OVB Spotlight: Meet our Barboursville team

Back row L to R: Ben Pewitt, Jon Jones, Robby Shuck. Front row L to R: Rachel Stevens, Haley Mitchell, Leigh Anne Roten, Maranda Prevatt

There are many factors that keep Ohio Valley Bank running. From shareholders to board members, OVB is able to continue working as an independent, community bank. Another factor that keeps the bank going? Our team of dedicated, community bankers.

In this edition of OVB Spotlight, we are introducing our Barbourville team. Our Barboursville Office is one the bank’s newer branches with both a modern sleek look and customer experience. In addition, our Barboursville team takes the bank’s Community First mission to heart by not only prioritizing excellent customer service but also through their local involvement.

Get to know your Barboursville community bankers:

Ben Pewitt, OVB vice president, commercial loan officer, has been part of the OVB team for two years and has worked in the banking industry for 12 years. Through his work with OVB, Pewitt’s duties focus on working with small business owners to help them obtain their financing needs.

“I have been very fortunate to have spent more than a decade in the community banking industry. Now, more than ever, I am excited about the opportunity I have to help local business owners. Regardless of if the request is for short-term liability or long-term balance sheet management, it is a privilege to daily serve entrepreneurs and work for an organization that enthusiastically supports the local community,” Pewitt said.

Outside of work, Pewitt is very involved with Business Networking International (BNI), the rotary and Redemption Church. In his free time, he loves being a dad to his two daughters. He also enjoys hiking, backpacking and mountain biking.

Jon Jones, OVB assistant cashier, Western Cabell Region Manager, will celebrate his 12 year anniversary at OVB this summer. His duties include overseeing the Barboursville branch as well as focusing on business development and retail lending. He described OVB’s focus on community as one of the best aspects of his job.

“Being involved in the community and helping homeowners get into a new home is my favorite part of my job,” he said.

Jones is quite involved in the community as a member of the Barboursville Rotary, where he once served as president. In addition, he is a Big Green member as well as a member of the Barboursville/Milton Rotary Golf Tournament Committee. His other involvements include being part of the BNI Superior Chapter. He also served as a board member for the Marshall University Alumni from 2013-2019.

When he isn’t working or helping his community, Jones enjoys spending time with his wife, two kids and three cats. He is also an avid sports fan and enjoys cheering on Marshall, Notre Dame and the Dodgers.

Robby Shuck, branch operations manager, has worked with OVB for a total of 18 years. He described assisting customers with their banking needs as the best part of his job.

“My favorite part of my job is being able to help my customers in about any area of banking they need. It helps develop a stronger relationship with customers and lets them know that they can come to me with questions on not just their checking account, but questions on their loans as well,” Shuck said.

Shuck stays active in the community by volunteering with his children’s sports teams and activities. He enjoys spending time wife and two children as well as their pets, which include three cats and a turtle. He also likes to play sports with his family, take walks and watch his beloved Cleveland Browns every fall.

Maranda Prevatt, assistant branch operations manager, has been with OVB for seven years. She described working with her fellow OVB team as one of the best aspects of her job.

“Parts of my job don’t always fit into my job description. Being in management comes with a very fulfilling mentorship responsibility. It’s a very rewarding experience to work side by side with my coworkers, be a source of information and to watch each other grow in our roles and careers with the company. I can confidently say this team I’m with strives to provide the best customer service in our area and leave our clients with an assurance that they’re in good hands with OVB,” Prevatt said.

Outside of work, Prevatt is a two year member of BNI. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her two rescue dogs. One of her hobbies is also catching up on documentaries, books and podcasts about true crime culture.

Rachel Stevens, account service representative, has worked at OVB for three years. She described helping the bank’s customers as a great part of her job.

“My favorite part of the job is being able to converse with each of the customers and know that I am helping them understand their accounts,” Stevens said.

Outside of work, she enjoys reading and gardening as well as spending time with her two children and dog.

Haley Mitchell, account service representative, has been part of the OVB team just over a year and a half. She described working with customers and helping them with the bank’s various products and services as the best part of her job duties.

“My favorite part of my job is being able to assist customers in matching them with the best products and services possible for them,” Mitchell said.

