Vern is a first-generation Dane. Both his parents are from the old country. He grew up in East Chicago. He joined the Marines at age 17 and served 7 years. He served in 4 of the 5 major battles in Korea during the Korean War. After getting out of the Marines Vern put himself through college eventually earning his doctorate in education and becoming Dr. Vern Bendsen.
He has served as Commodore of the Solano Yacht Club in 2006, the Ben Ali Shrine Yacht Club in 1998 and the PICYA in 2004. He has dedicated his time to supporting the PICYA’s many programs including the PICYA Wheelchair Regatta for 17 years and ‘Make-A-Wish’ fundraisers from 1995 to 2010. He has also been instrumental as chair of the PICYA Bylaws Committee to continue to improve and clarify the PICYA rules and bylaws as well as for the Solano Yacht Club, Delta Marina Yacht Club, Emeryville Yacht Club, IOBG District 19 and IOBG International. In 2006 he was awarded the Douglas Boswell Yachtsman of the Year by the PICYA.
He is also active in the International Order of the Blue Gavel serving as a director (2001 & 2002) and was installed as their International President on 10-23-2010. For his work with Blue Gavel Vern was recognized by the Royal Rotarians in Portland when he was knighted at the Portland Rose Festival becoming Sir Vern Bendsen.