Jane Lengel inducted into Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame
Correction: Because of a reporter's error, an earlier version of this story listed an incorrect site for Jane Lengel's Sept. 24 Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The event was at the American Legion's William R. Schnug Memorial Post 614 on Avery Road in Hilliard.
An Upper Arlington resident and former Hilliard resident has been named to the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
Jane Lengel, 63, is one of 20 members in the hall-of-fame class of 2020 selected from 136 nominees by a committee of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and confirmed by Gov. Mike DeWine. She is one of four women in the class, and she is the only Franklin County resident.
“We live in the greatest nation on Earth and have so many freedoms," Lengel said. "You don’t always understand that until you go overseas and see how people are living in other countries."
Lengel said she was deployed to the Republic of Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Iraq while serving in the Ohio National Guard from 1979 to 2016.
Lengel said she was "honored" to be inducted at a Sept. 24 ceremony at the American Legion's William R. Schnug Memorial Post 614 on Avery Road in Hilliard.
The criteria for induction into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame is for the postmilitary achievements of veterans, according to nomination forms.
"The hall of fame considers what a veteran does after retirement and how they do it through public service and volunteering to make a better community,” Lengel said.
Lengel’s public-service record includes serving on the board of Franklin County Children Services from 1995 to 2004, being a team captain for the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure and representing the Ohio Women Veterans Advisory Committee.
Lengel also served on the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission from 1995 to 2003, is a volunteer for the YWCA Family Center and is active at Trinity United Methodist Church in Marble Cliff.
U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington), who once served under Lengel's command in the Ohio National Guard, was among those who supported her nomination.
“The hall of fame seeks to honor veterans who have served their country honorably and continue to serve their communities, state and nation after discharge. I can think of no individual who fits that description better than Col. Lengel,” Stivers wrote.
A 1975 graduate of Van Buren High School in Hancock County, Lengel came to Columbus to attend Ohio State University.
Lengel said she enlisted in the Ohio National Guard in 1979 to receive a scholarship to continue her education at Ohio State. Her father was a U.S. Navy veteran who served in World War II, she said.
Lengel graduated from Ohio State in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public policy but continued serving in the Ohio National Guard until 2016.
She was deployed to Kosovo in 2004 and 2005 and to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005, serving as an inspector general each time.
Lengel described an inspector general as an external “fact-finder” for the chain of command, handling complaints and resolving issues.
On her deployment to Iraq in 2009 and 2010, Lengel was a human-resources officer for the 16th Engineer Brigade. There, she said, she responded to allegations and complaints of sexual assault or violation of military equal opportunity.
As a civilian, Lengel worked for the Columbus Division of Police from 1987 to 1994, working in the patrol bureau, economic-crime unit, intelligence bureau and as an aide to the chief of police.
She was the first woman to graduate first in her class in the Columbus Police Training Academy in 1987, according to her nomination application.
"Jane’s effort for women veterans alone should be enough but she has done so much more,” said Richard Isbell, a class of 2019 member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. “She has worked with the homeless vets ... chaired the Columbus Veterans Day parade (and succeeded) in a demanding law-enforcement career.
“(Lengel) has given a lifetime of outstanding service to our country and our community."
Lengel and her husband, John, have four adult children: three sons and a daughter.