Even though he was being presented last weekend with a proclamation from the Ohio House of Representatives for 50 years of service to the Roy W. Wilson Mowrystown American Legion Post 694, Teddy Ruble said the day was not about him.
“It’s not my day, it’s the Lord’s day,” said Ruble, a 1964 Whiteoak High School graduate and current Hillsboro resident. “I’m a Christian, and you can tell anybody that I’m a Christian.”
To emphasize his point, Ruble said he attends the Hillsboro Church of Christ and that three of his four daughters graduated from Kentucky Christian College.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, a former Virginia State Highway patrolman and Virginia Beach auxiliary police officer, Ruble said he was hooked on the military and Mowrystown American Legion at a young age.
“I think half my family was in the American Legion, including my uncle, “Red” Young, and several cousins,” Ruble said. “When I was a kid, on Memorial Day they marched every year and they had these gun salutes and other tributes, and that put me in the military. I believed in the military from that point on.”
When he graduated from Whiteoak, Ruble said he had two choices — go to college or a trade school. After a short time working at Mowrystown Brick and Tile before he graduated, Ruble decided to go barber school. Then after working as a barber for about six months, and figuring he was going to be drafted anyway, he joined the U.S. Navy.
Ruble was sent to radio school and through most of his 22 years of active duty was assigned to helping recover manned space craft in the Atlantic Ocean.
That meant he was out to sea a lot, often six months at a time, and spent two Christmases in a row in Europe, away from where he was stationed with his family in Norfolk, Virginia. The long periods out to sea did not go over well with his wife, the former Barbara Whalen, a 1966 Whiteoak graduate who Ruble married in 1968.
“They didn’t like it,” Ruble said of his family when he was out to sea. “But they had one thing that really kept them going. We’re Christians and we were going to a church in Virginia Beach. There was an older couple — he was retired from the Navy — and they sort of adopted us as their children and our children as their grandkids. So I never had to worry. If something happened, he took care of it for me.”
While he did not move back to the Highland County area until 2001 after having to retire because of cancer treatments, Ruble joined the Mowrystown American Legion in 1971.
Last Saturday at the Highland County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsboro he was presented with a proclamation by state Rep. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro) on behalf of the Ohio House of Representatives. In part, in reads: “You are, indeed, deserving of high honor and praise for your outstanding contributions with the Mowrystown area. As a member of Roy W. Wilson American Legion Post 694, you have become involved in many significant endeavors, helping to guarantee a high level of success for all projects with which you have been associated, and you have striven to fulfill your myriad goals in a competent and responsible manner.
“The recognition of fifty years of active membership to such a worthy organization is a justifiable source of pride and an excellent reflection not only on you, but also on your family, your post, and your community. It is through the unceasing efforts of conscientious people such as you that Ohio has gained a reputation as a state whose residents are responsive to the problems and issues facing their communities.”
Post 694 Commander Chuck Emery said that about 10 years ago the Mowrystown American Legion Post, established in 1947, was down to 22 members, was only meeting once a year, and lacked funds to help veterans. But Ruble, who has served as the post’s commander, adjutant and treasurer, started sending out letters asking for donations and new members.
Today, the post has 57 members, meets the first Monday of each month at the Living Springs Community Church in Mowrystown, and is able to help places financially like the Ohio Veterans Homes in Georgetown and Sandusky, the Georgetown American Legion and more. Emery said 95 percent of the money the post raises goes to veterans or their families.
Over the years the Mowrystown American Legion has had five 60-year members — Winfield Young, James DeClaire, Raymond “Jake” Young, Charles Woodson and Russell Marconette — and three 50-year members — Walter A. West, Carl Harris and Ted Ruble.
All of them are deceased except Ruble.
Ruble, a ham radio operator since 1992, said that if he had it to do all over again, he’d do the same thing, both with the military and American Legion.
“We’re just people helping other vets. That’s pretty much it,” Emery said. “We’re just a bunch of guys jumping in and helping.”
When he joined the American Legion back in 1971, Ruble said he never fathomed that 50 years down the road he’d still be an active member.
“No I didn’t,” he said. “Because there was a time when the Mowrystown American Legion was about ready to close. But we got out and kept it going.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.