SGT William Gordon Ely, Pearl Harbor Survivor and Hero, My Dad

SGT William “Bill” Gordon Ely was born in a small town in Ohio called Gallipolis. As a child starting at 8 years old, he worked on the family farm. Just 9 years later during The Depression, Bill decided to join the Army, pre-WWII. He was determined to enlist, so he lied about his age due to him only being 17 years old.

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It’s hard to believe that two years have come and gone since this newsletter became a reality. It was born from the Pandemic. The COVID-19 Pandemic was shocking, saddening, and has left all of us changed forever. The world’s progress and any comfort that we had was compromised. Almost seven million people worldwide lost their lives. On top of that incredible loss, so many businesses had to close their doors, and many are still struggling to regain their pre-COVID positions.

We thank God that Veterans’ Outreach survived and still stands ready to help veterans in their time of need. In the early days of COVID, when we were all hunkering down, we shut down our offices for about one month. I had recently hired Kathleen, a part-time assistant to help with Heroes’ Passage development, but that was halted. She asked me if she was going to be laid off – I told her to let me think about it. As I did, I realized that this shut down time was an opportunity to finally develop a goal of mine – the VetNet Newsletter.

I didn’t expect to be shut down for long, and fully expected Veterans’ Outreach to survive and go on as before. I asked her if she ever had ever developed an online newsletter?

She told me never, and I asked her if she would like to try. Lots of research and trial and error led to our first newsletter in April of 2020! She stuck with the program and has been developing and growing since then, up to approximately 8,000 subscribers and growing.

We had a big setback in August of 2022 when Kathleen suffered many injuries from a horse accident. She loved her horse and riding, but it nearly took her life. During her toughest time of recuperation, our Social Media Director and Graphic Design Specialist, Elisha, took over and kept the newsletter coming out monthly.

After a relatively short time, Kathleen showed amazing grit by pulling herself back into the “saddle” of the newsletter development. We thank Kathleen for her amazing determination.

Through this publication, we shine a positive lens on the service and sacrifice of America’s military veterans. We highlight and celebrate special dates in history. We provide an inside view into the daily activity of our service to veterans in need through the “Spotlight” stories. We keep our readers up to date on upcoming special events. I write an editorial each month that comes from my heart and I hope has touched yours.

So, anyone can receive our newsletter in their email by signing up on the website, It’s a great way to keep up with developments to enlarge and enhance our mission to help veterans. Please check us out carefully and hopefully you can find a niche for you to come on board and become a monthly sponsor.

The hard fact is that we can’t help a veteran without raising the funds to answer the plea for help.

“And the truth is that all soldiers pay with their lives. Some pay all at once, while others pay over a lifetime.” by J. M. Storm.

May God bless America and especially the veterans, our heroes!

John Ely

” To Serve and Honor”

President Veterans’ Outreach

Honoring Special Women in my Life

With this being Women’s History Month, I cannot let this slide unless I bring up the three women in my life that encouraged me to do the things I’ve done that have led me to fulfilling experiences, through building up a charity that has enabled me to touch the lives of thousands of veterans and their families in a positive way through Veterans’ Outreach.

You never know which way your life is going to turn or what might be around the corner. It started with my mother, Grace.  She was courageous, funny, loving, and very inspiring.  She loved me hard and joined me in some nutty projects with little regret, even though some of them never worked.  She loved me unconditionally; I remember her singing and whistling while she worked.

I remember working in my vocals during Sunday school class for she was our Sunday school teacher and instructor. It led the way for me singing in front of millions of people one day with a 20-piece band behind me singing at the All-Star game in front of hundreds of millions of people on TV, plus I spent many years in theater as well.

She was a model and she loved posing for the camera and ended up on even local billboards. During World War II, she was even referred to as a Rosie, taken from Rosie the Riveter because she worked in factories supporting the war effort.

Her future husband, my father, was almost killed in Pearl Harbor. She went on to have seven children and three of them were full term stillbirths.  Because of those early experiences and tragedies, she was tough and learned to cope with difficult times.  I’d like to think that I inherited some of that strength that she embodied.

The other woman in my life that I have everything to thank for now is my wife, Teri.

It has been 40 plus years she’s had to put up with me.  I am more in love with her now than I’ve ever been. She is my partner in a big way, she is the Executive Director. God also blessed us with three wonderful children and six grandchildren that we adore!

