Veteran of Air Force, Dayton VA to receive lifetime honor
By THOMAS GNAU | Dayton Daily News | Published: March 5, 2020
(Tribune News Service) — A retired officer who has served thousands of veterans at both Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Dayton VA Medical Center is receiving a statewide award for a lifetime of work.
The 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers’ (NASW) Ohio Chapter will be presented March 14 to William “Bill” Wall, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel.
The award is given annually to an Ohio social worker whose “lifetime of repeated, outstanding achievements exemplify the highest social work values,” a press release said. Wall will join state and regional award winners at an annual NASW Ohio event on the evening of March 14 at COSI (Center of Science & Industry) in Columbus.
Wall has held many positions in a long career that defies easy summary, having served five years as an enlisted mental health tech in the U.S. Army and 25 years in the Air Force.
Among his many roles: Wall, 69, of Beavercreek has served as behavioral health chief at Air Force Materiel Command from 1999 until 2003. He served also as chief of social work at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center in 2004.
He served also at the Dayton VA Medical Center and is a adjunct professor at Wright State University.
Today, he is a contractor therapist at an outpatient mental health clinic at Wright-Patterson.
On learning that he was to receive the award, Wall in an interview Thursday that his reaction was one of “appreciation and gratitude.”
“You don’t do this work with an eye for awards and decorations,” he said. “You do it really out of a sense of service.”
Wall retired from the Air Force in 2006, moving on to work as program manager at the Dayton VA. He estimates that over a 10-year period at the VA — from about 2007 to 2017 — he worked with more than 9,000 veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.
“This award really kind of captured all of that,” Wall said.
“The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes accomplishments that go beyond the social work profession and include contributions of lasting impact and outstanding creativity,” a NASW press release said.
Wall is also a combat veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was director of the largest family advocacy program in Europe at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, providing crisis services to military members following the Khobar Towers bombing incident and the Dubrovnik Air crash.
As chief of the Behavioral Health Branch in the Office of the Command Surgeon in 1999, Wall oversaw all aspects of behavioral health service delivery and a $6.4 million dollar budget directed to counter drug activities
Wall was also clinical director of the Southwest Ohio Critical Incident Stress Management Team through 2016, a member who assisted law enforcement officials in the aftermath of the Oregon District mass shooting last August.