OUR STORY

Boot Campaign began when average Americans chose to outwardly express their gratitude for active duty service members, veterans and their families by lacing up one of the most visible signs of military service: combat boots. Our decade-long efforts have only been made possible by patriots from coast to coast who heard our mission, believed in it and took the next step to help us spread it amongst their friends, families and colleagues.

Help us continue our mission to unite Americans to honor and restore the lives of veterans and military families through individualized, life-improving programs. #LaceUpAMERICA

Boot Campaign is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and was selected as one of 26 national veteran and military service nonprofits that meet the 20 stringent standards. We continue a years-long Gold rating from GuideStar and have been named one of the nation’s Great Nonprofits. We’re proud to say that in 2018 our ratio of dollars raised to dollars given back directly to military families was 88 cents on the dollar.

STAFF

Shelly Kirkland


Chief Executive Officer

shelly@bootcampaign.org

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”

The daughter of a veteran Air Force physician, granddaughter of an Army veteran and cousin to a Marine Corps veteran, Shelly has a heart for patriotism and supporting America’s military community. She also has a head for science and the impact of military service on the brain and on veterans’ overall health. In fact, prior to her role as Boot Campaign CEO, Shelly led advocacy, strategic alliances, public relations and branding at The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth. There, she worked side by side with clinicians and researchers who were investigating the effects of novel treatments for brain injury and PTSD.

Before joining the Center for BrainHealth, Shelly worked at advertising and PR giant The Richards Group, and early on, was a producer at the acclaimed crime-solving TV show, America’s Most Wanted where she collaborated with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to bring justice to families and solve missing children cases.

Shelly has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University.

Myra Brandenburg


Vice President of Operations & Retail

myra@bootcampaign.org

After living in third world countries multiple times both as a small child and a young adult, it’s clear the rights we have as Americans are unique and special. It comes to us via the men and women who protect our right to freedom all over the world, both in combat and in enormous humanitarian efforts. Working at Boot Campaign is a honor and privilege, providing me a meaningful way to say thank you to those who protect my freedom to own property and not be property.

For Myra, being part of the Boot Campaign isn’t just a job, it’s personal. The daughter of a military police officer for the Air Force, and the niece to five veteran uncles – four who served in WWII and two of whom were at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked – she’s lived and breathed an appreciation for the military her entire life.

After having spent years at non-profit organizations in top administrative roles, Myra joined the Boot Campaign in 2010… and never left. She’s been critical to the organization’s development since Day 1 – from applying for 501(c)3 status to developing an HR department to strategizing major events. Myra now oversees operations and retail and remains foundational to the organization.

With a liberal arts degree from Arizona State University, Myra has studied and/or speaks several foreign languages including French, Swahili, Spanish and Russian.

Lindsey Lott


Vice President of Partnerships & Communications

lindsey@bootcampaign.org

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston S. Churchill

Originally from the Dallas area, Lindsey joined Boot Campaign in 2019 and is the organization’s Vice President of Partnerships & Communications. For Lindsey, being part of the Boot Campaign team is an opportunity for her to connect to her family roots and give back to the men and women that have sacrificed so much for our country. Lindsey’s great grandfather was a Captain in the United States Army Air Force in World War II and a Purple Heart recipient. While Lindsey didn’t know her great grandfather, she was extremely close to her great grandmother well into her adult life and remembers the many stories she shared.

Giving is powerful, and Lindsey has a true passion for not only giving back to her community personally, but inspiring others to give. For 18 years, Lindsey worked at The Container Store and was responsible for creating and managing their charitable giving program, along with developing cause marketing partnerships and events. In addition, Lindsey previously had the opportunity to assist at the Waco Chamber of Commerce gaining experience in development working on the premier Junior Golf Tournament, Starburst Junior Golf Classic and other fundraising events.

Someone once said that “in moments of desperation, fear and helplessness, each of us can be a rainbow of hope, doing what we can to extend ourselves in kindness and grace to one another.” Lindsey is honored to be just that for Boot Campaign while encouraging other civilians to lace up for the military community.

Lindsey has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Baylor University.

Meg Jones


Program & Partnership Director

jmeg@bootcampaign.org

“In 2012, my husband lost a childhood best friend – a former Marine – to suicide. If through Boot Campaign we are able to save one life, that’s one family who won’t have to hold the title of ‘White Star Family.’ I’m honored to be able to connect the dots for veterans to find the root cause of the issues plaguing them every day and return them to their personal 100%.”

The wife of a Retired Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, and daughter and granddaughter to two military veterans, Meg is no stranger to the role our U.S. service members play and the impact that service can have on their lives. Meg, who serves as Boot Campaign’s Program and Partnership Director, saw firsthand the importance of post-service assistance when her now-husband was severely injured in Afghanistan and they were relocated to Washington D.C. for his lengthy recovery.

With over eight years in the military nonprofit space, Meg laces up as the organization’s “Chief Elf” ensuring military families receive gifts and assistance during the holidays through Boot Campaign’s Santa Boots program, as well as spearheads our grant writing efforts and assists in stewarding corporate partnerships.

Lydia Matula Walker


Community Relations & Brand Manager

lydia@bootcampaign.org

“Both of my grandfathers served during a time when they, and their families that were left behind while they deployed, were on their own without groups to support them. Now, there is Boot Campaign. Serving those who are risking their lives overseas for us to be free in our homeland and their families through Boot Campaign is the least we can do.”  

Lydia is part of a Gold Star family and her patriotic bloodline runs deep. Her paternal grandfather served as a pilot in the Navy and was KIA in Vietnam. Her maternal grandfather served in the Korean War. This rich heritage of sacrificial service allowed Lydia to pursue her passion to give back to those who served with keen knowledge of the difficulties her own family endured coming home from war.

A native Texan, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from Texas State University and has been laced up with Boot Campaign since 2015.

Jenny Wright Howland, PsyD


Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Director of Health & Wellness Program

jenny@bootcampaign.org

“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we will always be free.”  ― Ronald Reagan

Dr. Jenny Howland is a licensed clinical psychologist with a specialty in neuropsychological evaluation and the Director of Boot Campaign’s Health and Wellness program. Prior to joining Boot Campaign, Jenny oversaw the flagship Law Enforcement Mindfulness initiative for the University of Texas at Dallas’ Brain Performance Institute for three years. Jenny also directed implementation and facilitation of a cognitive training program for active duty military, veterans, and first responders, as well as their spouses and caregivers at the UT System entity as well. Jenny has researched the effects of traumatic brain injury to veterans, with a particular emphasis on discovering ways to improve cognitive and emotional functioning in individuals whose injuries are no longer acute. Additionally, Jenny has performed neuropsychological evaluations in private practice and simultaneously at Baylor Scott White Health System, with clinical specialties working with military, geriatric, and visually impaired individuals. As the daughter of a Vietnam veteran Marine and wife of a recently retired Airman, Jenny has directed her passion to serve toward military and first responder populations since 2014.