Her education and experiences over the years prepared her for the wonderful life’s work and opportunity to serve and honor veterans.  There are a lot of steps and story to building Veterans’ Outreach.  Last year she was voted as one of the “Most Remarkable Women of the Valley” and “Hometown Hero”.

Her stewardship has brought the charity to platinum status on GuideStar, and 100% compliance with Charity Navigator.  In an interview late last year, she mentioned that we needed a bigger building to expand our programs for veterans.  That led to the purchase of our next national headquarters.  This move will expand our space by 700%!

The complex of three brick buildings sits on 2.6 acres with a HUGE parking lot.

Now that is very cool.

The third woman in my life that I would like to recognize, is our daughter Elisha. In the early beginnings of the charity, at the age of five or six, she volunteered to help make patriotic buttons as thank you gifts for donors.  She is a beautiful blonde with genius scribed on her brain. She had decided to move to North Carolina to finish her education where she found the mountain man of her dreams. She finished her bachelor’s degree in wildlife conservancy.  That led her to be the Executive Director of an animal shelter in Tennessee until she was picked up by Bissell Corporation Pet Foundation to help relocate animals that were in bad situations at other shelters nationwide.

When Covid 19 hit in 2020, as you know, things changed. She and her husband and two sons decided to move north to be closer to family.  They have settled in Jefferson Ohio.  She handles the graphics needs, advertising, and social media for Veterans’ Outreach.  She is also a wife, mom to two little boys, and handles a small farm also.

I also have two lovely daughters-in-law that have made our family complete.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that several other women handle very important responsibilities in the life of Veterans’ Outreach – from Board members, Regional Managers, Business Relations Managers, critical administrative positions, and volunteers.  Without the women in my life, things would not go very well. So, briefly, that is my salute to this month’s honoring women. I am very blessed to have these ladies in my life to help me carry on with the charity that is making a big difference in the quality of veteran’s lives.

If anybody would like to follow up and give me some feedback or get involved in some way, you will not be disappointed.  You can reach me at [email protected].

John Ely

Veterans’ Outreach Sold Out Special Event

 Veterans’ Outreach first 2023 Special Event was a humbling success. “Tine Time” was something we had never done, and we are so grateful for the support from our attendees and sponsors.  100% of those funds will go to our mission, helping our vets in need! We don’t receive a penny of Government funds. We are 29 years in the making and helping veterans hundreds of thousands of times.

This Event was made possible by a local patriot, who remains anonymous.  He had a down payment for the space at the swanky Lake Club, by Poland, Ohio for a special event in his life that was cancelled because of Covid.  He decided to donate his deposit to Veterans’ Outreach to host an event for veterans aid and awareness.

The Event was a Valentine Dinner Dance, we called the “The Tine Time”.  Tine has many meanings like PURE, God is Abundance, etc…little did we know!  We wanted this event to be for everyone, not a sweetheart occasion, but a time to celebrate love, friendship, and veterans.  We asked our 4-year-old grandson if he had an idea for the Event’s name since we were stumped.  We offered him a bunch of options and he looked at us like we were off our rocker and said “You’re a Tine”.  It stuck and the name “Tine Time” was adopted, coming from the mouth of the babes.

The room was beautifully decorated, the games and auctions were intriguing, the food was delightful, and the premier of the six piece Leather and Lace Dance Band was fun and fantastic!  There was a basket auction, 50/50, Poker, and a Silent Auction. Everyone had a blast of a time. The only sour note came from my wife, Teri, who developed  laryngitis and wasn’t even able to whisper. She smiled pretty and kept things in order without a word.  I am so proud of her, voted as one of 2022’s  “Most Remarkable Woman” and then during Veterans’ Day week, honored with the “Hometown Hero” award along with Veterans’ Outreach!

There were four types of appetizers passed by the wait staff.  There were three entrees, four or five sides, and cakes for dessert!  The band came together after my suggestion that I would like a bigger presence for the Lake Club.  Jennifer Cancio, the band’s leader, pulled together three more musicians and it seemed like they’d been together for a long time.  The band enjoyed the experience so much that they decided to pursue more jobs together.

We have many other events happening this year, next is the “Stars and Strikes” Bowling Tournament in April.   We hope you’ll be able join us whether as a player or a sponsor.  All proceeds benefit local veterans. is our site.  We are very active on Facebook.  We publish a monthly newsletter…to keep you up to date of the many services that are helping our veterans in need. If you would like to get involved, become a sponsor/donor, volunteer, partner, developer, or just a veteran loving patriot, please let us know.