When she isn’t helping customers, Mitchell likes taking part in various outdoor activities as well as going to the gym. She also enjoys time with her dog.

Leigh Ann Roten, customer service representative, has been with the bank for three years. Like many of her fellow coworkers, she described working with customers as the best part of her job.

“I love interacting with customers. If I can make someone smile it makes my day,” she said.

Outside of work, Roten is very involved in her church, where she leads the couples’ ministry with her husband. In addition, she sometimes sings with her sons, who travel to various churches performing bluegrass and gospel music. She enjoys spending her free time with her husband and four teenage sons. She also likes to bake.

Our Barboursville Office is ready to welcome and assist you with your banking needs. Stay tuned for upcoming OVB Spotlight features to get to know more about your community bankers.

For bank related news, like and follow OVB on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.   

OVB Spotlight: Meet our executive assistant team

Pictured from left to right: Cindy Johnson, Adria Watson and Paula “Polly” Clay.

There are many factors that keep Ohio Valley Bank running. From shareholders to board members, OVB is able to continue working as an independent, community bank. Another factor that keeps the bank going? Our team of dedicated, community bankers.

In this edition of OVB Spotlight, we are introducing our team of dedicated executive assistants. From organizing board meetings and compiling various committee meeting minutes to maintaining corporate records as well as helping with the annual shareholder’s meeting and providing support to the Chairman and President, these community bankers work hard to keep the bank running like a well oiled machine. In addition, they are a valued asset to the bank’s executive team. 

Get to know your OVB executive assistant team:

Paula “Polly” Clay, OVB assistant vice president and assistant secretary, has worked with the bank for 45 years.

She described her work with OVB as ever-changing to meet bank needs.

“When you’re in the executive area, you never know what duties and projects may be assigned to you. It’s a new challenge almost every day,” Clay said.

She added that her favorite part of the job was the privilege of getting to work with her fellow community bankers each day.

When she isn’t working, Clay enjoys attending church regularly, where she also serves as the secretary/treasurer of her Sunday school class. She also enjoys time with her two adult children and their spouses as well as her six grandchildren, which she described as one of “life’s greatest blessings times six.”

Cindy Johnson, OVB assistant vice president and assistant secretary, has been with the bank for 43 years.

When it comes to her job responsibilities, Johnson said her favorite part was constantly learning new things.

Outside of OVB, Johnson likes to work on her flower gardens in her spare time, a talent she also brings to the rooftop flower display at OVB on the Square. She also enjoys helping with her church’s various activities. In addition, she enjoys spending time with her daughter; son and daughter-in-law; two grandsons; and grandcat.

Adria Watson, OVB executive assistant, will celebrate her four year anniversary with the bank next month.

Like Clay and Johnson, Watson described her job duties as continually evolving to meet the bank’s needs.

To further elaborate on the executive assistant team’s daily routine, she shared the following quote. 

“We just never know what we will be getting into but we do know that: ‘we are here to spend ourselves on others; for each person is a great treasure,’ – Bryant H. McGill.”

Watson described the different duties as her favorite part of her job as well as her coworkers.

“OVB has some wonderful people, and I get to work alongside the best of them,” she said.

When she isn’t working, Watson enjoys shopping thrift stores; decorating her home with various DIY projects; and spending time with her husband and three children. In addition, as a pastor’s wife, she is very involved with her church, where she also serves a beginners’ class teacher.

Our executive assistant team is focused on making sure the bank runs as smoothly as possible for both our valued customers and employees. They truly do keep OVB’s Community First mission at the heart of all they do.

Stay tuned for future editions of OVB Spotlight.

For bank related news, like and follow OVB on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

OVB Spotlight: Meet our Jackson team


From left to right: Amy Hollingshead, Anita Good, Jessica Taylor, Joe Wyant, Kathleen (Kathy) McDaniel, Brittiany Hensley, Atalanta Leach and Sara Oberholzer. 


There are many factors that keep Ohio Valley Bank running. From shareholders to board members, OVB is able to continue working as an independent, community bank. Another factor that keeps the bank going? Our team of dedicated, community bankers.

