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Our Leadership Team

Michael Valila

Michael Valila

Department Adjutant

Michael  Valila honorably served in the US Army & MA Army National Guard from 2006 – 2015 as a 88M (Motor Transport Operator) & 63B (Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic), serving with the 110th Maintenance Company, and later deploying with the 1166th Combat Het Company 2010-2011 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, and Operation Northern Lights. He also served with the 54th Regimental Honor Guard conducting military funerals across the state of MA from 2008-2010.

Following his deployment to Iraq, Mike came home impassioned to assist his fellow veteran transitioning to civilian life. He created a peer-support group at his local hospital for veterans to connect and work through their common troubles. He also began assisting veterans in submitting disability claims and advocating on their behalf. Mike was scouted through his work with veterans by Past National Commander Alan Bowers and introduced to DAV. Shortly after this Mike started his apprenticeship as a DAV National Service Officer at the JFK Federal Building in Boston, MA.

While working as a NSO, Mike started volunteering his free time at the DAV Veteran Advancement Programs in Gardner, MA. He felt it was his way of giving back because he had previously resided in this transitional housing program, prior to DAV acquiring it. Within a months he started working in a part-time capacity as a Case Manager.

Following the COVID Pandemic, Mike decided to leave the NSO Corps, and began working full-time in Case Management for the Advancement Program. In 2022 Mike was appointed as Department Assistant Adjutant by Commander Richard Connor. Mike dove right in immersing himself in Department and Chapter functions at all levels. He soon began growing the Transportation Network, Reorganizing Chapters, building up DAV Department of MA’s public marketing campaign, and built their social media and website presence.

In September 2023 Mike was appointed to Department Adjutant, following his predecessor stepping down from the position. As Department Adjutant Mike now oversees all aspects of DAV. He oversees all of our fraternal Chapters across the state, fundraising efforts throughout the year, works with state legislators on DAV’s critical policy goals, holds national accreditation and assists veterans veterans and their dependents with claims and benefits, oversees 120+ service officers across the state, manages the VA voluntary service program and transportation network, and all other DAV Department of MA service programs.

Mike is a lifelong resident of Gardner, MA where he resides with his wife of 17 years Kayla, and their 2 daughters, Lillian (15), and Alison (4). Mike is a LifeTime member of DAV Worcester Chapter 4 and Past Chapter Commander. His wife and daughters are his biggest support, and are also active members of DAV Auxiliary Unit 4 Worcester.

Robert Kinsman

Robert Bronson

Department Commander

Bob Bronson is a Vietnam War Veteran, and a Gold Star Brother. He was an Air Force Staff Sergeant and served as an F4 Fighter Jet Mechanic in the 4th, and 3rd Field Maintenance Squadrons from 1968 to 1972. After leaving the Air Force he joined the Disabled American Veterans in 1973 and has been a DAV Life member for the past 50 years. He has held the position of Treasurer for Chapter 30, Fitchburg, since 2015 and is presently Commander of the DAV Department of Massachusetts.

In 1970, while halfway through his enlistment, he married his high School sweetheart, Sue Meunier. Their son, David, was born one year later, just before Bob deployed to Kunsan, South Korea. One year after leaving the Air force, their daughter, Tammy, was born. They both have grown up to be amazing, successful people, and to Bob and Sue’s delight, they have three wonderful grandchildren, Kati, Henry, and Nora.  Bob started working for Digital Equipment Corporation in Services and Repair in 1973. He worked there for 37 years through two mergers with Compaq and Hewlett Packard. He continued in computer services for 8 years, at several other businesses.

Bob comes from a family of service and sacrifice. Both of his grandfathers served in World War 1. His Grandfather, on his father’s side, was wounded in France in the battle of St. Mihiel. A TBI wound that would eventually take his life. His mother, Barbara, was a Navy WWII Veteran, serving in Washington DC. His father, William Sr., was career Army. In WWII, Bob’s father, a member of the 1st infantry, fought in the Battle of the Bulge and remained in Germany after the war as part of the U.S. Occupation Force. Bob’s father was one of the first to be sent to Korea in 1950, right after Bob was born. After passing away in 1996, Bob’s father was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in Washington D.C.  Bob’s brother, Billy, was a Marine Corporal who fought in Vietnam as an M60 Machine Gunner and was mortally wounded during the 68 Tet. Billy passed from the same type of TBI wound that their grandfather had suffered 50 years earlier. In 2004, after more than 15 years of trying, Bob and his family was successful in having Billy’s name added to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC. That was the year the World War 2 Memorial was dedicated, and it gave us the opportunity to be there for it, and for his mother to be honored as one of the Greatest Generation.  Bob’s mother and brother rest side by side at the Massachusetts State Veterans Cemetery in Winchendon.

