WASHINGTON. — DAV (Disabled American Veterans) has named John Todd, an injured Army veteran of the Vietnam War, as the 2013 Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year. Todd served as a Cobra attack helicopter pilot from 1968 to 1969, and after being shot down twice his injuries rendered him legally blind.
Todd will be presented the Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year award by National Commander Larry Polzin at the organization’s 92nd National Convention at the Hilton Orlando Aug. 10.
“John Todd’s entire life has been about service to others,” said Polzin. “Life presented him with immense challenges, but he didn’t miss a beat. He just continued to move forward serving veterans and the members of his own community.”
After his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1970, Todd moved to New York City to work as the National Coordinator for Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. He later worked for President Richard Nixon’s staff where his work twice earned him the Freedom’s Foundation award for Excellence in Political Communication.
Todd earned his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in the late 1970s and served as the National Legislative Director of the Blinded Veterans Association. There, he authored legislation that provided for a rebuttable presumption of service-connection for permanently and totally disabled veterans so their spouses and dependents could qualify for benefits. The bill was passed into law and Todd’s work continues to affect veterans and their families today.
“The legacy of John Todd’s work in the veterans community is profound,” said DAV National Adjutant/CEO Marc Burgess. “The contributions he has made in his lifetime will better the lives of veterans and their families for many years to come.”
Todd joined DAV Chapter 19 in Fraser, Mich. in 2010, where he serves as the Judge Advocate. He is currently a full time professor of business law and American legal studies at Rochester College in Rochester Hills, Mich. He lives in the nearby village of Oxford with his wife of 38 years, Joyce. Together they have two daughters and one grandson.
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose; fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.