Jerry Bratton named State Commander of Disabled American Veterans
Published 8:00 am Friday, May 17, 2019
Lifelong Oxonian and Vietnam veteran Jerry Bratton was recently named Commander of the Department of Mississippi for Disabled American Veterans.
It’s a title that hasn’t been held by a member of the LOU community since 1994, when World War II veteran H.C. Franklin was elected to serve the state. For Bratton, it’s a culmination of 50 years of hard work, supporting veterans like himself who made sacrifices for their country.
“We have 199,411 military members in the state of Mississippi. That’s active, reserves, disabled, retired… I was shocked when I learned that number,” Bratton said. “We are dedicated to a single purpose; empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity.”
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Bratton has been part of DAV leadership in Mississippi for decades, and said he has been hard at work in recent weeks, getting a running start on improving the lives of disabled veterans during his term.
One of the main reasons he wants to raise awareness of the benefits and programs available for veterans, he said, is that no one told him about them when he returned from Vietnam. In his new role, Bratton will oversee 13 DAV chapters across the state, in cities like Ocean Springs, Gulfport, Laurel, Columbus, Meridian and Jackson.
“I’ll be helping with membership (in DAV), getting the word out to local people that we are here to help,” Bratton said. “I work on a lot of resolutions. I just got a bill passed with Jay Hughes this year, and now 100 percent disabled veterans are allowed to get two car tags instead of just one.”
Bratton said none of this would be possible without the help and support of his fellow veterans, especially H.C. Franklin and his son, Hugh.
“It’s ironic, (H.C.’s) son and I ran into each other in Vietnam,” he said. “We were friends then, and have remained friends. HC has helped me a lot over the years, and he’s 95 now.”
Bratton will serve a yearlong term as state commander for DAV, but said he will continue to serve Mississippi’s disabled veterans in some capacity as long as he’s able.