Korean War veteran H. Weldin Neff has been named Seneca County's veteran of the year, and the award couldn't have gone to a nicer guy, according to a colleague and friend of Neff.
Jim Roberts, adjutant of the United Veterans Council, said he and Neff worked together years ago and continue to do so today.
Roberts, who served as Seneca County sheriff from 1970 until 1978, worked with Neff, a wildlife officer, during that time.
PHOTO BY ERIKA PLATT-HANDRU
H. Weldin Neff, a Korean War veteran, has been named 2012 Seneca County Veteran of the Year.
H. Weldin Neff (kneeling, holding gun) is shown with fellow soldiers on Christmas Day 1952 in Korea.
H. Weldin Neff, who served as Seneca County sheriff from 1979 to 1989 and from 1996 to 2000, stands next to a Seneca County sheriff’s deputy cruiser during the 1980s.
"He's always been there when you needed him," Roberts said.
Following Roberts' term as sheriff, Neff assumed duties as sheriff until 1989. He served a second term from 1996 until 2000.
Following a long career in public service, Neff, who is now 83, continues to work for his fellow veterans.
"He's active in all of the veterans organizations," Roberts said. "He's very proud of the fact that he served in the Korean War."
Roberts said Neff deserves the veteran of the year award not only because of his service in Korea, but because of his continued involvement in veterans services.
"He just loves his fellow Americans and his fellow veterans," he said. "Most people would be hitting their recliner with a Pepsi and a bag of chips, but he's still really active."
J.M. "Mac" McAuliffe, executive director of the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission, said Weldin had been nominated by the VFW, just one of the many war veterans' organizations where Neff spends much of his time.
"Weldin has done a lot," McAuliffe said. "He has become very much involved in veterans activities in the last few years. It's well deserved. It really is. He's done a lot over the last few years as far as veterans activities."
Neff, who is to be honored at the Veterans Day dinner Nov. 10 at AMVETS, said he was shocked to learn he received the award.
"It was kind of a shock and a very humbling experience," he said. "I'm very honored to have received it."
Neff said during the Korean War, he served in the Army in the 14th Combat Engineer Battalion and was stationed on the western front of Korea. He was there from 1952 until 1953.
Following his service in the Army, Neff married his wife, Arlene, and went to work for the Department of Natural Resources. Neff, a native of Barnesville, then was assigned to Seneca County.
Following a career in public service, Neff retired in 2000 at the conclusion of his second term as Seneca County sheriff.
"After retirement, I pretty much spent all my spare time in veterans affairs," he said.
Neff, who lives in rural Tiffin, said he is the director of the Department of Ohio Korean War Veterans Association and also holds office as the VFW chaplain and as a trustee of the American Legion and the AMVETS. In the past, he has served as a commander of
the AMVETS and the American Legion and also as governor of the Moose.
Neff also is involved with the disabled American veterans and United Veterans Council.
In 2010, Neff played a role in the erection of the Seneca County Korean War Memorial on Frost Parkway.
"I'm very proud of my role in that accomplishment. It's something that was needed," he said.
Neff said he is involved with veterans affairs not only because he likes to stay busy, but because it helps him feel closer to his six brothers who served in World War II.
"It just makes me feel closer to my family when I do that," he said.