Jenny graduated from the University of Arkansas and American School of Professional Psychology.

Lindsay Campbell


Program Manager

Lcampbell@bootcampaign.org

Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.” Ronald Reagan

Lindsay serves as Boot Campaign’s Program Manager. She coordinates and ensures individualized care, well-being, and all other resources needed for Boot Campaign candidates. Prior to joining Boot Campaign, Lindsay served five years as Program Manager for the Law Enforcement Resilience Initiative and Military and Family Resilience Initiative at the University of Texas at Dallas. She has expertise in case management, budgetary planning, human resources, data collection and analysis, and research coordination and design. Lindsay is a proud sister of a post 9/11 Army Airborne Infantryman and a granddaughter of a Korean War Navy Veteran and Vietnam War Air Force veteran. Her passion is to ensure our veterans are never left behind.

Lindsay has a B.S. in psychology from Indiana University Bloomington. She also holds a certificate of Neuroscience from the Psychology & Brain Sciences School and certificate of Business from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Andrew Barnett

Andrew Barnett is currently a Partner and the Director of Investor Relations of Governors Lane, a New York based investment firm in which he was one of the founding employees in 2015. Prior to Governors Lane, Andrew was a Vice President in the Goldman, Sachs & Co. Prime Services business where he joined in 2011 as a member of the Capital Introduction team assisting in global institutional investor coverage, and spent the last two years as a member of the sales/relationship management team. 

Prior to Goldman Sachs, Andrew was a Partner and member of the investment committee at Alternative Investment Management, LLC where he spent six years evaluating hedge funds and private equity funds for the multi-family office. He began his career in the Arlington, VA office of Cambridge Associates, LLC.  Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts from Washington & Lee University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. Andrew lives with his wife Tori and their three children in Darien, Connecticut. He is active in the local community, coaching youth athletics and serving as a Council member of Trinity Church.

Ret. U.S. Army Major General Lee Baxter

Major General Leo J. (Lee) Baxter served 31 years in the U.S. Army, and upon retirement in 1999, made his home in Lawton, Oklahoma. He now devotes his energy to civic and community matters, and to Signal Mountain Associates, Inc., which he founded in 1999.  The Oklahoma company provides consulting services in business development and marketing to a wide variety of defense and training management companies across the U.S.

General Baxter’s military career revolved principally around command assignments in Europe and the U.S. He also served in Israel, Egypt and the Sinai desert as a United Nations peacekeeper. His career culminated with command of the Army Personnel Center, where his responsibilities included implementation of U.S. Army Human Resources policy worldwide, and then as commanding general of the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center and School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. As the chief of field artillery, he served as proponent for all field artillery doctrine, tactics, techniques, procedures and equipment.  Additionally, he was responsible for the training of all U.S. Army and Marine field artillery men and women, and soldiers of numerous allied nations.

He serves as a member of the executive committee of the board of trustees of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a nonprofit think tank promoting free enterprise and limited government. He is the past state president of the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) for Oklahoma and is the president emeritus of the U.S. Field Artillery Association, with 79 chapters worldwide.

Baxter is a member of Boot Campaign’s board of directors, and also serves on the national board of directors of the Armed Services YMCA headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia., and the national board of directors of Operation Homefront in San Antonio, Texas; all three nationally regarded nonprofits in support of veterans and their families.

U.S. Army Veteran Mat Best

Mat Best joined the Army at the age of 17 and deployed five times to Iraq and Afghanistan with the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. After leaving military service, Mat deployed to a variety of overseas locations as a contractor during his five years with the CIA. Mat graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts, and began creating satirical videos and building brands like Article 15 Clothing, Leadslingers Spirits, the Drinkin’ Bros Podcast, and Black Rifle Coffee Company. Mat is the Vice President for BRCC. 

Mat Best recently released a book, Thank You For My Service, where he was named the Best Selling Author from New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal.

John Billheimer

John “J.B.” Billheimer, Sr. has more than 34 years of business operating experience, running and managing multiple businesses. His main company, MAS Service, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and provides HVAC, refrigeration and food equipment services throughout California. As the founder and CEO of MAS Service and the mechanical air service corporation JB Mechanical, Inc., Billheimer has decades of experience working with countless service, civic, and community organizations and causes.

Throughout his professional career, Billheimer has held a number of leadership roles in his local community, serving as president of multiple organizations including Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Sheppard’s Gate shelter for women and children in need in Livermore, California., and the Tri-Valley Executive Association serving the Bay Area. He has earned Rotarian of the Year and Tri-Valley Executive of the Year honors.

Throughout the years, Billheimer also has been a long-time supporter of the U.S. military as a civilian volunteer and holds board positions with a number of private companies and organizations, including Boot Campaign and the Lone SurvivorTM Foundation.

Additionally, Billheimer is an instrument-rated commercial pilot, and volunteers his time and airplane with Angel Flight, a nonprofit organization that provides free air transportation for any legitimate, charitable, medically related need.

In his free time, he enjoys extensive travel with his wife Corinne, three children and two grandchildren, and is an avid outdoorsman and antique firearms collector.

 

U.S. Army Veteran Cary Clayborn

Cary Clayborn has served in the investment industry for more than 16 years and is in his seventh year as vice president/client consultant for the money management firm of Manning & Napier Advisors. Based in Dallas, Clayborn is responsible for covering the company’s southwest region of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Prior to joining Manning & Napier, Clayborn served as the CEO for ABT Global, a conglomerate of medical sales companies focused on the most advanced technologies in surgery. Before ABT Global, he served almost 10 years as a principal, financial advisor with Bernstein Global Wealth Management and as a director of institutional investments with AllianceBernstein in Dallas.  Clayborn also spent 10 years in medical sales, working with Johnson & Johnson for its Cordis and Heartport subsidiaries.

A U.S. Army veteran, Clayborn graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor’s degree in biology/chemistry.  He later obtained his master’s in business from Troy University’s European Division, while at the same time serving his five-year military commitment in Mainz, Germany as an air defense officer and General’s aide-de-camp.

