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WATCH: View the retirement ceremony for Sgt. 1st Class Todd Kristoff
Kristoff’s family moved from Forest Park to Fairfield in 1979, and he graduated from Fairfield High School in 1983. Because of his wild youth, he recalled his dad said he had three choices: “six feet under, prison or the military.”
“It was a normal weekend thing where the police would take me home, or something else would happen,” he said.
He initially wanted to join the Marines, but they were out to lunch the day he went to enlist, so he started talking with the Army recruiter in the office.
After serving four years in the Army, he joined the United States Army Reserves until 2000 and then joined the Ohio Army National Guard until his retirement on Nov. 3, 2015.
In Kristoff’s 32 years of service, he’s served six combat tours of duties, including in Iraq.
Tuesday meant a lot for the 50-year-old. He never received a ceremony from the Ohio National Guard when he retired on Nov. 3, 2015. He wore his emotions on his face Tuesday, and the appreciation could be heard in his voice when he told the Journal-News what that ceremony meant to him.
The normally talkative and animated man could only muster: “Honored. Very, very honored.”
When Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller heard that one of Fairfield’s sons would not be receiving an earned honor, he organized the ceremony, bringing in others, including Fairfield’s VFW Post 1069.
“It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again: Here in Fairfield we don’t just say we support our military we show it. And this is one of those ways we show it,” he said.
Miller proclaimed this past Wednesday, July 13, 2016, as “Sgt. 1st Class Todd Kristoff Day” in the city of Fairfield.
And Butch Frederick, commander of VFW Post 1069, said it’s always a welcomed opportunity “to celebrate a military life, a military career while the warrior is still with us.”
Tuesday was the retirement ceremony Kristoff said he wanted, and Miller said he couldn’t be more proud that he is from Fairfield.
Kristoff responded, “I can’t either.”