Andrea Gayle Bennett

Andrea Gayle-Bennett

Dept Sr. Vice Commander

As the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, BG (MA) Andrea Gayle-Bennett knows the importance of hard work and giving back.  Andrea earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from City College of New York’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education in Physician Assistant Studies in 1981, a Master of Education degree from Lesley College in Business Management in 1988 and a Doctor of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Medicine in 2021.

BG (MA) Andrea Gayle-Bennett served over 35 years in the MA Army National Guard.  Her military career includes many notable accomplishments.  In 2012, she became the 1st African American female O-6 in the history of the MA Army National Guard.  She has served in various leadership positions within Medical Command and served as the State Surgeon for Joint Forces Headquarters, again making history in 2014 as the 1st non-physician and the 1st African American to hold that position.  She deployed multiple times in her military career including Paraguay in 2008, Iraqi in 2009, and Kenya in 2016.  In December of 2020 she was selected to the rank of Brigadier General (Massachusetts), again making history as the first female and the first African America woman O-7 in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

She was the recipient of the Deborah Sampson Outstanding Female Veteran of the year award from the Massachusetts Department of Veterans services in 2011.  In June of 2016 she was appointed to the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and later that same year was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Counsel for Veterans Services.  In 2019, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees at North Shore Community College.  On June 5, 2023, she was appointed as the inaugural Deputy Secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans Services of the Commonwealth of MA.  Alongside her distinguished appointment, she is frequently sought after as a guest speaker. On Jan 15, 2024, she was a guest on The 400 Years of African American History Commission’s (400YAAHC) fourth annual Justice Sunday Service Around the Clock (Justice Sunday) tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Additionally on March 24, 2024, she was the keynote speaker for their 2024 Stronger Than Crowning Achievements production celebrating African American women who have made great strides despite the numerous obstacles they have confronted for the last 400+ years.  These engagements showcase her influence on a national scale.

In the civilian sector she worked as a Physician Assistant with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston, MA.  BG (MA) Gayle-Bennett has also been active within her community by serving on various veteran committees in Lynn and Saugus, MA.  Throughout the years she has served on various boards to include the Becket Chimney Corners YMCA, The Pingree School, The Brookwood School and The Veteran Business Owners Initiative.  She currently serves on the Boards of Operation Delta Dog, the Saugus Veterans Council, the Lynn Veterans Council and North Shore Community College. In her role within the Massachusetts Disabled American Veterans (DAV), she serves not only as a line officer at the state level, but also as the adjutant and treasurer of her local DAV Chapter 64. This underscores the importance of the DAV organization in her life and community, showcasing her dedication to supporting and advocating for veterans with disabilities.

In her free time, BG(MA) Gayle-Bennett enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and morning walks.  She currently resides in Lynn, MA with her husband, 92-year-old parents and service dog General Gunner.  She is the proud mother of 4 adult children.

Andrea Gayle Bennett

Dennis Devine

Dept 1st Jr. Vice Commander

Dennis Devine is a U. S. Navy Veteran serving from April 1967 through November 1971.  He served on 3 ships: USS Northampton CCI, USS Puget Sound AD38 (as a plank owner) and a tin can USS Purdy DD734, and was a second-class Boatswain Mate BM2.

Dennis have been married to his wife Cookie for 55 years and we have 4 children (3 sons and 1 daughter).

He’s have been a member of the DAV for 50 years, and currently a member of Silver Star JFK Memorial Chapter 3 Boston.  On the Chapter level Dennis has held the positions of Jr. Vice, Sr. Vice, Commander, and Treasurer.  On the State level he held the positions of Inspector, Treasurer, and Chaplain and currently is the 1st Jr. Vice Commander for the DAV Department of Massachusetts overseeing the Membership Committee.

