Brian M. Ohler is a lifelong resident of North Canaan, CT. Brian and his family have called the Northwest Corner of Connecticut home for almost a century. Over the past 14 years, Brian has committed himself to public service and community outreach. The willingness and compassion to serve others runs deep in Brian’s bloodlines. He is the grandson of former North Canaan First Selectman, Henry Pozzetta, and the great-grandson of William Menser, a former Connecticut State Police Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Litchfield County. During his 4 years of vocational high school education at the Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington, CT, Brian quickly became a voice and an advocate for his graduating class. Brian’s pathway through public service began in 2000 when he became an active member of his hometown’s local fire and EMS departments. During the summer of 2001, between his junior and senior year, Brian raised his right hand as he was sworn into the Connecticut Army National Guard as a private in the Military Police Corps. The National Guard was a perfect fit for Brian, as he wanted to serve his country yet still remain committed to the safety and well being of his state and local community.
For 12 years, his military service would take him all over the world. He volunteered for each of his three combat tours of duty overseas. First serving in Baghdad, Iraq from 2003 to 2004 and later in Mosul, Iraq from 2006 to 2007 when he returned to be part of the surge efforts. During these two tours, Brian served in every position within his unit and quickly became a squad leader, often times organizing and leading combat support and national police mentoring missions that would consist of up to 20 soldiers and 6 armored vehicles. In 2011, Brian again felt the need to serve overseas. His third tour would place him as a member of a multi-service security force tasked with the protection of a Provincial Reconstruction Team operating in the western part of Afghanistan, near the border of Iran. After twelve years of continuous military service to his state and country, Brian received an honorable discharge when his enlistment ended in July of 2013.
In 2008, Brian opened his first business, called The Dollar Depot. Located on Ashley Falls Road in North Canaan, this ‘dollar’ store was aimed at providing low cost household and automotive products to area residents who had been undoubtedly struggling during the height of the recession. Unfortunately after two years of being in business, Brian had to close the doors so he could begin to prepare for his military deployment to Afghanistan. Upon his return back to North Canaan, Brian wanted to apply his knowledge and training that he had received from the US Army to ensure the overall security and protection of others here at home. Patriot Safety Group LLC. was created to offer safety and security consultation to residents and business owners in the Tri state area. In the days that followed the tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary, Brian began reaching out to every Principal within the Region 1 School District. For the next 6 months, Brian would volunteer hundreds of hours, as he prepared a Physical Security Assessment for each individual school. Given the danger and sensitivity that was a result of that day, Brian has remained committed to the overall safety of every student and faculty member. Today, Brian now serves as a safety and security advisor for each elementary and the regional high school in the Region 1 School District. Patriot Safety Group LLC. is now contracted with Housatonic Valley Regional High School, as a groundbreaking and state of the art security improvement project is nearing it’s completion.
As a candidate for State Representative, Brian understands the importance of small business. From lawn care to tree cutting, from barbershops to restaurants, Connecticut lawmakers have created a regulatory and taxing blanket of burden that is slowly squeezing the life from our cherished small businesses. Brian will be your voice. He will fight for what you’ve worked so hard for your entire lives.
Education has always been a pathway for success. However, the pathway has now become increasingly tough to negotiate as our in-state college tuitions continue to climb. Each year our young adults leave Connecticut by the thousands.
Brian’s first attempt at attaining a college degree began in 2003 when he returned home from basic training. He enrolled at Northwestern Community College in Winsted, CT. He only attended two classes before he was urgently shipped off to Iraq. In the fall of 2004, Brian enrolled at Eastern Connecticut State University. He had a passion for the study of social interpretation and interactions, and criminal policy, so it was fitting that he aim his major towards sociology and criminal justice. In 2005, his college career was again put on hold. He was activated to respond with the US Army to New Orleans, LA and begin securing the city from the rampant looting in days that followed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. With his second and third overseas deployment coming in the next few years, the process has been slow, but Brian is determined to graduate. As he now remains just a few credits shy of achieving his bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College, Brian now counsels single mothers and fathers on the struggles of achieving a college degree for those who start late.
With the continuous rise of tuition costs, Brian acknowledges that without the financial assistance of the GI Bill, affording college would have been a grave challenge. Brian has, and always will be, a voice for his fellow veterans. Brian is a recipient of 4 Purple Heart Medals and holds a confirmed service connected disability rating from the VA. He knows all to well of the constant administrative backlog and red tape from both the state and federal Veterans Affairs Administrations. Brian has now become a Veteran Service Officer for the Town of North Canaan and has been guiding and assisting veterans through their mountains of paperwork and often unbearable frustration.
Living in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and making North Canaan his permanent hometown was an easy decision. The amount of love for his family, friends, and community members is evident in all facets of his life. Whether its spending time with his 4 young nieces and nephews at the playground in Norfolk, or enjoying a swim at the Town Grove in Salisbury, Brian continues to be an advocate for the greater good.