Veterans Service Commission
Board of Commissioners

Edward Somppi
US Army

Board President

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Edward Somppi was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on April 15, 1948. Upon graduation from Conneaut High School in 1966, he enlisted in the United States Army and honorably served in Vietnam as a Helicopter Crew Chief until he was honorably discharged in 1969.

Ed has had a varied career  as a public servant which includes working as a Conneaut Police Officer, a Detective and a Juvenile Officer. He also served as a Substance Abuse Coordinator for the Conneaut City Schools and was appointed as the Ashtabula County Emergency Management Agency Director. After his retirement, Ed served in Geneva-on-the-Lake as Village Administrator. He was appointed as the Executive Director of the Conneaut Resource Center and also served as the interim City Manager for the city of Conneaut. Ed is a people-person and has always been drawn into positions that would allow him to help others and improve the quality of life of other people. He has volunteered and served as the President of the Pastoral Council at the Corpus Christi Parrish and is currently a sitting member of the Veterans Service Commission's Board of Commissioners.

Ed and his wife, LouAnne have been married for 50 years. They  have two sons and two grandchildren. He has been honored to receive the Army Air Medal with 13 oak leaf clusters, Lions Club 10-year appreciation award for service as “Officer Ed” of Safety Town, Law Enforcement Officer of the year by former Congressman Dennis Eckert, The Ohio Youth Commission Achievement Award and was selected to appear in the Outstanding Young Men of America Publication (1985) and Who’s Who of Professionals publication in 1996.

Daniel Whitmire
US Army

Board Vice President

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Dan served in the US Army from October 1967 through October 1969. He was initially appointed to the Veterans Service Commission’s, Board of Commissioners in January 2008 and will have served in that capacity for 15 years as of January 2023. During his time as a Commissioner, Dan has had the privilege of serving alongside 18 different Commissioner and fellow veterans.

Dan was instrumental in developing the Commission’s Volunteer Driver program through the Commission’s Transportation program. He was the first volunteer driver in Ashtabula County, serving as a volunteer since August 2009.

Dan lives by the motto, “Stand for something, or fall for anything”.

“WE TAKE CARE OF VETERANS!”

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Mark Baker
US Navy

Board Secretary

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Mark served in the US Navy for six years as a Machinist Mate. A graduate of Naval Nuclear Propulsion School, he served aboard the USS Nimitz, CVN 68 in the late 1980s. He has sailed in six of the seven seas, around both Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, through the Straits of Gibraltar, Hormuz, and Juan de Fuca, crossed the Arctic Circle, and the Equator.  Mark has been stationed in Chicago, Orlando, Saratoga Springs, Norfolk, and Seattle.

 

Post Naval experience includes a dozen years working at Perry Nuclear Power Plant as an operator, and an equal number of years in various entrepreneurial adventures, and he can currently be found in the Electrical Department at Lowes. Mark is currently a member of the Rock Creek VFW Post 4953 and is the Past Commander of Jefferson VFW Post 3334. He is also the Quartermaster of the VFW Ashtabula County Council.
 

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Richard Arndt
USMC (Retired)

Board Member

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USMC Sergeant Major (Retired) Richard L. Arndt joined the Marine Corps in 1976 and served honorably through his retirement in September 2006 after 30 years of service. Rick’s wife and retired USMC Gunnery Sergeant, Marie have one son and daughter together, Nathan and Summer.

Rick attained an Associates of Art Degree from Lakeland Community College 2013 and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Lake Erie College, majoring in Human Resource Management with a minor in Business Administration in 2019.

 

Since his retirement from the Marine Corps, Rick has been deeply involved in his community. He has served for 14 years on the Marine Corps Association & Foundation’s Board of Directors as a member of the Finance/Audit Committee. He is the passed Commander and current member of the Geneva American Legion, George Call Post #124. He is the passed President of the Geneva Rotary Club and has been a Board Member of the Veterans Service Commission since 2015. He serves as an elected member of the Board of Education for the Geneva Area School District, as President of the Geneva Township Zoning Board, and as a military advisor to the Ashtabula County Veteran’s Court. Rick was voted the 2020 Citizen of the Year by the Geneva, Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

 

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3d award), Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (9th award), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (2d award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3d award), Navy Arctic Service Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2d award), Humanitarian Service Medal (2d award), National Defense Service Medal (2d award), Marine Corps Drill Instructor Ribbon, Expeditionary Medal-Marine Corps, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation (3d award), Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

Roger Lynch
USMC
Purple Heart Recipient

Board Member

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Roger moved to Rock Creek, Ohio when he was in elementary school and remained there through high school. He graduated from Jefferson Area High School in 1967 and then volunteered to join the US Marine Corps. He attended his Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina and within six months, he was deployed to Vietnam.

