A hero among us

The people of Waco and Central Texas have seen many leaders among them step up and answer the call to serve different groups of our population. Now, once again, such a leader answers the call. Dennis Nixon has been elected to lead as national commander of Disabled American Veterans (DAV), an organization with roots in the aftermath of World War I a century ago.

I’ve had the honor of knowing Dennis for more than 40 years. He led the local DAV office as supervising officer in the Veterans Administration, helping primarily combat-wounded veterans secure benefits from the VA. I met Dennis when he and I were young disabled veterans in 1973. We were training as national service officers under the supervision of W.G. Lawrence.

Dennis’ hard work as a national service officer in Waco led to his being named supervisor of the DAV’s Waco office. His untiring work on behalf of our veterans in turn led to leadership of the DAV national organization.

His own story is stirring. He enlisted in the Marines in 1964 at age 17. He was trained to become a combat engineer and was stationed in California. On patrol in Danang, Vietnam, in 1969, while on his second combat tour, he tripped a “booby trap.” As a result of injuries to his abdomen and leg, he underwent eight surgeries. After months in the hospital, his leg was amputated. He is an American hero who has since dedicated his life to the service of his fellow combat-wounded veterans.

On a personal level, Dennis inspired me to be a part of organizations that provide valuable services to our local citizens. His leadership is what led me to become a Master Mason. Dennis has walked the walk as a combat veteran. He continues to serve his country leading an organization advocating for men and women who defend the American way of life.

Congratulations, my friend, and best wishes for a successful year of leading this awesome organization!

Sam Cryan, Waco