The American Veterans Heritage Center (AVHC) is a non-profit, (501c3) corporation. We honor the accomplishments of veterans while preserving a priceless piece of national and local history – the Soldiers Home located at the VA Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. We invite you to take your place in history by helping us make this venture a success! We are not a government agency nor affiliated or supported by the Federal Government.
The scope of our activities include historic preservation projects, events, tours, and our festival, “The Patriot Freedom Festival,” which is held annually on the weekend before Memorial Day at the Dayton VA for the benefit of the on-campus as well as off-campus veterans, their families, and the community. The Miami Valley Military History Museum is located in the historic Putnam Library, (Bldg. 120), along with our AVHC Headquarters.
We are dedicated to preserving priceless historic structures.
We are dedicated to sharing this proud history with all generations.
We are dedicated to engaging the support of like-minded people and groups.
The AVHC Board of Trustees
Clinton Allen has been a member of the AVHC Board of Trustee and Chairman of the Events Committee since December 2018.
Clint was born in Beaufort, South Carolina and is a retired US Air Force Chief Master Sergeant with 28 years of honorable service as a Security Forces Manager, First Sergeant, and Command Chief. He currently serves a Councilman for the city of Fairborn, Ohio; he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management and Associate degrees in Security Administration and Human Resource Management.
Director Real Estate and Facilities Management – 25 years of facilities management and operational excellence experience. The main focus was collaborating with business leaders to develop accurate space management strategies for business needs, staff forecasting, environmental development, health and safety program as well as overseeing the upgrade and implementation of physical security systems for all company facilities.
U.S. Army veteran and retired Fire Department Lieutenant while serving with several philanthropic organizations; American Veterans Heritage Center (AVHC), Wright Dunbar, Inc., and Engineers Club BOD.
Mark Conrad, is the Curator and founder of the Miami Valley Military History Museum, located on the Dayton VA Medical Center Campus.
Mark’s association with AVHC began on Veterans Day, 2001. Over these many years, he has volunteer countless hours on behalf of the AVHC, working in Building 120, serving on event committees (including serving as chairman of the 2006-2007 festivals), giving presentations to veteran and civic groups, drafting documentation and more. Active in a number of veteran and heritage organizations, he has served as a member or officer in the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars at Post, District, State, and National levels. He is affiliated with other veteran and lineage groups such as the Sons of the American Revolution, and sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
Mark retired after a 20-year career in the United States Air Force as a Master Sergeant. Over the course of the following decade, he served as a Department of Defense contractor, holding positions as a technician and program manager for information technology and network security projects around the world. With 27 years’ experience in military and contractor telecommunications, transmission systems, circuit provisioning, program and personnel management, training, and network security/intrusion detection systems. His background includes a working knowledge of military network and computer systems, network management and troubleshooting equipment, intrusion detection equipment, and information assurance policies.
In October, 2017, Mr. Glenn Costie retired after 33 years of service to our nation’s Veterans, most recently as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Medical Center Director of the Dayton VA Medical Center (VAMC), Dayton, Ohio.
From December of 2017 through December of 2019, Mr. Glenn Costie served as Chief Veteran Services for Ohio’s Hospice Incorporated (OHI).
Mr. Costie began his VA career as a Technical Career Field graduate engineer trainee in 1984 at the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV. Afterwards, he was assigned to ever increasing areas of responsibilities at VA Medical Centers in Chicago, IL; West Haven, CT; and Cleveland, OH. Mr. Costie served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at the VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) in Baltimore, MD from 2006 until September 2009.
He was assigned as the CEO/Medical Center Director of the Dayton VAMC in December 2011. From July 2014 to November 2014, Mr. Costie served as the Interim CEO/Medical Center Director of the Phoenix VA Medical Center, where he was tasked with fixing long-standing issues related to the national VA scandal on wait times and patient access.
Mr. Costie serves his local community through active participation with the Dayton Foundation Board, Victory For Veterans Board, Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GDAHA) Board; American Veteran Heritage Center Board President; Day Air Credit Union Board; Habitat for Humanity Board Vice President; Leadership Dayton Board; Lincoln Society of Dayton Board, Membership Chair; 5 Street Brew Pub CO-OP Board Vice President; and Dayton Arcade Task Force. He also served as the President, Board of Governors for the Engineers Club of Dayton. Mr. Costie is Co-Chair of the Veterans Affairs History Center Foundation.
As a proud U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Bill DeFries is passionate about giving to the veteran community. He has been a volunteer member of the AVHC Board of Trustees since 2018 and currently serves as Committee Chair for the AVHC Lincoln Statue project.
Bill is CEO/Owner of Copp Systems, a leading security systems provider in Dayton. He is also a lifelong member of SAG-AFTRA, published author and motivational speaker.
In addition to AVHC, DeFries is passionate about giving to the community and was inducted into the class of 2017 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in recognition for supporting the Dayton area community. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for both Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Executive Committee and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Foundation.
Kim Frisco currently serves as the Executive Director of Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission since March 9, 2020. In this position, Ms. Frisco advocates for Veterans and their families to assist in filing for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, and provide direct and indirect financial assistance with unexpected hardship resulting from illness, injury, or loss of employment.
Prior to her healthcare experience at the Dayton VA Medical Center as the Chief of Community and Public Relations supervising multiple departments including Veterans Experience, Public Affairs, and Voluntary Services. Kim served on active duty in the United States Air Force for 20 years. During her time in the Air Force, Ms. Frisco gained valuable healthcare management experience. Her positions included Director of Officer Recruiting, Director for Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program, Senior Administrator of Marketing and Beneficiary Education, and several other positions.
Ms. Frisco earned her undergraduate degree from West Virginia University and her Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University. Ms. Frisco is a graduate of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Dayton.
Currently, Kim is a lifetime member of member of the Disabled American Veterans and a member of the American Legion. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton and is an active volunteer with the Humane Society Fundraising Events. Board member to the Fisher Nightingale Houses at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton VA Medical Center. She is currently at Board Trustee, to the American Veterans Heritage Center. She currently serves as a foster mom for 2 rescue dog organizations and promotes the rescue, foster, and placement of homeless companion animals into permanent, loving homes.
Kim and her husband, Dennis Shake, have 3 rescue dogs and reside in Beavercreek, Ohio.
John Gower has lived in Dayton for most of his life and spent his career working for the City of Dayton as an urban designer, downtown and city planner and placemaking engineer.”
John joined the AVHC Board of Trustees in 2013. He was interested in joining because of the mission to preserve/honor our veterans. The last few years that his father was alive, he lived with John and he would take him to all of his appointments at the VA – his father passed at the Dayton VA hospice.
“Our VA has been very important to our veterans – and – being an almost lifelong passionate Dayton heritage aficionado, I was very interested in the mission to work to preserve the older historic campus and the stories that are embedded with the grounds and the buildings.”
Kathleen Hayes is a Retired Colonel Army Nurse with 35 years of combined Active and Reserve Army service. COL Hayes provided leadership in various positions during her career to include: leadership as a Captain Head Nurse deployed at Ft Lee Hospital during Desert Storm 1990-1991, Chief of Staff for the 307Medical Group from 2006-2008. Her last deployment 2008-2009 was as Chief Nurse for the 345Combat Support Hospital in Tikrit, Iraq where she was responsible for the nursing operations in the 345Combat Support Hospital located on COB Speicher assuring expert resuscitative and surgical care in addition to inpatient and outpatient hospital operations. Colonel Hayes was responsible for providing leadership for level 3 care for US and Coalition Forces, as well as local Iraqi nationals. Colonel Hayes retired from the military in 2010 where she continued her service to Veterans as the Hospice and Palliative Care Coordinator for the Dayton VA Medical Center. In this role where she recently retired, she served as leader and advocate for Veterans’ access to quality end of life services. Kathleen Hayes is the founder and past co-chair of Hospice Veteran Partnership of Ohio. This organization is the collaboration of Veteran Organizations, State Hospice organization, Veteran Administration Medical Centers in Ohio and Community Hospice Partners working together to increase access of end of life care for Ohio Veterans. For her National and State Hospice leadership in care of Veterans, Colonel Hayes was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2012. She was honored to serve as one of the nurse volunteers for many of the Shelby County Veterans trip to Washington D.C.She currently serves as a Trustee for the American Veterans Heritage Center in Dayton Ohio to honor the accomplishments of Veterans while preserving national and local history at the Soldiers Home in Dayton Ohio.
Dan Kirkpatrick is a registered nurse with over forty-five years of experience working in mental health, disaster preparedness and nursing and healthcare leadership positions. Twenty-eight of those years were spent in the United States Air Force in a variety of mental health and leadership positions to include staff nurse positions, nurse manager positions, chief nurse positions at four different Air Force Hospitals, three medical operations squadron commander positions and a hospital commander position at a deployed location in a combat zone. Dan retired in 2007 from the Air Force in the rank of Colonel.
