We envision a world where our veterans have access to the most advanced healthcare options to heal from the mental and physical wounds of war.
We believe that actions speak louder than words. We lead by example and do not compromise our integrity.
We persevere through challenges. We know we have what it takes to overcome obstacles both external and internal.
We commit to those actions with the greatest potential for change, because we know that lives are at stake.
We dedicate our work to saving lives, with gratitude and generosity for those who support us along the way.
We understand what it’s like to struggle with the mental and physical effects of trauma, because we’ve been through it too.
We share a mutual sense of character, strength, and commitment with the veterans we serve.
When he was medically retired after 13 years. and multiple combat deployments as a U.S. Navy SEAL, Marcus Capone and his wife, Amber, thought that life would return to normal. Instead, their struggle had just begun. Marcus was experiencing an escalating myriad of challenges, including depression, isolation, cognitive impairment, excessive alcohol use, headaches, insomnia, and impulsivity. Marcus was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but, instinctively, Amber felt there was more to be discovered. After learning about the effects of blast waves, concussive, and subconcussive brain injuries, everything started to become clear. Marcus’ military career as an explosives expert, combined with his prior years of contact sports, had left him with the invisible wounds of traumatic brain injury (TBI), a condition that has significant overlap with PTSD, and is often not properly diagnosed.
When all hope seemed lost, Amber learned about ibogaine, a plant-based psychedelic used traditionally in West African ceremonial settings that has been studied as a potential treatment for opioid addiction and other mental health conditions. Marcus traveled to a reputable independent clinic outside of the U.S. to receive treatment with Ibogaine, as well as 5-MeO-DMT, another naturally occurring psychedelic compound. Immediately after the sessions, Marcus felt a massive weight had been lifted, his cognitive functioning returned, he had no desire for alcohol, and he stopped taking all prescription medications.
Marcus and Amber dedicated themselves to finding out if psychedelic therapy could also help his fellow teammates, many of whom were also experiencing the combined challenges of PTSD and TBI.Get Involved
Since 2019, the non-profit Veterans Exploring Treatment Solutions (VETS) has provided grants for hundreds of U.S. Special Forces veterans to receive psychedelic-assisted therapy treatment outside the U.S., as well as preparation and integration coaching. VETS believes that psychedelic therapy can lay the foundation for further healing. This “foundational healing” enables continued progress across a range of therapeutic modalities, and is supported by a robust coaching program, providing a holistic treatment solution for veterans.About Our HEaling Grants
Chris Bellesia is System Administrator for VETS, Inc. where he oversees the development of back-end systems for the organization. Since 2015, Chris has helped psychedelic medicine centers with program development and project management. Previously, he worked with an addiction treatment center focused on the clinical application of Ibogaine, and he has also served as operations manager for a retreat center focused on the ceremonial use of iboga.
Chris is deeply inspired by the healing he’s witnessed amongst the veteran community and is honored to contribute to this profound work. He believes a new paradigm of healthcare is possible, and he’s working towards a graduate degree to become a Physician Assistant. Chris received a B.S. in Supply Chain Management and a B.A. in Sustainability from Arizona State University. He is based in San Diego, California.
Henry Berkowitz is a former Navy SEAL who served on the west coast and made multiple deployments to Afghanistan. Since leaving the military, Henry has focused on his family, entrepreneurship, and working with veteran-focused non-profits. He has become passionate about VETS and their work after his experience as a program participant. Henry received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and an MBA from Wake Forest University.
Brad earned his B.A. in Communication and Psychology from Stanford University in 2005 and his M.A. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego in 2009. He directed communications for the non-profit MAPS from 2009 to 2020, helping it scale from a small advocacy organization to a global leader in psychedelic pharmaceutical development. Brad Burge is also the founder of Integration Communications, which provides industry-leading PR, media relations, and education services in psychedelic science, therapy, health, and wellness. Brad is a certified Wilderness First Responder, and when he’s not plugged in, you’ll find him in the mountains, carrying a backpack, somewhere down a long trail.
Lori Camper is a doctoral student in Psychology with a concentration in Trauma and Crisis Counseling. She has her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling and undergraduate degrees in Psychology, Animal Science, and Agricultural Business Management. She has advanced training in psychological first aid and recovery, disaster behavioral health, child sexual abuse risk reduction, and supporting military children with traumatic grief. As an educational advocate, Lori provided educational testing, tutoring, specialized therapies, and advocacy for hundreds of Naval Special Warfare families. Prior roles include co-owner and Chief Operating Officer of an established commercial real estate development company; Controller of an automotive upholstery manufacturer supplying General Motors; and Interior Decorator and founder of an art and antiques franchise. Lori is a Border Collie fanatic and loves spending time with her family.
