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2017 Honorees

HONORARY CHAIR – Dr. Scott Sayre

Dr. Scott Sayre, DDS is president of Advance Dentistry and has been a longtime supporter of the USO. His family’s history in the armed forces, his own service in the US Air Force Reserve, and a lifelong commitment to leadership have all led Dr. Sayre to take a personal and active role in the USO, its community, and its mission.  Joining the USAF in 2004, Dr. Sayre received direct commission to Lt. Col. and served as Chief of Dental Services for the 445th Aerospace Medicine Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He was promoted to Col. in 2008 and later assumed the role of the unit’s Commander. Working with his team to evolve the unit’s operating systems and standards, Col. Sayre was responsible for the medical/dental and preventative well-being of 2500 service members.  Prior to retiring from the USAF in 2016, Col. Sayre deployed on annual tours to three foreign countries — Senegal, Ghana, and Guatemala. During all of these joint medical missions, he served as chief dentist and commander of the airmen involved, while performing thousands of procedures.  A pilot since the age of 17, Dr. Sayre is now a seasoned aviator with multiple certifications. He helped establish the Cincinnati Warbirds flight team and later joined the elite Lima Lima Flight Team, the world’s first civilian, six-ship, precision aerobatic flight demonstration team.  Dr. Sayre has been a part of numerous civic organizations and made many contributions to the Cincinnati community. But he is perhaps most proud of his family and wishes to acknowledge his wife (Janet), two daughters (Austin & Samantha), and three grandchildren (West, Finn, and Phoebe).

 

JOHN F. STEELE

John Steele lived in Rochester, New York until age 16 where he attained the rank of Life Scout.  He moved to Cincinnati with his family just prior to the outbreak of World War II in 1941. Six months after Pearl Harbor, John joined the Navy and became a pilot. His rank was Lieutenant JG. John was a replacement pilot for Aircraft Carrier support in the South Pacific and he flew a TBM Avenger, the largest single engine airplane of the Navy. Replacement pilots follow bombing mission objectives when their comrades do not return.  Over the course of John’s military career, he served on eight different Aircraft Carriers for two years. John Steele flew 46 bombing missions and 84 submarine patrol missions during the War. After the War, John returned to Dartmouth College where he was a member of DKE fraternity and elected to Sphinx Senior Honor Society.  John graduated from Dartmouth College in 1948.

John is Vice Chairman of Hilltop Basic Resources, Inc., a leading regional company headquartered in Cincinnati engaged in the mining of limestone, sand and gravel and a producer of ready mixed concrete.  He has served in various capacities including Chairman and CEO.

John has served as Chairman or President of the following community organizations:  Salvation Army Advisory Board, Cincinnati Art Museum, Art Academy of Cincinnati, Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum.  In addition he served as a Board member of many other organizations, including the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce, Edgecliff College, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing.  He was one of three people to receive the 1998 Spirit of Construction Award presented by the construction industry of Greater Cincinnati.   John is a member of the Commonwealth Club of Cincinnati and the Queen City Optimists Club.

Recognized by the Dan Beard Council of the Boy Scouts of America – 2015.  Inducted into the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame – 2016.

John was married to Dorothy Conroy and had four children.  After her death, he married Lela Emery.  Now approaching his 93rd birthday, John has had many hobbies including tennis, golf, horseback riding, skiing and sailing.

 