In this inaugural edition of the OVB Spotlight, we are introducing our Jackson team. The folks at our Jackson Office are always willing to help our customers, and many use their personal time to volunteer in the community as well.

Get to know your Jackson community bankers: Read more of this post

Pulling positive energy into 2021

2021 collage (1)

Happy New Year! Doesn’t that feel good to say? After a very challenging 2020, the new year marks a fresh start for everyone.

While 2021 still brings its own set of obstacles, especially as we continue to navigate the pandemic, that doesn’t mean that we can’t set goals to bring positive change in our lives. Whether you call it a new year’s resolution or goal, this is a year where we could all use a little productive, healthy energy. Are your resolutions focused on your professional life? Or are you striving to make personal changes?

In part one of this New Year’s Resolution series, we wanted to share a few of our resolutions with you. By doing so, we hope to connect as a community; help each other achieve our goals; and hopefully inspire you to do the same. From exercising more to taking up a new hobby, we, like you, hope to make 2021 a great year. Read more of this post

Our holiday traditions

Holiday Traditions Pic

We all have a special holiday tradition or memory that lives on in our hearts. While this holiday season is likely a bit different for all of us, we wanted to spread a little Christmas cheer by sharing traditions and festive memories from your OVB community bankers.

For Kyla Carpenter, OVB Vice President, Director of Marketing, it’s hard to name just one holiday tradition or memory. However, it is her time spent with family over the years that is nearest to her heart.

“My absolute favorite tradition was our Christmas Eve celebration. We would spend the morning making homemade decorations to take to our family grave sites in the afternoon. Later in the day, my grandparents would come to our house for a Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner, it was time for me and my sister to gather at the front door to await the annual visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, riding through the neighborhood atop a firetruck. I vividly remember the excitement of hearing that siren heralding their arrival, as well as the awe of my dad’s signature blue lights glowing outside,” she said. “Though my father passed away when I was only four, we continued decorating with those blue lights so it always felt like he was right there with us awaiting Santa.”

Carpenter described her family’s Christmas Eve celebration as continuing with carols around the tree, followed by a gift exchange and the reading of the Christmas Story from her grandfather.

“I feel blessed to have been able to grow up in a loving, Christian family. We may not have had a lot by the world’s standard, but we were rich in love. Though many things have changed over the years, we still decorate our family grave sites, Santa continues to wave to families from atop the firetruck in Point Pleasant (W.Va.), and we still decorate with those wonderful, blue lights.”

Sheri Persinger, OVB installment loan clerk, also described her childhood Christmas memories as being very special.

“I have so many good memories from when I was a kid at Christmas. I think the one that stands out the most was when I was about six years-old. My dad worked shift work and this particular Christmas he was on the midnight shift. So, that evening after dark my mom loaded up my sister and I in the car and drove us around town to look at all the Christmas lights. We left my dad in the basement in his workshop. When we got home Santa had already been there and left our gifts. My dad told us he heard something upstairs and went up there while Santa was putting gifts under the tree. He said we were one of the first stops that night, so Santa was early,” Persinger said. “I can still remember how excited I was that my dad actually got to see Santa Claus!”

Jami Oberholzer, OVB assistant branch operations manager, also recalled fun traditions spending Christmas Eve with family over the years.

“My favorite Christmas time memory would be going to my mamaw and papaws on Christmas Eve; eating dinner with everyone; and then opening gifts. When we got home, my mom would let my sister and I open one gift from her that normally consisted of a Christmas movie and pajamas. Then we would go outside and sprinkle reindeer food all over the yard so that Santa could find our house to bring our gifts. Then we would go inside and watch our new movie until it was bedtime so we could get up early and see all the new stuff Santa brought…Christmas morning mom would make the best breakfast as my sister and I played in the living room,” she said. “I’m grateful that my mom always made Christmas such a magical thing, and I am very excited to bring some of that same Christmas magic into my home for my little girl.”

Childhood Christmas memories also stand out most to Adria Watson, OVB executive secretary.