A volunteer consultant to Philanthropy World magazine for over 10 years, Clayborn actively serves as a board member and/or advisor to 11 nonprofits, including the board of directors for Boot Campaign.  He also serves on the Center for Brain Health (Foundation and Advisory Board), Empower Heroes (President), Relationships First (Vice Chair), Global Heart Ministries, Terry Glenn 83 Foundation, Dallas All Sports Association, Hunger Busters, Foundation for Responsible Television and TE/GE.

Clayborn lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with his wife Cherryl and daughter Carly.  An avid golfer and charter member of TPC Craig Ranch golf club, Clayborn is also a member of the Cowboys Club, Dallas Roundtable, Success North Dallas, The Network Bar and World Affairs Council.

Cary Clayborn has served in the investment industry for more than 16 years and is in his seventh year as vice president/client consultant for the money management firm of Manning & Napier Advisors. Based in Dallas, Clayborn is responsible for covering the company’s southwest region of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Prior to joining Manning & Napier, Clayborn served as the CEO for ABT Global, a conglomerate of medical sales companies focused on the most advanced technologies in surgery. Before ABT Global, he served almost 10 years as a principal, financial advisor with Bernstein Global Wealth Management and as a director of institutional investments with AllianceBernstein in Dallas. Clayborn also spent 10 years in medical sales, working with Johnson & Johnson for its Cordis and Heartport subsidiaries.

A U.S. Army veteran, Clayborn graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a bachelor’s degree in biology/chemistry. He later obtained his master’s in business from Troy University’s European Division, while at the same time serving his five-year military commitment in Mainz, Germany as an air defense officer and General’s aide-de-camp.

A volunteer consultant to Philanthropy World magazine for over 10 years, Clayborn actively serves as a board member and/or advisor to 11 nonprofits, including the board of directors for Boot Campaign. He also serves on the Center for Brain Health (Foundation and Advisory Board), Empower Heroes (President), Relationships First (Vice Chair), Global Heart Ministries, Terry Glenn 83 Foundation, Dallas All Sports Association, Hunger Busters, Foundation for Responsible Television and TE/GE.

Clayborn lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with his wife Cherryl and daughter Carly. An avid golfer and charter member of TPC Craig Ranch golf club, Clayborn is also a member of the Cowboys Club, Dallas Roundtable, Success North Dallas, The Network Bar and World Affairs Council.

Cheryl Endres

A proud Army spouse of 20 years, Dallas, Texas resident Cheryl Endres has experienced the “complete” Army family lifecycle from being a newlywed with her own career to family readiness group leader and senior spouse advisor, to surviving spouse and now a proud Army aviator mom of daughter 1st Lieutenant Taylor Endres.  Since the September 2012 passing of her husband, decorated U.S. Army Colonel Michael Endres, she has continued to serve our military community and is a recent selection to the Boot Campaign Board of Directors.

Along with her many “volunteer” command team duties and numerous permanent change of station moves, Endres maintained a portable career as the founder and president of Endres & Associates Inc., a marketing and public relations consultancy for clients in Hawaii, Oklahoma, Virginia, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Texas. “Home is where the Army sends us!”

For the past seven years, she has been the military programs advisor for La Quinta Inns & Suites, now a part of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. In her role at Wyndham, Endres provides guidance on “all things military” in human resources, marketing, and community outreach.  She previously consulted with the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas as its military spouse and caregiver liaison.

In addition to her new role with Boot Campaign, Endres is an active member and supporter of such non-profit organizations as Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), Carry The Load, Team Fisher House, and Travis Manion Foundation.

A native of San Francisco, Calif., Endres earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from San Jose State University.

Amy Ewing-Holmstrom

Amy Ewing-Holmstrom is an Army brat who considers Lawton, Oklahoma, her home – although she recently retired to Florida. After her father retired in 1969, she attended grade school, high school and college in Oklahoma. She spent 15 years in radio hosting a radio program on Dallas’ top rated KVIL and a successful morning show in Lawton, Oklahoma. After years of radio and promotions, Amy began a career in business and non-profit management.

Over the years, Amy served as the business manager for several multi-million dollar real estate and consulting firms, and simultaneously moved into the non-profit sector as a military blood program consultant for the Southwest Oklahoma Blood Institute, with responsibility for large scale business development. Then, she worked as a military transition consultant with the State of Oklahoma helping transitioning military members find careers in the private sector. She also served as executive director of a non-profit military organization comprised of 5500 individuals in 100 chapters worldwide. As the director of the U.S. Field Artillery Association, Amy increased membership and interest from young Lieutenants to seasoned Colonels and General Officers, promoting the Association and its member benefits. The business contacts developed through the Association and her years in radio allowed Amy to become closely tied to many groups and organizations in the community and in the state of Oklahoma.

Amy has a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of JayMac, the OU Journalism School Alumni Association. She and her husband live in Davenport, Florida, with their two dogs.

John W. Hughes Jr.

John Hughes is a native Texan born in Ft. Worth and settled in the town of Hico, as an adult. He is an adventurer who loves his country, and wholeheartedly supports the military community, first responders and peace keepers in the communities he touches.

The founder of JW Hughes Excavation which was established in 1999 as a heavy equipment/dirt work operator and has experienced tremendous growth in the past 19 years. A company that prioritizes safety and environmentally friendliness first, JW Hughes Excavation now has core capabilities in the areas of energy related services, oil field services, railroad, farm and ranch, that has established it as one of the most diverse and well-respected excavation companies in Texas. From building tanks, lakes, roads and oilfield pads, to buildings and general contracting, the company’s experience, knowledge and customer service has enabled it to become a trend setter within the industry.

In 2007, he started the JW Hughes Excavation Hico Christmas Fund, providing gifts for 185 children in his hometown of Hico with help and generous support of the local community. Along the journey, Hughes has found opportunities to assist local law enforcement in several communities, including the building and donation of police training facilities in Hico and Jourdanton, Texas.

Prior to founding JW Hughes Excavation, Hughes toured the U.S. from 1993-98 with the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals), building the temporary facilities and sand courts of the pro beach volleyball tour, in addition to the AVP’s subsidiary qualifying tour. He also was responsible for producing the largest amateur volleyball tour from 1992-96.

A long-time supporter of Boot Campaign, Hughes is a member of the Texas military nonprofit’s board of directors and his company has been a proud partner since 2013. A recipient of numerous community awards, Hughes currently resides in Poteet, Texas, with his wife, Pamela, and two sons, Coleman, and Wyatt.

