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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
2017-18Robby RobinsonGoodhueUS Navy
2016-17Jason MarquardtFillmoreUS Army
2015-16Lisa KlenkSibleyUS Army
2014-15David AndersonWadenaUS Navy
2013-14Neil DoyleOlmsteadUS Army
2012-13Duane BrownieCarlton
2011-12Todd KubinskiScottUS Army
2010-11Pete BerscheitToddUS Army
2009-10Jim GolgartLeSueurUS Army
2008-09Brad LindsayOlmstedUS Army
2007-08Rick RoneLake of the WoodsUS Army
2006-07Steve StonePenningtonUS Army
2005-06Theresa AndersonNormanUS Army
2004-05Robert GrossHoustonUS Army
2003-04Jeff JohnsonJacksonUS Army
2002-03Tim BurtonOlmsteadUS Navy
2001-02Dick MollersPopeUS Marine Corps
2000-01Al HoltanWabashaUS Army
1999-00Dennis AndersonChippewaUS Navy
1998-99Wilson Spence IIISt. LouisUS Air Force
1997-98Jon RhigerFreebornUS Army
1996-97Milton SchoenHennepinUS Army
1995-96Dennis WarlingBeckerUS Air Force
1994-95Larry HuntFillmoreUS Navy
1993-94Robert DavisGoodhueUS Marine Corps
1992-93John ReuterCassUS Army
1991-92Bryan SchultzFaribaultUS Navy
1990-91Hank SadlerNicolletUS Air Force
1989-90Bernard Melter*GoodhueUS Marine Corps
1988-89Duane KruegerAnokaUS Navy
1987-88Genell ReeseWrightUS Air Force
1986-87Charles Leon Fisch*HoustonUS Navy
1985-86Jerry McGraw*MeekerUS Army
1984-85Roger Bengston*Otter TailUS Air Force
1983-84Dave SexeLeSueurUS Army
1982-83Art Knutson*NormanUS Army
1981-82James Enneking*StearnsUS Army
1980-81Leonard Zawacki*FillmoreUS Navy
1979-80Robert Anderson*Crow WingUS Navy
1978-79Rodney Heckman*WatonwanUS Marine Corps
1977-78Harold Carter*WabashaUS Army Air Force
1976-77G. Louise Wimmer*Carlton
1975-76Harold-Jim Wocken*Wright
1974-75Harlan Evans*Blue EarthUS Air Force
1973-74R.H. Harry McFarlin*PolkUS Army
1972-73Matt Stukel*St. Louis
1971-72Donald SmithAnoka
1970-71Merle Miller*Yellow MedicineUS Army
1969-70Frank Bates*FreebornUS Air Force
1968-69Henry ZallerSt. Louis
1967-68Udo Viergutz*Redwood/RenvilleUS Army
1966-67Charlie Stoltenberg*Douglas/Pope
1965-66Ramond Dalbey*Kanabec
1964-65John Messer*Faribault
1963-64Lester Sova*BentonUS Army
1962-63Arthur Larson*St. Louis
1961-62John Wakefield*RamseyUS Army
1960-61Lawrence Grussing*ChippewaUS Army
1959-60William Merrill*CassUS Army
1958-59Odin Krogen*FillmoreUS Army
1957-58Robert O’BrienRenville
1956-57Frank Barstow*Crow WingUS Army
1955-56Wyman Fourre*RamseyUS Army
1954-55Ethan Allen*Waseca
1953-54Elmo Swanbeck*BrownUS Marine Corps
1952-53Walter Cairns*StearnsUS Army
1951-52John Dirks*NoblesUS Army
1950-51Ed Loughrea*ItascaUS Army
1949-50Hans Christensen*Pine
1948-49Don AberleRice
1947-48Frank Marpe*FreebornUS Army Air Corps
1946-47Marshall Alexander*CassUS Army
1945-46Don Johnson*St. Louis
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