 We have operations Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Kentucky, Florida, and Alabama. We have a big footprint and looking forward in helping grow into other states as well!  Funds raised stay in the state they originated from.

 You can reach me at 888.2.VET.NET or 330.755.5792 or email me at [email protected]

God Bless our nation and our veterans that volunteer to protect it!

We must respectfully serve and honor them today and every day.

John Ely, President

East Palestine.

East Palestine Residents – Our Hearts Go Out to You

According to our Transportation Secretary, there are about 1,000 derailments a year! Have there been any like what happened in this quiet little town of East Palestine?

I am sure there isn’t anything as devastating and alarming as this Ohio town is experiencing!

The children are the most vulnerable, for any carcinogenic chemicals, will cause long lasting and debilitating effects to their health.  We are not sure what the long term and short-term effects will be.  Norfolk Southern Railway Company reporting five toxic chemicals found in air, soil, or water surrounding the crash site. They are vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, ethylene glycol, isobutylene, and ethylhexyl acrylate.  Here’s a quick rundown of each chemical’s toxicity — and their byproducts when burned, which can also be toxic.

Vinyl chloride has gotten the most attention so far. It’s a colorless, flammable gas and a known carcinogen.  Most studies on vinyl chloride are related to occupational exposure or to residents who live near factories that produce it. Those longer-term, chronic exposures could lead to certain liver, brain and lung cancers, lymphoma, and leukemia.

Short-term exposures, like those in East Palestine, can lead to irritation in eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. People can also suffer from headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, or tingling in the arms and legs.

As vinyl chloride burns, the gas can form byproducts including hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and traces of phosgene. The EPA tested 480 homes in and around East Palestine and they say that they did not detect vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride in any of them. Is that some confidence building?

The EPA has not indicated whether it tested for phosgene and has not yet returned STAT’s request for comment on the matter. Phosgene is hazardous at very low levels, noted Schettler, and has been used as a chemical weapon in war. “It’s highly corrosive to the lungs at really low levels, at fractions of a part per million.”

There should have been a planned response from the Railroad. This kind of transportation dates back 600 years (1550)!  You would think that we would have developed all kinds of scenarios by now!  We are in the age of misinformation. I can’t point the finger to anyone except NSR.  Wasn’t there a better way to handle the chemicals without spilling them onto the open soil?  To me, it looks like they reacted in haste, to have a controlled fire and exacerbate the poison multi statewide!  With today’s technology – it just seems like the idea of dumping and burning was an idea from hundreds of years ago – where were the environmentalists in this decision?

From my vantage point, I thought about planes or aerial tankers that could have doused the fires and cooled the chemical holding tanks.  Even if dumping the chemicals was the only solution, wasn’t there some kind of liner to put down and then have a vacuum and other tankers carry it away from the site and get it to a certified toxic dump land fille?

Time will tell what will happen.  I hope that it can be cleaned up, but I believe that NSR should offer to purchase all of those homes , businesses, and land at pre-disaster values and allow the innocent victims a chance to move forward in their lives.  These people were just living their lives, and now they have this!?!?

The contaminants spread into other regions and won’t be known for a long time or ever.

Our charity, Veterans’ Outreach, is located 25 miles from ground zero. We offer our help and support to veterans in East Palestine. If you care to help those vets with a donation, you can send it to Veterans’ Outreach @ 7 Belgrade Avenue Youngstown, Ohio 44505 or go to our website,

May God Bless East Palestine.

Veterans’ Outreach Will be Able to Reach More Veterans in Need!

This is a breakout year for Veterans’ Outreach.  We are very proud of the support that we have provided for 29 years, helping veterans tens of thousands of times.  Most of the staff and volunteers have been part of our team for many years, we call ourselves the Veterans’ Outreach family and you are welcome to join us.  One volunteer in his 70’s even calls me “Dad” and he’s older than me!

We start the morning with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. So, what they say is true – a family that prays together stays together.  We have had many eye-opening experiences from the vets that we have served. Those magical moments, when God worked through us, and seeing the joys come alive in those vet client’s faces are unforgettable. When they seek us out or any of the referring agencies, they know that we’ll do our best to get that veteran the help that they need and leave with pride and integrity in tack.

This year I turn 69…Most folks have already retired and enjoying the good life retirement has to offer.  Nooo, the good LORD just made my plate much fuller!