Ret. U.S. Army Colonel Jonathan Jaffin

Ret. U.S. Army Col. Jonathan Jaffin retired from the U.S. Army in 2012 after serving over 30 years as a physician and is in his sixth year as specialist executive with the management consulting firm Deloitte. All told, Dr. Jaffin is an experienced physician executive with over 30 years of clinical and leadership experience in a healthcare system that supports five million beneficiaries and a budget of $9.7 billion, and possesses extensive knowledge and experience in healthcare operations, population health, and medical research for the U.S. Army Medical Command.

In the Army, Dr. Jaffin trained as a general surgeon with subspecialty training in critical care and trauma and practiced his specialty for 20 years during which he served as a critical care fellowship director. He held a number of leadership positions in the Army including tenures as commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System, chief of the Medical Corps Branch, deputy and acting commander of the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and director of Health Policy and Services for the Army Surgeon General.

In his post-military career as a physician consultant, Dr. Jaffin has provided strategic guidance and operational assistance for many clients. His work has focused in four major areas – providing clinical input for the military’s electronic health record, providing executive coaching and leadership training to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and military hospital leaders, providing preoperative consultation and providing clinical documentation training for physicians in both the military and civilian sectors.

A graduate of Princeton University and the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Jaffin presently serves on Boot Campaign board of directors, and is a resident of Dallas, Texas.

Josh Mayfield

Josh Mayfield is a co-founder and Managing Partner of Ivy Hall Capital, LLC, a Dallas based financial services firm focused on providing debt and equity capital to small and medium sized companies.

Prior to Ivy Hall, Mr. Mayfield spent 19+ years with ORIX USA, the North American subsidiary of international finance firm ORIX Corporation (NYSE: IX) where he held a variety of leadership positions focused on providing capital across a number of industries including energy, media, financial services, alternative investments, real estate, and more. 

Mr. Mayfield has served in leadership positions with multiple non-profits, including serving as the President of the ORIX Foundation (2015-2019) where he led a 40-person board. Mr. Mayfield is currently an active board member for On the Road Lending, the Men’s Advocacy Group for New Friends New Life, and Boot Campaign. Mr. Mayfield is also an advisory board member for the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. 

Mr. Mayfield holds a BBA in Finance from Texas Tech University and a MS in Real Estate from the University of Texas at Arlington. He is also a graduate of the Stagen Leadership Academy’s Integral Leadership Program.

U.S. Army Veteran Sara Poquette

Sara served 11 years in the Army National Guard as a broadcast journalist and deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2004 and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2008. She also worked as a federal technician and government contractor in public affairs, reintegration and sexual assault prevention for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. 

Sara’s background consists of military public affairs and service member support, leadership development, and nonprofit community relations and communications management. She managed digital communications at the Center for BrainHealth, part of the University of Texas at Dallas, and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Sara has a servant spirit and is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all individuals through her advocacy efforts, including the passage of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act and the Deborah Sampson Act for women veterans. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

Leigh Ann Ranslem

A born leader with a competitive and collaborative spirit, Leigh Ann holds a master’s degree in education and enjoys connecting with people.

A third-generation Fort Worth, Texas native, she graduated from the University of Texas and now lives in Houston. Before joining Boot Campaign, she put her passion for education and fundraising to work with the Junior League of Houston, as president of the PTA for her daughters school and for a variety of other national charity events. Leigh Ann’s skills in organizing, leading people, raising funds and bringing awareness to causes laid the foundation for her work with the Boot Campaign.

Tish Stropes

Tish Stropes is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Fisher House Foundation. Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment. At Fisher House, Tish is responsible for the Hero Programs which help keep families connected during the healing process. These programs include Hero Miles, which use donated frequent flyer miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members, and Hotels for Heroes, that redeems donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers when a Fisher House is not available. 

Additionally, Tish is responsible for Fisher House’s involvement and sponsorship of the Warrior Games and Invictus Games. These international sporting competitions showcase the resilient spirit of today’s wounded, injured, and ill service members and veterans. Finally, her portfolio includes developing and sustaining long-term partnerships with organizations that support the mission and vision of Fisher House. 

Tish graduated from Florida State University with degrees in Political Science and International Affairs. She went on to earn a Master of Science, and also received her teaching certification. Prior, Washington D.C. employment included working with the White House and the Department of State. As an Air Force spouse, Tish taught at the Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Japan. In addition to Japan, Tish and her family have lived in Australia, California, Florida, Alabama, Minnesota and Virginia. 

Tish, along with her recently retired Air Force husband, two teenage children and chocolate lab now live in Arlington, Virginia. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, and can often be seen rink-side watching her kids play hockey.

Ret. U.S. Army Colonel Chris Talcott

After serving for more than 20 years in Army leadership positions from Lieutenant to Colonel, he turned his focus to education – specifically, military science. Intrigued by military psychology and the desire to create great future leaders, Chris taught at the United States Military Academy at West Point and was a Professor of Military Science at Texas Christian University where he led the area’s ROTC program there, at Baylor and the University of North Texas for several years.

Chris then became Deputy Director for the Brain Performance Institute, an organization adept at working with and treating military veterans – among other things – once they return from service. There, he was responsible for the organization’s strategic planning and operations of the $34 million facility. He then led Operations and Program Development as the Chief Operating Officer of Boot Campaign before joining Partsmaster, a global leader in industrial and commercial maintenance products and services, and is currently Vice-President for Operations.

Born into a military family, Chris’ passion is truly servant leadership – yet another reason he is a perfect fit for the board Boot Campaign.

James Webb

James’ father was a Marine Sergeant, his uncle was Army Air Corps and other family members include three Army and four Navy service members. Upon meeting his son-in-law (who was active duty Navy at the time), James learned of the issues returning service members face. That’s what led him and his wife Dobby to Boot Campaign. For many years, James and Dobby have been best known as Mr. and Mrs. Clause and have particularly enjoyed supporting Boot Campaign’s holiday program, Santa Boots.

James has served in the building industry for more than 45 years working with two different fortune 500 companies and has been Vice President of National Door Industries for the last 14 years.  He has been responsible for leading the sales and marketing team for O.E.M., Distributor and Dealer distribution sales in the U.S. and abroad.

James and his wife, Dobby, live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and have been blessed with two daughters, one son and six grandsons. James is an avid car enthusiast and enjoys sports and hunting.

VETERAN AMBASSADORS

SFC Cassandra Cantin, U.S. Army Retired

Texas native Cassandra “Cassie” Cantin has a big heart and personality to match. The only girl of four children growing up, Cassie learned to hold her own from a young age. She served 24 years in the Army as a medic and then as an LPN, including a combat tour in Iraq. As an adult, Cassie is once again surrounded by boys – she and her husband Carl are parents to one son, C.J., and the trio now lives in Texas. These days, she spends time traveling around the world, cooking for her friends and family, participating in 5K charity events, and sponsors a college freshman in her community by providing meals and mentorship. Cassie admits, though, that her greatest inspiration and happiness are found right at home with her two favorite guys.

