Candidates for national office – 2022 – 2023

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The following information is intended to inform membership on the announced candidates for national office. It 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 2022 DAV National Convention, which will be held Aug. 6–9 in Orlando, Florida.

 

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

Parsetich represented DAV’s 14th District on the National Executive Committee from 2014 to 2016. He has been a department service officer for Montana since 2009 and was the Department Commander of Montana from 2013 to 2015. 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 was the mentor coordinator and mentor for his local Veterans Treatment Court. He has helped over fifty of his fellow veterans graduate from 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 1st junior vice commander and the adjutant of the Department of Utah. Espinosa enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1975 before joining the active-duty Army in 1985. After four years on active duty, she joined the New Mexico Army National Guard, in which she served 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 state commander. 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.

 

Daniel Contreras, a service-connected disabled Army veteran and past commander of the DAV Department of California, serves as the state’s adjutant/treasurer. He is also DAV’s national 2nd junior vice commander. He has 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 was enlisted 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 DAV leadership and managerial positions at the national and state levels, 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.

 

Coleman Nee, a service-connected disabled Marine Corps veteran who served from 1986 to 1994, including deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm, currently serves as DAV’s national 3rd junior vice commander.

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 veterans returning to Massachusetts from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nee was elected to serve on the National Executive Committee from 2017 to 2019 and served on the board of directors during the same period. A life member of Chapter 3 in Boston, 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 higher office.

 

John Donovan, a service-connected disabled Navy veteran and DAV life member of Chapter 10 in Conway, Arkansas, currently serves as DAV’s national 4th junior vice commander.
He served as the National Executive Committee representative of District 21 for both Arkansas and Oklahoma from 2019 to 2021 and served on the board of directors during the same period. He also serves 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 Arkansas to raise awareness about DAV programs and services.

Donovan is seeking election to higher office.

 

Michael L. Harman II, a service-connected disabled Army veteran and DAV life member of Chapter 39 in Bristol, Tennessee, currently serves as commander of the Department of Tennessee. He joined the Army in 1999 and completed multiple overseas deployments, including combat tours in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2004. During his tour in Iraq, Harman received the Purple Heart as a result of injuries sustained from a rocket attack.

Since becoming a DAV member in 2012, Harman has served in multiple appointed and elected positions within the Department of Tennessee. He currently serves on the National Interim POW/MIA Committee and as commander of his local chapter, where he is a chapter service officer. Harman also serves on multiple committees in his community to better serve veterans in Sullivan County.

A member of the Army Military Police Corps while on active duty, Harman earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Purdue University Global in 2018.

Harman is seeking election to national office.

 

Cynthia Madison is a retired disabled Army veteran who has been actively involved with the organization at the chapter, department and national levels since becoming a DAV life member in 2002. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Averett University and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University. She currently serves as the assistant adjutant and time and place chairperson for the Department of Virginia and as adjutant of Chapter 27 in Portsmouth. She was appointed as Virginia’s deputy chief of staff to the national commander in September 2021.

Madison previously served as commander of the Department of Virginia and is a past president of the Commanders and Adjutants Association. She also served on the Department of Virginia’s Women Veterans Committee, Interim VAVS Committee and Employment Committee as well as Employment, Nominating, and Credentials national convention committees.

Madison has a history of volunteering at VA medical centers and elsewhere in her community in ways that benefit her fellow veterans. She chaired five different Department of Virginia 5K races and served as chairperson for the national DAV 5K in Newport News.

Madison is seeking election to national office.

 

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.

 

Debra Varner, a service-connected disabled Army veteran, currently serves as DAV’s national chaplain. She has been a life member of Chapter 4 in Birmingham, Alabama, since 2013.

Varner joined the Army in 1972 and served as a medic. After her military service, she went to college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Southern Business College as well as a Bachelor of Arts in theology from Lomax Hannon Bible College.

After college, she began working for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, where she has enjoyed a 27-year career as a women’s service coordinator. She has continued her service there as a resource support specialist in the Veterans Service/Student Affairs office, where she assists more than 3,700 veterans and family members requiring assistance with education benefits.

She also serves as a hospital service coordinator for the Birmingham VA Medical Center, where she helps veterans and their families find resources and learn about earned benefits.

Varner has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and support, including service as chaplain for the DAV Department of Alabama.

Varner is seeking election to another term as national chaplain.