After nearly three decades of leadership at the Ohio State Bar Association, a public charity affiliate of the organization has established an educational fund in honor of Upper Arlington resident Denny L. Ramey.
For the past 27 years, Ramey has served as executive director and treasurer of the OSBA, which today is made up of more than 26,000 Ohio lawyers and judges and is an advocacy group for the legal profession in the state.
Although he's not a lawyer himself, Ramey rose to the post from humble beginnings in Portsmouth, Ohio, and he's one of just three people to serve as OSBA executive director in the organization's 133-year.
Ramey said his career, which has included tenures with the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Engineers Foundation of Ohio, has been based on his parents' stringent belief that education can make a vital difference in one's life.
He said their convictions proved true, and when the Ohio State Bar Foundation -- the public charity arm of the OSBA that works to advance the law and build a better justice system --approached him about establishing a fund in his honor prior to his impending retirement from the OSBA next June, he thought it fitting the fund should help further the education of people in Portsmouth and other portions of Ohio's Appalachian region.
Thus, the Denny L. Ramey Education Fund was established to provide continuing financial support to people in those areas for educational materials and programs which are rooted in principles of law or which further the OSBF's mission.
"Education was very important to me because of what it's done for me," Ramey said. "I'm convinced it's important for everyone.
"Having grown up in the Portsmouth area, I could see the difference between those with education and those without it," he said. "I'm honored and very pleased the foundation took the step to set up a fund in my name to help people where I'm from
"I want to make those opportunities available to others who may not otherwise have them, especially educating people about law because that impacts others," he added. "I see a great need down there and I did want to give back to the area."
According to Alison Belfrage, OSBF executive director, the fund was endorsed by the foundation's board of trustees at its November meeting and has since raised nearly $8,000.
She said the money won't go toward individual scholarships, but will be available through grants to provide law-based education to future generations of students in Ohio's Appalachian region.
"In working with Denny, (the trustees) recognized what's important to him is where he came from," Belfrage said. "He believes education gave him the tools to go where he got to.
"We've had folks from all over the state making contributions."
In addition to establishing the education fund, the OSBA Board of Governors recently honored Ramey by naming a primary conference room after him at the organization's headquarters at 1700 Lake Shore Drive, Columbus.
Ramey said the recognitions are meaningful, as they suggest both the OSBA and OSBF have reciprocated the respect and admiration he holds for the two organizations.
As for his time with the OSBA, he said, "It just has suited my personality and management style. I have loved every day of my life here, and I also love working with lawyers. I think they're smart, and they're highly interested in their profession and the public."
Although his interest in the legal community remains strong, Ramey said it's time for him to step away.
He said his next chapter involves the recent establishment of Denny L. Ramey Association Consulting LLC, which he operates from his Old Arlington home and through which he offers 40 years of association expertise to a wide variety of organizations.
"I still love the (OSBA) job and I still look forward to it every day, but it's time for me to do something different and, frankly, it's time for the bar association to have someone new in this seat," he said.
In part due to advice he received from a colleague to do "something entirely different" upon leaving the OSBA, Ramey also intends to venture into the world of acting by participating in some form of community theater.
"Just because I always wanted to do it," he said. "It'll be different."
Additional information about the Denny L. Ramey Education Fund and contribution opportunities, is available online at osbf.net.