It’s a great honor to be selected as MEA’s next President. I am excited to lead this organization in its endeavor to bridge the gap between military and civilian cultures through creative expression and hope to help continue the phenomenal work of the MEA team I am deeply grateful for the opportunity presented to me, and I look forward to dedicating myself to the organization, the veteran community we serve, and the society we strive to educate.
-David Pierce Ervin, MEA President Elect
Military Experience & the Arts-which began informally in 2011, in college classrooms where student veterans engaged in creative expression as a means of exploring who they’d been in uniform so that they could articulate where they were going as civilians-has helped hundreds of veteran authors, artists, poets, and scholars as both a publishing venue and a collaborative writing community. It is only fitting, then, that the next President of our organization began as an MEA workshop participant.
After taking applications from throughout veterans’ creative communities, the MEA Executive Board unanimously elected David Pierce Ervin (above right) as its next President and Editor-in-Chief on October 10, 2014. Ervin is a former Sergeant in the US Army infantry and an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, graduating from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in history in 2009.
Ervin, who will fully take charge of the organization at the 2015 MEA Symposium in Lawton, OK, first got involved with MEA as a participant in the online writing workshop which resulted in the publication of Blue Nostalgia: A Journal of Post-Traumatic Growth in 2013. Since then, he has served as a reader, personally helping dozens of authors craft their prose, and more recently as the Associate Editor of Fiction for MEA’s newest and upcoming publication, As You Were.
In 2013, Ervin published a memoir about his service, Leaving the Wire: An Infantryman’s Iraq. And MEA did a spotlight interview about the work in October of the same year. In the interview, the MEA President Elect said he decided to write about his experiences during Thanksgiving celebrations with his family,
My family was gathered together for Thanksgiving and I was there. But, at the same time, I wasn’t. I went outside for a smoke, and my younger brother followed me out. He asked if I was OK. I just told him it was a bad day, head stuff, and that I would be fine. Then he asked me a really simple question, “Where does it all come from?”
Importantly, Ervin didn’t stop after venturing down what he calls “that rabbit hole” of war-induced trauma and the complexities of reassimilation. After telling his own story, Ervin decided to help other veterans tell theirs, to take what he had learned during his personal journey and share it with others.
In this way, MEA’s President Elect embodies the singularly collaborative approach MEA takes to writing: When finding the right words becomes emotionally and intellectually painstaking, our veterans find strength in each other. Ervin, who seems to have held onto ideas like “no one gets left behind” and “selfless service,” emerged as a leader in our organization by drawing upon the spirit of camaraderie that all veterans share.
Learn more about MEA’s new President by reading his short story “The Looking Glass,” or listen to it narrated courtesy of the Conquer Worry Show, which recently conducted an interview with Ervin entitled “A Soldier’s Struggles and Resilience,” located here.
For now, Ervin will shadow the current MEA President, learning the ropes and developing strategies to take our growing non-profit to new heights.
To ease the transition and to ensure the longevity of our organization, Ervin will transition from the role of Associate Editor of Fiction to the role of President and Editor-in-Chief gradually, taking charge of different facets of the organization at different times:
- October 2014 – MEA’s content submissions platform
- November 2014 – The MEA Website
- December 2014- MEA Social Media Outlets & Communications
- January-March 2015 – Governing by-laws, finances, and physical assets
- April 2015 – Administration of the MEA Executive Board
- May 2015 – Assume full role as President at the MEA Symposium in Lawton, OK
The MEA Executive Board and Staff congratulate Mr. Ervin in his accomplishment, fully support his vision for MEA’s future, and are proud to introduce our newest leader to our contributors and fans.
The MEA Executive Board