“I actually have two favorite memories – my dad would set traps for us on Christmas morning. Sounds silly, right? Well, while most kids would run straight to their toys freely, we were barricaded by yarn being spider webbed in our bedroom doorway with hairbrushes and just about anything else you could think of wrapped up in it. We always had to make our way through it before we could get our presents. It was so much fun,” Watson said. “I also remember when I was very little, my favorite Christmas movie was Rudolph. Well, dad mounted a red lightbulb in the woods below our house and one in the barn just up from our house. He had it set to blink back and forth – I really thought that Rudolph had come to visit! My dad was very creative, and I am thankful for that.”

Childhood holiday traditions are also very special to Megan Martin, OVB retail lending.

“Back when I was elementary age, my siblings, parents and I would all watch ‘A Muppet Christmas Carol’ on Christmas Eve night. We had a pullout couch that Matt, Brea and I shared until we fell asleep and mom and dad went to bed. We would wake up Christmas morning and start with breakfast. After breakfast, we would all gather in the living room around dad while he read the story of Jesus’ birth from the book of Luke. After that, we opened presents and dad went around the room with his video camera while mom dispersed the gifts among the three of us kids,” Martin said. “Traditions are a little different now, but recently mom, dad and I travel to do something fun for Christmas, like going to see lights and Christmas villages…We still open gifts on Christmas Day and have my sister over on Christmas Eve along with her family.”

Erik Mullins, OVB IT specialist, described his traditions evolving as time has passed, but said the memories made will always be special.

“When I was a kid, we would drive around Jackson (OH) looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music on the radio. On Christmas Eve we would go to my only living grandparents’ house and exchange gifts there for a couple hours. Later we would leave and gather at my mom and dad’s house to exchange more gifts,” he said. “Traditions of old are fading as I get older. My grandma has passed away and so has my dad. My mom isn’t in good health either. We still gather on Christmas Eve night with my mom. While this all seems very sad, trust me it is, it also makes you appreciate those times and memories and pay more attention to what you have now. We are making new memories and traditions to go along with the old that are still there. My wife and I drive our kids around for lights and Christmas music…Seeing my kids happy on Christmas Day is such a cherished thing. But most importantly, I give God thanks for being truly blessed. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of Christmas and trying to make things perfect. I’m just incredibly thankful that I have the life and family that I have and I give God all the credit for that.”

Harmony Phillips, OVB residential real estate underwriter, also said that while she misses old traditions of her past, she is happy to make new ones.

“I’m thankful for new traditions that have come about over recent years. We watch Christmas movies all month long, especially ‘The Grinch’ multiple times. We drive around on different nights to go see the lights, including Gallipolis in Lights, Krodel Park, Ashland, and local communities,” Phillips said. “However, I think my most favorite thing about the holidays is the good it brings out in everyone. People just have a different attitude during this time – they are so kind and giving and are so willing to help others. The love and consideration that is displayed during this time is just so special. I don’t think we noticed these things when we were kids. As I get older, Christmas gets a little more special each year because of things like this. It helps you realize that with all the crazy stuff in the world right now we are still good hearted and want to do good for others.”

Making memories with her kids is part of why the holiday season is so special to Bridgett Garrett, OVB customer support specialist.

“My favorite holiday tradition that I now do with my kids is any time we see Christmas lights, we have to sing ‘Ho Ho Lights, Ho Ho Lights, Ho Ho Ho Ho, Ho Ho Lights!’ It gets rather tricky and comical at times when there is a line of houses that all have Christmas lights on them, but it sure does bring on a good laugh and great memories,” Garrett said.

Maranda Prevatt, OVB assistant branch operations manager, Barboursville, like many others, also recalled fond memories spending the holidays with her grandparents. 

“Each year Christmas Eve is spent at my grandparents’ house. After we all filled our bellies, but before the gifts were passed out, my grandfather, Pa, as he’s known to us, would measure all the grandkids to see how much we’d grown from the previous year. Each of us would take turns standing against the support beam in their basement and Pa would make a notch and hand write our name, height and the year. My cousin Katie and I are only 18 months apart in age, so it was always a contest between us as to who’d grown the most,” Prevatt said. “We have all stopped growing and Pa has passed on now but seeing his writing on that beam with each visit warms my heart.”

Amy Hollingshead, OVB branch operations manager, Jackson, described visiting her grandparents at Christmas as being quite memorable as well.

