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Leading Through Inspiration

February 7, 2012 - Joselyn King
Ohio Gov. John Kasich this week detailed Ohio's accomplishments in 2011-- and his goals for 2012-- during his State of the State address in Steubenville this week.

But perhaps some of the most emotional moments of the speech came as he presented his first "Governors Courage Medals" to three recipients.

The awards came as Ohioans, West Virginians -- and perhaps all Americans are seeking inspiration and direction from their leaders. Kasich is right to -- as he says -- "shine the light on people that do special things," and inspire us by putting the needs of others above themself.

"Let's learn from people and get excited and courageous," he said.

-- The father and brother of U.S. Army Specialist Jesse Snow accepted his posthumous award.

Kasich explained in November 2010, Snow was serving in Afghanistan as a radio telephone operator assigned to the 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, when his unit came under attack.

Snow crawled through enemy fire to help his comrades. Then after his weapon was destroyed, Snow secured ammunition, performed first aid, and even used his own body to shield a fellow soldier from machine gun fire. He later died from his wounds.

-- Kasich termed Theresa Flores a "victim of human trafficking." As a teenager, she said she was "exploited, blackmailed, and abused." Today she is Director of Education and Training for Gracehaven House in Dublin, Ohio -- a faith-based care and rehabilitation home for girls who have been victimized by human trafficking.

Kasich spoke at length about the problem of human trafficking in Ohio. He estimated the state has 1,000 in the slave trade business -- and that their average age is 13.

--In 2008, Jo Anna Krohn lost her son Wesley, a senior in high school, while he was under the influence of alcohol and opiates, Kasich said. In the midst of her grief, she formed the support group SOLACE -- Surviving Our Loss and Continuing Everyday. Her organization unites people to fight prescription drug abuse.

"The mission of SOLACE is to support people who have lost loved ones to drugs, to help the addicted make changes in their lives and help create a future free of prescription drug abuse," Kasich said. "Now, in large part thanks to Jo Anna, southwest Ohio has turned a corner in the fight against prescription drug abuse, and lives are being saved."


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