Spec. (Ret.) Ricky Raley

Boot Campaign Veteran Ambassador Ricky Raley, former infantryman in the Indiana Army National Guard, served in the Guard’s Alpha Company, Task Force 1-151 – better known as the Avengers – as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. During one combat tour, the Avengers conducted more than 200 combat missions and covered more than 250,000 miles in convoy escorts. On one mission, Ricky’s truck was leading the way when the mine roller tripped an IED (improvised explosive device). Ricky, along with two others in the truck at the time of the explosion, sustained mild traumatic brain injuries and were awarded Purple Hearts. In 2009, six months and 17 days after returning from Iraq, Ricky was involved in a near-fatal truck accident leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Approximately 10 years after the accident, Ricky applied for Boot Campaign’s health and wellness program and kick-started his journey to improved mental and physical capability.

In addition to his involvement with Boot Campaign, Ricky has become an avid handcyclist and advocate for adaptive sports, serving as a spokesperson for Top End® Wheelchair (a division of Invacare® Corp). He works with the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) to advocate on quality of care issues that affect the veterans in VA facilities across the nation. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky-Indiana Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America and is KIPVA’s Sports Director.

MSG Tim Travis, U.S. Army Retired

Both of Tim’s grandfathers served in the military as did his father. Growing up around the military, it was only natural for Tim to enlist during his senior year of high school. Tim went through basic training in 1983 and retired from the Texas National Guard in 2015 after 6 deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. When not deployed, Tim serves as a Police Officer in Texas. Tim is a graduate of Boot Campaign’s program and believes strongly in the mission and knows firsthand of the success. Tim lives in Central Texas with his wife and spends his free time supporting Boot Campaign and working on the ranch they will retire to.

MSgt Jason Howland, U.S. Air Force Retired

Jason joined the United States Air Force as a Civil Engineer and deployed in support of Operations’ Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, and Freedom’s Sentinel. After twenty years of military service, he retired to Dallas, Texas with his wife and beloved Bulldog.

Jason graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Masters Degree in Human Relations and plans to  reenroll in school to obtain his PhD in Organizational Leadership.

In addition to his primary role as a Boot Campaign Veteran Ambassador, he holds the concept of Boot Campaign’s Health and Wellness Program in the highest regard and works diligently to ensure other veterans have access to the resources they need for establishing and fulfilling purpose after service.

SGT Omar Avila, U.S. Army

SGT Omar Avila has led a life of service dedicated to his country and his fellow veterans.

Avila joined the U.S. Army in 2004 as an Infantryman, deploying to Iraq in 2007.  On May 14, 2007, his vehicle was struck with a 200 lb IED, resulting in burns to 75% of his body and amputation below the knee of his right leg.

Upon retiring from the U.S. Army in 2010, Avila never allowed his injuries to slow his success. Powering through his injuries, he became the current world record holder for the World Association of Bench and Deadlift in the Paralympics category.  He also started his own consulting firm, 5 Toes, and dedicated his life to serving his fellow veterans.

Avila now serves as a Veteran Ambassador for Boot Campaign, helping other wounded warriors through their recovery process as well.  He continues to motivate wounded veterans and seeks to educate the public about veteran issues through numerous public speaking events and is a sought after motivational speaker.

A lifelong avid hunter, Omar also spreads his passion for the outdoors by assisting wounded veterans.

Avila was raised in Brownsville, TX and currently lives in Wimberley, TX.

Senior Chief Torrie Rogers, U.S. Navy Retired

U.S. Navy Senior Chief (Ret.) Torrie Rogers completed a decorated 22-year-long career in the military in 2017 before transitioning into a leader and a catalyst for financial change at Northwestern Mutual.  

Torrie joined the military with a personal purpose to pay it forward for others and serve something bigger than herself.  She enlisted in 1995 and made her mark on the medical field of the military community as a Navy Corpsman. She continued her tour of duty in various locations around the world, including a six-year stint at Naval Special Warfare Development Group. Torrie deployed more than 10 times alongside troops overseas, aboard aircraft carriers and in combat zones, including a tour in Iraq and four tours to Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

In her short post-military tenure thus far with Northwestern Mutual, Torrie has earned numerous accolades including Pacesetter 40, Pacesetter 60, Million Dollar Round Table Qualifying Member, Southern Region New Financial Representative Bronze Category, Southern Region Top 10 Women Leader,  Rookie of the Year Award, New Client Award, Southern Region Top 50 Lives Award, and Life Impact Award. Giving back to the veteran community also is a priority to Torrie as she is an active member of VFW Post 2137 and the Boot Campaign board of directors.

A Louisiana native, Torrie received her bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration from Southern Illinois University and her Master’s in Public Health from Trident University.  A motorcycle enthusiast, she resides in the Fort Worth, Texas area with her husband, Senior Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Jeffery Ulfig, a 26-year Navy veteran and Chocolate Labrador, Thor.

Larry Hinkle

After playing two years of junior college baseball, Larry knew that he wanted to serve his country in the United States Marine Corps. He enlisted and received orders to Camp Pendleton, CA where he was attached to 3rd AABN (3rd Amphibian Assault Battalion.) While in the Marine Corps, Larry deployed three times. On his first deployment, he was assigned to a security detail for the U.S.S. Cole hours after it was bombed in the Gulf of Aiden, near Yemen. On his second deployment he was part of the Amphibious Ready Group that provided an immediate presence for “Operation Anaconda”. His final deployment — the one that would impact the rest of his life — was to Iraq in 2003, for the initial invasion.

Since 2015, Larry has teamed up with various nonprofits and walked over 5,200 miles throughout this country, getting face to face with our veterans and first responders in VA hospitals/ outpatient clinics, Veteran State Nursing Homes, fire/ police/ sheriff departments and Salvation Army locations. This also afforded him the ability to feed over 2,600 heroes for #feedemfriday and pass out over 600 gift cards along his travels. In the summer of 2018 Hinkle teamed up with two vets from the US and three vets from the UK on the Walk Of America, which focused on veteran mental health. Larry continues to serve his brothers and sisters as an ambassador of the Boot Campaign.

Kelsey Smith

“Having experienced first hand serving our great Nation and transitioning from service and the difficulties that are involved during those times, I fully embraced Boot Campaign’s mission the first time I heard it. Being able to contribute to the mission with this great team and help my fellow brothers and sisters in arms is an incredibly rewarding career.”

Just eight months after enlisting in the Marine Corps, Kelsey was deployed to Iraq as an Infantry Rifleman. On his second deployment to Ramadi, Iraq in 2005, Kelsey was awarded the Purple Heart. Twice more Kelsey served overseas in Iraq, totaling 28 months in country. Following his overseas service, Kelsey was as a combat instructor for newly commissioned officers and warrant officers at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Over the course of his career, Kelsey was awarded two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal and the Combat Action ribbon. He retired from active duty in 2013. He received a degree in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior from the University of North Texas.

Captain Joni Marquez, U.S. Air Force Retired

U.S. Air Force Captain (Ret.) Joni Marquez is an award-winning U.S. Air Force Captain who recently medically retired after serving 14 years of combined military service as an enlisted member in the Air Mobility Command Grand Forks Air Force Base (AFB), ND, and as an officer in the Special Operations Command at Cannon AFB, NM, and Hurlburt Field, FL.

After enlisting in the Air Force in 1998 as a Security Forces member, Marquez joined its anti-terrorism team called the Phoenix Ravens, and provided security for USAF aircraft and personnel while deployed to austere locations all over the world.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on American soil, Marquez decided she wanted to have a greater reach on the global war on terror, and left the military to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social welfare at UC Berkeley.

In 2008, she was commissioned into the USAF and became a Fire Control Officer on the AC-130H gunship where she provided Close Air Support for ground forces in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During her first of two deployments, she was on a mission that would forever change her life—the downing of Extortion 17 (EN 17), a mission where the U.S. military lost 31 American heroes. The downing of EN 17 was the single most catastrophic loss of American lives in one night during the war, and the trauma from that night led to the slow decline of the talented Captain’s military flying career.

Almost four years later, Marquez was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and decided that once she got out of the military she would use her experiences to help educate and create awareness surrounding the American warfighter.

Marquez left the military as a decorated veteran and as an expert in military intelligence, security, foreign affairs, unconventional warfare, anti-terrorism and counterterrorism. She continues her fight for freedom stateside, and advocates for the warriors that have both the seen and the unseen wounds from war, including contributions to Boot Campaign as a Veteran Ambassador.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley, the Bradley, Calif., native also earned a master’s in business from Trident University International, and is currently enrolled at the University of Southern California in pursuit of a master’s degree in military social work.

Danielle ‘Dani’ Vaughn

Danielle Vaughn is a SSGT in the US Air Force Reserves. Danielle joined in 2007 and served on active duty status. Upon completion of her time she joined the reserves. Her goal was to protect and heal her fellow military service members. Danielle serves on an Air Crew Life Support Unit, and her job is basically to maintain and train aircrew members on safety and survival equipment and skills. She plans to stay in the military until she is told she is too old to serve. As far as civilian life, she teaches fourth grade English, Language Arts and Social Studies. She has a passion for children and helping grow their knowledge of the world around them. She strives to incorporate patriotism into her classroom on a daily basis, whether through mentor texts, history lessons, class discussions, or simply modeling patriotic behavior like taking pride in standing for and singing the National Anthem. Danielle is the mom to her beautiful daughter Maddie. Danielle serves as a Veteran Ambassador for Boot Campaign and helps to encourage the Patriot League program in all she does. Danielle gives back not only to the children she teaches on a daily basis, but to her fellow veterans once a month at a minimum. Danielle proves nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

Aaron Hale

SSG. Aaron Hale (Ret.) is a 14-year veteran of both the Navy and Army and currently lives in Florida with his love McKayla. Aaron deployed once to Iraq, and it was on his second mission to Afghanistan in December 2011 where his career as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Team Leader ended. An Improvised Explosive Device (IED), something that has claimed many lives during the war, exploded in front of Aaron, severely wounding him and taking his eyesight completely.

Aaron never accepted defeat and is always looking for new challenges. While he awaited military retirement, he began teaching at the EOD School, continued his education in finance, started running marathons, kayaking and climbing mountains.

In August 2015, Aaron came down with a sudden case of bacterial meningitis which took his hearing entirely and put vertigo in its place. That still hasn’t stopped him. Aaron received two cochlear implants, which allow some hearing. He continues to travel the country advocating for veterans and started a fudge business called Extra Ordinary Delights (EOD). Aaron is looking forward to many more years of pushing the boundaries on what people think is possible and McKayla is excited to be right there to cheer him on.

Michael Hardgrove

Sergeant First Class Michael D. Hardgrove Jr. is a US Army Pathfinder Instructor at the Army National Guard’s Warrior Training Center at Fort Benning, GA.

A native of Woodstock, Va., SFC Hardgrove enlisted in the Virginia Army National Guard in 1999 as an infantryman. He has held leadership positions from Team Leader through Platoon Sergeant and since 2012, he has been active duty for the Army National Guard in the Title 10 AGR (Active Guard/Reserve) Program.

Since 2012, SFC Hardgrove has held assignments as an Operations Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in Headquarters, Army National Guard G1 and as a Protocol NCO for the Chief, National Guard Bureau.

During his career, SFC Hardgrove has served several tours of duty overseas, including his assignments with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (Sept. 2004-July 2005) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (March 2007-Feb. 2008, and March-Aug. 2010).

To date, SFC Hardgrove has received 21 awards and decorations during his 19-year career and holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Liberty University in Strategic Intelligence.

He has been a Veteran Ambassador with Boot Campaign since 2014 and volunteers for Boot Campaign when he can around his active duty schedule.

Billy Ray Yates

With two grandfathers serving in World War II in the U.S Marines, and his father retiring from a career in the U.S. Army after three tours in Vietnam, it is not all that surprising that Billy Ray Yates of Flatwoods, Ky., would have an interest in a military career.

So Billy Ray continued his family’s military legacy, serving 23 years and retiring in 2005. As a black hat platoon sergeant and pathfinder instructor, he helped conduct the basic paratrooper (military parachutist) training for the United States armed forces, including troops of both genders from all branches of the U.S. Department of Defense, Reserve Officer Training Corps, and allied military personnel.

As a paratrooper himself, Billy Ray earned his Airborne Wings followed by a Senior Parachutist Badge with 30 jumps and his Master Parachutist Badge with 65 jumps. All told, he finished his career with more than 100 successful static line parachute jumps on his resume.

Nowadays, he finds himself working as a manager for the oldest sporting goods store in Anchorage, Alaska, while finding time to travel and enjoy his 34-foot ocean boat along with some serious hunting and fishing.

