Pat O'Brien Jr. received an honorable July 3 at his Pat O'Brien Chevrolet dealership at 2315 State Route 60 in Vermilion.
O'Brien, owner of the dealership, was presented with an award from the Ohio AMVETS as the 2018/2019 Employer of the Year for his company's donations made to local veterans in need.
O'Brien was nominated by the AMVETS Post 22 of Vermilion.
Employees from the Willoughby Hills, Westlake, Medina and Vermilion locations, AMVETS commanders and local from around the state were in attendance for the presentation of the Lorain native's award.
"First of all, I am humbled," O'Brien said. "This is probably the greatest day of my life."
O'Brien was presented four plaques to hang in his four company locations.
He also received a membership to Post 17 in Sandusky and Post 22 for his volunteer work.
"I always hoped that (O'Brien) would get this someday, and it's the Department of Ohio's honor to give you the Employer of the Year award," said AMVETS State Commander Don Lowers.
O'Brien said he has been supporting local veterans through a variety of , particularly with a recent donation campaign titled, "Help Our Heroes," which supplied veterans at the Ohio Veterans Homes with necessary supplies like hygienic products.
AMVETS Post 22 Commander Malcolm Williams said he was one of the AMVETS who unloaded 36 boxes of donated supplies and said he saw the difference that those items made to the organization.
Ohio Veterans Homes Volunteer Services Coordinator Kimberly Lewallen said that those donations go a long way for veterans in need.
"We are very fortunate when groups such as the AMVETS and the partnerships of the local businesses combine together and bring such wonderful donations to us," Lewallen said. "We're very grateful, and the veterans are very grateful."
With his father Patrick O'Brien Sr. having served in the U.S. Navy, O'Brien said helping veterans has always felt necessary for him.
"I believe the only reason we're here is because of what the veterans did," he said.
-Story ran in the Morning Journal on 3 July 2019