Taking the reins at DVNF, VanFonda recognized the needs of veterans who weren’t yet categorized as disabled, but were still dealing with the psychological and emotional impacts of personal and family situations, which put them in a highly “at-risk” category. DVNF began to focus its efforts to meet the needs of veterans in this broad category through targeted programs and collaboration with other organizations in communities throughout the country. Today, DVNF continues to grow in the services it provides veterans, and has added new key staff members with a wide range of experience, many of whom served in the military. We come to work each day knowing that we will make a difference in a veteran’s life; a great responsibility that we don’t take lightly.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Scott Carson, PresidentScott Carson is a Marine veteran, with a history of impeccable leadership in all his professional endeavors. After leaving the Marine Corps, he went to work for Humana, where, among other duties, he was also asked to help create Humana’s optimal staffing level metrics used throughout the country today. He moved on to be a Key Account Executive with United Healthcare, winning multiple sales awards. He now works as a consultant in Maryland, and is very active in several community outreach efforts.
Greg Smith, Vice PresidentGreg is a veteran of both the United States Navy (Chief Petty Officer Coastal/Riverine Warfare) and Connecticut Army National Guard (Staff Sergeant 242nd Combat Engineers). Greg had many duties over his 22-year military career, but he is most proud of serving as the Operations Officer of Inshore Boat Unit Two Two, where he was also Patrol Leader and Chief weapons instructor. He currently serves as a member of Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District, Veterans Affairs Committee. For more than 25 years Greg has been a volunteer working to ensure that the needs of disabled veterans and our wounded warriors are not forgotten. For these efforts and others, in 2015 the Governor of Connecticut recognized Greg as the 115th member of the State of Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame.
Barry Walter, Program Committee ChairBarry Walter is an Army veteran, being drafted after a year in college. He served 47 months in combat in various field artillery position with the 4th Infantry. Since his service, he has been an active member of the VFW, serving in many different roles in the state of Michigan.
Tashawnya “Tish” McCullough, Board TreasurerMs. McCullough is a Project Associate with SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans, and their Families Technical Assistance (SMVF TA) Center at Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA). In this capacity, she provides technical assistance to states, territories, and local communities working to strengthen their behavioral health systems for SMVF. Ms. McCullough is a retired Army Combat Veteran. After retirement and due to her own personal experiences she has dedicated herself to supporting her brothers and sisters in arms and their families. Some of her previous roles included serving as Director of the Veterans Mental Health Department (VMHD) at Texas Veterans Commission, Manager of VMHD, VMHD Military Veteran Peer Network Peer (MVPN) Coordinator, MVPN Statewide Training Manager, MVPN Peer Service Coordinator, and Grace After Fire Outreach Coordinator. Over the past 10 years she has trained hundreds of peers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement with the emphasis on suicide prevention, de-escalation and peer support. Ms. McCullough holds a Bachelor of Science in Justice Administration. She is a mother of two amazing Army Brats who as a family volunteer and support the SMVF Community.
MAJ Adam Street, SecretaryMAJ Street was commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 2012. He received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. He has served as a Flight Surgeon with the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, in Ansbach, Germany and completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is currently completing a Sports Medicine fellowship at Emory University. MAJ Street’s military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Joint Service Achievement Medal and Overseas Service Ribbon
General Kenneth Merchant, U.S Air Force (Ret)Ken Merchant is President, Life Cycle Solutions, Inc., an Aerospace and Defense consulting firm. Prior to his current role, Ken spent seven years with Lockheed Martin as Vice President, F-22 Programs and Vice President, F-35 Sustainment. On F-22, Ken’s overall responsibility was to ensure the F-22 program achieved financial, schedule and quality performance targets to support our U.S. Air Force customer and warfighters. Before joining Lockheed Martin, Major General Merchant completed a distinguished 34-year career in the Air Force with multiple experiences in program management and logistics including service as Program Executive Officer for Weapons, Commander, Air Armament Center and Director of Logistics for Air Mobility Command. Ken has a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Management from Grove City College and master’s degrees in Management and National Resource Management from Troy State University and National Defense University. He is also certified as a Level III Program Manager in DoD’s Acquisition Professional Development Program and completed the Defense Systems Management College’s Program Managers Course in 1986. He served on the congressionally-directed Section 809 Panel charged with recommending improvements to the Defense Acquisition System.
Guillermo Tejeda “TJ”, GySgt USMC (Ret)On 11 November 2010 GySgt Tejada was on a Recon patrol in the Southern Green zone scouting landing zones to extract any casualties sustained in that area. Once GySgt Tejada had identified the possible landing zone the patrol began to head back to the Forward Operating Base. GySgt Tejada was seriously injured by an Improvised Explosive Device, even though the evacuation took more than an hour, GySgt Tejada critically wounded stayed conscious and kept fighting for his life. On 16 November 2010 he was transferred to Bethesda Medical Center where he underwent multiple surgeries. After recovering from his surgeries GySgt Tejada was transferred to Naval Medical Center San Diego California where he continued rehabilitation. GySgt Tejada’s knowledge of the inner works of the Veterans Integrated Service Net-work (VISN) makes him an ideal board members to help guide and provide oversight on DVNF’s Programs and Services. Decorations and Awards include: Combat Action Ribbon, Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and many more...
Joseph E. VanFonda (USMC SgtMaj Ret.), Chief Executive OfficerJoseph VanFonda served in the United States Marine Corps for more than 27 years. He retired out of Quantico, VA in 2013 as the Regimental Sergeant Major for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. In this role, he was responsible for the coordination of non-medical care for combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines, as well as Sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units and their family members in order to assist them as they returned to duty or transition to the veteran status. Read his full bio here.
Joseph E. VanFonda
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)Joseph VanFonda served in the United States Marine Corps for more than 27 years. He retired out of Quantico, VA. in 2014 as the Regimental Sergeant’s Major for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. Joseph over seen the coordination of non-medical care to combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines, and Sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units and their family members in order to assist them as they return to duty or transition to the veteran status.
Joseph is a combat veteran/wounded warrior who understands the Veterans Integrated System Net-work throughout our Veterans Administration. Knowing the many levels of care within the VA Joseph has created a new core concept of operations for the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. This new and exciting platform consist of two major programs that provide direct and in-direct services that support the needs of our disabled veterans while providing additional resources through DVNFs Capacity Building Grant partnerships.
Joseph is very familiar with working with non-profit organizations, as the Sergeant’s Major for Wounded Warrior Regimental at Head Quarters Marine Corps he served as one of the point of contacts and clearinghouse for persons or Charitable Organizations seeking to support the wounded warriors through charitable gifts and special events.
Asked why did you accept the Executive Director position? “I have served our wonderful nation for 27 years, I believe in DVNF’s mission, which allows me to serve our American Hero’s, our disabled veterans in need, and we will do this with a relationship, not a process approach”
Joseph VanFonda's awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal with two gold star (3nd award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars (4th award), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with four gold stars (5th award), Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (8th award), Humanitarian Service Medal with one star (2nd award), National Defense Service Medal with one star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GWOTEM), Global War on Terrorism (GWOTM), (Kuwait) Liberation Medal, (Saudi Arabia) Liberation Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal.