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Dingell, Stevens Pass Legislation to Rename Canton’s VA Clinic After Major General Oliver W. Dillard, the First Black Officer to Graduate from the National War College

Washington, DC– Today, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) passed legislation to rename the newly opened VA community based outpatient clinic in Canton after Major General Oliver W. Dillard, the first black officer to graduate from the National War College. On May 26th, Reps. Stevens and Dingell toured the clinic alongside Major General Dillard’s family. 

“Major General Oliver W. Dillard was a trailblazer who dedicated his life to serving our country,” said Representative Debbie Dingell (MI-12)“It was an honor to join the Dillard family to tour the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Canton, which will bring much needed care for veterans closer to where they live with the goal of serving patients from both Ann Arbor and Detroit’s VA facilities. We were asked by veterans across Southeast Michigan to name the Canton clinic in honor of Major General Dillard, and I’m proud to support Congresswoman Stevens in making this wish a reality. Naming the Canton clinic after Major General Dillard means his story and life will continue to inspire for generations to come.”

 “Major General Dillard was an extraordinary American who exemplified what it means to lead a life of service. There are so many reasons to celebrate Mr. Dillard,  from the glass ceilings he shattered to the way he courageously served our country for 34 years,” said Rep. Stevens (MI-11). “It was an honor to tour what will be named the ‘Major General Oliver W. Dillard VA Clinic’ alongside the family that he did an incredible job of raising, and I am thrilled that soon, Michiganders everywhere will know Major General Oliver W. Dillard’s name and legacy. May this VA Clinic always serve as a proud commemoration of the man who dedicated his life to defending our freedoms, and as a small token of our appreciation for his exemplary service, leadership, and sacrifice for our country.”

“The DAV Department of Michigan believes naming the Canton Outpatient Clinic in honor of Major General Dillard is a fitting tribute to his dedication to duty and selfless sacrifices over a lifetime of service to our country,” said Paul Kaiser, Adjutant, Disabled American Veterans Department of Michigan. “Major General Dillard is not only an inspiration to all of us who have served, but also to generations of future veterans that will answer our nation’s call.”

“Major General Oliver W. Dillard Senior’s 34 years of exemplary service to our Nation cannot be understated, and the renaming of this facility is a small step towards recognizing his incredible service to our Nation,” said Kevin A. Conklin, State Commander, and Derek Blumke, State Adjutant & Quartermaster, Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Michigan. Through the renaming of this facility, our Nation can begin to express its gratitude for all he represented,  for his accomplishments during his service, and in breaking down barriers for African American service members.” 

Oliver W. Dillard’s distinguished career of service began in 1945 when he was first drafted to serve in the European theater during World War II and was selected to serve as company clerk and began to work his way through the ranks. In 1965, Mr. Dillard graduated from the National War College, becoming the first black officer to do so. Throughout Major General Dillard’s distinguished service career, he held various esteemed positions and received nine military awards and two civilian medals, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star. Mr. Dillard retired in 1980 from military service-US Army as a Major General after 34 years of service and resided in Canton, Michigan, where he later passed in 2015.

Rep. Dingell’s and Stevens’ bill is cosponsored by the entire Michigan House delegation, supported by Senators Stabenow and Peters, and is endorsed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Michigan, the Disabled American Veterans Department of Michigan, and the American Legion Department of Michigan.

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