The Veterans’ Outreach Complex was born just before Christmas of 2022. That is when two local realtors came by our office, after they saw the Interview by my wife, Teri, about our charity. Unbeknownst to her she was presented an award for “Hometown Hero”!  She was shocked by the award, and she announced that she did not deserve it. The interview promoted that we were looking for a bigger building for several years now.  We ran out of space for accepting physical donations.

Well, the realtors said that our new building lay across the street and the auction was tomorrow. Talking about short notice! We attended the auction, and the new chapter begins! Increasing the size of our office space and parking lot to over 700%! We are hoping that the Grand Opening will be in the springtime of 2023.

We are targeting other organizations that are veteran friendly, to join us so we can have a full-blown veteran service center. We have three buildings, two of those have office spaces for lease. We have a total of sixteen office spaces there. There are six office spaces available for those that are interested.

So, now comes the tooling and configuring on this new project of assembling and welcoming our new partners. We need sponsors, developers, volunteers, organizations, foundations, clubs, and just about anyone that wants to help make a positive difference in our veterans’ lives.

I am looking for anyone that is interested. I am thinking that everyone should be!  866.212.5592 or email me at [email protected]

BTW…Our first Event in 2023 is called “tine’ time

On February 11, 2023 at the fabulous Lake Club located at 1140 Paulin Rd, Youngstown, OH.

You can call for tickets at

330-755-5792 x5 or 330-715-5474 or visit

Help us help our men and women that served us!

John Ely

God Blessed Veterans’ Outreach This Christmas

Teri Ely, our Executive Director, was being interviewed for a Veterans’ Day Story on how the charity was helping veterans in need. The activity is bustling like crazy! There is goodwill just dripping from the ceiling.

Anybody that visits is taken back on how everyone, all, have a super amped feeling while they are there, and they leave with that after-glow of humble satisfaction through serving veterans.

The interns, volunteers, staff, visitors, contributors, and veterans-in-need are confident that hope and Godly things are happening at this charity and through its’ mission.

As the reporter was packing up, he reached into his brief case and pulled out a plaque that says, “WYTV Proudly recognizes Teri Ely and Veterans’ Outreach as a Hometown Hero”.  Well, this caught her completely unprepared and she had to hesitate and figure out what was happening.

Being stymied…she said shyly that she doesn’t deserve this honor. The reporter told her to look around…you are responsible for all of this!  She responded by stating that all good things come from God and then thanked him for the honor of being named a “Hometown Hero”.

One of her pleas during that interview was that we were looking for a bigger building.  The reporter took that small excerpt and played it on the TV stations night and day before her main interview aired.

That following Monday, a couple of realtors showed up at her office and indicated that the properties around the corner were being auctioned off tomorrow!

They asked us to join them for the event! We would have never believed that we would have the opportunity of getting something of that magnitude.

It was Arby’s National Headquarters at one time. It includes three buildings on 2.6 acres and a huge parking lot. It will increase our office space by almost 700%. A big jump indeed! Our bid went through and low and behold, we are the new owners of The Veterans’ Outreach Complex!

We at the charity are so thankful for God’s Presence through our MISSION. This gift to our veterans couldn’t be timelier than at Christmas of 2022!  We say this with pride and hope, “Merry Christmas to all our veterans!  “We are here for you, always!”

We are thrilled to share this news with you.  Your support means everything, it means the mission moves forward and stands ready to meet the needs of our nation’s heroes, United States Veterans.

The reality is that we are moving into a space that is seven times larger than our current space.  The buildings are brick and in very good condition, but renovations will need to be done to make the space functional for our needs.  We need to raise a few walls, purchase commercial refrigeration units, purchase clothing display racks, and update flooring.

We are a non-profit, we raise all funds ourselves through donations, grants, and special events.  We undergo a voluntary audit each year with Hill, Barth, and King.  We have achieved a Platinum Seal of Transparency with GuideStar.  Charity Navigator has given us a score of 100 out of 100.

We ask that you consider donating to help Veterans’ Outreach with the building improvements that will help more veterans.  Any amount is appreciated.

Our Board, Staff, and Volunteers wish you a wonderful holiday season.

May God Bless You!

-John Ely

Dad Survived the Pearl Harbor Attack and Tended to Many Victims

William Gordon Ely was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, where he worked on the family farm when he was just 8 years old. Dad later faced the Depression with his family and joined the service at 17 when he lied about his age.