J.H. “JAY”  MAGEE

Jay was born on November 11, 1923 in Harrison County, Ky., the youngest of three children born to W.T. and Helen Magee.  At an early age, the family moved to the Oakley neighborhood of Cincinnati, where Jay spent his youth.  Jay graduated from Withrow High School in June of 1941.  Upon graduation , he entered the apprentice training program at the Cincinnati Milling Machine Company, where he was working when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.  Jay enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after the Pearl Harbor attack and left for basic training at Paris Island, S.C. on December 29, 1941.  Following basic training, Jay shipped out to New Zealand  in June of 1942 with the 1st Marine Division as a gunner with a machine gun platoon in Company D attached to Company C of the 1st Marines.  There they prepared for the invasion of Guadalcanal.  Jay participated in action against the Japanese at Tulagi from August 7 to August 9, 1942.  He then participated in the invasion of Guadalcanal on August 10, 1942, spending 5 months first securing and then guarding the airfield on the island.  The Marines on Guadalcanal were relieved by the army in December of 1942 and were sent back to Australia to regroup and prepare for their next mission-the battle of New Britain.   Company C of the 1st Marine Division was front and center in the Battle of New Britain in October of 1943..  Their  target was a critical Japanese base and supply depot located on the North end of the island.  Jay’s Company was assigned to protect the PT boats and tenders, which were located away from the headquarters area.  One of the PT boats was carrying the future President Kennedy.  During the fighting, Jay was called back to Headquarters on the Southern end of the island and a small plane was sent to transport him there with all of his gear.  The plane made a wet landing in the Pacific due to mechanical problems.   Both the pilot and Jay were unhurt, but unfortunately the pilot could not swim.  Jay was able to help the pilot find something floating at the crash site to hold on to and Jay then made a 3 hour swim to the nearest shore to find help. Exhausted from his swim, he found a native who swam out to the pilot with an empty oil drum that he used as a float to pull the pilot to shore.  All of Jay’s gear was lost, but both he and the pilot were safe.  Jay never learned why he was called to headquarters.  Jay next participated in action at Cape Gloucester from December of 1943 to April of 1944.

After boarding a transport ship for the next invasion, Jay was pulled off the transport ship with his gear and shipped stateside for officer candidate school at Colgate University in  New York, where he spent the remainder of the war.  Jay was honorably  discharged  from the Marines on January 12, 1946.  After his discharge, Jay returned to Cincinnati and re-entered the apprentice training program at the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. , where he had a 30+ year career as a machinist and machining foreman in the Special Machines Department of the “Mill”.  Jay also met his future wife, Edna Sims, in Cincinnati.  Jay and Edna were married in January of 1947 and enjoyed 67 years together, raising 3 sons- Mark (Jodi), Jay (Nadine)  and Scott (Carole) at their home in Mariemont.   Jay has 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, with that number continuing to grow.  Jay was active in the Montgomery Community Baptist Church, singing in the choir for many years.  He was also a member of the Oakley Masonic Temple.  Jay played softball into his mid 60’s and also enjoyed golf and gardening.

Following his retirement , Jay and Edna spent their winters in Naples , Florida, where he enjoyed walking on the beach and fishing in the Gulf.  A favorite time was when his grandchildren would visit. Jay and Edna also enjoyed traveling to many foreign countries with a close group of friends and spending many vacations in Colorado with their friends.   Jay is now enjoying living at the Deupree House in Hyde Park, where his favorite activities are his daily workout and walk and the bi-weekly bingo game.

 

WILLIAM FEE

Bill Fee spent most his career working here in Cincinnati with the E.W. Scripps Co. for 32 years, retiring in 2010 after having served as Vice President and General Manager of WCPO-TV for twelve years, from 1999 through 2010.   Bill was born and raised in Cincinnati, and graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1965.  After a year in college, at the age of 19, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967, and volunteered for infantry and service in Vietnam.  He served in combat as a rifleman with the First Infantry Division.  He was wounded in combat in November 1968 by a rocket propelled grenade, and spent ten months in three different Army hospitals, undergoing four operations to repair a badly damaged shoulder. Bill received a medical discharge, with a permanent 40% disability in August 1968, and returned to school, graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a BA and MA in German Literature.  He worked at the University of Cincinnati for five years, and in 1978 joined WCPO-TV.  Bill and his wife, Sally, also a Cincinnati native, have two grown children, and three grandchildren, all of whom live in Cincinnati.  In 1984 Bill and fellow Vietnam veteran Earl Corell co-directed the fundraising, design and dedication of the Greater Cincinnati Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Eden Park.  After more than a year of painstaking fundraising, the Memorial was dedicated in April 1984.  The infantry company in which Bill served continues to stay in touch fifty years after they fought together in Vietnam. Friendships forged in battle have empowered this group of veterans to meet for a 20th and 40th reunion.  Their battalion commander in Vietnam, Richard Cavazos, is now a retired four star general, and “his boys” continue to visit him in San Antonio. In 2016 Bill published his first book – Memoir of Vietnam 1967 – detailing the story about his military service in Vietnam with the First Infantry Division, and the impact the war has had on his life in later years.