Following his military service, he taught full-time at Wright State University for the College of Nursing and Health teaching mental health and disaster preparedness and for the Boonshoft School of Medicine teaching disaster preparedness at Calamityville. After retiring from teaching full-time from Wright State University, Dan still teaches disaster preparedness part-time for the College of Nursing and Health and the Wright State Research Institute.
Dan has had the opportunity to live all over the United States and in Japan both as a child and in the military and also spent time in the Micronesian Islands in the Peace Corps. Dan is extensively involved in a number of civic groups and programs in the Miami Valley and the State of Ohio to include the Past President of the Ohio Nurses Association. He recently served as a Fairborn City councilman for four years and four years as the Mayor of Fairborn. He is the Immediate Past-President of the Tecumseh Council, Boy Scouts of America, chairman of the Fairborn Sister City Program, Co-Chairman of the Fairborn Military Veterans Memorial Project Committee.
Dan has an Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Nursing from schools in California and Texas and has attended numerous educational programs through the Air Force and civilian organizations.
Dan also has national certification as a Nurse Executive, through the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is a national speaker on leadership, mentoring and disaster preparedness. (continued)
He has received numerous awards throughout his career to include the Nursing Alumnus Leadership Award from the University of Texas at Arlington, Civic and Leadership Awards from the Fairborn Chamber of Commerce, several awards from the Boy Scouts of America, and the Bronze Star Medal for his service in a combat zone while in the Air Force.
Dan joined the AVHC Board of Trustees as the Education Committee Chairman and has worked diligently to gather a group of like-minded members in order to educate young and old alike about the rich history of the sacred grounds of the “Soldiers Home” and the veterans who have lived there.
Dan Kugel is owner and General Manager of Dan Kugel and Associates, LLC, which provides focused acquisition and R&D consulting to businesses wishing to work with organizations at Wright-Patterson AFB. He retired from the Air Force in 2005 having served 35 years. He served as a GS-15 for 21 years as a program director/deputy on numerous weapon system programs and as an acquisition staff officer at Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Research Laboratory and Air Force Materiel Command. He served as Assistant Program Director on the B-2, Deputy Program Director for the Directorate of Low Observables and Advanced Cruise Missile System Program Office (SPO), Chief of the Mobility Aircraft Division of the Aircraft SPO, and Director, Non-Developmental Aircraft SPO. He was Deputy Director of both the Program Management Directorate and the Systems Management Directorate managing 1600 acquisition personnel. He also built the Program Objective Memorandum (POM) for the Product Centers when at HQ AFMC and the AFRL POM when at AFRL. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University and a MS in Biomedical Engineering from The Ohio State University. In addition, he has attended Executive Development programs at Harvard, Duke and the Federal Executive Institute. He currently volunteers as a Trustee for the American Veterans Heritage Center (AVHC) at the historic Dayton Veteran Administration Medical Center (DVAMC).
Cindy LaPointe-Dafler, is the widow of Medal of Honor recipient SP 4 Joseph Guy LaPointe, Jr.
Born in Alliance, Ohio, raised in Dayton, and graduated from Belmont High School she worked for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) for 20 years, retiring as a Business Services Analyst.
Cindy joined the AVHC volunteer family in September of 2004 with the first event, “Reliving Veterans’ History.” The event has now grown into the annual Patriot Freedom Festival. She was the AVHC Events Chair for eight years, from 2010 to 2018. Cindy continues to be the editor for the Patriot Freedom Festival Program.
Cindy is a volunteer with VA Voluntary Services, the AVHC Representative with VAVS, and AVHC’s Little Green Light Database Admin. She is still on the Events committee, the Education Committee, and the Outreach Committee.
Michael Pabst has been a member of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer of AVHC since January, 2019.
Michael is a Certified Public Accountant specializing in tax and advisory services at Flagel Huber Flagel. He lives in Centerville, Ohio with his family. Michael is passionate about the history of Dayton Ohio and giving back to his community.
President Judd Plattenburg purchased Oregon Printing in 2000 and has seen a lot of change in this industry. He attended Wright State and was also awarded an honorary degree from School of Advertising Art (now The Modern College of Design) for his input, involvement, and student guidance. Judd sits on many boards, mainly in the print and design field. He is an avid photographer, paddler and sometimes writer and enjoys craft beer and cooking in his spare time.
