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History of MACVSO

On March 12, 1945, just 57 days before WWII in Europe would end, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill and sent it to Governor Edward John Thye that would allow each County to Appoint one or more Veteran(s) to serve in an entirely new position called a County Veterans Service Officer. Soon millions of American servicemen and servicewomen would be returning home from war and needed assistance with the benefits which they had earned in service to a grateful nation.

Most of the first CVSOs were Veterans of World War I, some were combat wounded or gassed and recalled their own struggles seeking benefits and specialized care for their wounds after the war. These newly appointed CVSOs along with the MN Department of Veterans Affairs (which was formed in 1943) came together to develop standardized procedures for CVSOs, and began what has become a 75-year relationship with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other partners for the betterment of our Veterans.

The MACVSO held their first state-wide conference later that year.

Early conference business included guest speakers on a variety of Veteran related topics and training of all Service Officers. In 1958 the Association passed a resolution to seek a legislative change to the law that allowed County’s to appoint a CVSO. The original language stated that Counties “MAY” appoint and the MACVSO sought to change that to “SHALL” appoint; thus making the employment of CVSOs mandatory by all 87 of counties. The resolution would take another 20-years to achieve through legislative efforts which was approved on March 28, 1978.

At their 1968 fall conference which was held at Ruttger’s Lodge in Deerwood the Association established a committee to “look into” establishing a National Association of Veterans Service Officers. 21-years would pass before CVSOs from eight states (CA, CO, IA, IN, MN, NE, SD, and WI) met at the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. These CVSO's discussed the need to form a “National Association.” Harold Novotny, CVSO from Sherburne County was appointed Treasure of this new fledgling association that eventually became the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers. Through their efforts the 1st Annual NACVSO Training Conference and Business Meeting was held on June 26- 28, 1991, in Springfield, Ohio.

1948 MACVSO Conference, Lowry Hotel, St. Paul, Minn (photo below)

This is the earliest photo [found] of our Association. Identified individuals include William Reiver, front row far left. Mr. Reiver was the first Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. Front row, 6th from left is Elmo Swanbeck, a combat-wounded US Marine who fought during World War I. Elmo was the first CVSO of Brown County and was President of MACVSO 1953-1954.

Past MACVSO Presidents — *denotes deceased
Year Name County Branch of Service
2018-21 Greg Peterson Brown US Air Force
2017-18 Robby Robinson Goodhue US Navy
2016-17 Jason Marquardt Fillmore US Army
2015-16 Lisa Klenk Sibley US Army
2014-15 David Anderson Wadena US Navy
2013-14 Neil Doyle Olmstead US Army
2012-13 Duane Brownie Carlton
2011-12 Todd Kubinski Scott US Army
2010-11 Pete Berscheit Todd US Army
2009-10 Jim Golgart LeSueur US Army
2008-09 Brad Lindsay Olmsted US Army
2007-08 Rick Rone Lake of the Woods US Army
2006-07 Steve Stone Pennington US Army
2005-06 Theresa Anderson Norman US Army
2004-05 Robert Gross Houston US Army
2003-04 Jeff Johnson Jackson US Army
2002-03 Tim Burton* Olmstead US Navy
2001-02 Dick Mollers* Pope US Marine Corps
2000-01 Al Holtan Wabasha US Army
1999-00 Dennis Anderson Chippewa US Navy
1998-99 Wilson Spence III St. Louis US Air Force
1997-98 Jon Rhiger Freeborn US Army
1996-97 Milton Schoen Hennepin US Army
1995-96 Dennis Warling Becker US Air Force
1994-95 Larry Hunt Fillmore US Navy
1993-94 Robert Davis Goodhue US Marine Corps
1992-93 John Reuter Cass US Army
1991-92 Bryan Schultz Faribault US Navy
1990-91 Hank Sadler Nicollet US Air Force
1989-90 Bernard Melter* Goodhue US Marine Corps
1988-89 Duane Krueger Anoka US Navy
1987-88 Genell Reese Wright US Air Force
1986-87 Charles Leon Fisch* Houston US Navy
1985-86 Jerry McGraw* Meeker US Army
1984-85 Roger Bengston* Otter Tail US Air Force
1983-84 Dave Sexe LeSueur US Army
1982-83 Art Knutson* Norman US Army
1981-82 James Enneking* Stearns US Army
1980-81 Leonard Zawacki* Fillmore US Navy
1979-80 Robert Anderson* Crow Wing US Navy
1978-79 Rodney Heckman* Watonwan US Marine Corps
1977-78 Harold Carter* Wabasha US Army Air Force
1976-77 G. Louise Wimmer* Carlton
1975-76 Harold-Jim Wocken* Wright
1974-75 Harlan Evans* Blue Earth US Air Force
1973-74 R.H. Harry McFarlin* Polk US Army
1972-73 Matt Stukel* St. Louis
1971-72 Donald Smith* Anoka
1970-71 Merle Miller* Yellow Medicine US Army
1969-70 Frank Bates* Freeborn US Air Force
1968-69 Henry Zaller St. Louis
1967-68 Udo Viergutz* Redwood/Renville US Army
1966-67 Charlie Stoltenberg* Douglas/Pope
1965-66 Ramond Dalbey* Kanabec
1964-65 John Messer* Faribault
1963-64 Lester Sova* Benton US Army
1962-63 Arthur Larson* St. Louis
1961-62 John Wakefield* Ramsey US Army
1960-61 Lawrence Grussing* Chippewa US Army
1959-60 William Merrill* Cass US Army
1958-59 Odin Krogen* Fillmore US Army
1957-58 Robert O’Brien* Renville
1956-57 Frank Barstow* Crow Wing US Army
1955-56 Wyman Fourre* Ramsey US Army
1954-55 Ethan Allen* Waseca
1953-54 Elmo Swanbeck* Brown US Marine Corps
1952-53 Walter Cairns* Stearns US Army
1951-52 John Dirks* Nobles US Army
1950-51 Ed Loughrea* Itasca US Army
1949-50 Hans Christensen* Pine
1948-49 Don Aberle Rice
1947-48 Frank Marpe* Freeborn US Army Air Corps
1946-47 Marshall Alexander* Cass US Army
1945-46 Don Johnson* St. Louis
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