Bill has been involved in the Cincinnati community for many years, having served on the boards of the Cincinnati Arts Commission, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, the Boy Scouts, the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, and he is Past President of the boards of Cincinnati Public Radio (WGUC & WVXU) and the Cincinnati and Ohio Chapters of the March of Dimes.  Bill has served on the steering committee for the Cincinnati USO, and currently serves on the board of trustees of The Children’s Home of Cincinnati, and is a volunteer with  Executive Service Corps of Cincinnati and United Way.

Bill is a three time cancer survivor, currently in remission from a battle with pancreatic cancer in 2016.  He credits his wife Sally, his family and friends, and his faith for his recent recovery, and plans on spending many more years in service to his community.

 

MSG DAVID SMITH, U.S. ARMY

 

MSG David Brian Smith entered the Army on June 20, 1990.  Upon completing Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, MSG Smith underwent training as a Single Channel Radio Operator at Fort Gordon, Georgia.  Following AIT, MSG Smith attended Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia and was assigned to the 82nd Signal Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division.  During his 8 ½ years in the 82nd Airborne, MSG Smith deployed to Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1991), in addition to numerous training deployments including to the Joint Readiness Training Center, the National Training Center, and the Jungle Operations Training Center.  In August 1999, MSG Smith was assigned to 1st Battalion 10th Special Forces Group (A), in Stuttgart, Germany.  During his assignment to 1/10 SFG (A), MSG Smith conducted numerous training scenarios across Europe, including the former East Germany, Romania, Spain, and Scotland.  Over the course of his assignment, MSG Smith conducted three separate deployments to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sarajevo Yugoslavia in support of our nation’s interests.  In October 2001, MSG Smith attended Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) at Fort Bragg North Carolina, and was selected for attendance to the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC).  Upon completion of the Qualification Course, MSG Smith was assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group, as a Special Forces Communications Sergeant in October 2003.  Over the course of his Special Forces career, MSG Smith conducted 5 combat deployments to Afghanistan and other areas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).  In addition to his combat deployments, MSG Smith has conducted numerous training and advising deployments across Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.
MSG Smith’s awards include: 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 2 Bronze Star Medals, 2 ARCOM with “V” devices, 2 Purple Hearts, and the Canadian Commander-in-Chief unit citation
MSG Smith has been injured in combat twice in Afghanistan, in 2006 and again in 2010. In 2010, MSG Smith was severely wounded by an IED while dismounted and spent three and a half years at Walter Reed recovering from his injuries.  In 2011, during MSG’s Smith’s time at Walter Reed, he began attending Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. MSG Smith was inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda in March 2015 and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies in 2015.
Currently MSG Smith is attending Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program in the School of Foreign Service and is expected to graduate in December 2017 with a Masters of Arts in Security Studies.

MSG Smith and his wife Meredith have been married for 23 years and have two children.

 

 SPC STEPHANIE MORRIS

Stephanie Morris entered the U.S. Army in April 2012 and completed basic training in Fort Jackson, SC in June of 2012. Following basic training completion, Stephanie went on to Advanced Individual Training in Fort Lee, Virginia. In November 2012, SPC Morris deployed with the 32nd Transportation Company to Bagram, Afghanistan.  Seven months into deployment, on June 18, 2013, Stephanie’s unit received indirect fire of two rocket propelled grenades. Three Soldiers from her unit were killed in action and SPC Morris was Case-Vac to Bagram hospital with lower body injuries, and then transported to Landstuhl, Germany.  SPC Morris arrived at Walter Reed Medical Center on June 23, 2013 and since then has undergone over 20 surgeries. It was also here where she found an outlet and a path to normalcy that didn’t seem possible before through her involvement in adaptive sports. SPC Morris began to rekindle her love for volleyball and basketball, learning how to transfer her skills to sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.  Assigned to the Warrior Transition unit in June 2016, SPC Morris represented the Army at the Department of Defense Warrior Games held at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY. Three days after the conclusion of the games on July 1, she had her left leg amputated and a year later went on to compete in the 2017 DOD Warrior Games representing the U.S. Army for hand cycling, air rifle, seated discus and shotput, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball.

SPC Morris is a recipient of the Afghanistan Campaign MFOAL Army Commendation Medal, Combat Action Badge, NATO Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, and Purple Heart.