Amber has a history of fixing, building, and tenaciously seeking solutions to complex challenges. In 2019, she chose to walk away from a successful career as a top-producing real estate agent in order to pursue her most critical work yet, serving as Co-Founder and Executive Director of VETS. As her own personal and professional life began to unravel upon Marcus’s separation from the military, she became determined not to become a victim, but to pursue victory for her own family, as well as countless others who are suffering. Amber possesses a heart for serving others, and a steadfast determination to make a difference.
Kristen developed a passion for philanthropy at an early age. When Kristen graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree, she worked for an International NGO and traveled the world and experienced first-hand poverty and war. It was at this point she realized she would never return to the for-profit sector. Kristen has worked in the nonprofit industry for 16 years in various roles in administration, emergency response and programs. Kristen holds a M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University.
Kristen has been a part of the military community for over 12 years, while her husband first served as a Marine and then a Navy SEAL. She supported her husband through many combat deployments while caring for their 3 young children.
Kristen is extremely passionate about VETS’ mission after seeing the tremendous impact it had on both the military community and in her own life. Kristen and her family reside in Texas.
Robert Myers received a Bachelor of Science from the US Air Force Academy, and spent 13 years as a US Navy SEAL. He has passion for helping other veterans, enjoys most everything about being in the wild outdoors and is currently the Head of Operations for a biotech firm. Rob lives on the Central Coast of California with his wife and two young daughters.
Lauren Myers is both a veteran and a military spouse. Retiring after 21 years, she spent half of her career as an Air Force pilot including flying the C-5 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She is married to a former Navy SEAL who served on multiple deployments during OIF/OEF. Lauren has a passion for helping veterans and their families and is honored to be a part of the change VETS is making. She lives in California with her husband and 2 daughters.
With more than 15 years in project and account management within retail, commercial and residential sectors Ashley Joins VETS to share her organizational and project management skills. Growing up next to Pensacola’s NAS base, Ashley developed a deep respect and appreciation for our country’s service men and women at a young age and remains passionate about supporting the VETS mission.
Dylan Peters oversees study coordination between VETS and its research initiatives at Stanford University and Ohio State, and serves as a liaison for grant recipients. In addition, Dylan evaluates incoming research proposals and explores new research opportunities for VETS. He received his Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University where he studied the neural correlates of psychedelics and meditation. Since 2019, Dylan has worked in clinical research at Johns Hopkins studying the therapeutic effects of psilocybin and other entheogenic compounds. Outside of research he enjoys making music and art, and hopes to bridge the gap between science and aesthetics in the coming age of psychedelic therapy.
Eric Smith (Moose) is passionate about the benefits that psychedelic medicine provides to our world. Moose is a former Navy SEAL and is currently a Certified Psychedelic Integration Coach. He is a devoted coach and mentor for veterans seeking transformative healing. He lives in Southern California with his wife and three sons.
Chris Thompson served most of his time in the Army as a Green Beret in 3rd Special Forces Group. After his time in the military, Chris worked as a contractor, still deploying, in support of Special Operations for the next several years. Altogether, he conducted seven combat deployments and was decorated with the Bronze Star for Valor, two additional Bronze Stars, and has also been awarded the Congressional Veteran Commendation. Prior to coming to VETS, Chris has been heavily involved in the veteran non-profit space for more than eight years. There he has served in a variety of different roles, most of which have centered around engaging the veteran community. He is passionate about serving veterans, especially the Special Operations community, and is passionate about the healing benefits plant medicines can offer. Chris lives in central Texas with his wife and son.
DaisyMae is the Social Media Manager for VETS, where she leads content creation and community management. Since 2019, DaisyMae has managed social media for multiple psychedelic medicine companies ranging from digital media to psychedelic-assisted therapy clinics. She has a passion for helping others and is honored to be contributing and sharing VETS mission with the online community. DaisyMae earned her B.A. in Communications and Global Studies at Hofstra University, and a certification in US Government from Harvard. When she’s not leading psychedelic medicine communications, you can find her reading, watching Hallmark movies, or planning her next vacation. She lives in New Jersey with her fiancé and two cats.
