Candidates for national office – 2021-2022

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The following information is intended to inform membership on the announced candidates for national office. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by DAV National Headquarters of any candidate to the exclusion of others who may stand for election. DAV members may announce their candidacy at any time, up to and including the time of election at our 2021 DAV National Convention July 29–August 3 in Tampa, Florida.

 

Andy Marshall, a combat-wounded Army veteran of the Vietnam War, is currently DAV’s national senior vice commander and serves as Department of Florida adjutant. He joined DAV in 1975 and is a life member of Chapter 4 in Tampa, Florida.

Before his medical retirement, Marshall was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device.

Marshall, a retired DAV national service office supervisor, was one of DAV’s first national area supervisors and has held multiple leadership positions during his 41 years with the organization, including an assignment with DAV’s Judicial Appeals Office in Washington, D.C.

As a supervisor of DAV’s national office in Bay Pines, Florida, Marshall initiated a case that ultimately resulted in multiple clothing allowances being awarded for amputees and other severely disabled veterans. He’s also been a prominent member leader. He is a past judge advocate for the Department of Maryland. He was on the Department of Florida’s finance committee before becoming department commander, and currently serves on the Florida Veterans Advisory Committee.

He is seeking election to higher office.

 

Joseph “Joe” Parsetich is an Air Force combat veteran of the Vietnam War and is currently serving as DAV’s national 1st junior vice commander.

Parsetich represented DAV’s 14th District on the National Executive Committee from 2014 to 2016. He has been a chapter service officer since 2009 for Chapter 2 of Great Falls, Montana, and is the past commander of the Department of Montana. He was named Volunteer of the Quarter by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In 2017, Parsetich was appointed by then-Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin to serve on the Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee, where he continues to serve under current VA Secretary Denis McDonough. He is a mentor coordinator and mentor for his local Veterans Treatment Court. He has helped many of his fellow veterans graduate the 18-month program and successfully reintegrate into society. He has also served as a DAV volunteer van driver and as a member of the Military Funeral Honor Guard in Great Falls.

Parsetich is seeking election to higher office.

 

Nancy Espinosa is a service-connected disabled veteran of the Army. She is currently DAV’s national 2nd junior vice commander. Espinosa joined the Army Reserve in 1975, where she served until joining the active-duty Army in 1985. After four years on active duty, she joined the New Mexico Army National Guard until her honorable discharge in 1990. For her service, Espinosa was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, along with several other recognitions.

Upon leaving military service, Espinosa joined DAV. Currently a life member of Chapter 14 in Layton, Utah, she is a past department commander for her state. She is also an active member of DAV’s Commanders and Adjutants Association and the Utah Legislative Veterans and Military Affairs Commission. She was awarded the Bonnie Anderson Award for Outstanding Service in 2014 by the DAV Department of Utah.

Espinosa is seeking election to higher office.

 

Dan Contreras, a service-connected disabled Army veteran and past commander of the DAV Department of California, currently serves as the state’s adjutant/treasurer. He is currently DAV’s national 3rd junior vice commander. He has also served on the National Executive Committee and, in 2009, was elected to the board of directors for the National Service Foundation, where he served until 2019.

Contreras served in the Army from 1980 to 1996 as a combat medic and nurse, achieving the rank of sergeant first class. From 2000 to 2008, he helped veterans receive their earned benefits as a DAV national service officer and area supervisor.

Contreras is a life member of Chapter 99 in Oxnard, California. In addition to his various leadership and managerial positions within the national and state levels of the organization, he was appointed to chair the California Mexican American Veterans Memorial Committee by former California Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown.

Contreras is seeking election to higher office.

 

John Donovan is a service-connected disabled Navy veteran and DAV life member of Chapter 10 in Conway, Arkansas. Donovan currently serves as the National Executive Committee representative of District 21 for both Arkansas and Oklahoma, as well as adjutant of the Department of Arkansas.

After serving 24 years in the Navy, Donovan was honorably discharged in 2004. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in organizational management with a minor in organizational leadership. During his time with DAV, Donovan has played an active role in supporting and volunteering for veterans, including yard cleanups and construction of ramps for wheelchair access. He has also participated in the DAV 5K every year since the local inaugural race in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and completed a 300-mile bicycle ride across the state of Arkansas to raise awareness about DAV programs and services.

Donovan is seeking election to national office.

 

Richard Morelli, a service-connected disabled Army veteran, currently serves as the commander of Chapter 11 in Dickson City, Pennsylvania, a position he has held for a decade. A DAV life member, he has also held numerous other chapter leadership positions over the years.

Morelli enlisted in the Army in 1967 and served honorably until his discharge in 1970. During his time in service, he deployed to East Germany. He was injured during his service by extreme cold, which caused frostbite and permanent damage to his back and hands. After his service, Morelli became a teacher and a professional musician, often blending the two by teaching music to students of all ages.

Morelli is an active volunteer in his community and has spent more than 700 hours volunteering in various capacities at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.

Morelli is seeking election to national office.

