(Tucson, Arizona) –
“We are deeply saddened by
the loss of our good friend Jesse L. Brown, former Secretary of the
Department of Veterans Affairs,” said VVA National President Thomas H.
Corey. “Jesse was a Life Member of VVA and a dynamic advocate for all
veterans. He will be deeply missed, and his dedication to veterans will
forever serve as an inspiration to others.”
President Bill Clinton
appointed Brown, a decorated Vietnam veteran, as Secretary of Veterans
Affairs (DVA) in 1993. The department, formerly the Veterans Administration,
is the largest healthcare service provider in the United States.
Jesse Brown created the
patient safety register and instituted measures to ensure the quality of
veteran’s health care. He also reorganized and improved the system of fairly
adjudicating veterans claims for service-connected disabled veterans.
Under Brown’s leadership,
the new department convened the first national summit meeting on homeless
veterans, began awarding grants to groups who provide aid to the homeless,
and added homeless programs to VA Medical Centers.
Most importantly, Jesse
Brown instituted the “Putting Veterans First” policy, and began the process
of changing the basic culture of the VA. He reached out to America’s
veterans, tirelessly traveling the country to meet and listen to the
concerns of countless veterans. He was proud to say, “I am Jesse Brown, the
Secretary of the U.S. Department for Veterans Affairs.”
Brown expanded services to
women veterans, including counseling for sexual trauma suffered while in the
military, and ordered sensitivity training for all VA employees as an
element of his “Putting Veterans First” policy.
Brown enlisted in the
United States Marine Corps in 1963 and was wounded in combat in 1965 while
on a patrol near Danang. Prior to his selection as Secretary he was
Executive Director of the Disabled Veterans of America.
“Jesse was a remarkable
leader,” Corey said. “He was a brother, working closely with VVA in our
battle to improve conditions for all veterans of all generations.