“My favorite Christmas memory was going to my Nanny and Papa’s on Christmas Eve when we were little. My mom’s whole family would come, and we would have Christmas dinner with all the trimmings! After dinner, we would all head to the family room to open gifts,” Hollingshead said. “I remember one year I got in trouble for opening one of my gifts and screaming what it was to the whole family – Nanny was not pleased with me since she had given all of us girls the same thing! The best part of the night was when our Nanny and Papa would open their gifts – all of the kids and grandkids would gather around to watch. My Papa liked to make a game out of it. He would shake each present and try to figure out what it was, and most of the time he got it right! I wish so much that I could go back and relive just one of those Christmas Eve celebrations!”

For Eric Whitt, OVB administrative assistant, there are countless Christmas traditions he has enjoyed over the years, from watching classic Christmas movies and shows, to visiting family.

“Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year! I love Christmas,” Whitt said. “As long as I can remember, we have always gone to my Grandpa and Grandma Whitt’s house for Christmas Eve. My grandpa has passed away, but we still go to my grandma’s, and she is now 91 years-old! We continue that tradition with my son Hayden, as he gets to spend Christmas Eve with his great-grandma.”

Whitt continued describing fun times from childhood, such as leaving the traditional milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve night.

“Now, I am able to continue that tradition with Hayden. It’s the same every year – three cookies, three gummy worms and a glass of milk! Seeing Hayden find out what Santa got him the next morning caps it all off. On Christmas Day, we spend the day with my family and my wife’s family, the Sipples. Of course, my memories are precious with the Sipples, as I watched Hayden get to spend the day with his cousins, Anthony, Wyatt and Ryelee. I hold memories of Anthony and Ryelee close at Christmas time,” he said. “Merry Christmas to all of my OVB family!”

We could share countless more memories. We, like you, treasure this time of year. From family and friends, to traditions old and new, the holidays are very special to everyone. From all of us at OVB, we wish you a blessed, and very Merry Christmas!   


Give back this holiday season

Tom Wiseman Santa

Now that we’ve had our fill of turkey, the holidays are in full swing. From several community offerings to celebrate the season, to local shopping opportunities, it’s officially the most wonderful time of the year.

While the holidays bring cheer, this year has been particularly difficult for many people. Now more than ever it’s important to help those in need. Even our area charities have been impacted by the pandemic as several of their annual fundraisers were not able to take place. One of the best gifts you can give this year is to support local causes.

Tom Wiseman, OVB Chairman of the Board and CEO, encouraged people to help those in need this Christmas.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many people and businesses in so many ways. All have struggled to maintain some sense of normalcy while taking precautions to stay healthy and continue to serve their customers in some meaningful way. Perhaps a forgotten victim in this crisis has been the multitude of local charities who provide such important services in our communities. Unfortunately, these largely volunteer organizations are not immune to this health emergency and the needs they strive to fulfill certainly haven’t gone away. In many respects these local organizations are the lifeblood of our community – local people, just like you and me, donating their time and talent to help others to improve our community,” Wiseman said. “As we approach the holiday season, I give thanks to all who give freely of their time to make our communities a better place to live. Please join me in supporting our local charities. They need us now more than ever.” Read more of this post

Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas with community events

OVB Christmas Tree

In a year that’s provided challenge after challenge, we could all use a little holiday cheer. Thankfully, there are many local events on tap that will allow you to safely celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

One tradition that resembles that of a Hallmark movie, is the Gallipolis in Lights. For the past several years in Gallipolis, Ohio, the City Park is illuminated with a gorgeous array of twinkling lights every holiday season. The event typically kicks off with an opening night celebration of singing and fireworks. While the opening event is unable to happen in person due to pandemic precautions, volunteers with Gallipolis in Lights have worked tirelessly to bring a virtual lighting to all who wish to tune in. The virtual lighting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. The lights will stay on every evening until Jan. 2. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the lights from the comfort of their cars. For those who do choose to walk around the park when the lights are on, Gallipolis in Lights volunteers urge individuals to wear masks and maintain social distancing. Don’t forget to check out the large lighted tree display in the corner of the park, close to OVB on the Square, which was donated by Ohio Valley Bank. For more information on how to access the virtual event and/or this year’s display in general, check out the Gallipolis in Lights Facebook page. Read more of this post

6 ways to stay thankful and grateful this holiday

Thanksgiving Word Cloud Website Banner - Female cupped hands cradled by male hands outstretched with a white 'Thanksgiving' word floating above and relevant word cloud on a stone effect background

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are busy preparing recipes and organizing our holiday plans. In a year that has been difficult for everyone, we could all use a little holiday cheer.

