Besides being a brilliant professor, John is Program Director/Assistant Professor OTD Program with Gannon University. John is responsible for the Start up operations of the entry level Occupational Therapy Doctorate program and teaching On line Course work for Gannon University OT Masters Program. His current experience as well as his past experience as a consultant to Bayer Material Science and Administrative Director at Heritage Valley Health System is invaluable to My Warrior’s Place.
Phillip Mockler - Vice President
Phillip was a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps. He is a deputy with the Sarasota County Sheriffs Office. After returning from Afghanistan in 2006 he found it very hard to navigate his way through the VA system so in 2007 he founded Everyday Heroes USA. His experience in leadership while serving in the military and currently in law enforcement is a huge asset to our board. Additionally, his first hand experience in founding a not-for-profit organization that supports our Veterans and First Responders is invaluable.
George W. "Nordie" Norwood (Major General, US Air Force Retired)
is a USCG licensed Near Coastal Captain and American Sailing Association (ASA) Certified sailing instructor. He has offshore experience in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. Through his sailing and charter business (Flagship Sailing), Nordie teaches sailing from beginning to advanced levels. He is a strong and proud supporter of our veterans and their family members. In addition to his military and corporate positions and accomplishments, he was recognized in 2017 with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award..
is our Fundraising Director. As a Gold Star Sister she knows first hand how the death of a Fallen Warrior can impact the lives of others. Since 2006 she has worked promotional events, seminars and trade shows all over Central Florida. Due to her dedication with marketing companies, over the past few years, she has also lead, managed and created many promotional events for big name brands such as Nascar, MLB Network, Crown Royal, Bank of America, Cracker Barrel, Heinz, Kellogg's, Sierra Mist, and Disney. Her knowledge and experience is a great asset to My Warrior’s Place.
is Director of the C.O.D.E Fitness Yoga program. In order to empower others with yoga’s healing techniques, Marsha completed her initial teacher training program at The Lotus Pond Center for Yoga and Health, a Kripalu-affliated school. Marsha is certified in Restorative Yoga, a Level I iRest® instructor and trained in Adaptive Yoga for veterans through the Warriors At Ease program. Using sensory enhanced yoga, adaptive yoga, and trauma sensitive meditation, Marsha helps Veterans, Active Military, Blue Star and Gold Star Families reconnect to a sense of well being at the My Warrior’s Place retreat center.
Martha J. Schoeff
is the Grandmother of Spc. Corey Kowall and has been instrumental in the founding and start up phases of FAVE Boating Expeditions. Her experiences as a Stephen Minister Leader, over 10 years as Business Owner and 33 years teaching in the Education Field are an asset to the organization. Her education includes a BA and MA from Indiana University.
Is a Vietnam Veteran and past President of the Hillsborough County Veterans Council. He is an active member of VVA, AmVets, the American Legion Riders and many other veterans organizations. He is a business owner and his many years involved with non-profits supporting veterans causes makes Mike an outstanding asset to My Warrior's Place.
Eric L. Wade
is one of our Project Corregidor Program Coordinators. Eric is a US Air Force and US Army Veteran with over 24 years of service. He served as a Social Worker and Department Chief of various Behavioral Health Clinics including Family Advocacy, Social Work Services, Community Mental Health, Army Substance Abuse Program and Division Mental Health managing up to 37 Personnel in the delivery of mental health care. Eric has a Masters of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University.
Courtney anchors 10News This Evening. She was born and raised on Fort Bragg, NC. Her father served in the U.S. Army as a member of our elite special operations. He died in 1994 while serving in South Korea. Courtney is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill. She uses her voice and knowledge of social media to bring awareness to My Warrior’s Place and the need facing our active duty military, veterans and their families.
served in the U.S. Navy with two tours to Vietnam. He continued his Naval career as a SeaBee retiring in 1987. Brian’s experience working in Facilities Management in the Long Term Care industry, the American Red Cross where he became the Chairman of Disaster Services for Santa Barbara County and his work as a contractor for FEMA makes him a valuable advisory board member for My Warrior’s Place. Brian also continues to serve veterans as a Ride Captain for the Patriot Guard Riders and is actively involved in other Veteran organizations.
Darcie D. Sims, Ph.D., CHT, CT, GMS
was a bereaved parent and child, a grief management specialist, a nationally certified thanatologist, a certified pastoral bereavement specialist, and a licensed psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. She was an author and an internationally recognized speaker. Darcie received The Compassionate Friends Professional Award in 1999. She co-chaired the 1991, 1996 and 2005 World Gathering on Bereavement, and keynoted at all 4 World Gatherings. Darcie was instrumental in creating our Project Corregidor Grief & Peer Mentoring Program prior to her death in February 2014.
Ilyas Sayeg, Esq. - Chairperson
Ilyas Sayeg’s legal experience at Maglio Christopher & Toale, PA. focuses on the intersection of consumer protection law and healthcare. He graduated with honors from the University of Miami School of Law. While there, Ilyas was invited to be part of a groundbreaking clinical partnership between the Law and Medical Schools at the University of Miami. Furthermore, Ilyas was selected by his peers to be a member of the John M. Scheb Inns of Court where he has won the President’s Outstanding Service Award. He is also a board member of the ACE Mentoring Program, an engineering-focused high school mentorship program in Sarasota County. Ilyas experience and expertise is a very valuable asset to My Warrior’s Place.