With her passion for community building and project management combined with her experience in marketing and growth, Daffny serves as Social Media Community and Growth Coordinator for VETS. She has worked with advertising, content creation, and communications in a variety of industries and cultures, making her adept at evaluating and adapting to different perspectives. Daffny was born in Brazil, speaks three languages, travels the world volunteering for different environmental and social causes, and is passionate about writing, visual communications, photography, and all things creative.
Suzanne Vogel studied English literature at the University of Richmond, and holds certificates in nonprofit management from Duke University and special education advocacy from The College of William and Mary’s Law School. Suzanne raised 5 children and supported her husband through 11 wartime deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. She was a Naval Special Warfare ombudsman during her husband’s active duty career, serving as a liaison between families and the military command. Suzanne has over 10 years of experience creating and growing successful non-profit organizations to benefit military families. She is honored to serve as secretary on the VETS Board of Directors.
Marcus is an entrepreneur and former Navy SEAL who spent a sizable portion of his 13 year military career deployed to a war zone. After Marcus’s transformational experience with entheogenic medicine, he felt compelled to immediately begin helping friends who were also experiencing the same post-war challenges. Marcus has been involved with several start-up companies since leaving the military, serves on a number of advisory boards, and is the Co-Founder of VETS. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, a Master’s Degree in Global Leadership from The University of San Diego, and an MBA from USC Marshall Business School.
Nick is a graduate of both the United States Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition / SEAL (BUD/S) Class 247. Upon completion of SEAL training in 2004, Nick assumed progressively higher positions of leadership within Naval Special Warfare, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Originally from Chicago, Nick received his Bachelor in Science from the United States Naval Academy in 2003 and his Masters of Science in Real Estate from The University of San Diego in 2013. Nick is the Co-Founder and CEO of Protekt Products, a wellness company that is committed to positively impacting customer health via both personal care products and nutritional supplements.
Jarred Taylor is originally from Washington state. After graduating high school in 2002, he joined the Air Force, where spent 14 years as a Joint Terminal Attack Controller. At the end of his time in the Air Force he co-founded two successful companies: Article 15 clothing and Leadslinger’s Whiskey, as well as launched a successful podcast, Drinkin’ Bros. In 2014, Jarred co-founded Black Rifle Coffee with Mat Best and Evan Hafer, which has become a staple in the conservative coffee space and directly rivals Starbucks.
Sara grew up in a military family, traveling the globe and attending over 15 schools before graduating and marrying Navy SEAL, Chad Wilkinson. Sara has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. As a successful gym owner and tenacious entrepreneur, Sara was recruited by CrossFit LLC to become a course supervisor, and spent the past 8 years engaging in public speaking, training, and instilling cohesiveness and camaraderie within the CrossFit global community. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree within the College of Health and Human Performance from the University of Florida and is a Level 4 CrossFit Coach. Sara’s husband served 21 years as an active duty Navy SEAL with more than 10 deployments before succumbing to the affects of PTSD, TBIs and blast wave injuries leading to his death by suicide on Oct. 29, 2018. The couple have two teenage children. Unable to receive treatments, himself, Sara has seen the positive impact VETS has provided to Chad’s teammates, and hopes to lend her voice and story to change the narrative and numbers surrounding the veteran suicide epidemic.
Mark Bates, PhD, is a psychologist participating in the Center for Psychedelic Therapy and Research certificate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is a retired Air Force pilot and psychologist. His military psychology background includes being a training director for an APA accredited clinical psychology internship program, chief of a multi-disciplinary outpatient mental health clinic, and branch chief for psychological health promotion in the military’s Psychological Health Center of Excellence.
Dr. Bates has a long-standing passion for understanding and supporting human potential in body, mind, spirit, and relationships (holistic) throughout his career and is now focused on the unique abilities of psychedelics in these areas. With a strong grounding in evidence-based science and practice, he is an advocate of careful research exploring and confirming how psychedelic-assisted therapies broaden and strengthen psychotherapy treatment options for alleviating suffering and supporting well-being. He is also particularly interested in the ability of these psychotherapies to support greater consciousness, meaning, caring, and connection as core parts of healing and living fully.
David Bronner is the Cosmic Engagement Officer (CEO) of Dr. Bronner’s, the family-owned top-selling natural brand of soap in North America. The company caps Executive salaries at 5 times the lowest paid fully vested position and donates all profits not needed for business development to causes and charities they believe in. David graduated with a degree in Biology from Harvard in 1995, and by the end of that year had his heart and mind blown wide open by psychedelic medicine while living in Amsterdam. Ever since he’s been dedicated to the responsible integration of cannabis and entheogens into American and global culture and joined the board of MAPS in 2015. He also serves on the board of the Regenerative Organic Alliance, which promotes regenerative organic agriculture and ethical dietary choice, to support a more humane, sustainable, and fair farming system worldwide.
Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he wrote his dissertation on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics and marijuana and his Master’s thesis on a survey of oncologists about smoked marijuana vs. the oral THC pill in nausea control for cancer patients. His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a 25-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment, which evaluated the potential of psychedelic drugs to catalyze religious experiences. He also conducted a thirty-four year follow-up study to Timothy Leary’s Concord Prison Experiment. Rick studied with Dr. Stanislav Grof and was among the first to be certified as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana, primarily as prescription medicines but also for personal growth for otherwise healthy people, and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist. He founded MAPS in 1986, and currently resides in Boston with his wife, dog, and empty rooms from three children, one of whom is in college and two have graduated.
Amanda Feilding is the Founder and Executive Director of the Beckley Foundation, and is widely recognized as a leading force behind the current Psychedelic Renaissance. By establishing key research programs at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions (including Imperial College London, Maastricht University, Sant Pau in Barcelona, IDOR and UFRN in Brazil), she has propelled the field forward over the last 20+ years, conducting landmark studies, such as the world’s first psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression study (on which Compass Pathways based their business), the world’s first LSD, MDMA and DMT brain imaging studies, plus the initiation and collaboration with Johns Hopkins on the first study using psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to overcome nicotine addiction. She has also co-authored over 80 research papers.
Since its inception in 1998, the Beckley Foundation has been at the forefront of exploratory research into psychedelics and cannabis, and evidence-based global drug policies. Through a series of pivotal international seminars at the House of Lords (starting in 2000) with leading figures from around the world in different fields, from science to politics, plus over 60 much-cited books, reports and papers, and numerous meetings with thought-leaders, academics, and policy-makers at the UN and governments around the world, Amanda has ensured that the Beckley Foundation has been at the forefront of global drug policy reform, particularly in the field of cannabis and the psychedelics.
Through her work with the Beckley Foundation, Amanda is bridging the gap between science and policy, creating a positive feedback loop, with the aim of building and harnessing our knowledge of the benefits of currently prohibited compounds to optimize human health, wellbeing, and potential.
B. Christopher Frueh, PhD is a clinical psychologist, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX; and Adjunct Professor, Psychiatry in Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Academic Institute.
He has thirty years of professional experience working with military veterans and active-duty personnel, and has conducted clinical trials, epidemiology, historical epidemiology, and neuroscience research, primarily with psychiatric patients, prisoners, and combat veterans. He has co-authored over 300 scientific publications (h-Index = 86; total scientific citations > 22,000), including a current graduate textbook on adult psychopathology. Professionally, he has worked with combat veterans and servicemembers since 1991. He also devotes time to the SEAL Future Foundation (chair, medical advisory board), Boulder Crest Foundation (scientific advisory panel), Military Special Operations Family Collaborative (advisory board), Special Operations Association of America, and to the military special operations community in general.
He has testified before US Congress, and served as a paid contractor for Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs, US State Department, and the National Board of Medical Examiners. He has also published commentaries in the National Review, Huffington Post, New York Times, Time, and Special Operation Association of America; and has been quoted or cited in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Washington Post, Scientific American, Stars and Stripes, USA Today, Men’s Health, Los Angeles Times, Reuter, Associated Press, and NBC News, among others.
Robert Koffman, MD, MPH, is a retired Navy Captain, currently serving as the Senior Medical Advisor for Warrior Canine Connection. He concluded his 32-year career as a psychiatrist and preventive medicine physician at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) as the Chief of Clinical Operations. Dr. Koffman is currently enrolled in the Center for Psychedelic Treatment and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and will be finishing summer of ‘21. Eager to enroll veterans into a MAPS-supported study, he is on track to begin MDMA-Assisted Therapy under Expanded Access at the Bill Richards’ Center for Healing at the Aquilino Cancer Center, Rockville, MD.
Frank Larkin is the Vice President for Corporate Development at a software development company and national advocate for veteran suicide prevention and traumatic brain research. Frank was the 40th United States Senate Sergeant at Arms. As chief law enforcement and executive officer of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms enforces rules of the Senate; provides a range of technical and administrative services to Senators in their Washington D.C., and state offices; and maintains security in the Capitol and Senate office buildings. He had direct oversight of the US Capitol Police Department, a 2200-member agency, and led numerous national security events.
