Pataskala Mayor Steve Butcher is one of 15 people being inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Nov. 7.
Butcher, 61, said he enlisted in the Ohio Air National Guard's part-time program in November 1971.
"The Vietnam War was going on so it was either be drafted or join," he said.
The Zanesville native said he worked part-time for five years before being offered a full-time job as a National Guard recruiter.
"I worked in Zanesville for a number of years and at Rickenbacker (Air National Guard Base) as well," Butcher said.
He said his first exposure to Pataskala was working in Licking Heights and Watkins Memorial high schools as a recruiter.
"That was my first exposure to Pataskala in 1976," he said.
Butcher worked with the National Guard for 21 years, spending three years at the Adjunct General's office in Columbus in charge of all state recruiters.
While there, he also worked in family support and in employee retention, he said.
He retired from the National Guard in 1992 and moved to Pataskala where he and his wife, Nancy -- whom he met through the National Guard -- opened the Nutcracker Family Restaurant in 1995.
"Nancy was working in public relations on the (Rickenbacker) base when I met her," Butcher said.
The couple has been married 20 years.
Butcher is finishing his second term as Pataskala's mayor and is an executive board member of the Pataskala Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the board of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
He is being recognized for his work with the city -- helping to create the Veterans Green off Main Street, for helping raise money to improve the Sterling Theater on Main Street and for helping to reopen the city's swimming pool in Pataskala's Municipal Park.
The Veterans Green, adjacent to the city's Veterans Memorial, provides space for a local farmers market sponsored by the Pataskala Chamber of Commerce.
"Steve Butcher's civic leadership and contributions to veteran advocacy have impacted the Pataskala community in a large and significant way," the Ohio Department of Veterans Services website states.
Butcher credits the military with helping him to achieve the positions he holds today and for providing him with an extended family.
"There aren't many organizations that are that family oriented," Butcher said.
"Here it is 2013, 43 years later, and I have generals and colonels come in (to the restaurant) to check on me," he said.
Butcher said his father died when he was 9 months old and it's nice to have so many military personnel who have watched over him.
"I'm a lucky person to have people like that in my life," he said.
Pataskala City Council President Dan Hayes nominated Butcher for the honor.
He said he was surprised to be one of the Hall of Fame inductees and is shocked to be recognized by his peers.
"I can't think of a more valuable recognition," he said of the award.
The 15 inductees for 2013 will be recognized in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 7 at the Franklin County Veterans Memorial in Columbus.
Their names will be on a bronze plaque permanently displayed at the Vern Riffe Building, on South High Street in Columbus, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services website states.
"Our inductees are leaders in a variety of areas including business, entertainment and education. Most importantly though, they all have made significant impacts on their communities," the website states.