Jason Borne

Jason Borne grew up in a small Texas town and, after his military career ended, came right back to the Lone Star State. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2003, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2004-2005, and served in the reserves until 2009. Jason attended the police academy in 2007, continuing his career in public service and building a health and wellness business on the side. It was then that he met Boot Campaign, forming an instant connection and participating in local events, photo shoots, and Pushups for Charity. Jason lives in Central Texas with his wife and three kids.

Sarah Lucas

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Sarah Lucas served 18 months in the Army Reserves and 16 years of active duty as a combat medic, hospital medic, instructor and flight medic on a UH-60A Blackhawk helicopter, and continues to aid her military brethren as the spouse of an active duty U.S. Marine and Boot Campaign Hero Ambassador.

After attending the University of Arizona in her hometown of Tucson, she enlisted as a combat medic and was first stationed on active duty in Korea, in 1993.

Before reaching active duty status, she was part of a US Army Reserve Center in Tucson for one year and then moved for six more months to a reserve unit in Milwaukee, Wis., before receiving orders for Active Duty at the Troop Medical Clinic in Yongsan, Korea. After a year overseas, she was reassigned in 1994 to Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute in Ft. Sam Houston, Texas, where she served three years as an instructor for the Combat Casualty Care Course (C-4) and Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support course (PHTLS) .

In 1997, she was stationed in Landstuhl, Germany, where she was a flight medic with 236Th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) until 2000. From there, she was transferred back to the U.S. to serve as a medical treatment sergeant for two years at the 64th Forward Support Battalion’s Aid Station at Fort Carson, Colo. From 2002-2005, she was a Non-Commissioned Officer in Command (NCOIC) of the Medical Team under theHeadquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigadeat Fort Lee, Va.

In 2005, she deployed as part of Operation Iragi Freedom to Eskan Village, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she was the NCOIC of the medical training team for forwarding deploying units for four months. She then was deployed to Camp As Sayliyah in Doha, Qatar for 6 months. As part of a 10-person Joint Force Protection Assessment Team, she traveled to Oman, Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia on assignment.

SSG Lucas came back to America in 2006 and was stationed at the 6th Ranger Training Battalion’s Troop Medical Clinic on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where the Staff Sergeant finished her active duty before medically retiring in 2009. Her distinguished career in the Army netted two Joint Service Commendation medals, two Army Commendation medal, two Army Achievement medals and five Good Conduct medals.

Lucas currently resides in Chesapeake, Va., with her husband, Steve, a Lieutenant Colonel and EOD Officer in the U.S. Marines, who has been active for 28 years. He is stationed at Naval Support Activity-Norfolk as part of the Marine Forces Command (MARFORCOM).

In 2013, while deployed, her husband sustained a non-combat related injury and Lucas spent approximately 27 days by his side during his recovery at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington D.C. Her experience of being on both sides of the health care system propelled her to dedicate her time and effort in becoming an advocate for veterans and their families with Boot Campaign.

The Lucas’ have four children, Kyle, on active duty in the Coast Guard and three children in college, Micah, Bryanna and Quentin.

She works as an EFMP Liaison on JEB Little Creek/Ft. Story and enjoys volunteering, playing softball, riding motorcycles, woodworking, hunting, fishing and geocaching.

Chris Auger

LCDR Chris Auger (Ret) is a former active duty Navy SEAL with more than 27 years of service and leadership to his country. A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Chris is a legacy SEAL whose father and younger brother were also career Navy SEALs. He enlisted in the Navy in 1987 and graduated BUD/S class 155 in December 1989. After several short trips to Iraq in 2005 and 2007, he deployed for eight and a half months in 2008 to the Southern Islands of the Philippines working by, through, and with the Philippine Special Operations to counter terrorism. In July 2011 he deployed in support of Special Operations Command Central Command Pakistan Forward to train Pakistan Maritime Special Operations in support of counter Narco-Terrorism operations along the Makran Coast. His time in Naval Special Warfare took its toll on his neck and back, which prompted retirement in 2015 after several major surgeries.

Upon retiring, Chris, his wife of 24 years, his 22-year-old daughter Alexis, and his swim buddy Winston (their Jack Russell/Pug) moved cross-country to Virginia Beach after 14 years in San Diego. He is currently an adjunct professor at Wave Leadership College and a second year Doctoral student at Regent University School of Business Leadership. His desire to serve has led him to become a major contributor of time and effort in support of the Boot Campaign mission.

Marcus Burleson

He’s the guy who knows what it’s like: what it’s like to serve his country, what it’s like to make sacrifices, what it’s like to come home with injuries, what it’s like to qualify and receive the Purple Heart and what it’s like to start over after retiring from military service earlier than planned. In all this the twinkle in his eye and sly grin is ready to go whenever a moment of humor is needed. A Texas man, Staff Sergeant Marcus Burleson joined the marines after completing two years of college. His career includes a deployment to Papua New Guinea, one of 150 countries in which the U.S. maintains a presence. In one assignment, Mark worked a support mission for the Secret Service, protecting the President while vacationing, and then in Afghanistan as team leader with 2nd Platoon where he met up with an IED. In the end, Mark won the battle with that IED, but the wrestling match ended with him on the injured list and an ambulance ride to end all ambulance rides from Afghanistan to Walter Reed Hospital where he spent the next two years recovering from his injuries. Mark found the Boot Campaign through Scott O’Neal (Boot Campaign Ambassador), who connected him almost from the moment he was injured. In fact, the Military Recovery Fund was named in his honor and his work to develop its infrastructure.

Jake McCormack

SSgt (USMC) Jake McCormack enlisted into the delayed entry program of the United States Marine Corps in 2002 and shipped to MCRD San Diego in 2003. In April, 2005, he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with Regimental Combat Team 5, Team Gator. In 2006, he re-deployed back to Camp Fallujah in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon return to the states, Jake served as an instructor at the Assault Amphibian School and graduated Resident PME, where he was selected for Meritorious Staff Sergeant on the Non-SDA Meritorious board. He is currently serving as the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Recruiting Sub Station, Sherman, Texas. Over the course of his career, Jake has received the Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal with two gold stars and Combat distinguishing device, a Combat Action ribbon and a Good Conduct medal with two bronze stars. In addition to volunteering with the Boot Campaign, Jake loves being outdoors and fishing with his wife and son.

Sergeant Zachary E. Bell, U.S. Marine Corps

Sergeant Zachary E. Bell, served four years in the United States Marine Corps as an infantry rifleman, the primary infantry position, with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment based in Camp Lejeune, N.C. from 2007-2011, and joined Boot Campaign as a Hero Ambassador in 2015.

