Co-Founder and the Foundation’s First Executive Director
Jesse Brown was a U.S. Marine who lost the use of his right arm after being wounded during Vietnam combat in 1965. Undeterred by his disability, he became a dedicated advocate for veterans and joined the professional staff of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in 1967 after a lengthy recuperation from his combat wounds. Mr. Brown devoted a quarter of a century of his life to serving his fellow veterans as a National Service Officer with the DAV, rising rapidly through the organization’s ranks. As Executive Director at the DAV’s National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, D.C., he became prominent in the policy-making circles of our nation’s capital. He established an unchallenged reputation as the nation’s foremost expert on veterans’ benefits and programs. His outstanding achievements on behalf of veterans culminated in his appointment by President Clinton in 1993 as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. After leaving the VA in 1997 Mr. Brown served as the executive director of the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation.