Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation

Team

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James Rissler

James Rissler

Hometown: Newark, Ohio
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: MAJ
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, ARCOM with Valor
Memberships: Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) and Emergency Nursing Association (ENA)
Theater: Afghanistan

James is currently a U.S. Army Major. He has served in the military for 23 years as an active duty soldier. He started his career in 1997, as a Combat Medic for an Infantry Division (1-32 IN, Fort Drum, New York). He deployed with them two weeks after 9-11 and landed in Afghanistan for a ten-month deployment. During that deployment he was in numerous combat engagements. He was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart (shrapnel wounds from a mortar round and RPG) and ARCOM with Valor for that particular battle (Battle of Shai-e-Kot). A few years following that, James was commissioned as an Officer and became a 66T (Trauma/Emergency Nurse). In 2013, he again deployed to Helmond Providence, Afghanistan working with a British Group treating CAT A trauma patients. There he would see 20-30 triple amputee patients a day. He continued his career and then was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2017 working with various Special Forces groups for operations in and around the city of Kabul. He was awarded a Bronze Star for the various engagements while there. Today, he is the head of the Emergency Department at Fort Carson, Colorado (Evans Army Community Hospital).
James is married with twins (5 year old boy and girl, Sebastian and iLy). James grew up hunting and fishing with his father. It has always been and remains a passion of his to spend time in the wood line.


Corbin McClanahan

Corbin McClanahan

Hometown - Florence, Oregon
Branch of Service - Oregon Army National Guard
Rank - Sergeant
Awards- Purple Heart (2010), Army Commendation Medal (2010), Combat Action Badge (2010), Army Achievement Medal x2 (2009), Overseas Service Ribbon (2010), Afghanistan Service Ribbon (2010), Army Service Ribbon (2009), National Defense Ribbon (2009), Presidential Unit Citation (2010), Meritorious Service Ribbon (2012), Good Conduct Ribbon (2012), NCO Development Ribbon (2012), N.A.T.O. Service Ribbon (2010) Global War On Terrorism (2010).
Memberships - MOPH, VFW, Foreign Legion, RMEF, NRA.
Theater - Helmand Province Afghanistan, 2010-2011, (OEF)

Corbin grew up in the small coastal town of Florence, Oregon. He grew up fishing, hunting, hiking, and spending much of his time outdoors. He joined the military out of college in 2008 and served the next 8 years in the National Guard as a Combat Engineer. While enlisted he did a tour in Afghanistan in 2010 where he conducted route clearance operations and counter IED missions in Southern Helmand Province. During these missions he was struck on 5 separate occasions by enemy placed IEDS. He was medically retired after 8 honorable years of service in 2017 for his wounds received in action.
He returned to Portland State University in 2017 to finish his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Tigard, Oregon and currently works for the Federal Government. He looks forward to hunting archery elk and Blacktail deer on the Oregon coast every year and enjoys going out on the Columbia River to target monster sturgeon and Chinook salmon.

Anthony McCann


Board Member

Anthony McCann

Board Member

Anthony McCann served on active duty in the United States Army during peacetime from 1986-1989. Tony was a junior officer in the 1/325AIR 82nd Airborne Division.
“My experiences in Ranger school and as rifle platoon leader of paratroopers helped shape me into the person I am today.”

Tony left the Army and started a career on Wall Street with Lehman Brothers in 1990. His next chapter began in 1995 when he joined Chemical Bank (later merged with J.P. Morgan). He now runs Global Leveraged Finance Sales for J.P. Morgan’s Corporate and Investment Bank. Tony graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1986 with a BA in History.

Tony lives and works in New York City. His weekends and free time are spent with family and friends. He is an avid outdoorsman and still plays on a senior ice hockey team. He supports many Veteran organizations and serves on J. P. Morgan’s Military Veterans Affairs Internal Advisory Council.
“Wounded Warriors in Action is my only board position. I believe in WWIA’s mission and its leadership. As a board member I hope to provide guidance from my 30 years of experience in the civilian world of finance and management.”

John Keeney


Secretary

John Keeney

Secretary

John Keeney is a United States Marine, Purple Heart veteran who enlisted in The Corps after September 11, 2001. He was a Crew Chief on an Amphibious Assault Vehicle during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom ended for John when he was shot in the right elbow while his team was securing Saddam's Presidential Palace in Baghdad. John was a decorated combat Marine who received a medical retirement just three years into his service.

In 2015 John embarked on a new adventure that would change his life. He participated in his first WWIA event and was asked to join the team as an Associate. He has been leading events all over the country since then. In 2019 graduated WWIA Guide School as the Honor Graduate for his class and is now a certified WWIA Guide. John wholeheartedly believes in the WWIA's mission and has personally seen how it is changing lives for the best. His love for this country and the outdoors are the perfect setting to help his fellow Purple Heart recipients get back on their feet after an injury.

John is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kellie. They are raising two beautiful children, Kendall and Kolton in Dawsonville, GA.

As a Board Member, John is continuing to lead WWIA in its mission to serve our nation's combat-wounded warriors.

Wesley Black

Wesley Black

Hometown: White River Junction Vermont
Branch of Service: Army – Vermont National Guard
Rank: SSG (E-6)
Awards: Meritorious Service Medal, Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with Valor
Theater: Operation Iraqi Freedom (’05-’06) and Operation Enduring Freedom (2010)

Wesley was born and raised in Massachusetts. He graduated from Malden Catholic High School in Malden Massachusetts in June of 2003. Wesley attended Norwich University in the fall of 2003 which is when he enlisted into the 3/172nd Mountain Battalion out of Jericho VT in the Vermont Army National Guard. Wesley completed basic and infantry training at Fort Benning in GA between his freshman and sophomore year. In January of 2005 Wesley was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) to Ramadi Iraq. During his deployment to Iraq, Wesley served as a rifleman and a turret gunner on a Humvee. The 3/172 returned home in June of 2006 and was recognized with a Naval Unit Citation by the Marine Corps. For the next few years Wesley worked at the Army Mountain Warfare School in Jericho as a supply specialist and doing field operation support. In 2007 Wesley attended and graduated the basic and advanced military mountaineer qualifications, he graduated sniper school and completed his basic noncommissioned officer course in that year as well. In December of 2009 Wesley and the 3/172nd deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to Paktia Province Afghanistan. Wesley served as an Infantry team and squad leader and also as a sniper team leader during his Afghanistan deployment. Wesley returned home in January of 2011. Wesley again continued to serve with the Vermont National Guard and he was selected to be a part of two training teams that trained foreign militaries in combat operations in austere environments. Wesley first trained with the Canadian Artic Response Group and received extreme cold weather Arctic training from local Inuit guides in Baffin Bay Canada in March. In May of 2012, Wesley was part of a team that participated in a NATO training exercise training NATO allies in the country of Macedonia. Wesley trained members of 15 different partner countries in combat, sniper and counterinsurgency operations. Wesley was medically retired in May of 2015. While serving with the Vermont National Guard, Wesley received multiple awards including: The Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star with Valor, the Purple Heart and the Army Commendation with Valor.
Wesley attended and graduated from Community College of Vermont in 2014 with an A.A. in Liberal Arts. During this time Wesley started his career in the fire service. He started his career serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Springfield Fire Department (Local 2750) in 2014. After serving as a call firefighter for two years, Wesley was hired in January 2016 with a full-time career position as a Firefighter / AEMT for the Hartford Fire Department (Local 2905) in Hartford, Vermont. In February of 2017, Wesley was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer with metastasis to his liver as a direct result of exposure to open air burn pits in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Due to this terminal diagnosis, Wesley has become an advocate for veterans and has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the long-term effects on our veterans as a result of exposure to the burn pits that are being used by the United States Armed Forces. Wesley testified on behalf of Vermont Senate Bill S. 111 which raises awareness about burn pits, the bill was passed in June 2019. Wesley currently does chemo treatments every two weeks and he continues to work full duty during his off weeks of treatment. When he isn’t going to work as a firefighter or giving his testimony against burn pits, Wesley enjoys playing golf, big game hunting and spending time with his wife Laura and his son Ronan.

Jason Gaudette

Jason Gaudette

Hometown: Rosamond, CA
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Sergeant First Class
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Joint Service Commendations Medal; Army Commendation Medal 4 OLC, Army Achievement Medal 4 OLC, Presidential Campaign Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award 3 OLC, Army Good Conduct Medal with 7 Knots, National Def Service medal with bronze star, Kosovo Campaign Medal with bronze star, Iraqi campaign medal with 2 campaign stars, Global war on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global war on Terrorism Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 3, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 7, ATO medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Italian, German and Belgium parachutist Badge.
Memberships: Military Order of the Purple Heart
Theater: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Jason's love for the outdoors started at a young age growing up in California in the Mojave Desert hunting dove, quail, rabbit and fishing for rainbow and brown trout. It wasn’t until he joined the Army that he got to experience other parts of the great outdoors. He has experienced a myriad of different hunting and fishing opportunities from hunting whitetail deer and wild hogs in the southern United States, to hunting moose, caribou, black bear and catching giant halibut and salmon in Alaska. His adventures are not over and he is always looking for new things to learn and help others learn along the way.

His 20 year Army career took him to many different locations around the world including, Fort Drum, New York; Vicenza, Italy; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Friedberg, Germany; Fort Benning, Georgia; Stuttgart, Germany and Finally JBER, Alaska where he retired in August 2014. He deployed with 1-36 Infantry, in May 2003 to Baghdad, Iraq as a squad leader and later a platoon sergeant. After 12 months in country his unit was extended another 3 months and sent to Karbala. On 14 May 2004 he was wounded by 60mm mortar rounds along with over 10 other Soldiers in his platoon that day.

After retirement he worked as the Deputy Chief of Training for the Non Commissioned Officer Academy at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska. It was there that he heard about WWIA, and what they stood for and represented. Jason's first trip with the WWIA was walleye fishing on Lake Erie in Ashtabula, Ohio. Attending this and experiencing the camaraderie that it brought by talking and getting to know his fellow wounded veterans, made him realize that he needed to be more involved in giving back.

Jason currently lives with his wife Julie and son Jackson in Moncks Corner, South Carolina where they all enjoy getting out and fishing and hunting as often as possible. Jason works as an Administrative Specialist, for the Naval Information Warfare Center.

Jordan Bondurant

Jordan Bondurant

Hometown: Lawrenceburg, IN
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: E5
Awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, 2 ARCOM’s, 3 AAM’s, Afghanistan Campaign With Campaign star.
Theater: Operation Freedom Sentinel 2016

Jordan started his military career at the age of 18 right after graduating high school. He served 3 years in the Army at Fort Hood, TX and in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. After Jordan received his Purple Heart for a Traumatic Brain Injury he was sent back to Texas for recovery. From October of 2016 until his medical retirement in October of 2017 Jordan traveled and fished tournaments for foundations and the Army Bass Anglers. Growing up in Southeastern Indiana Jordan was an avid sportsman. Jordan’s passion is waterfowl hunting with his dog Drake and his brother Brett who is also a Purple Heart Veteran.

After being medically retired Jordan returned back to Lawrenceburg, IN where he lives today with his 2 dogs Larka and Drake. Jordan works as a Medical Device Representative in the greater Cincinnati area. He is very proud to be a Guide with WWIA and is very excited about the new friendships and adventures he will be gaining.

Derrick Oursler

Derrick Oursler

Hometown - Birmingham, AL
Branch of Service - Army
Rank - Specialist
Awards - Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, 2x Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal
Memberships - Alabama General Contractor association
Theater - Operation Iraqi Freedom

Raised in the heart of Florida, Derrick has grown up as an avid outdoorsman spending the majority of his adult life in the outdoors. Whether it is overlanding on trips across the remote portions of the country, or spent near his home state hunting in his home state of Alabama. Derrick Spent 3 years in the Army, he was injured on a route clearance patrol when his husky was struck with an RPG-7G. He served the remainder of his 17 month deployment continuing to man the husky for a total of 12 months of route clearance operations on during the battle for Sadr City and providing route clearance support as a theater asset.

Asa Barrett

Asa Barrett

Hometown: Broken Arrow, OK
Branch of Service: Army National Guard
Rank: E4
Awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, ARCOM, Afghanistan Campaign With Two Campaign stars.
Theater: Operation Enduring Freedom 2011-2012

Asa Barrett grew up in a rural town outside Tulsa, OK hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather at the family ranch. Asa began to hunt whitetail deer at the age of twelve and honed his skills in the following years by learning from many other role models. Asa worked as a guide for a Hog Hunting outfitter on weekends, during high school. Asa became proficient in his Archery skills throughout his time as a guide. In those early years, his love for the outdoors and hunting became a passion and has carried on to his adulthood.

Asa started his military career at the age of 23. He joined the Army in 2009 and within two years he moved up to a team leader in a heavy weapons squad. Asa deployed to Afghanistan, RC East in 2011. He spent his deployment in the foot hills of the Hindu Kush mountains, operating in daily dismounted and mounted patrols. On July 22nd, as the gunner on the lead vehicle headed out for a ten-day battalion sized operation, his truck was struck by a 200lb IED. Asa received injuries to his back, neck, and severe concussion during the attack. Asa was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries during the combat operation. Asa pushed through his injuries and continued the duration of his deployment. He experienced many more close encounters during intense firefights and is thankful for the lifelong friendships forged by battle during his time in theater.
During his time in the National Guard, he worked as a leader in the low voltage communications industry. Asa has led many different large commercial grade projects within the industry.

Asa now works as a Project Manager on a high security database center and many other projects across the country. He is proud to be a Lead Associate within the WWIA Foundation. Asa looks forward to serving and making long-lasting friendships with other veterans and wounded Heroes.

Matt Phillips

Matt Phillips

Hometown: Heath, Texas
Branch of Service: U.S. Marines
Rank: Corporal
Awards: Purple Heart 2nd Award, Combat Action Ribbon 3rd Award, Iraq Campaign Medal, Terrorism Service Medal, Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Aid Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal, NATO Medal, Naval Unit Commendation 2nd Award, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon 4th Award, Rifle Expert 3rd Award, Pistol Expert
Memberships: Life Community Church Member, International Society of Arboriculture Member, Tree Care Industry Association Member, Texas Department of State Health Services EMT-Paramedic
Theater: Port au Prince, Haiti 2004; Fallujah, Iraq 2005; Ramadi, Iraq 2006; Helmand Province, Afghanistan 2007

Matt Phillips was born and raised in the North Texas area. He enlisted in the USMC after high school in September of 2002. He served as a member of both 3rd Battalion 8th Marines and 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion. He was promoted to the rank of Corporal and honorably discharged in April of 2008. Following his military service, he worked as both an EMT and Paramedic before switching careers to the arboriculture industry. In his spare time, he likes to coach little league baseball, cook, hunt and fish, train Brazilian jiu-jitsu and spend time with his family.

Dan Berryman

Dan Berryman

Hometown: Minneapolis
Branch: Army National Guard
Rank: Sergeant First Class (Retired)
Awards: Purple Heart, ARCOM, AAM, Iraq Campaign, Afghanistan Campaign, Excellence in competition for rifle and pistol
Memberships: American Legion, VFW, American Legion Post 435 Gun Club
Theater: OEF, OIF

Dan Berryman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula where he learned to fish and hunt through family and friends. He especially enjoys whitetail hunting at his family camp in Michigan where he has been hunting since he was 14. He joined the Army as a Combat Engineer in June of 2001 at the age of 18. He served in Baghdad, Iraq for 15 months in 2005, and in Afghanistan for 12 months in 2009. He medically retired from Michigan's Army National Guard in 2018.

