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Summit County sheriff reflects on military service

11/8/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Drew Alexander
Photo courtesy of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office
GREEN — Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander, a U.S. Army veteran, believes military personnel are all heroes.

Alexander, whose term of office will end Dec. 31, after having served three four-year terms, said he served in the U.S. Army from Oct. 27, 1963, to Oct. 26, 1966, with 13 months in Germany and the remainder served stateside.

He worked as a combat engineer and was trained as a demolition/bomb expert by the U.S. Army. As a combat engineer, he built bridges for troops and tanks. He also removed bombs by detonating them.

“I went in at 18, right after high school,” he said. “I had six older brothers, with one who died at age 13 from a head injury, and we all went into the Army. One brother, Clifford, made a 30-year career of it, reaching the rank of sergeant major. All of the rest of us served between three and seven years. Those were during the days of the draft.”

After his service, he began a career in law enforcement starting with the Akron Police Department (APD) in 1972, served as commander of the Major Crimes Unit, and at retirement from the APD in 1999, he was commander of the Police Community Relations Unit, with responsibility for overseeing background investigations of prospective police recruits, he said.

After he retires from the Sheriff’s Office, he said he plans to do consulting work with governments and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Alexander will be the guest speaker for the Green Veterans Day ceremony slated for Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Green Veterans Memorial Park, 1900 Steese Road. 

In sharing his thoughts on Veterans Day, he said he thinks today’s generation of military personnel is the second greatest, with the first greatest being those who served in World War II.

“They have served with tremendous honor and discipline,” said Alexander. “I am judging them based on the type of employees they make — dependable, loyal, disciplined — quality employees.”

Alexander said he is glad to see the pride this country has for its veterans, as during his time of service in the 1960s, when dodging military service was popular, the sentiment was completely the opposite.

“Veterans deserve to be honored and rewarded for risking their lives on behalf of their country,” he said. “The help we offer them with education and buying a home is good. Our society is catching on to doing the right thing. I wish we could do more for our physically and especially mentally wounded soldiers. I would also like to see a Veterans’ Court established to deal with military personnel who run afoul of the law.

“When someone commits a portion of their lives to serving their country, we should recognize them as heroes for their sacrifices and treat them as such,” he added.

Veterans attending the ceremony in Green will be recognized during the event. Following the ceremony, light refreshments will be served in the John Torok Community and Senior Center, 4224 Massillon Road.

In the event of rain or inclement weather, visit www.cityofgreen.org after noon Nov. 11 for updates on scheduled activities.

Editor’s note: For a profile of a local resident currently serving in the military, see Page 7.

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