Judd joined the AVHC Board of Trustees in December of 2016 and is the Outreach Committee Chairman – furthering the advancement of American Veterans Heritage Center’s mission.
ANN M. RING
Ms. Ring served in the United States Air Force for 25 years with progressive experience as a Financial Manager in the Department of Defense (DoD); specifically, the United States Air Force. Her experience spans financial disciplines at Secretary of the Air Force, Directorate, Major Command and Wing levels involving areas of accounting, budget and financial analysis, financial reporting and regulatory guidance, travel and military pay, quality assurance, and training. She retired as a Chief Master Sergeant in 2004. After retirement, Ms. Ring continued to work with the Air Force as a consultant on financial management systems and processes to streamline processes and improve efficiencies for the warfighter.
Ann joined the AVHC Board of Trustees in December 2019.
HARRY A. SEIFERT, JR.
BOARD VICE PRESIDENT
Harry Seifert of Kettering, who served in the Army in Japan during the Cold War, was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2013.
Harry Seifert is an Army veteran and a Dayton businessperson who was a leader in the effort to revitalize Dayton’s downtown business district and neighborhoods. He is strongly involved in the restoration of the Wright Brothers, Paul Dunbar and VA campus historic areas. Harry’s leadership also brought together business and community leaders and the Dayton VA Medical Center to forge the Community Covenant to support the employment of veterans throughout the Miami Valley.
Seifert, a former top executive with Standard & Register, has worked tirelessly to promote Dayton’s aviation heritage tourism. He has worked to revitalize the Wright Dunbar Neighborhood.
Seifert’s leadership with the American Veterans Heritage Center, has led to the preservation of many historic buildings on the Dayton VA Medical Center campus, as well as the 266-acre campus’ being designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2012.
Seifert also brought together business and community leaders and the Dayton VA Medical Center to forge the Community Covenant to support the employment of veterans throughout the Miami Valley.
Pete Williams is a Development Professional with extensive experience in Economic Development, Community Planning, and University Advancement. He is passionate about promoting the Dayton region and its assets as a vital part of the economy of Ohio. Pete believes in collaborative approaches and success through innovation. He specializes in Business Development, Corporate Engagement, Retention & Expansion, Economic Development, Real Estate Acquisition, Land Reutilization, Vacant Land Redevelopment, GIS Mapping, Site Selection, AICP Certified Planner (American Planning Association), Certified Economic Development Finance Professional (National Development Council).
Mr. Williams currently serves as the Mayor of Riverside Ohio. He also is the Carroll High School Director of Advancement
Pete is an AVHC Trustee and serves as the chairman for the Walk of Honor in support of AVHC’s mission.
Honorary Board Members
MAJOR GENERAL EDWARD J. MECHENBIER (RET)
General Mechenbier graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964. He attended pilot training and served tours in Europe and Southeast Asia flying the F-4C. In June 1967, he was shot down on his 80th mission over North Vietnam and was a prisoner of war for nearly six years. In 1973, he was assigned to the Fighter Branch, 4950th Test Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB. He resigned his regular commission in 1975 and continued to fly the F-100 and A-7 for 16 years with the Ohio National Guard. He commanded the 162nd Tactical Fighter Squadron for six years. In 1991, the general transferred to the Air Force Reserve where he served with the Joint Logistics Systems Center and Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command. He is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours. He was also appointed by the Secretary of Defense to serve on the Reserve Forces Policy Board.
Early in 2006, Air Force Major General Edward Mechenbier agreed to join AVHC’s Board of Trustees, where he served as vice-president. In 2011, Ed Mechenbier was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
We are pleased to have General Mechenbier remain an Honorary Member of our Board.
JAMES W. SNYDER
Sergeant Major (Ret) James W. Snyder, of Kettering, a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Korean War, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm. Snyder had a key role in creating the Ohio Korean War Memorial and overseeing the 50th and 60th anniversary of commemorations in the Miami Valley. He’s an American Veterans Heritage Center volunteer, past officer and current Honorary Member of the AVHC Board of Trustees, and volunteers with many other veteran and civic groups, such as Wreaths Across America and the Boy Scouts of America.
