On Friday July 17, 2009, AVER President James Donovan announced that former AVER president Nancy Russell will resume her place on the AVER Board of Directors as AVER Past President. Miss Russell had been removed as president at a former board hearing in 2004.
According to Chief Donovan, “It gives me great pleasure to announce that LTC Nancy Russell is taking her place on the Board of Directors as Past President. At the request of some members, the case against Nancy was reopened, investigated and discussed in full by the board, and it was determined that her hearing was, in the opinion of the board, flawed. Therefore, it was the unanimous decision of the board to exonerate Nancy of all charges and to welcome her back as Past President.”
Past President Russell will head a committee looking into the possibility of establishing an LGBT Veterans Memorial in Washington DC.
LTC Russell has a long proud history with AVER since 1992 when it was known as GLBVA (the organization changed its name to the more inclusive American Veterans For Equal Rights in 2003 under her leadership). According to a recent article in Gay Military Signal, Nancy Russell became Vice President of GLBVA in 1993. She was elected President, for the first time, in 1994. In May of 1994, Nancy Russell traveled to Washington to give oral testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Veteran Affairs. She was reelected as President in 1995. In 1997 she was elected as Vice President and was honored for her accomplishments – for spending five years building GLBVA, obtaining the 501(c) (3) status for GLBVA with the IRS and testifying on gays in the military and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before Congress. In 2003, in San Antonio, she was again elected President of AVER.
In her military career, LTC Russell was first a member of the Women’s Army Corps, until it’s integration in 1978 when she became a member of the Adjutant General’s Corps. During her twenty year service, she commanded two companies and a battalion. She is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College.
Nancy Russell has been a lifetime LGBT activist, having served as a Democratic party precinct Chair and as a delegate to Democratic Conventions, founding the Stonewall Democratic Club of San Antonio and serving as Vice President of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, as well as serving on the Texas Democratic Executive Committee. She is currently on the advisory committee of the San Antonio LGBT Chamber of Commerce, of which she was a founding member.