Our organization is fortunate to have a team of dedicated, caring professionals who give tirelessly of their time and energy to create a stable foundation for our services to continue and grow.
I have a background in non-profit work and social entrepreneurship, including a M.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in Non-Profit Leadership. I have worked in strategic planning for an faith-based peace and justice organization, The American Friends Service Committee, helping to integrate 90 programs in 50 countries around the world. I have over a decade of experience doing branding and consulting work with small non-profits, producing media that helps organizations share the heart of their work.
I am also an LMBT, currently working at the Alternative Clinic in downtown Asheville, where I am apprenticing myself to expert Chinese Medicine practitioners and working as part of a team passionate about tangible community healthcare grounded in over 2,000 years of wisdom. My passion for healing work comes from a life of intensive journeying, including living in India and ashrams for 2 years. I am constantly striving to deepen my understanding about the nature of healing and wholeness, and the relationship between inner peace and social transformation. This passion brings me to Helios Warriors, where I hope to become part of a community that is genuinely, and effectively, helping people heal.
I say people and not Veterans, because, at the core, I see no difference. I served a tour in the Special Ops myself, where I received the Medal of Commendation for the Commandant for exemplary duty. I was on a Tactical Law Enforcement Team, responsible for counter terrorism, human smuggling, and narcotics operations.
After I left the military, I went to the University of California Berkeley to study Sociology. I still have a vivid memory of how many of my classmates were shocked to discover that I used to be in the military. For despite their open minds and liberal education, they saw military personnel as aggressive and unintelligent. And my old military buddies thought all the students in Berkeley were naive hippies! For me, it was always as clear as day that my friends in both places where actually much the same people — it was only their cultures that shaped how they were seen by the world. I feel the same about wounded veterans. They are not some special “other” in need of help; rather, they are carrying the wounds of society at large. And we are all in the same boat, striving to help each other, and ourselves, heal these wounds.
I hope to help HW constantly listen to what the community truly needs and how we can fulfill those needs, structure our impact to ripple out through the community, and increasingly find ways to be fiscally self-sustaining.
After high school, I joined the United States Marine Corps and held the MOS of Rifleman in the Infantry. I was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Marines and served 5 years active duty where I rose to the rank of E-5/Sergeant serving as an Infantry Squad Leader. Once my active contract expired, I chose to redeploy and was present from the change of Iraqi Freedom into New Dawn as a private contractor. Once back stateside for good, I started a career in Law Enforcement, and I am currently serving with the Black Mountain Police Department.
Throughout my career as active duty military, private contractor and Police Officer, I sustained multiple injuries that caused me to seek VA assistance. Presented with multiple options that I chose not to follow, I researched and sought advice on other ways of healing and found various options through holistic healing.
My goal is to reach and educate the community of veterans, many of whom, like me, are unhappy with the options that have been presented to them on ways to fix their medical issues. As a police officer, I have a unique opportunity to reach veterans directly as well as educate the families that may not have the knowledge that is needed to deal with the issues that they may be facing.
I have worked in a variety of counselor roles since my counseling career began in 1989. My experience includes working as a school counselor of at-risk youth in Buncombe County, and conducting adventure-based counseling groups with this population. I later worked in a group home setting with at-risk youth. This led to working with the group home agencies across NC as a clinical assessment specialist preparing case summaries for the Department of Social Services and court-involved families. I also worked in public mental health before going into private practice where I now specialize in treating posttraumatic stress (PTSD) with the cutting-edge therapy called Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM). Working with Helios Warriors as a volunteer practitioner allows many veterans to have greater access to this treatment model, and to share their experience of it with their peers. Working with Helios Warriors as a board member allows me to link with the WNC Resiliency Coalition to conduct training for board members and volunteer practitioners in the basic skills of this model – making Helios Warriors one of the growing number of organizations in Buncombe County and WNC becoming trauma-informed and resiliency-informed organizations.