He was finally stationed at Pearl Harbor after touring the South Pacific and wrote to his mom that he found paradise, bragging about catching a 40-pound octopus and having a barbecue on the beach with the guys. Just before 8 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, “Bill” was on the porch of the barracks because of an upset stomach from cucumber salad the night before, which saved his life.

The airfields were the first attacked and more than 2,335 men were lost there. Dad was a paramedic, so he was racing off in his ambulance truck just trying to get away from the Japanese aircraft, or Zeros, which were strafing him on both sides of his vehicle. The attack lasted a total of 90 minutes and left 2,400 dead and 1,100 wounded.

My dad tended to as many wounded as he could, while he was wounded as well. He even dove in the blazing water rescuing many other of those attacked men at the Harbor.. After the attack, he spent days administering blood and glucose constantly, especially, to one seriously burned victim.

The hospital was overloaded, so Dad would change his bandages, and even slept with that man to keep him warm, so he wouldn’t go into shock. That man’s mom wrote a letter to my dad thanking him for saving her son’s life.

The letter was shown to the Red Cross and the charity started a blood drive, using the importance of that story. My dad went on to be a founder of the “Pearl Harbor Survivors” Columbus chapter, and co-founder of eight other chapters. He was best friends with the man that started a Military Museum., Mott’s Military Museum.

He left in his will a major donation to the Mott’s Military Museum of Columbus, to help with the expansion of the new wing, where his Pearl Harbor coat and memorabilia are on display. He had a photographic memory, which was tortuous to him. Every time, though, he had a chance to talk about that historic day, he wouldn’t hesitate. He was A CONSTANT reminder of that horrific day when the world came to a halt. He is forever thankful that Warren Mott and his Museum would be there to tell the story, always!

“Lest we forget,” Dad, you are part of history!

Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Son…John Ely

The Power of the American Soldier

Death, destruction, catastrophic hate, struggles, disparity, and all the things that make up the ingredients of war. It is never easy, and many get hurt, displaced, and even killed. Wars touch us all…some more than others. Wars and its effects started when Cain killed Able.

All wars begin with evil. Evil intent is the reason. As a world of human beings, we will never be able to live together without hostilities.  You and I were born out of war.  Without war, this great nation would not exist. Look at the Mid-East, for thousands of years there has been bloodshed for many reasons. It all comes down to evil.  Man’s unwillingness to relent or observe a fellowship.  America…the United States…is the closest that any Nation has come to peaceful co-existence.

I almost hesitate saying United States, for we are in an upheaval, a divisiveness, on so many levels.

We, as a Grateful Nation, should realize what we have and not only cherish our Nation but understand where we come from and live free and safe – because of our Soldiers. The 10% that protect and serve the other 90%.  No draft needed these days for our Soldiers defy fear and sign their name in blood to do battle with any enemy that threatens our way of life…our FREEDOMS!

Our nation needs to unite and look to the American Soldier as an example.  The Power of the American Veteran is immense and deserves our deepest respect and love.  We need to be there for them in their time of need.  If you are a veteran or have a veteran in your family, even a friend, you must know what I mean. My father and brother, I miss them so much, served at Pearl Harbor and Vietnam. My son is still serving as a Captain in the Army and was stationed in Afghanistan. All three came back with PTSD and many horrific health anomalies. They sacrificed like so many of their service brothers and sisters. They share a common denominator of faith and trust with each other that is unshakeable. Veterans are all about helping other veterans.

My great uncle was in the Army during WWI and when WWII broke out, he was 39 and rejoined the Army! That is what I am talking about!!!  What they had to go through, the experiences, shoulder to shoulder, in do or die scenarios, we citizens can’t imagine it.

Veterans’ Outreach is blessed to be able to be there to greet and help. Yes, the stories are many and those stories only make our resolve stronger to help as many veterans as possible.  We have many veterans involved with our mission.  The Power of the American Veteran is very apparent, all-over America and around the world.

Please realize what Veterans mean to our nation, and to you personally.  Thank them with a smile, a nod, pick up their tab at a restaurant.  Any way that you can show appreciation means more than you could know.  It helps with the things they deal with everyday lurking in the corners of their hearts and minds.

Check out this solo play titled, “The American Soldier”. It will give you a bitter taste of what many of our veterans go through. I dare you! It’s going to hurt but will make you proud!

Please visit our website and donate, become a member, volunteer, or ask how you can get involved to help with the mission.

God Bless America and our powerful Veterans!