In memory of the late Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jesse Brown, the Disabled American
Veterans has established the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program. Mr.
Jesse Brown enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963. Two years later, while on
patrol in the DaNang area of Vietnam, Mr. Brown sustained a serious injury due to
a gunshot wound while engaged in combat. From that point and over the next 39 years,
the lives of millions of veterans changed for the better. Mr. Brown devoted himself
to the cause of building better lives for America's disabled veterans.
Mr. Brown joined the Disabled American Veterans professional staff in 1967 as a
National Service Officer in Chicago, Il. He moved to Washington, DC in 1973 to supervise
the DAV's National Service Office. In 1976, he was promoted to Supervisor of the
DAV National Appeals Office at the Board of Veterans Appeals. In 1981, Jesse was
appointed to join the National Service and Legislative Headquarters staff as the
Chief of Claims.
In 1983, he was named Deputy National Service Director and later served as Executive
Assistant to the National Adjutant. Ultimately, Mr. Brown served the DAV as Executive
Director of the National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, DC.
In January 1993, Mr. Brown was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Secretary
of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Brown was so committed to the cause of veterans that he
earned a new title, he was simply known as the Secretary for Veterans Affairs. In
December 1996, President Clinton reappointed Mr. Brown to serve a second four-year
term. Mr. Brown resigned as Secretary of Veterans Affairs in July 1997 and began
his personal battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
Jesse died in August 2002.
The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program encourages young volunteers to
play active roles in the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS)
programs. It recognizes outstanding young volunteers who give of their time by awarding
annual scholarships that may be used to continue their education. The Disabled American
Veterans has awarded 123 scholarships worth $450,066 since the inception of the
Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program in 2000.
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