McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. — A retired U.S. Marine Corps major and McConnellsburg resident has been named executive director of AMVETS effective Sept. 1.
Stewart Hickey, 53, will spend two weeks with retiring Executive Director Jim King. His responsibilities include working with the elected national commander, overseeing top administrators, testifying in Congress and increasing awareness of the veterans service organization.
“I was in the Marine Corps for 22 years, and I never heard of AMVETS. If I didn’t know of it, I figure there are a lot of other people who aren’t aware of it,” Hickey said.
The organization advocates for veterans on Capitol Hill, offers scholarships, hosts a call center and website service for job searches, and provides assistance at veterans’ hospitals for things like paperwork, Hickey said. It also has more than 1,300 posts in the country, he said.
Hickey most recently was executive director for the nonprofit Hyndman Health Center in Hyndman, Pa. The Bedford County, Pa., native responded to an ad for the AMVETS position.
“With three sons in the Marine Corps, I have a vested interest in veterans affairs, veterans benefits and seeing they’re taken care of,” Hickey said.
Monroe Hickey, 23, works with Marines recruiting in western Pennsylvania. Pfc. Andrew Hickey, 19, is at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Sgt. Charles Hickey is on his second tour in Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines.
“He just turned 21 in Afghanistan two weeks ago,” his father said.
Stewart Hickey, who served in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield, said he told Charles to stay alert and be wary of the people he encounters. He said he told him to “do your job and get home.”
Hickey enlisted in 1977, graduated from platoon leadership school and Penn State University, and retired from the Marines in 1999.
“When I retired, I thought I was going to farm, hunt and fish. After a couple of months, I was bored out of my mind,” Hickey said, saying he took a job with Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown.
He will be traveling to Lanham, Md., for his position with AMVETS.
“I have a desire to do the best I can for the vets and make sure they’re taken care of because that’s something I think is an obligation of the nation,” Hickey said.