In memory of the late Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jesse Brown, the Disabled American Veterans has established the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program. Mr. Jesse Brown enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963. Two years later, while on patrol in the DaNang area of Vietnam, Mr. Brown sustained a serious injury due to a gunshot wound while engaged in combat. From that point and over the next 39 years, the lives of millions of veterans changed for the better. Mr. Brown devoted himself to the cause of building better lives for America’s disabled veterans.

Mr. Brown joined the Disabled American Veterans professional staff in 1967 as a National Service Officer in Chicago, Il. He moved to Washington, DC in 1973 to supervise the DAV’s National Service Office. In 1976, he was promoted to Supervisor of the DAV National Appeals Office at the Board of Veterans Appeals. In 1981, Jesse was appointed to join the National Service and Legislative Headquarters staff as the Chief of Claims.

In 1983, he was named Deputy National Service Director and later served as Executive Assistant to the National Adjutant. Ultimately, Mr. Brown served the DAV as Executive Director of the National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, DC.

In January 1993, Mr. Brown was appointed by President Clinton to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Brown was so committed to the cause of veterans that he earned a new title, he was simply known as the Secretary for Veterans Affairs. In December 1996, President Clinton reappointed Mr. Brown to serve a second four-year term. Mr. Brown resigned as Secretary of Veterans Affairs in July 1997 and began his personal battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jesse died in August 2002.

The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program encourages young volunteers to play active roles in the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service (VAVS) programs. It recognizes outstanding young volunteers who give of their time by awarding annual scholarships that may be used to continue their education. The Disabled American Veterans has awarded 123 scholarships worth $450,066 since the inception of the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program in 2000.

  • Scholarships can be awarded to any volunteer who is age 21 or younger and has volunteered for a minimum of 100 hours at a VA medical center during the previous calendar year. All volunteer hours must be credited to the Disabled American Veterans.
  • Volunteer hours accumulated under the DAV’s Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP) are also eligible for consideration.
  • Scholarships can be used at any accredited institution of higher learning; to include universities, colleges, community colleges, vocational schools, etc.
  • Scholarships must be utilized in full prior to the recipient attaining the age of 25, or within 6 years of receiving the scholarship, whichever is later.
  • Immediate family members of the DAV national organization are eligible to receive a scholarship.
  • Nominations for this award may be submitted by the Voluntary Service Program Manager at the VA medical center, DAV Department Commander, or the student may complete a self-nomination form which is available on-line. If you are submitting your own nomination, please include an essay discussing “What volunteering at a VA medical center means to you.” (Essay should be 750 words or less).
  • All nomination packets should include a nomination form, essay, and any supporting documentation which you would like to have considered by the Selection Committee.