 

Coleman Nee is a service-connected disabled Marine Corps veteran who served from 1986 to 1994, including deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm. He was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts to serve as the Massachusetts secretary of veterans’ services from 2011 to 2015, overseeing $100 million in state funding for veterans and dependents, financial aid and programming. During Nee’s tenure, the department created a number of new initiatives to increase access to services for veterans, including the more than 47,000 returning Massachusetts veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2018, Nee was appointed to serve on DAV’s board of directors and the National Executive Committee. He served in both of those positions for two years and is currently serving on the National Interim Legislative Committee. A life member of Chapter 3 in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Nee served as the Department of Massachusetts assistant judge advocate and chair of the Homeless Veterans Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Incarcerated Veterans Outreach Committee.

Nee is seeking election to national office.

 

DAV life member James Procunier is a service-connected disabled veteran who served from 1985 to 2013. During his enlistment in the Navy and Navy Reserve, Procunier served in a number of billets and as a corpsman. As a civilian contractor, he served as a project officer for the Navy MRAP (Mine Resistant-Ambush Protected) vehicle program, which saved untold lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, Procunier served 34 years in law enforcement in Florida and Michigan and is a former firefighter and paramedic.

Procunier is a member of Chapter 10 in Fairfax, Virginia, and Chapter 11 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is currently a Department of North Carolina trustee and serves on the National Interim Legislative Committee. He has served in multiple capacities at nearly every state level in DAV, including commander of the Department of Virginia. For his service with Chapter 10, he was named the 2014 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year and received the 2016 John Maki Distinguished Service Award. In 2016, he was recognized by the Department of Virginia as the state’s Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year.

Procunier is seeking election to national office.

 

Michael Hert is a service-connected disabled Army veteran who served from 1976 to 2015. After enlisting, Hert served in the Medical Corps in West Germany until 1979.

After earning his degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, he began his career as a commissioned officer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard and finished his service as a civil affairs officer in the Army Reserve, with whom he was deployed five times after the attacks on 9/11.

Since becoming a member of DAV, Hert has served as the junior vice commander and commander of the Department of Wisconsin, as well as a leader and past commander of Chapter 17 in Oshkosh. A certified lay speaker within his church, Hert is an active member of his community as well as the local veteran community. He has spent the majority of his career working as a licensed professional counselor, working with substance abuse and mental health.

Hert is seeking election to national chaplain.

 

Thomas Howell is a service-connected disabled Marine veteran who served as an artillery weatherman in addition to working with aviation hydraulics after changing his military occupational specialty.

Howell served in Vietnam and was honorably discharged in 1974. He became a DAV life member soon after. Howell has held a number of leadership positions, including past commander of the Department of Oklahoma and current adjutant for Chapter 17 in Chickasha, Oklahoma. In 1997, Howell began attending church with his family and found a connection to his preacher who was also a veteran. Since then, Howell has served as chaplain several different times for the Department of Oklahoma.

Howell is now seeking election to national chaplain.

 

Rev. Dr. Carole Pierce is a service-connected disabled Army veteran who served from 1978 to 1995.

After being honorably discharged, Rev. Pierce received her Master of Divinity in theology and a master’s degree in pastoral care and counseling. She eventually earned her doctorate in metro urban ministry.

Serving at both the state and local levels, Rev. Pierce is the assistant chaplain of the Department of New Jersey and was chaplain for Chapter 16 in Somerville, New Jersey. Rev. Pierce is the chairperson of the Women Veterans Committee in the Department of New Jersey and a member of the Homeless Veterans and Benefits Protection committees.

Rev. Pierce is seeking election to national chaplain.

 

Michael Dobmeier has served as national judge advocate, advising the National Executive Committee (NEC) and board of directors, since 2002. He served as DAV national commander in 1999 and as the 14th District NEC representative in 1994.

Dobmeier enlisted in the Navy in 1969 after graduating from high school. He trained as an engineman; attended the Naval Submarine School in New London, Connecticut; and completed Navy Dive School in San Diego. In 1972, Dobmeier suffered severe burns on more than 30% of his body after an oil heater exploded aboard the submarine USS Trigger. He was discharged later that year and became a life member of Chapter 2 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He has since been appointed or elected to nearly every chapter and department office and position and was named the 1985 DAV Outstanding Member of the Department of North Dakota.

Dobmeier is seeking election to another term as national judge advocate.

 

 

Convention registration

You can preregister for the convention via DAV’s website. There is a $25 registration fee for each attendee registered who is 18 years of age or older.

Registration badges are required to gain admission to the many activities and functions of the convention. Reservations are required no later than Sunday, Aug. 1, at 4 p.m. for all who wish to attend the national officers dinner. Reservations can be made during online registration or onsite at the designated booth outside the convention registration room. Table assignments will be coordinated by DAV for the dinner, and tickets showing assigned table numbers may be picked up after the business sessions on Tuesday, Aug. 3. More details will be available in the convention program during the event.

Attendees who preregister will be able to pick up credentials at DAV Will Call beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 29. On-site convention registration will be at the same time and location as will call.

For more information, visit dav.org/events/2021-national-convention.