Many family members of his were also in the military.  His father was a WW2 veteran of the Navy as a Seabee.  Two uncles also served during WW2.  One served in North Africa with the US Army.  The other served with the USMC as a Carlson Raider who island hopped in the Pacific.  Colonel Carlson was instrumental in starting special ops back in WW2.  Dennis also had a brother-in-law who served during the Korean War at the Frozen Chosin Reservoir.  Two of his brothers were veterans, with one serving in the US Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the other was in the USAF and served in Vietnam 1965-66.  Many cousins, nieces and nephews have also served.  One of his cousins just retired as a full bird colonel after serving 33 years in the US Army.

Filing claims for veterans is a big part of the DAV.  People don’t realize how hard veterans must fight for benefits they are entitled to for serving their country.  Less than 5% of the population actually serve our country.  When a veteran calls to tell Dennis their claim has been approved, he says he feels a sense of satisfaction that he helped accomplish that, and that’s what keeps him going!

Dennis Devine

Eugene McGreevy

Dept 2nd Jr. Vice Commander

Eugene McGreevy grew up in Holyoke, Massachusetts, attended Catholic School for twelve years, and graduated from Holyoke High School in 1966. He attended Holyoke Community College for one year.

He joined the United States Army in 1967 and completed basic training at Fort Jackson, SC. He was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, MO for Advanced Individual Training. After completing AIT in November 1967, he was sent to Vietnam. In Vietnam, he was assigned to the 27th Combat Engineers in Xuan Loc Province. The mission of the 27th keeping Highway 1 operational, with its secondary mission of supporting the 11th armored Cav. Six months into the tour, the 27th was transferred to Phu Bei with the same mission, keeping Highway 1 operational and supporting the 101st Airborne. With a year and a half left in his enlistment, he was stationed at Fort Lewis, WA with the Sixth Army Artillery and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. He was honorably discharged in 1970.

After leaving the military, he went to work for one of the largest computer companies in the world at the time, Digital Equipment Corporation. He started working in a stockroom and ended up as business manager, managing three different facilities that produced high-rish products (one facility in Western Massachusetts, one in Eastern Massachusetts, and the third in Colorado Springs, CO).

Digital Equipment Corporation closed in 1992, and he took that opportunity, with a partner, and wrote a business plan to start a contract manufacturing company called NTC. It took a little over a year to complete the planning and securing the financing, opening the company with twelve employees and one contract. Within two years the company grew to 120 employees and $15,000,000 in revenue. In 1995 he was elected regional Entrepreneur of the year.

He resigned from NTC and took a position with another contract manufacturer, called ICDI, with the responsibility of improving technology and increasing revenue. He stayed with ICDI for six years and increased revenue from $400,000 to$7,800,000 a year. He converted the old technology to state of the art contract manufacturing technology. Shortly after that, the company was bought out by a larger company and he retired.

Gene’s first encounter with the DAV was in 2010 when they assisted him in filing for a service-connected disability. He joined DAV in 2011 and has been an active Life-Member since. Gene has held positions as a Chapter Commander, Department Auditor, Board of Directors Representative, (VAVS) VA Voluntary Service Representative for the Northampton VAMC, (SVSR) State Volunteer Service Representative for the Holyoke Soldiers Home, Chapter and Department Service Officer. He is currently the Department’s 2nd Junior Vice Commander, overseeing the Service & Charitable Committee.

During all that he managed to build a pizza restaurant, Aurora’s Pizzeria that has been a mainstay in Chicopee, MA for the last 30 years. Gene resides in Longmeadow, MA with his wife of 30 years. They have 3 children, Edward, Thomas, and Erin; and 3 grandchildren, Nathan, Mia, and Olive.

