Charter member of Virginia chapter marks 65 years of membership
In December, Arnold Sells received the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award from DAV Chapter 10 in Fairfax, Va., for his 65 years of service, membership and compassion.
Sells grew up in Tennessee and enlisted in the Army in 1941 where he was assigned to the 101st Airborne and became an Army Ranger. He was a part of Operation Garden-Market during the invasion into the Netherlands, and after his combat tour in Europe ended with shrapnel wounds, he returned to home to recuperate.
He received claim assistance from DAV and became a life member in 1949. Sells soon realized the need for DAV service in Northern Virginia and banded together his fellow veterans to start DAV Chapter 10 in 1950. He is the lone surviving charter member.
“Arnold Sells has given many years of himself to assist so many veterans across Virginia,” said Jim Procunier, past Department of Virginia commander. “He is truly a unique blend of leadership, dedication and compassion.”
“For many, many years all of my energy and time was spent in some sort of service to DAV,” said Sells. “And I’ve enjoyed every minute of my association with DAV.”
Sells continued his service to the organization when he was elected as a member of the National Executive Committee for two years. In addition, he served one year as the department adjutant and was elected 13 years in a row as the department chaplain.
“When I first became a member of DAV Chapter 10, I was very content to not be involved much,” said Procunier. “Then I spent time speaking with Arnold.”
“He talked me into running for chapter 2nd junior vice commander that night,” said Procunier.
Perhaps there is no better example of Sells’ leadership and mentoring than Past National Commander Rob Reynolds who credits Sells for inspiring him to lead within the organization.
“Arnold was in my corner from my first chapter meeting I ever attended until this day,” said Reynolds. “In 2001 he and others encouraged me to run for the national line which I didn’t make my first year, but he continued to mentor and provide guidance to where in 2002 I did and ultimately make it to national commander in 2007.
“Arnold was such a big influence and mentor in my involvement with DAV and knowing the history. It has been an honor to have had the opportunity to share and learn so much from him in the past quarter of a century.”
Over the past 65 years Sells has impacted the lives of countless veterans and influenced DAV to a degree that’s impossible to measure, but his impact will be felt within DAV for many years to come.
“This has been a wonderful, wonderful journey,” said Sells. “I have made a lot of good and loyal friends and for that I am very appreciative. It means everything to me. I am just speechless,” added Sells. “How can I thank everyone for this recognition and award? I just really appreciate it.”
Sells went on to say that 2015 would be his last year serving in the officer ranks. The boots he leaves behind will be hard to fill, as DAV Department of Virginia Adjutant Bob Cox said, “His knowledge of the department was unlimited and very helpful to the whole department. We need more Arnold Sells these days.”