Denise Rohan was elected national commander of the 2 million-member American Legion on Aug. 24, 2017, in Reno, Nev., during the 99th national convention of America’s largest veterans organization.
Born in McGregor, Iowa, Denise (Hulbert) Rohan lived in Elkader, Iowa, until leaving for U.S. Army basic training at Fort McClellan, Ala., in 1974. She served on active duty as a stock control and accounting specialist and repair parts specialist course instructor at Fort Lee, Va., until her honorable discharge in August 1976.
Rohan and her husband, Mike, currently live in Verona, Wis., where she has served The American Legion since 1984. Prior to her transfer to Post 385 in Verona, she served as the commander of Post 333 in Sun Prairie, Wis., where she established a Sons of the American Legion squadron and chartered a Boy Scout troop. She has also served as the department commander of Wisconsin.
Rohan and Mike are both 2006 graduates of the National American Legion College and 2015 graduates of the Wisconsin American Legion College-Basic Course, and have gone on to serve as department and national American Legion College facilitators.
Rohan was employed with the University of Wisconsin Madison as the assistant bursar of student loans until her retirement in 2012. She managed the University of Wisconsin Madison, University of Wisconsin Green Bay and University of Wisconsin Colleges $120 million loan portfolio made up of approximately 200 different federal, institutional and state programs in compliance with all laws, regulations and policy. She was responsible for the efficiency and design of the computerized student loan accounts receivable system.
She is a graduate of Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wis., and The Collegiate Management Institute.
Rohan served the Family Readiness Group as a civilian volunteer with the Wisconsin Army National Guard 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and 1-105th Cavalry Squadron. She also served with the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard Airman and Family Readiness Program.
Her theme as national commander is “Family First” and her fundraising project is the Legion’s Temporary Financial Assistance program and the Legion's service officer program. TFA awards cash grants to minor children of veterans who are eligible for American Legion membership. These grants help families in need meet the cost of shelter, food, utilities and health expenses, thereby keeping the child or children in a more stable environment.
Rohan has been married to Mike since 1976, and they have a son, Nicholas, daughter-in-law Angie, and two grandchildren, Sawyer and Isla. Mike is very active with The American Legion on both the state and national levels and is a past department adjutant. Nick and Sawyer are members of Squadron 385, and Isla is a member of Unit 385.