Despite the many challenges 2020 has provided, now is more important than ever to count the blessings we do have. Thanksgiving is a special holiday as it is a time to reflect and be thankful. This year, a way to show thanks is to help your community. Local businesses have had it especially difficult this year, so one great thing you can do this holiday season is to participate in Small Business Saturday, which takes place Nov. 28.

To help you narrow down your list and search for local deals, keep your eyes peeled for the release of OVB’s Holiday Gift Guide, which is set to premiere online Thanksgiving week. The guide, which has been produced for free by OVB the past few years, features information on local shops across our communities in both Ohio and West Virginia. From discounts to recipes, the guide will give you gift ideas galore. The Holiday Gift Guide will be available through www.ovbc.com and the OVB Facebook page.

According to Bryna Butler, OVB Vice President, Corporate Communications, the bank created the guide as a way to encourage local shopping for the holiday season.

“A group of OVB community bankers came together to brainstorm ideas to promote shopping local and supporting local businesses. The idea of the Holiday Gift Guide, a way to spotlight local businesses and the great gifts they have for the holiday season, was born out of that brainstorming session,” Butler said. “Ohio Valley Bank believes that buying local whenever you can is an important part of putting Community First. When local businesses thrive, they can pay their employees more, they can donate to local charities and they can buy more from other local businesses. And then those employees, charities and businesses can give back. It’s a circle that benefits everyone.” Read more of this post

Honoring our veterans

OVB flag

While we enjoy many holiday traditions every fall, perhaps the most important is honoring and remembering our veterans. Every November we celebrate Veterans Day, however, each day that we enjoy our freedoms is due to the service of veterans across the nation.

While Ohio Valley Bank is unable to host our annual Veterans Day Luncheon due to pandemic precautions, we still want to make sure our veterans know that we are thankful for them. OVB President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Miller described Veterans Day as a representation of selfless sacrifice.

“Veterans Day is special because it is a reminder of all that’s good about America. Service over self, faith, courage, heroism, humility and freedom,” Miller said. “Veterans Day causes me to reflect on the tremendous sacrifice made by so many so that we can enjoy the good life we have today. We owe our veterans a great debt of gratitude and should honor them with the utmost respect. May God’s blessings rest on all of them.”

OVB Chairman of the Board and CEO Tom Wiseman also commended veterans for their sacrifices.

“I’m not a veteran, but I have tremendous admiration for those who are. I thank God for the men and women who have sacrificed so that we can live as a free nation. Many have paid the ultimate price so that we can enjoy the liberties that freedom assigns to each and every American citizen,” Wiseman said. “We are not a perfect society, not by a long shot, but we are free to correct the wrongs and heal the wounds that divide us. It’s that freedom that gives us hope for a better tomorrow. We are the most fortunate people in all the world and it is those who have served that secured the peace so that we might thrive as a nation. We owe a great debt of gratitude to all who have worn the uniform and for those who serve yet today. No, I’m not a veteran, but I am so very proud of my father. who was a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict; my son Matt, who served as a Senior Airman in the United States Air Force, working on the F-22 Raptor jet fighter; my grandfather, who served in the army during WWI; and especially my great uncle, Bob Wiseman, who served in the United States Army, fought in WWII and became a POW. All four sacrificed for me and I am forever grateful to them and to all veterans.”

Kyla Carpenter, OVB Vice President, Director of Marketing, said her family members who have served make her proud as well.

“I am honored to have many service members in my family and blessed that they were all able to return home safely. My grandfather served in the Army along with my father, who served during the Korean Conflict, now considered the Korean War. My step-father served in the Marines; my step-sister is a retired Air Force officer; and I have two nephews currently serving overseas,” she said. “To me, Veterans Day means taking time to honor those who choose to put their lives on hold and endure unimaginable sacrifice – in some cases the ultimate sacrifice – so we can sleep in peace next to our loved ones. I pray we never take their sacrifice for granted.”

