The Niles Times
Former Niles resident Robert H. Brothers recently received word from the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation that he has been selected for induction in the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
Brothers' name will be permanently displayed at the Vern Riffe Building in Columbus along with six former U.S. presidents and seven former U.S. astronauts.
Robert H. Brothers as a 17-year old Army recruit and now as an inductee into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. The OVHF induction ceremony will be held Nov. 6 at the Columbus Marriot Northwest Hotel in Dublin followed by participation in the Columbus Veterans Day parade. Brothers, a Korean War veteran of the U.S. Army has been active in many veterans service organizations including the American Legion Honor Guard, the Western Reserve Veterans Memorial Committee and the Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 137.
"When I read who is there, to be a part of this association of people, that is so overwhelming," Brothers said. "I am certainly really, very humbled by this."
Brothers was born the fifth of 14 children to Gerald E. and Alta Phile Brothers. He is a lifetime resident of Trumbull County. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and the Korean War, serving first in the National Guard at the age of 16. By age 17, Brothers was active duty and at the age of 18, found himself in Korea.
"When I was discharged after four years, I wasn't old enough to vote," Brothers said. "I couldn't even drink a beer."
When he was discharged, Brothers was a squad leader with an anti-aircraft mobile unit. He came back to Trumbull County and worked at Republic Steel and Bridgeport Brass before going to Packard Electric, from where he retired in 1991.
But it was Brothers' extra-curricular activities that brought him to the attention of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation. In addition to his military service, Brothers is past commander of American Legion, William McKinley Post 106 and a member of the Korean War Veterans Association Chapter 137 of the Mahoning Valley. For six years, he was chairman of the Korean War Veterans "Tell America" program, which went into schools with programs to teach students of "The Forgotten War." As chairman, Brothers also spoke to many service organizations, church groups and spoke at several Veteran"s Day and Memorial Day services throughout the area. For his work with Tell America, Brothers was recognized by the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives and by U.S. Representative Timothy Ryan for his veteran advocacy work. On June 17, 2003, the 50th anniversary of the end of hostiles in Korea, Brothers spoke at the dedication of the Korean War Memorial in Austintown.
He acted as Chaplain for the Trumbull County American Legion Honor Guard, helping to provide full military honors for nearly 500 veteran's funerals from 2004 to 2007.
Brothers is a longtime member of the First Christian Church of Niles and has participated in the churchs 34-year original production of "It is Finished. He is a volunteer with the American Red Cross Bloodmobile, past president of the Niles Historical Society and is active in many community affairs. In 2007, Brothers was named a Community Star by the Tribune Chronicle. Induction as a Community Star is bestowed upon "ordinary people who make life better through extraordinary caring."
Brothers' wife, Virginia O'Reilly, is from Niles.
"The joke is, when you are born in Niles, you get a shot," he said. "The shot means you can't get very far away from Niles without suffering pain," Brothers joked. They have been married 56 years and have three children, Ann Louise, Robert William and David Wayne.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was created by former Governor George V. Voinovich in 1992. The organization spotlights all the achievements of outstanding veterans and their contributions to the civilian workplace.