Frank has been a member of the federal Senior Executive Service for more than 10 years, serving as both the Acting Director and the Vice Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and Director of the Counter IED Operations-Intelligence Integration Center within the Department of Defense. He led the integration of technical capabilities, analysis and human resources against the global IED threat and terror networks.
Frank served for more than two decades as a special agent and senior leader in the United States Secret Service (USSS). He conducted complex criminal investigations and protected four US presidents, until his retirement as the Deputy Assistant Director for Protective Research and the agency’s Chief Technology Officer.
In the private sector, Frank was Director, Program Management & Leadership, for the Raytheon Company, and more recently, worked at Lockheed Martin’s Defense & Intelligence Solutions responsible as a senior program manager for intelligence community support.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Frank served as a special warfare operator in the Navy SEALs. After his military service, he was a uniformed patrol officer with the Norristown (PA) Police Department, a homicide detective with the Montgomery County (PA) District Attorney’s Office, and a Maryland State Trooper-Flight Paramedic. He has been a nationally licensed paramedic for 40 years and still serves Maryland as a volunteer medical provider.
Frank holds a BA degree in criminal justice and a MS degree in public administration from Villanova University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, to include the USSS Valor award, the Department of the Army’s Exceptional Civilian Service award and the Superior Civilian Service award.
Ivy and Brian Losey are both military veterans with 43 years of combined active duty service and considerable exposure to the experiences and challenges incurred by veterans and their families while in service. They consider the opportunity to serve on the Board of Advisors to VETS to be an incredible duty and privilege in assisting the VETS Team in making a meaningful difference to the veteran and first responder communities. Ivy and Brian are motivated by the incredible potential of novel treatments and therapies that can open the door to relief and resolution of service related impacts, and also illuminate the development of innate potential and untapped fulfillment.
Lynn Marie Morski, MD, JD, is the president of the Psychedelic Medicine Association, host of the Plant Medicine Podcast, the founder of Plant Medicine.org, and the medical director for WayofLeaf.com. She is a Mayo Clinic-trained physician in family medicine and sports medicine, as well as an attorney and former adjunct law professor. Dr. Morski worked at the Veterans Administration for nine years, and after leaving clinical medicine, she made it her mission to help fill the gap in the medical community’s knowledge of psychedelics by educating her fellow physicians on the plant medicines and entheogens that could bring life-changing relief to their patients. In furtherance of this mission, she started the Plant Medicine Podcast to bring scientific researchers, practitioners, and those who have been personally affected by the healing powers of these plants together to help educate the public on what is possible and help further research and decriminalization of these substances. She later founded the Psychedelic Medicine Association whose mission is to educate healthcare providers on the latest in psychedelic therapies so they can present the full range of therapeutic options to their patients, and to bring together key stakeholders in the psychedelic medicine community to work toward equitable access to these medicines for all.
Kirk Parsley, MD, served as an Undersea Medical Officer at Naval Special Warfare Group One from June 2009 to January 2013. While there, he led the development and supervised the group’s first Sports Medicine Rehabilitation center. He is a former SEAL, and received his Medical Degree from Bethesda, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS) in 2004. He interned in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Balboa Naval Hospital San Diego in 2005 and subsequently completed a Navy residency in Hyperbarics and Diving Medicine in 2006. Dr. Parsley has been a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine since 2006 and served as Naval Special Warfare’s expert on Sleep Medicine. In addition he is certified in hormonal modulation (Age-Management Medicine). After leaving the Navy he went into concierge medicine and consulting. He continues to consult for multiple corporations, and professional athletes/teams. Doctor Parsley lectures worldwide on sleep, wellness, and hormonal optimization and is currently completing a book on sleep and his philosophy for wellness is simple; in order to optimize our health and get the most out of our bodies and minds, we must live more closely to the way we evolved as a species. He believes that many diseases and disorders that we accept as “inevitable” in modern society are unnecessary complications of poor sleeping habits, living in a toxic environment, eating foods we were not designed to digest, and allowing stress to overwhelm us. His passion is to help his patients and clients achieve the highest quality of life possible, and realize their health, performance, and longevity goals. Dr. Parsley spends as much of his spare time as possible with his three beautiful children (Hayden, Cole, and Harper). He has been a competitive athlete his entire life, and enjoys nearly all outdoor activities and sports.