Family connections is also why Veterans Day means so much to Jerrod Roberts, assistant branch operations manager at OVB Jackson Pike.

“Veterans Day is an important day for all of us to look back, reflect and be thankful for those who have served our country and defended our freedom all over the world. My grandpa as well as my wife’s grandpa were WWII veterans. Those two men were very special to me. The love for country that it took and the sacrifices that were made for country and freedom are immeasurable. Both have since passed on but their stories and memories live on, especially on a day like Veterans Day,” Roberts said. “Thank you to all who have served. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed.”

OVB Loan Clerk April Gould, like so many, has family members who have served as well.

“My father was drafted right after he graduated high school. Hearing the story from my grandmother broke my heart. I am blessed and thankful for all the men and women who have served and are currently serving as I cannot begin to know the pain of having a child ripped from home to possibly lose his life to fight for ours,” Gould said. “My father was in Vietnam in 1968-1969… The effects from having Agent Orange dumped 50 feet from his position has lifelong effects to not only him, but his three children as well. Seeing his current pain and suffering, I will forever be grateful for the men and women who sacrifice their lives for others. So, on Veterans Day stand and salute and thank a veteran because we truly do owe them.”

Val Leonard, OVB accounting, described having great respect for veterans as her husband served.

“To me Veterans Day is a day to reflect on the freedom that we enjoy because of the sacrifices made by those who have served in the military. Without the brave men and women we might not have the opportunity to vote for our leaders, attend church, voice our opinion or any number of choices that are available to American citizens,” she said. “My husband served in the 101st Airborne Division of the Army in Vietnam. I am very proud of him and all those who made that choice to serve our great country. I just want to say thank you for your service.”

Family connections are one of the many reasons why Veterans Day is special to Sue Blankenship, OVB corporate banking loan processor.

“I have had very high respect for veterans since I was a young girl. I have many relatives that have been in the service. Many were in WWII. One was a flight instructor; one was a ‘frog man’ with the Navy; one was sent to Pearl Harbor due to the bombing; and one was killed in Italy as a 19 year-old young man. In the Korean War, I had more relatives, including my father-in-law, who was wounded on the front line and received a Purple Heart. I have a brother-in-law that fought in Vietnam; a brother who was in the Air Force, stationed in Korea; and one of my sons and nephew were recently in the service for six years each,” Blankenship said. “I admire (those in the service) that are out there protecting our country while we are safe at home. May the Lord be with them all as they continue their service for our grand country, the United States of America. And let us never forget those who served and those who paid it all.”

Joe Wyant, OVB Assistant Vice President, Region Manager Jackson County, recalled learning the importance of veterans at a young age due to hearing a story about a very special family member.

“My story begins with a picture on the basement wall of a gentleman in an Army uniform in my home growing up. At an early age, I noticed this picture, so one day I asked my mother who was the man in the Army uniform. She told me ‘one day when you get older I’ll tell you about the man in the picture.’ Years went by and I asked my mother again about the man in the Army uniform on the wall in the basement. She sat my brother and I down and told us about the man in the picture. She told us that the man in the Army uniform was our grandfather. I didn’t understand because I knew my two grandfathers and this man was neither of them. As she continued with her story, she told us that this gentleman was her father, which confused me even more because she already had a father and he was still alive. So, she explained that the man that we called grandpa was the man who raised her but not her biological father,” Wyant said. “She told us that my grandmother married her father but a year later he was drafted into the Army for WWII. When my grandfather was drafted into the Army, my grandmother was pregnant with my mother. My (biological) grandfather got to see my mother one time after she was born. When my mother was about 13 months old, my grandfather was told that if he would volunteer for a mission he would be able to (return home). So, my grandfather volunteered for this mission, which happened to be the Battle of the Bulge…My grandfather and his other Army comrades stormed the beaches, where they were gunned down. He was buried in Belgium. When my mother was four, my grandfather’s remains were returned to Jackson County for his final burial…My grandfather, that I had never met, became my hero. A man who was willing to fight for his country with hopes of coming home to raise his little girl. When I grew up and had children of my own, I showed them the picture of the man in the Army uniform…This story of honor, courage and willingness to serve their country was passed down to my two sons, who now serve in the United States Army as a Captain and First Lieutenant, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. My two sons are now my hero.”