A native of west Tenn., Sgt. Bell deployed twice to Helmand Province, Afghanistan during his military career, including assignments in Garmsir, from March to July 2008, and Marja, from December 2009 to July 2010, as this part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He planned, coordinated and executed over 400 counter-insurgency operations within the area of operations over the course of his two seven-month deployments in Afghanistan. He also planned, organized and supervised preparation and execution of unit movement and operations with Afghan military, NATO multinational military forces, DOD and other commercial agencies.

Bell received a battlefield promotion to corporal for meritorious service and held the billet of infantry squad leader. After he departed active duty in Feb. 2011 he received the rank of sergeant.

After leaving the military, Zachary began pursuing a college degree and in the fall of 2014 earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn. In May 2016 Zachary completed his master’s in business administration at Lipscomb University, and he now works in healthcare in Nashville, TN.

Seeking creative outlets for his military experiences, he has contributed articles to both The New York Times, for its “At War: Notes from the Front Lines” blog, and the Huffington Post.

Zachary currently lives in Nashville where he engages the local community to foster awareness about military / veteran issues and the services offered by the Boot Campaign. Zachary’s free time is spent with his wife, Christy, and their two children, Alyssa and Audrey. Connect with him on Twitter & Instagram @ZacharyEBell.

Ryan Lamke

Cpl. (Ret.) Ryan Lamke entered the Marine Corps in January 2005 and was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq just seven months later as an Infantry Assualtman with 2d Battalion, 2d Marine Regiment. During his deployment, he was involved in several IED and rocket-propelled grenade blasts, resulting in a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and several orthopedic injuries. Despite these injuries, Ryan continued with his unit through the entirety of the deployment. In 2007, Ryan deployed with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) to fulfill a variety of roles throughout the Near East and Africa before retiring from active duty in 2008.
Since he left the Marines, Ryan has continued to advocate for the disabled veteran population, raising awareness of student veteran issues, Post-Traumatic Stress and TBI issues as well as the unintended consequences of government regulations that impede the care and recovery of our nation’s wounded warriors. He graduated Georgetown University in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. He is now running his own full-service marketing and PR firm, Ton-Up MKTG, but still finds time to give back to his brothers and sisters in arms as often as he can.

Brent Taylor

Brent Taylor is a United States Marine Corps veteran who has worked in the firearms industry since he left active duty in 2009, and is currently the Director of Customer Relations at BPI Outdoors. He loves spending time in the great outdoors, fishing, Georgia football and grilling up tasty things to eat. Like most modern-day husbands, Brent is often the DIY-guru turning his wife’s Pinterest dreams into reality. Within the Boot Campaign, Brent serves as a liaison to other professionals in the firearms industry, which he entered because of his self-professed love of shooting guns. More than just the simple guy he claims to be, Brent loves being a Boot Campaign ambassador and sharing his unwavering support for our mission with others.

Michael McFarland

HM2(FMF) Michael McFarland enlisted in the Navy in 2004 as a Hospital Corpsman. He attended Field Medical Service School in 2005 to serve on the line medical service to Marines. So far in his military service, Michael has completed two deployments with 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, Bravo Company in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; one deployment with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, Fox Company in support of Operation Enduring Freedom; and one deployment with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Michael is now enrolled in Independent Duty Corpsman School, one of the most respected Naval Enlistment Classifications in the Medical Enlisted Community.

In 2012, Michael met the Boot Campaign for the first time at Boot Ride L.A. It was just the beginning of his unwavering support that has taken him from coast to coast for BC events. Having seen friends injured and killed serving our country, he felt a connection with the Boot Campaign mission, considering our work simply an extension of his role as “Doc.” As one of our most impassioned public representatives, Michael continuously goes above and beyond to serve fellow military heroes and help Boot Campaign give back.

THE FOUNDERS

Sherri

If you had told Sherri years ago she would one day help oversee a national charity organization with a multi-million-dollar budget with a mission for military families, she would never have believed you. Though it wasn’t on her list of things to accomplish in life, it’s quickly found a forever place in her heart and continues to thrill and challenge her every day.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in multiple states, Sherri is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and Baylor College of Dentistry and the owner of a thriving orthodontic practice in the East Texas area. Her love of music combined with her passion to travel and take on new challenges perfectly suited Sherri for the launch of the Boot Campaign in September 2009.

Mariae

For Mariae’s family, escaping the communist regime of the Viet Cong in 1975 was the epitome of Living the American Dream. Penniless, her parents arrived in the US and her dad, as a civilian, served our Armed Forces at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS as a cafeteria janitor. With 10 children at home, her parents were certain, with hard work and the freedom to follow their dreams, without fear of reprisal, the US would offer a much better life for their family.

Mariae, number 10 in the sibling order, became the valedictorian of her high school. She received a scholarship offer to Berkley for their Biochemistry Program but turned it down to attend a private film school in Los Angeles called Chapman University. She worked as a web/graphics designer in the dotcom world for a while until it became clear she needed to follow her own American dream and open her own business. Her family history, her love of freedom and her passion in capturing the essence of who people are through the lens of a camera were a natural fit in the formation of the Boot Campaign.

Leigh Ann

A born leader with a competitive spirit, Leigh Ann holds a master’s degree in education and enjoys connecting with people.

A third-generation Fort Worth, Texas native, she is a former competitive swimmer. Before joining Boot Campaign, she put her passion for education and fundraising to work with the Junior League of Houston, as president of the PTA for an all-girls school and for a variety of other national charity events. Leigh Ann’s skills in organizing, leading people, raising funds and bringing awareness to causes laid the foundation for her work with the Boot Campaign.

Photo: Heather Sholl

Heather

A corporate public relations professional turned personal trainer, Heather’s energy, passion for fitness and serving others is unstoppable. When friend and fellow Boot Girl Leigh Ann Ranslem teamed up with Heather to launch yet another venture – an event planning business – their patriotism was a common bond and made her a perfect fit for the Boot Campaign.

Heather is a graduate of Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Ginger

Some of the most supportive and compassionate people in the U.S. come from military families. Ginger is no exception. A founding member of the Boot Campaign, Ginger was born into military at Wilford Hall Hospital on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. After spending 13 years there, her family moved to Oklahoma City, where she graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. It was there she met friend and fellow Boot Girl Sherri Reuland.

Ginger’s work as an occupational therapist and a pharmaceutical rep later gave her first-hand experience of what it takes for the wounded to recover, and confirmed that our wounded military needed help. The rest is Boot Campaign history.