 

Roger was wounded combat just after his 12th month in theater, which earned him the Purple Heart. He spent a couple months hospitalized before he was able to return to Vietnam. Once back in country, he would serve another year and a half in support of American operations. he was honorably discharged in October 1971 after having spent as a Corporal.

 

After leaving the Marine Corps, Roger took on a range of different types of jobs. He operated two separate service stations, he worked at True Temper, he was a cement truck operator for R.W. Sidley, and for the last 25 years, he worked in automotive parts sales.

 

Over the years, Roger has been involved in many military organizations. For the past 12 years, he has been Commander of Chapter 39 of the Disabled American Veterans. Roger was appointed as a Commissioner for the Veterans Service Commission Board of Commissioners in 2012.

 

His many hobbies include working on and rebuilding 50's and 60's model, Ford cars.

 

BECOMING A COMMISSIONER

2011 Ohio Revised Code
Title [59] LIX VETERANS - MILITARY AFFAIRS
Chapter 5901: VETERANS' SERVICES COMMISSIONS
5901.02 Veterans service commission.

 

Universal Citation: OH Rev Code § 5901.02

In each county there shall be a commission known as “the veterans service commission.” Except as provided in section 5901.021 of the Revised Code, the commission shall be composed of five residents of the county appointed to five-year terms by a judge of the court of common pleas. At the time of appointment or reappointment to the commission, no commission member appointed under this section shall be an employee of the commission or hold an elective or other appointive office of the county served by the commission.

Each member of the commission appointed under this section shall be an honorably discharged or honorably separated veteran. Within sixty days after the date of appointment, each such member shall file the member’s form DD214 with the department of veterans services in accordance with guidelines established by the director of that department. Such appointments shall be made from lists of recommended persons, in the manner specified in the following paragraph. One person shall be a representative recommended by the American Legion; one person shall be a representative recommended by the Veterans of Foreign Wars; one person shall be a representative recommended by the Disabled American Veterans; one person shall be a representative recommended by the AMVETS; and one person shall be a representative recommended by the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., the Vietnam Veterans of America, or the Korean War Veterans Association. If any such organization has no post or chapter located in the county, the appointment shall be made from lists of recommended persons submitted by posts or chapters of any other congressionally chartered veterans organizations located in the county. If no such other organizations have posts or chapters located in the county, the judge responsible for making appointments under this section may appoint any qualified veteran to represent the veteran community.

On or before the fifteenth day of October of each year, the appointing judge shall notify each post or chapter of each organization within the county from which the member may or must be appointed that it may submit a list containing three recommendations of persons who are eligible for appointment. If the judge does not receive any recommendations within sixty days after providing the required notification, the judge may appoint any qualified veteran to represent the veteran community. The judge shall make the appointment on or before the fifteenth day of January of each year. Any vacancy in a membership appointed under this section shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

 

Beginning in the year 2000, appointment of members to the commission under this section shall be made as follows:

(A) Appointments for members to represent the American Legion shall be made for terms to commence in years ending in zero and five.

(B) Appointments for members to represent the Veterans of Foreign Wars shall be made for terms to commence in years ending in one and six.

(C) Appointments for members to represent the Disabled American Veterans shall be made for terms to commence in years ending in two and seven.

(D) Appointments for members to represent the AMVETS shall be made for terms to commence in years ending in three and eight.

(E) Appointments for members to represent the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., the Vietnam Veterans of America, or the Korean War Veterans Association shall be made for terms to commence in years ending in four and nine.

The terms immediately preceding the initial appointments made under divisions (A) to (E) of this section may be for periods of less than five years.

The appointing authority shall remove a member who fails to maintain certification or whose certification is revoked by the director of veterans services.

Effective Date: 09-04-2002; 2008 SB289 08-22-2008

CONTACT VETERANS SERVICE COMMISSION

VISIT US

1212 Lake Avenue

Ashtabula, Ohio 44004

CALL US

Office: (440) 964-8324

Fax: (440) 964-3582

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday – Friday

8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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