Former U.S. senator from Georgia
A former senator from Georgia, Max Cleland began his public service as an officer in the U.S. Army, volunteering for duty in Vietnam in 1967, where he served until he was very seriously wounded in April 1968. After recuperating from his injuries, he was elected to the Georgia State Senate. In 1975, when he was 34 years old, President Carter appointed him administrator of the Veteran's Administration, where he instituted the revolutionary "Vets Center program," which for the first time offered psychological counseling as well as physical care to combat veterans. After serving as Georgia's secretary of state from 1982-1995, Cleland was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996 where he served as chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee, and was a member of the Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee. While in the Senate, he earned enormous respect for his work in such areas as health care and education reform, bio-terrorism preparedness, homeland security, and fiscal responsibility. Cleland is author of “Strong at the Broken Places” and “Going for the Max!: 12 Principles for Living Life to the Fullest.” He holds a B.A. in English from Stetson University and a Masters Degree in American History from Emory University, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from both institutions.