Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville's Bradley joins Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame


U.S. Army 1st Sgt. David M. Bradley's service was just beginning when he retired in 1981 from a 22-year military career that included two tours in Vietnam.

Bradley, a Westerville-area resident, spent the next decades in service to other veterans.

In recognition of his service to his country and community, the 72-year-old was inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Nov. 8.

He was one of 15 veterans inducted this year into the hall of fame at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton. This year's class joins 428 Ohio veterans already in the hall.

Upon retiring from the Army, Bradley served as the first executive director of the Vietnam Veterans of America's Ohio State Council, a post he held for eight years, said his wife, Suzanne Harnichar, who accepted the honors on Bradley's behalf, because he is in failing health.

Bradley went on to serve as executive director of the Franklin County Veterans Services Commission and helped to establish the Columbus Veterans Advisory Council, which he chaired for a number of years, Harnichar said.

In his time on the Columbus Veterans Advisory Council, the group worked to erect and dedicate the veterans' memorial at Port Columbus International Airport in 1989. The sculpture bears Bradley's dog tags, Harnichar said.

Bradley also worked with legislators to bring Veterans Administration clinics to Columbus.

"He was involved when they built the one on Taylor Road. They now have one out at Steltzer," Harnichar said. "He was involved in so many things."

He also worked to obtain grants for homeless veterans and served on the board of the United Service Organization. He worked with the Vietnam Veterans of America to establish chapters in Ohio's prison system, and led Columbus' orange-ribbon campaign during Operation Desert Storm in 1990, Harnichar said.

Harnichar said Bradley's work was motivated by how much he treasured his own service in the Army.

"I think his experience in the military was very dear to him, and being part of the Vietnam War generation, which did not get the recognition that World War II veterans got, I think he's like a lot of other Vietnam veterans (and) felt very strongly about helping other veterans," Harnichar said.

In addition to being inducted to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, Bradley received commendations from several leaders, including the U.S. House of Representatives, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and the Ohio Senate.

Bradley and Harnichar have been married for 31 years, and Bradley has three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Bradley retired from the Franklin County Veterans Services Commission in 2005. He has been active in many veterans' groups and has helped to organize Columbus Veterans Day parade.

"I'm extremely proud of him," Harnichar said. "I believe he was very deserving because he has done so much through the years for veterans, and he did it all and would do it all without expecting recognition.

"He's a very kind man and a very caring man, and beside his family, veterans and veterans' issues are dear to his heart. His entire family is very, very proud of him."