Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) elected Danny L. Wheeler of Ithaca, New York as Commander-in-Chief at its 118th National Encampment in Indianapolis, Indiana, August 21, 1999. This Encampment marked the 50th anniversary of the last Encampment held by the Grand Army of the Republic in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1949. Brother Wheeler is the 113th Commander-in-Chief since the beginning of the SUVCW in 1881. He is the 14th Commander-in-Chief from the New York Department.
Commander-in-Chief Wheeler was born in Ithaca, New York, February 10, 1944; where he still lives. The oldest child of Harry and Margaret Wheeler, he has a younger sister who resides in Illinois. His early childhood was spent a lot of with his grandmother who was President of the local chapter of the Womans Relief Corp. It was many years after her passing when he discovered the SUVCW. His mother was also a member of Womans Relief Corp.
Brother Wheeler is a graduate of Ithaca High School (1963), completed studies in Sales at Dale Carnegie, and has attended many sales seminars throughout his career. He is currently a sales consultant for the Ithaca Pennysaver; a position that he has held for the past 15 years.
Commander-in-Chief Wheeler is a life member of the SUVCW. His great great grandfather, Jerome B. Kelley, served as a private in the 45th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Private Kelley was discharged in 1864 due to wounds received in Petersburg, Virginia.
Brother Wheeler joined the SUVCW on January 12, 1984. He organized the Sydney Camp #41 in Ithaca in 1988. He has held many Camp offices including, Camp Commander of Camp #3 three times and Camp Treasurer seven times. On the New York Department level, he has served as Department Commander three times (1991-1994) and Department Counselor four times. Nationally, he has served as Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief, Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief, National Historian, National Patriotic Instructor, and five years on the National Committee on Americanization and Education; two years as its chair.
Brother Wheeler has been a member for 16 years of Company E, 148th New York, Sons of Veterans Reserve (SVR). This 37-year-old unit is the oldest SVR unit in the state.
Brother Wheeler has always felt his greatest contribution was sharing his knowledge on the Civil War and Grand Army of the Republic with local schools and through his lecturing and writing on the subject. In addition, he has organized and restored nine monuments in the Ithaca area and designed and erected a new monument in the city's Dewitt Park. The latter monument was requested by our forefathers in 1888 but never completed. The Mayor of Ithaca has placed him in charge of all military monuments for the city of Ithaca. In 1992, his interest and knowledge of monument restoration resulted in the publication of a book by the Department of New York on the Grand Army of the Republic Monuments for the 125th Anniversary of the Grand Army of Republic in New York. He recently completed work on a World War I monument just before Memorial Day 1999.
Brother Wheeler married Miss Betty Vann in Ithaca, New York. They have three children and six grandchildren. Sister Betty has been very active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Auxiliary and the Auxiliary to the SUVCW in Ithaca; having served as President of VFW Post 961 Auxiliary (twice), Past President of the local Auxiliary to the SUVCW in Ithaca, and current Vice President of New York Department Auxiliary to the SUVCW.
Commander-in-Chief Wheeler is very proud of his family who has backed him from the start. He brags of four generations in one camp; his father, son, grandson, and himself. His oldest granddaughter is a member along with her grandmother in the Auxiliary to the SUVCW.