South Boston veterans council elects new leader

Globe Staff/File/Globe Staff

The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which has drawn criticism over the years for its shifting stance on gay groups marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, has new leadership.

Dave Falvey, 34, a major in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, was chosen as commander at a meeting Tuesday. He takes the post in September.

A senior vice commander, junior vice commander, treasurer, and chaplain and three seats on the board of trustees also were chosen.

The news was first reported by Caught in Southie, a local blog.

Falvey, a project manager at Hanscom Air Force Base, said he wants the group to become more active in the community.


“I want to do things with the council that haven’t done before — to be more than just about the parade,” he said. “I don’t think it needs to be a one-day-a-year thing.”

He also wants to reach out to younger veterans. “We have people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan who have all sorts of challenges. I don’t want them to be not sure where to turn.”

The council came under fire in March for its decision to ban a gay veterans’ group that had taken part in 2015 and 2016 from marching. The council later reversed course, and OUTVETS participated.

The Allied War Veterans Council, made up of five South Boston veterans groups, long had fought to exclude gay veterans from the parade, taking its case to the US Supreme Court — and winning a landmark 1995 decision.

Falvey, a member of a local VFW post, said the controversy was a “linchpin” in his decision to get more involved in the council, but had been considering doing so for a while.

“It wasn’t that transparent when meetings were, what was on the agenda, how to get involved,” he said.


Added Falvey: “There wasn’t any controversy [Tuesday]; there wasn’t debate. People seemed to be universally on the same page that it’s time for the next generation to take over here and be successful.”

Ed Flynn of South Boston, a Navy veteran and City Council candidate who is involved with the war veterans council, said Falvey’s election was “an historic step forward.”

“This new leadership team . . . will ensure that the rights of every veteran are respected,” said Flynn.

Sean Smyth can be reached at sean.smyth@globe.com.