RENO, Nev. – Retired Marine Corps veteran Dennis R. Nixon was elected National Commander of the more than 1 million member DAV (Disabled American Veterans) today at the organization’s 97th National Convention.
Nixon enlisted at the age of 17 in 1964. While on his second combat tour in Vietnam, he stepped on a landmine and suffered severe injuries, requiring eight surgeries. After several months of hospitalization, one of his legs was amputated.
“All I could ever imagine in 1969 was being a United States Marine,” Nixon said. “But after Vietnam I had to learn to walk again and face a new life. Those of us who have served understand the need fellow veterans have to be a part of something bigger than yourself—to have a mission to fulfill that calling.”
He was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 1970. Soon after, Nixon became one of DAV’s professional veterans’ advocates. Over the course of 40 years, he’s helped his fellow veterans and their families obtain their life-changing benefits earned through military service. After retiring from DAV’s professional staff, Nixon was elected by fellow DAV members to continue to serve America’s veterans in various roles within the organization.
Nixon has trained and developed fellow veterans’ benefits advocates as a volunteer and is still sought after for his guidance, experience and advice in the Waco, Texas DAV National Service Office.
He has continued to serve fellow veterans at the local DAV chapter level as well as positions within the DAV Department of Texas. He has served in roles on the national level on the DAV National Executive Committee and the DAV Charitable Service Trust Board of Directors.
In his acceptance speech to thousands of DAV members, Nixon said after being wounded he felt lost and left without a vocation—then he found the organization that decades later he would lead.
“That’s what DAV gave me and many of us here tonight. We are connected to a great cause and to ensure our brothers and sisters-in-arms are never left behind,” Nixon said.
Photos and media may be made available upon request.
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling the nation’s 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; linking veterans and their families to employment resources; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with more than 1 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932.