David Kolbe, Vietnam veteran and Knox County resident, will be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame this year. Kolbe, 65, has dedicated his life to his community, veterans and the residents of Ohio. The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame was established in 1992 to recognize the achievements of veterans in the community following their military service.
“This is a great honor,” Kolbe said. “The best thing we can do is give back to our communities and help provide young people, especially veterans, with good career opportunities.”
A union ironworker by trade, Kolbe has taken his career to many places and levels. He has served as a volunteer firefighter, political operative and public official.
At 33, Kolbe was elected Damascus Township trustee. He later served four years as Henry County Commissioner, where he assisted a non-profit in building the Henry County Veterans Memorial. In 1989, he served as commissioner to the American Legion Buckeye Boys State. He then worked for the Ohio Democratic Party directing the Northwest Ohio coordinated campaign for Bill Clinton’s first presidential run.
Kolbe was named political and legislative director for the Ohio AFL-CIO in 1994. He focused on promoting public policy initiatives to improve public safety and championed issues including campaign finance reform, fair prescription drug pricing and worker’s compensation programs.
While with the Ohio AFL-CIO, Kolbe served as Community Service Director collaborating with local chapters of the United Way and the Red Cross State Council. He was later appointed to the State Community Service Council by former Governor Bob Taft.
In 2006, Kolbe was hired as the national political and legislative director for the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers. He helped found the Union Veterans Council in 2009 and has since served on its executive committee. Through organizations such as Helmets to Hardhats, Kolbe promotes veterans’ access to good jobs and quality healthcare. He also works with the non-profit organization No Greater Love to recognize and honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Kolbe and his wife Marianne maintain residency in Apple Valley. He is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars as well as the American Legion. In 2014, he received his 40-year membership pin from Iron Workers Local 55 in Toledo.
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Induction Ceremony will be held on Thursday, November 5, 2015 at the Lincoln Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. Kolbe was nominated for this honor by Bob Kane of McClure, Ohio. Inductees join an impressive roster of Ohioans, including former U.S. Presidents, Medal of Honor recipients, astronauts, police officers, community leaders and more.
Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation
The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization which was created in September 2000 to provide financial support for Hall of Fame functions. Private and general public donations enable the Foundation to honor inductees with a dinner the night before their induction, and a reception the morning of the induction ceremony.
Goals of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation
- To recognize those Ohio veterans who have been selected for induction into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
- To establish procedures for informing national, state and local news media of the annual Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame ceremony, which recognizes selected, outstanding military veterans.
- To encourage Ohio cities, counties, communities, organizations and individuals to nominate their most deserving military veterans for induction into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
- To maintain at the Riffe Center in Columbus a permanent exhibit containing bronze plaques, which shall display the names of each year's veterans who have been inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.