A local veterans group is changing their title to honor the memory of one of the chapter’s founding fathers.

The Disabled American Veterans Chapter 125 in Howell, once known as the Reed J. Daparto Chapter 125, has changed its chapter name to the Donald R. Burgett Chapter 125. The DAV recently received approval from the National Headquarters of the Disabled American Veterans confirming the change, which pays tribute to Burgett, one of the founders of the chapter upon his return from WWII.

Burgett passed away just before his 92nd birthday in March of 2017; leaving behind a legacy that encapsulates the man often described as “larger than life”. Burgett, an Army paratrooper, participated in the opening operations of the Normandy Invasion. Burgett was a member of the 101st Airborne, A Company, 1st Battalion, 506th PIR and fought throughout the European theater, including Normandy on D-Day, the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden, and Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. He returned to the United States and lived almost his entire adult life in Howell. He later published four books, once of which was endorsed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and is considered a classic.

The DAV, local veterans, family and friends attended a Livingston County Board of Commissioners meeting last week to announce the chapter’s new name. Burgett’s daughter, Renee Burgett-Powell, told commissioners about her father’s love for the veteran community.She says her father was always so proud of being a paratrooper, adding that he was a paratrooper first and that meant that he was a veteran first. Renee says her father was ahead of his time, knowing there would be a need to keep the chapter alive when it was first founded, and "he did just that."

Don Burgett was interred last June at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly with full Military Honors. (DK)