David Judson is the Founder and CEO of JJR Solutions, a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that supports government and private clients through a variety of technologies, the best project and business management services, and a bit of tenacity. JJR Solutions is based in Dayton, Ohio, with offices in Washington, D.C. and Colorado Springs, Colorado. David started JJR Solutions in 2009. Prior to founding JJR Solutions, he was Vice President at Qbase, LLC from 2006-2009.
David joined the AVHC Board of Trustees in December of 2016 and became the Committee Chairman to the Outreach Committee to further the advancement of American Veterans Heritage Center’s mission. Since then, with his work-load, David stepped back from being a trustee, and became an Honorary Member, available for occasional assistance.
MARGARET IRENE KRUCKEMEYER
Margaret Kruckemeyer RN, MSN, MA Health Education, FNP-C is viewed as a can-do-attitude, change agent who utilizes her SERVANT style leadership approach to bring out the best people can be to help make a difference in the place where they live, work and volunteer. Using Benner’s model, Novice to Expert approach during her fifty-one years of professional nursing practice has helped Kruckemeyer serve in a pioneering role in advanced practice nursing as a family nurse practitioner serving primarily in DOD/VA health providing and leadership service since 1973. Her diversified scope of practice has been an asset to her volunteer work within many community settings to include serving as Ohio’s American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Nurse of Hope (1988) and rising to be their first woman chairperson Ohio’s Division of ACS Board of Trustees (2000). Her moto always remains “action speaks louder than words” when advocating for issues and needs of her veterans and their family systems.
As national president of the Nurse Organization of Veterans Affairs 1998-2000, she was called upon to communicate with members and to testify to members of Congress on current health and welfare needs of a diverse veteran/family population. For her ongoing efforts, Kruckemeyer LTC (retired) USAR/ANC was inducted into Ohio’s Veterans Hall of Fame in 2008 and she has remained active as president emeritus of American Veterans Heritage Center.
Honoring and cherishing those who care for others will always remain the guiding values Ms. Kruckemeyer uses to see that others encompass the premise that remembering and honoring one’s heritage can have a healing and grounding effect to pay it forward to our country’s future generation of caring Americans.
Help us preserve the best of our past! For most volunteer positions the only requirements are an interest in history, a desire to serve our veterans, and a willingness to make a regular commitment. Applicants with special skills and training may be assigned to areas that require specific knowledge and work experience. Typical assignments are:
- Office staff
- Act as docents in the museum and other buildings
- Conduct tours
- Provide presentations (on and off campus)
We always need volunteers during our special events – work crews, logistics, guides, docents, and committee chairs. There are no specified days or hours for work. Volunteer time is based on the availability of the volunteers and the needs of the particular area. Two to four hours, one or two days per week, are usual.
Volunteers can also receive awards through the Veterans Administration Voluntary Service program, based on the number of volunteer hours accrued during the year. According to the Independent Sector (the leadership network for nonprofits, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the world), each volunteer hour is valued at $21.79.
To volunteer, call or visit us – we will be happy to discuss ways you can use your talents and interests while preserving the history of our Nation’s defenders!
Monday through Friday, 9AM to 3PM (NOTE: Hours are contingent on volunteer availability)
Every patriotic holiday: Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Pearl Harbor Day, etc. Tours can be arranged for other times by calling the office at (937) 267-7628.
Visitors with special needs: Wheelchairs are permitted; a ramp is located at the rear of the building. We also have a conventional wheelchair available for your use.
Long known as the “Gem City,” Dayton’s true unpolished gem is its ongoing contribution to American freedom through
support for the U.S. military. The city, its residents, and its businesses/industry have played key roles in numerous national
defense and national pride initiatives, including, but not limited to, Wright Patterson Air Force Base’s aeromedical
contributions to the American space program, Monsanto’s involvement in the Manhattan Project, NCR’s World War II
manufacturing efforts and role in breaking the Enigma Code, Dayton’s status as ‘birthplace of aviation’ and all its
subsequent military and civilian aerospace contributions, and, of course, the role of the sprawling Dayton VA campus as a
birthplace of veteran’s medical care in the United States. However, these historic achievements don’t even begin to scratch
the surface of what the Miami Valley has done and been . . . and what it can be again.
Download the Full Plan (PDF) – AVHC Strategic Plan – 2016
Downloadable Forms and Reports
Tennessee and Gettysburg Ave.
Dayton, OH 45428
P.O. Box 1366
Fairborn, OH 45324
Hours of operation
Open 24 hours a day
Office: (937) 267-7628