Andy Marshall, Commander
The honor of a lifetime
I have been incredibly honored to experience many profound, life-altering moments throughout more than four decades as a DAV service officer. Whether passing word to our nation’s heroes that they had received a favorable disability claim, assisting others with education and employment benefits, or letting them know they would be OK in their new normal after military service, I’ve been fortunate to witness the many ways our beloved organization makes a difference in the lives of America’s disabled veterans and their families.
I also knew there would be more triumphs to witness when I was elected national commander in Tampa, Florida, last August, and I’m happy to report that my intuition was spot on. While serving in this position over the past year, I’ve been incredibly heartened by observing the selflessness and dedication of those who work behind the scenes to ensure more victories for veterans. Their pursuit of excellence and justice on behalf of those we serve has truly solidified to me why DAV perennially sits at the pinnacle of veterans organizations across the country.
But before I step aside and leave the organization in the capable hands of whomever is elected to serve as your next national commander, I’d like to take a moment to recognize those who have helped me through this incredible journey.
First, I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to National Adjutant Marc Burgess for his guidance and leadership throughout my tenure in office. No matter the time or circumstance, I could always count on him for sage counsel throughout the past year. I sometimes joke that it irks me somewhat to compliment a sailor, but DAV is in good hands with Marc at the helm.
Second, my time as national commander would not have been possible without the support of the Department of Florida. In particular, Chief of Staff Thomas Ayala stepped up as assistant adjutant and handled a large portion of the day-to-day activities to keep the department functioning normally while I tended to my national duties. Many thanks to him and the rest of the department for their support.
Third, a special thank-you goes to the National Communications Department for assisting in the many public-facing duties of this role. From speech writing, media interview preparation and countless other items, you all did a tremendous job in helping me amplify DAV’s message to the American public. I thank you all for all that you do behind the scenes that doesn’t always get noticed.
And last but certainly not least, the incredible experience of serving as your national commander would not have been possible without the support of my loving bride, Susan, who has stood by my side for the past 35 years. Having a support system is vital to succeeding in any role, and I simply would not have had such a wonderful experience without her.
The past year went by far too quickly for me, but I can say without reservation that serving as your national commander has been the honor of my lifetime. I thank each and every one of you for your support and all that you do for your fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms. That’s what makes DAV the leading veterans organization in the country and why I’m so confident in the organization’s future success.
If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find his biography here.