For Jammie Baird, OVB IT specialist, the holiday is very personal as he is a veteran. Baird served in the Army, where he was deployed to both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

“Veterans Day means a lot. Most people have no idea what a soldier and their family go through when they serve. The late nights, the deployments that can last up to 18 months or more and the worries if they will ever be reunited with their loved ones again – serving in the armed forces is a commitment of not just the soldier, but their family as well,” Baird said. “The proud men and women who serve in any branch of the Armed Forces will eternally have my respect and my family’s respect. I have met amazing people while serving, and some of my fondest memories are while serving as well as my darkest nightmares. I have met fathers who’s family left them while we were serving in combat. I have met families that have lost loved ones while they served. Veterans Day is designed to honor those who had the courage to take the oath to defend the nation. For those who sacrificed their liberties and sacrificed their time from family, friends and loved ones.”

Martine Householder, OVB commercial loan processing, is originally from Luxembourg. Now a citizen of the United States of America, Householder described having an enormous amount of respect for veterans.

“Veterans Day is hugely important to me because of my background. I am from the small independent nation of Luxembourg, nestled between Germany, France and Belgium. Luxembourg was overrun and occupied by hostile Germany in both world wars, with WWII being especially relevant to me since my parents were young adults then and endured much at the hands of the Nazis. Luxembourg was liberated and its freedom restored both times by the allied forces with the US servicemen,” Householder said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to this country and now my country’s veterans, and I will never forget. Thank you America for sacrificing your sons and daughters over and over again to guarantee that freedom lives on!”

From all of us at OVB, we thank our veterans for their service not only today and Veterans Day, but every day.

Thank you.

Fall into autumn by embracing Community First

Autumn Halloween pumpkins. Orange pumpkins over bright autumnal nature background

As it is officially Autumn dreams of pumpkin spice and everything nice fill our heads. From the beautiful foliage to festivals, our local communities embrace the fall season. This year, however, our fall events will not be quite as traditional due to the global pandemic.

Under safety guidelines, the Pomeroy Sternwheel Regatta is still on tap for this weekend. The event kicked off this Thursday in Pomeroy, Ohio and will continue through Saturday. While the chili cook-off is canceled, numerous sternwheelers have already arrived with many more expected. Live music and additional activities are set to take place.

While the health and safety of our communities is very important, many of us are missing our other Autumn staples, such as the Jackson Apple Festival in Jackson, Ohio; Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, W.Va.; and The Bob Evans Farm Festival in Rio Grande, Ohio, which have unfortunately been canceled. Instead of dreaming what could have been, we can work together as a community to support these events for future celebrations. According to Joe Wyant, OVB Regional Manager Jackson County and Jackson Area Festivals and Events trustee, those who missed the annual Apple Festival can still help make next year’s event great.

“This year was supposed to be our 80th festival. This will be the first year we haven’t had a festival since 1942-1945 when it was canceled due to World War II,” Wyant said.

Wyant added that people can still donate for next year’s event, which will hopefully see us all back to enjoying those tasty apple treats and rides.

If your favorite fall festival was canceled, reach out to event organizers and ask how you can help. If you can’t give a monetary donation, remember there are other ways to contribute, such as volunteering. According to Jenni Swain, OVB Marketing Project Manager and Gallia County Chamber of Commerce President, volunteering is the best thing folks can do to help stay true to the Community First mission.

“Reach out to others. Volunteer when and where you can. Join committees, sub-committees and clubs to learn about others and what goes on in our community. This provides great networking opportunities. Treat others with respect and others’ place of business as if it were your own business,” Swain said. “Offer your free help in your free time where you can. Buy local when possible. Get an early start on Christmas shopping and support our local businesses. Our local businesses truly are the backbone of our community. They provide sponsorship funds to schools, churches, fire departments and programs that benefit our youth constantly. The money you spend here really does stay here.” Read more of this post