Arthur H. Wilson, CEO and National Adjutant of Disabled American Veterans (DAV), will retire after 47 years at the organization. His retirement will become effective on May 31, 2013 and he will be replaced by current Executive Director J. Marc Burgess.
Wilson has been CEO of the Cold Spring, Ky.-based organization for 19 years after first joining the nonprofit in 1966 as a National Service Officer Trainee. He was himself a disabled veteran, serving during the Vietnam War in the United States Air Force. He was the first Vietnam Veteran to join DAV’s National Service Program.
Wilson also served DAV in other capacities before being appointed CEO in 1994, including as National Service Director in 1981 and Executive Director in 1993.
“It is with a heavy yet hopeful heart that I accept the retirement of Art Wilson, who has given a large part of his life to serving DAV and his fellow veterans,” said DAV National Commander Larry Polzin. “He has helped build a solid foundation for the future, and with his recommendation, I have absolute confidence in appointing Marc Burgess as DAV’s next National Adjutant.”
As CEO, Wilson led an average of 650 employees while managing the overall operations of DAV. He is credited with increasing DAV’s net worth by 422 percent over a 10-year period and with setting the organization up for future success in improving the lives of veterans.
Burgess, a second class petty officer in the U.S. Navy from 1987 until his medical discharge in 1992, joined DAV in 1995 as a National Appeals Officer at the Board of Veteran Appeals. He later served as a National Service Office Supervisor, Appellate Counsel before the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Associate and Assistant National Service Director and Director of Human Resources before his promotion to Assistant Executive Director before becoming Executive Director.
“It is an honor to have been appointed to lead an organization with such a strong commitment to serving our nation’s veterans,” Burgess said. “I will work hard to build on Art’s impressive legacy and ensure that empowering veterans and their families remains our top priority. Art is a visionary, and I will truly miss him and his leadership.”
Founded in 1920 and charted by Congress in 1932, DAV’s mission is to empower veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It accomplished this goal by advocating for veterans in Congress and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. The organization has 1.2-million members nationwide and assists with more than 300,000 claims for benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs in addition to operating a free transportation network, volunteerism programs, legislative advocacy and other initiatives.