Eugene McGreevey

Philip Nadeau

Dept 3rd Jr. Vice Commander

Phil Nadeau served in the US Air Force Active Duty from 1985 to 1987 at Ramstein AB Germany with the 608 Aerial Port Squadron, and from 1987 to 1989 at Charleston AFB Charleston S.C. with the 439th Aerial Port Squadron. Phil then went into the US Air Force Reserves from 1989 to 2005 serving at Westover Air Force Base Chicopee, MA with the 42nd Aerial Port Squadron. He deployed for the following:

  • 1990 – June 1991 Desert Shield / Desert Storm – Westover AFB
  • June 2002 – Sept. 2002 Operation Nobel Eagle/ Enduring Freedom/ Iraqi Freedom – Al Udeid Air Base Qutar
  • April 2005 – Sept. 2005 Operation Nobel Eagle/ Enduring Freedom/ Iraqi Freedom – Al Udeid Air Base Qutar

He retired in Oct. 2005 when he returned home from last deployment. Phil was a Part time South Hadley Police officer for 15 years from 2000 – 2015, he was also employed by MASS DOT RMV where he was a Road Test Examiner until he retired in Jan 2022, after 15 years of service.  He also has served on the Board of directors for Pioneer Valley 8 Camping Club and chaired the Springfield RV Camping & Outdoor Show 4 times in his 35 years of membership. Phil has many hobbies including camping, traveling, and playing cards with his best friend and wife, Candace.

Phil became a life member of DAV in 2017 and joined Westover Chapter 11, where he became 2nd Jr. Vice Commander, then was appointed Chapter Adjutant in 2022. He jumped right in and got busy planning several fundraisers, created chapter shirts and hats, became a CSO, and eventually a DSO. He was also one of two veterans who started a veteran’s lunch hour every 3rd Thursday of the month at Westover AFB in Chicopee Ma.

Phil was appointed as the Hospital Service Coordinator (HSC) for the state in 2023, managing the Transportation Network and growing it to new heights. He has been involved with DAV Membership Committee for the past 2 years. Recently Phil transferred to Worcester Chapter 4, where he plans to jump right in with their activities to help the veteran community in the Worcester area. At the 2024 Department Convention Phil was elected Department 3rd Jr. Vice Commander, overseeing the Constitution & Bylaws Committee.

Phil grew up in South Hadley and now resides in Chicopee with his wife of 7 years, Candace. Phil has one son Benjamin Nadeau (20), a stepdaughter Lynda Best (30), son-in-law Ryan (32), and 2 grandchildren.

Phil is very passionate about his work with veterans. He stands by his motto of NO VETERAN LEFT BEHIND He often says,: It’s not about us, it’s about them”

Debra Olsen

Debora Olson

Department Inspector

Debora Olson was Commander of Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts 2019-2021. She is currently serving as the Department Inspector and as a Department Service Officer.

She graduated from Billerica Memorial High School in 1977, where she completed 4 years of the Marine Corps JROTC program. She was the first female Commander and was in the first group of females to complete the 4-year program. She received an alternate nomination to Annapolis the second year they were accepting women. Not chosen to attend the academy, she enlisted into the Marine Corps on the delayed enlisted program in January of 1977, leaving for basic training at Paris Island shortly after graduation. Upon completion of basic Deb was stationed at Marine Corps Logistics Support Base in Albany, Georgia, serving as a procurement specialist. She also served a year at Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan. Where she was assaulted by friendlies under hostile conditions. Upon discharge from the service, Deb joined her then husband, also a Marine, on his next tour of duty as a recruiter in Texas. Deb came home to Mass with her daughter in 1985 where she worked for Dynatech Scientific R&D for 2 years, Kraft Foods for 13 years, and JOHNSON & JOHNSON for 4 years as well as other various companies.

Open Deb’s return home in 1985 she wanted to become involved in a Military organization to give back, but she was turned away. To their loss, there was something bigger and better out there for her. In 1999 a friend asked her to become a member of the DAV. She became an active member of Malden Chapter 85, and this then became her passion. Within a year she held the position of Chapter Adjutant. In 2003 she became the Chapters first female Commander. She has held the position of Adjutant for most of her 25 years with the Chapter. Deb has held and continues to hold various supporting roles within the Department. The position that holds Deb’s passion is the position she has held since 2004, Chapter Service Officer, assisting Veterans, dependents and their survivors completing the necessary forms to receive benefits earned through their service.

Deb currently resides in Everett, is unmarried, and has 2 children, her heart and soul, Crystal and Emma. Crystal has blessed her with 2 grandchildren, her sun and stars, Angel and Austin.


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