Scams to watch for in the new year

Fraud, audit, auditor.

While a new year brings a fresh start, unfortunately there are more scams to keep watch out for as we jump into 2021.

With the pandemic still raging on, many scams as a result of COVID-19 continue to pop up, including fraudulent unemployment claims. In these instances of fraud, scammers are using the IDs of individuals to apply for unemployment. To make their case, scammers claim that the employer is someone the victim of identity theft is currently working for or recently retired from.

According to Ryan Jones, OVB senior vice president, chief risk officer, these claims have impacted individuals and businesses nation-wide, including those locally.

“Fraud and scams continue to be on the rise during the pandemic. OVB, as well as other businesses, have seen examples where fraudulent unemployment claims are being attempted at both small and large businesses,” Jones said. “If one is a victim to a fraudulent unemployment claim, we suggest you contact Job and Family Services Fraud Department and your local police department to report the activity.”

Jones added that there are various methods scammers use to track down consumer personal information for the unemployment claim scam.

“Every consumer needs to be aware of the various methods used to obtain personal information through social media platforms, emails and phone calls. Do not provide any personal information to someone who contacted you ‘out of the blue.’ If you question the conversation, do a call back before you give any information out over the phone or email,” he said.

For more information on fraudulent unemployment claims, please read OVB’s fraud advisory here.

According to Frank Davison, OVB senior vice president, financial bank group, there are many other scams to be aware of as well. The many scams that saw an increase last year, will likely still be very prevalent this year.

“It’s safe to assume that (the top scams from 2020) will continue into 2021, and we will see some new variants pop up as well,” Davison said.

Davison outlined the following scams as the major ones to be mindful of this year: Read more of this post

Financial savvy tips to take into 2021

2021 New Years Part 2

Happy New Year! As we are now a couple weeks into 2021, hopefully you are continuing to stick with your new year’s resolutions and goals. One of the most common resolutions many people make annually revolves around financial improvements.

From saving to sticking with a budget to increasing income earned, money is a typical theme seen in resolutions each year. If you are looking to have a more financially fruitful 2021, you aren’t alone. With 2020 being a difficult year for many folks, a lot of people are looking for ways to stretch a dollar this year.

Creating and sticking with a budget is one of the best things you can do to get your finances in order. A budget is a tool that can help you stay on track with saving as it is essentially a spending plan. A solid budget details the income coming in, which helps you determine how much you have to spend on necessities as well as luxury items, such as vacations.

According to Andrew Bush, OVB online banking manager, the bank offers Benjamin Tracker to help customers achieve their budget goals. The free product, which is one of the many tools in OVB’s e-Services lineup, is available here.

“Benjamin Tracker assists users in managing their money. Through this tool, folks can monitor their spending, set personalized goals, and tag transactions in order to create a categorized view of their spending,” Bush said. “Benjamin Tracker allows you to customize spending targets to suit your individual goals. For example, if you are trying to cut back on ordering takeout this year, Benjamin Tracker will help you stick with this goal.”

Benjamin Tracker is available through both NetTeller and the OVB App, which are also easy tools to assist customers in monitoring their accounts. Additional information on OVB’s e-Services options is available at www.ovbc.com.

Here are more tips to help you become financially-savvy this year:

  • Work toward paying off debt. Unfortunately, it can be very easy to fall into debt, but an uphill battle to become debt-free. Not only is debt a burden, but the more debt you acquire the cost to pay it off goes up due to interest. As you work to pay off debt, avoid opening additional lines of credit until your active cards are paid off. Lowering your debt offers an added bonus as doing so will help boost your credit score. You may have to give up some luxuries you enjoy for a while, but the feeling of being debt-free will be worth it!
  • Organization is key. Many people dive into their financial new year’s resolutions with no plan in place. First, assess your current financial situation and outline what you would like to specifically work toward and/or change. From using tools, such as Benjamin Tracker, to keeping a physical spreadsheet of your goals, you will find that organization will help you stay on track.
  • Keep your future in mind. While living in the present is great, when it comes to your finances you should plan for the future. Setting money aside in a savings account is a good way to prepare for future expenses. In addition, regardless of your age, it is always beneficial to think about and eventually plan for your retirement. First, figure out approximately how much you would actually need to retire. Having these specific numbers in mind will help you better target how much you should be putting into savings now.
  • Consider refinancing. As interest rates are still low, refinancing may be a beneficial option to help you cut costs this year. However, it is important to speak with your loan officer to see if doing so is what is best for your particular situation. For more information on refinancing, check out this informative Q&A with OVB’s Greg Phillips, vice president, consumer lending.
  • Set up an emergency savings fund. If you do not already have one in place, setting aside funds specifically for emergencies will help you avoid additional debt.
  • Talk to family about your financial goals. By making your financial goals an open topic with your family, you will likely feel more supported to stick with this resolution. In addition, teaching your children the importance of being financially responsible is vital for their future.

We hope these tips will help you stay on track with your 2021 financial goals and resolutions. Check back next Friday as we cover scams to watch for in the new year.

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 the gift of saving

Piggy BankLooking for another gift idea? Or have you already received some Christmas cash and need a place for it? Look no further than a savings account.

Savings accounts are not flashy or fancy, but they can be a huge help to your financial well-being. Research has shown that the earlier you start saving, the better equipped for the future you may be. This is why starting a savings account for your child is a great tool to instill financial-savvy skills at a young age. What’s a better gift than investing in your child’s future?

In fact, savings accounts tend to be the first exposure to banking that many people have due to the account’s availability for children. In addition, having a savings account as a child also creates a relationship with their community bank at a young age. Establishing a banking relationship early is another step in encouraging financial responsibility. At Ohio Valley Bank, children ages 18 and under do not have a minimum balance requirement with the bank’s statement savings account. For more information on what to bring when you open a savings account for your child at OVB, check out our resource page.

Another perk of savings accounts is the minimal risk to customers. Savings accounts do not lose money, whereas other account types can pose this risk. If you aren’t making withdrawals, your balance will not go down.

Additional benefits of opening a savings account include the following: Read more of this post

Shop safely, securely this holiday season

Senior couple shopping online at Christmas

Now that December has arrived, it’s officially crunch time to get your holiday shopping done. Picking out the perfect present for loved ones can be both stressful and exciting.

Unfortunately, the holiday shopping season increases the risk of fraud. With online shopping more prevalent than usual this year, there is an even larger risk. However, if you are prepared and know what to watch for, you can keep your accounts and information protected from naughty Grinches.

According to OVB’s Frank Davison, Senior Vice President, Financial Bank Group, one of the common shopping risks to watch for is e-skimming. While credit card skimming has been an occurrence for years, the physical skimmer device has now entered the virtual environment. Sometimes referred to as web skimming, e-skimming targets online shoppers by injecting a code into the compromised site, which then collects and sends the shopper’s data to a cybercriminal resource. The goal is to gain access to shoppers’ account information. While this method of stealing information has been around since 2016, the recent increased reliance on technology has intensified cases.

Although nothing can 100 percent protect you from e-skimming, there are measures that can lower the risk. Davison recommends keeping your device software updated as well as creating both strong and unique passwords for all systems.

Additional tips to keep your financial information secure include the following: Read more of this post

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.