Coralease (Cora) Ruff - Secretary
Cora DNSc, RN, FNP, is a bereaved parent and an Associate Professor, Division of Nursing, at Howard University. Cora is the principal investigator and author of “Primary Family Nurse Practitioner program at Howard University”, “Psychosocial Stress, Coping and Help Seeking Behavior for Urinary Incontinence”, as well as, several other books.
Rolando brings his vast experience as a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator and arbitrator, author and attorney. Having been born in Puerto Rico and raised in Honduras, Rolando is technically and proficiently fluent in Spanish. Notably, Rolando began his career with distinction in the United States Marine Corps, where he served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Rolando earned his Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, WA; and is a graduate of Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL. Rolando’s RJS Law Firm is located in Apollo Beach, FL
Our Volunteer Board of Directors
Our Volunteer Advisory Board Members and Program Directors
Kelly Kowall - President and Founder
Kelly is the Gold Star Mother of Spc. Corey Kowall. Her experiences as a Certified Life Coach, 10+ years as Business Owner and over 30 years in Sales & Marketing have proven to be very beneficial to this non-profit organizations and the programs it provides. In 2012 she completed her training and became certified as a Grief Support Provider from the AGA. Her creativity and drive is priceless. She is also an active member of the American Gold Star Mothers Association, VFW Ladies Aux and the American Legion Ladies Aux.
Chelle came to us in July of 2015 after the death of her grandson Spc4 Christopher Cooper. She is a proud veteran of the U.S. Air Force where she retired after serving 20 years in the active, Reserve, & National Guard component. She is a fifth generation veteran and is one of three generations of women who served. Chelle understands the sacrifices one makes while serving. She also understands that you can survive the battlefield but still lose your life due to the horrors of war. Currently she has a facebook page for her Free Spirit’s WIMSA Trike which you can check out at https://www.facebook.com/FreeSpiritsWimsaTrike/. Chelle helps maintain the Facebook page for My Warrior’s Place, raises funds, and makes donations of her time, money, & property to support us in a myriad of ways.
Katie is one of the News Anchors of 10 News Nightside. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she majored in English and Spanish. She studied Spanish in Madrid as well, and completed a fellowship at Loyola Law School, in Los Angeles, called “Law School for Journalist.” as she is fascinated by the law. In her free time, she is very involved in several local charities.
Tony Sims, Ph.D.
Robert A. (Tony) Sims, Ph.D., was a bereaved parent, sibling and child. A retired military officer, having served in both combat and peacetime operations, Tony served in a variety of leadership roles for both public and private corporations, including nursing homes, VA hospitals and public health. As a co-founder of Big A and Company Publishing, Tony helped produce books, tapes and other grief programs to help the corporate world accommodate the needs of grieving employees. He wrote policy, created responsive programs and implemented grief support systems in both government and the private sector organizations. Tony was instrumental in creating our Project Corregidor Grief & Peer Mentoring Program prior to his death in 2017.
Louise Sutherland-Hoyt, LMHC, CCMHC, MAC
is one of our Project Corregidor Program Coordinators. A United States Army Veteran, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, and Certified Life Coach, Louise Sutherland-Hoyt provides powerful and insightful coaching strategies, workshops, and seminars for individuals and groups, Gold Star Families, Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress, and Survivors of Military Suicide. With 20 years’ experience in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress, Louise has developed The Be-Attitudes: The Way of the One Warrior, which is foundational in her work coaching survivors from out of the shadows of unseen wounds and on to pathways toward Post-Traumatic Growth: A hope-with-a strategy paradigm that respects the individual while mentoring survivors in building on their strengths and inborne warrior-wisdom. Louise is well-known for the passion and enthusiasm she brings to all endeavors and My Warrior’s Place is excited to have her on board.
Graduated from Hillsborough County School of Practical Nursing 1976 and the University of Phoenix in 2012 with a BS in Health Care Administration with a concentration in Information technology. She has been a nurse for 40+ years and currently works for Aetna Insurance as a Medical Review Coordinator.
Pam understands first hand what it is like to live as a military family. Her father was a Vietnam Navy Veteran. She spent many years traveling with her ex-husband as he was transferred to multiple duty stations while serving in the Navy and additionally, her son served 7years in the Navy.
Shawn is a licensed charter boat captain and a well-respected member of the Tampa Bay area fishing community with over 40 years of experience fishing Tampa Bay and the surrounding waters. He is one of those “go to guys” who effectively solicits needed resources, organizes people and coordinates logistics to make fishing events happen. Capt. Shawn doesn't just take people fishing, he instructs them in the abc's of fishing to make anyone who goes fishing with him a better fisherman or fisherwoman.
Capt. Shawn is also our Program Director for the FAVE Boating Expeditions Program.