Robert S. Marx was a Cincinnatian and a World War I veteran who was badly wounded in the final battle of that war, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. At a Christmas party in 1919, Marx, then a Cincinnati judge, and a group of other veterans, lamented the fates of the many who had returned from the war blind, deaf, missing limbs, or suffering emotionally with little help from the government they had served.
That sparked the idea to form the Disabled American Veterans of the World War, which held its first national meeting at Cincinnati’s Memorial Hall in 1920.
Marx publicized the new group on a nationwide tour, and the organization, renamed Disabled American Veterans, grew, ultimately supporting veterans of all wars fought by Americans.
DAV has maintained its Greater Cincinnati connections, with its national headquarters in Cold Spring, Ky. Earlier this month, DAV officials announced plans to relocate the headquarters from Cold Spring to Erlanger.
DAV expects to move its roughly 175 employees into the new headquarters, which is under construction on Dolwick Drive, by the summer of 2021.
The new headquarters will cover 67,000 square feet, about half the size of its current location. DAV is evaluating what to do with its existing property in Cold Spring, at the intersection of U.S. 27 and KY 1998.
DAV leadership analyzed maintenance costs and upgrades for the Cold Spring facility, which was built in the ‘60s, Executive Director Barry Jesinoski says, and determined a smaller and more modern headquarters facility was needed.
The new location, next to the Interstate 75 interchange with I-275, will also be more visible to the public, he says. “We hope the location’s visibility will bring greater awareness to our free service and support for America’s injured and ill veterans," Jesinoski says.
Erlanger City Administrator Matthew Kremer is a veteran who served two combat tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserves. "Their mission is extremely important to me, as I've struggled to get much needed VA services in the past,” he says.
DAV maintains a network of about 1,300 local chapters, providing support for veterans and their families, helping them navigate the Veterans Administration system, obtain benefits and connect them to the support they need. Its transition advocates, on military bases across the country, provide face-to-face help for those leaving active duty so they can access benefits and transition to civilian life. DAV also sponsors job fairs and provides transportation to medical appointments.
The organization also lobbies for veterans issues, and maintains a legislative headquarters in Washington, D.C.