This morning's Dayton Daily News includes a column by Mary McCarty, who speaks with retired Colonel Dan Tepfer about his work with PFLAG and his appearance, on Friday, at the U.S. Capitol, where he joined other veterans from across the country to rally for repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"During his 23 years of active duty service in the Air Force," McCarty writes, Tepfer "rarely gave any thought to gays in the military."
"I wasn't gay or lesbian so it wasn't in my sights," he told the paper, adding that, "I always judged peopl eon how they performed. The hardest challenge was getting good people."
That all changed, however, when the Colonel learned that his own family included lesbian, bisexual and transgender members, and after he became involved with PFLAG, where he currently serves on the national board of directors and is an active member of the Dayton, Ohio chapter.
"He's so committed that his children refer to Tepfer and his wife Nancy as 'Mr. and Mrs. PFLAG,'" McCarty reports.
"What a mind-opener and heart-changer" his family members were in his own journey, Colonel Tepfer recalls. "We became aware of the many ways that gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens are treated unequally, including 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"
And on Friday, "Tefper delivered an impassioned speech," she notes, urging Congress to take action and welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans to the armed forces."
Indeed, following Friday's speech, Colonel Tepfer has heard from other PFLAG parents, who happen to be veterans, and from at least one openly gay child of a veteran, who reached out to Dan, via Facebook, to thank him for his activism on the issue.
And, as McCarty concludes in her article this morning, all of that, "would make Mr. PFLAG very happy" indeed.
To read the full coverage of Colonel Tepfer's Washington appearance in The Dayton Daily News, click here.