior to his basic training.
Edward A. Sharrock
Edward was born October 21, 1947, in Galion , Ohio , the only son of Alva and Susan (Hillis) Sharrock. He attended Colonel Crawford High School in North Robinson, Ohio . He was a member of Bucyrus Kingdom Hall, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and was employed at Shunk Manufacturing Company in Bucyrus prior to entering the service.
Edward had been wounded three times in Vietnam combat; in 1967 when he received a shrapnel wound in his leg requiring hospitalization in DaNang, on July 16, 1967, when he was thrown from a helicopter in combat at Chu Lia south of DaNang, requiring five weeks in the hospital and on February 21, 1968, when he received multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and colon at Khe Sanh, complicated by bleeding ulcers. Edward died on March 23, 1968.
Edward entered the U.S. Army in May 1966. He spent six months in Germany until May 1967 when he commenced service in Vietnam . He served with the 1st Calvary Air Borne Division.
Edward was awarded posthumously the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart. Prior to his death, Edward had been awarded the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Joseph V. Shofner
Joseph Shofner was born in rural Kentucky but his family moved to Bucyrus , Ohio , when he was a young child. He attended the Bucyrus Schools and graduated from Bucyrus High School in 1935.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry in March 1936 where he qualified as a Machine Gunner and also a motorcycle rider. He was discharged on January 31, 1941. On October 6, 1944, Joe reenlisted at Fort Hayes , Columbus , Ohio . This time his training qualified him for Scout (Intelligence). He attained the rank of Corporal and received the Good Conduct Medal and American Service Medal. His duties of training recruits ended when a hand grenade malfunctioned and blew half of his right hand off. He was discharged on December 14, 1945.
After his discharge, Joe went to work for the Penn Railroad as a conductor until being hired at the Timken Company in 1954. There he worked at various positions and retired as Quality Control. While there he also was employed by the Bucyrus city as a police office under chief A.L. Stucketrt.
He was elected Councilman at Large under Mayor Clare Sharrock and enjoyed being part of the process to Make Bucyrus a Better Place to Live.
Joe was active in the Order of Untied Commercial Travelers and attained the position of State Grand counselor in 1977. Joe was past commander of the Bucyrus DAV and a lifetime member of AMVETS #27. He was also a member of the Bucyrus Masonic Temple .