Dick Simon is an entrepreneur, social enterprise philanthropist and catalyst for change. He works with organizations pursuing FDA and European Medical Association clinical trials for mental health (PTSD, depression) treatments using psychedelic medicines. He aims to shift public perspective and reduce stigmatization related to the use of these medicines and is also supporting researchers studying psychedelic treatments for a wide range of indications. Dick serves as Chairman of the Advisory Council for the Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics at Massachusetts General Hospital . He is a founder of the Boston Psychedelic Research Group and the YPO Psychedelic Medicines for Mental Health Group, and he works closely with organizations including MAPS, the California Institute for Integral Studies, and the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative.
Before this work, he co-founded the Peace Action Network (PAN) of YPO, a network of over 29,000 international CEOs. PAN addresses conflict resolution on local and global levels. He launched the kNOw THEM Initiative to raise awareness about the most dangerous four-letter word in the English language, THEM.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Lieutenant General Martin R. Steele enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1965. He rose from private to three-star general, culminating his military career as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters, US Marine Corps, in Washington, DC in August of 1999. A decorated combat veteran with 34-1/2 years of service, he is a recognized expert in the integration of all elements of national power (diplomatic, economic, informational, and military) with strategic military war plans and has served as an executive strategic planner/policy director in multiple theaters across Asia. His extraordinary career was chronicled as one of three principles in the award winning military biography Boys of ’67 by Charles Jones.
Upon his retirement from active duty in 1999, he served as President & CEO of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. Under his leadership, they adopted the mission statement of “Honor our heroes, educate the public, and inspire our youth about the price of freedom”. This creative branding strategy resonated with all audiences and was the early catalyst for the transformation of the Intrepid from just another New York City destination location to the near icon status it enjoys today among educators, historians, international visitors, and military veterans. Shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001, General Steele invited the FBI to use the Intrepid to conduct their investigations. Within 48 hours, Intrepid was once again in service as the temporary headquarters for over 750 FBI agents.
General Steele also served as the Associate Vice President for Veterans Partnerships, the Executive Director of Military Partnerships, and Co-Chair of the Veterans Reintegration Steering Committee at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, General Steele was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Steele Partners, Inc., a strategic advisory and leadership consulting company. He has led a philanthropic transition program assisting exiting Marines into private sector jobs throughout the country, at no cost to the Marine participants, the Marine Corps or to the companies that provide employment opportunities. In 2014, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Florida is for Veterans, Inc., a not for profit, state legislated organization designed to assist both Veterans and businesses throughout Florida in not only hiring Veterans but also developing entrepreneurship programs designed for veterans.
In 2015, he was appointed to the Congressionally mandated Commission on Care to undertake a comprehensive evaluation and assessment of access of veterans to health care from the Department of Veteran Affairs and strategically examine how best to organize the Veterans Health Administration, locate health care resources, and deliver healthcare to veterans during the next 20 years. The Commission was made up of 15 voting members selected by Congress and the President.
General Steele is a graduate of the University of Arkansas where he obtained a BA degree in History (’74) and was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He is a recipient of the 2013 Arkansas Alumni Award Citation of Distinguished Alumni which recognizes exceptional professional and personal achievement and extraordinary distinction in a chosen field. He also holds three Masters Degrees from Central Michigan University, Salve Regina College, and the Naval War College.
Married to the former Cynthia Bayliss of Little Rock, Arkansas, they are the parents of three adult children, and have three grandchildren. Their son, David, is a Colonel in the US Marine Corps and currently serves as the Chief of Staff 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Miramar, CA after three tours of combat in Afghanistan. General Steele serves proudly on several boards across the country to include: Fisher House Foundation, the Advisory Committee for the Call of Duty Endowment, Advisory Board for Veterans Advantage, and the University of Arkansas Veterans Resource and Information Center Board. He is also a Chairman Emeritus of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and a member of the Board of Advisors. He and Cindy reside in Tampa, Florida.
Kevin Weiss currently serves as the Chief of Staff for Reforge, an education and professional development technology company. Previously, Kevin was a Principal at Dorado Capital Partners, a Texas-based Family Office, where he worked alongside the managing partner to source and execute investment opportunities and help launch new business ventures. Kevin was a founding team member of M13 Ventures and prior to M13, Kevin held operating roles within venture-backed companies in South Africa and Latin America.
In addition to VETS, Kevin is an advisory board member of The Change Reaction, a philanthropic organization connecting high net worth individuals with direct giving opportunities, and Study Smart Tutors, an education company focused increasing access for underserved individuals. Kevin is a trained yoga and mindfulness meditation teacher and is passionate improving access to mental health services as well as improving the services themselves.
Kevin studied Business, Economics and Public Policy at George Washington University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and also studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at St Catherine’s College, Oxford.