OGDEN -- Terry Schow has dedicated his life to the armed forces.
The Ogden native was recently elected president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, an organization made up of the top veterans affairs officials from each state.
The appointment marks the first time a Utahn has been tabbed for the position; however, it's just another notch in the belt for Schow, who has compiled a long list of veterans leadership positions throughout his life.
Schow has been active in veterans affairs locally and nationally for more than 25 years, serving as the Utah State Commander of the American Legion, commander of the American Legion Post in Ogden and commander of the Disabled American Veterans.
He currently serves as executive director of the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs.
"I was asked if this new position means I'm giving up my current job," Schow joked. "I said, 'No, it just means I have a lot more work to do now.' "
Schow graduated from Ogden High School in 1967, during the height of the Vietnam War. Shortly after high school, he volunteered for a stint in the Army.
"I guess I wasn't terribly smart," he said. "I knew there was this thing called the Vietnam War going on, but I had no idea what I was really getting into."
In 1970, Schow served with the Army's Special Forces in Vietnam, volunteering for that assignment too, after a friend received orders for Vietnam.
"I was in the service and my friend came up for orders to Vietnam," Schow said. "Who knows what all the factors in a decision like that are. There was more to it then just the fact my friend had been called, but it's difficult to describe it. All I know is that I served and I'm proud that I did."
Schow's Army service included stints with the 5th and 10th Special Forces Groups and the 25th Infantry Division.
In his newest position, Schow will represent the NASDVA in meetings with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and will present testimony before the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees.
"I am honored to have been elected president and look forward to pursuing an aggressive agenda on behalf of veterans nationwide," he said.
Schow said as the $20 million veterans nursing home in Ogden is nearing completion, the area still needs a veterans center that provides counseling to all veterans who served in any combat zone.
"We've got a lot of young men and women from Davis and Weber counties who are serving their country," he said. "And for things like post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, they need a place close by where they can get the help they have earned."
Schow said he has taken great joy in working with veterans and plans to continue to do it as long as he's able.
"I'm thankful every day that I'm actually getting a paycheck to help vets," Schow said. "It's something I feel like I need to do. These guys have given their blood for their country and they deserve whatever help we can give them."