By Allison C. Gallagher
Record Herald Writer
WEST MILTON — West Milton resident Dejon Dohrman took his place on council June 24, and is excited to be a part in helping the town he grew up in.
Aside from his years in the Navy and his first two yeas back, Dohrman has lived his entire life in West Milton. He and his wife, high school sweetheart Kim, have three children: daughter Sydney, 15; older son Cody, 11; and youngest son Cooper, 15 months. Sydney and Cody are active in sports, with Sydney being a volleyball player for Milton-Union High School and Cody starting football for the first year this fall.
“My kids would call me strict,” he said with a laugh.
Dohrman and his wife have been involved with several clubs and organizations previously. It was through Kim’s activity with the Rec Club that he met and got to know West Milton mayor Jason Tinnerman. Dohrman said that he knew most of the existing council members and is good friends with council member Scott Fogle. He credits Fogle with getting him involved with the council, and for introducing him to the open council position that he applied for and got during their June workshop.
“They [the council] really are good, kind, wonderful people,” Dorhman said. “They’ve been helpful in showing me the ropes.”
Dohrman’s day job is as an HUD-VASH Coordinator with the Dayton VA Medical Center, where he works with veterans who are battling addictions. Oftentimes, these veterans are also homeless.
“There’s a lot of heartbreaking things you’ll see there,” Dohrman said. “A lot of the guys have had some serious problems with drugs and alcoholism that for a long time, they didn’t want to acknowledge and were ashamed of. My job is to help them when they come in, and if I someone is homeless, I help them with finding a place to stay in Dayton and trying to get back on their feet.”
After high school, he joined the Navy as a hospital corpsman. His original plan was to work as a secondary education teacher and coach, but he decided instead to pursue nursing. During his time at nursing school in Wright State University, he also worked with children at Upper Valley Medical Center.
It’s not uncommon for Dorhman to meet homeless men that, after some conversation, he learns are veterans. Most of the veterans have had difficult lives upon returning home from war – Dohrman estimates that many of the veterans are from the Vietnam War, when the war was unpopular and opinion of soldiers was low. However, he says that he finds the veterans he meets to be inspiring.
“For one, seeing the struggles they go through makes you realize that your own life isn’t that bad,” Dohrman said. “Second of all, the veterans are tough. They’ve been through a lot, but they’re pretty tough and determined to make it.”
He credits his faith for the role it plays in his personal life and convictions, but also in his work at the VA. Dohrman says that growing up, his family was always involved in church. He was raised in the Baptist faith, and then as an adult attended Grace Community Brethen Church before moving to Hoffman United Methodist.
“Working with the vets, helping them overcome addictions furthers my belief that there is a higher being watching over us,” Dohrman said. “There are a lot of situations I encounter where on the surface, all hope seems lost for these guys, where the likelihood of getting clean or sober or finding a place to live is slim to none. But something happens and they can get their lives back together. I know it’s work on their part, but I feel that there is a higher power intervening to help them as well.”
His day job keeps him active in Dayton with helping the veterans find homes, but he loves West Milton for the close-knit relationships people within the community have with one another. His goal with the council is to live up to the responsibility he feels he has been endowed with.
“I’m a product of this community – the teachers, schools, neighbors have all been my second family,” Dohrman said. “In a place like Dayton, it’s much bigger and easier to feel loneliness. But here, I know everyone and I really cherish the small town.”
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at 937-552-2205 or on Twitter @WRHLocalNews.