Dan was injured on 26 May 2009 during a route clearance operation in east Afghanistan while assigned as a gunner in an armored vehicle. His vehicle was struck by an IED causing him to lose consciousness and suffering a TBI (traumatic brain injury) and back/neck/shoulder injury.

He graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2007 with an Associate’s degree in climate control technology. He joined the Sheet Metal Workers Union in 2007 and graduated from a 4-year apprenticeship program. He currently lives in Wheeler, Wisconsin with his wife Nichole and their dog Jango. He works at the University of Minnesota as an HVAC mechanic, and TAB technician and is part of the Local #10 Sheet Metal Workers union. He is also a member of American Legion Post 435 and their gun club.

Dan has developed a deeper passion for outdoor sports since his combat related injuries in 2009. He benefits from the recreational therapy that the outdoors has provided for him. He enjoys being a Guide with the WWIA Foundation and spending time with fellow outdoors men, women, and other Veterans.

Travis Von Seggern

Travis Von Seggern

I served in the United States Army and did one tour in Iraq. I was born and raised in the great state of Nebraska and currently reside there.

I enjoy turkey hunting in the spring, motorcycles and fishing in the summer. and chasing whitetails in the fall.

I thoroughly enjoy taking new outdoorsmen and women out into the great outdoors and teaching them about hunting and fishing.

Greg Hughes

Greg Hughes

My name is Greg Hughes, I was born and raised in Columbus,OH. I attended Whetstone High School and went to school for two years for residential electrician. After graduating in 2002, I joined the Marine Corps the following year, and decided to be a Infantry Machine Gunner (0331). I was assigned to my unit, which was Lima Company 3/25, and I was part of weapons platoon. We deployed to Haditha, Iraq in 2005, and I was the lead vehicle 50.cal gunner as well a Team Leader in charge of a gun team. Unfortunately my company suffered high casualties, some of the worse to date in the OIF war.

On September 6, 2005 I was injured by a suicide truck bomber, and I was awarded the Purple Heart. Dealing with PTSD for over a year after returning home, I had finally reached my low and decided to get help. I was blessed to be hired by Franklin County Engineers, and that is where I currently still work at.

I grew up hunting the hills of southern Ohio, I'm a avid bow hunter for Ohio's White tailed Deer and any chance I get I spend it in the woods. I enjoy the great outdoors and I feel honored that I'm still here today and get to spend my time seeing what it has to offer.

Matt Tennessen

Matt Tennessen

Matt served in Afghanistan with the 951st Sapper Company, 3rd Platoon, RCP 6 from November 2008 until November 2009. The 951st is a National Guard unit with armory’s in Tomahawk and Rhinelander WI. Their mission was to provide route clearance for combat operations in Zabul Province. Matt was wounded on Easter Sunday 2009 from an IED blast that also resulted in the loss of his good friend on October 2, 2009 from an RPG attack.

Matt had the opportunity to serve with what he believes to be the best platoon in the Wisconsin National Guard. Upon his return home there were many individuals along with organizations that showed their appreciation for his service. However, he struggled with fitting back into society and dealing with all the emotions of his combat tour.

According to Matt, “I then decided to check into an organization suggested to me called: Wounded Warriors in Action. Being from Wisconsin I spent my summers fishing, falls hunting grouse, bow hunting and the family gun hunt. After looking further into this organization, I thought it would be a great fit. I signed up for a Camp Hackett hunt and was very excited for the opportunity. I was lucky enough to receive a call from the head of Wounded Warriors in Action, John McDaniel, asking me if I would like to join him on a turkey hunt in Wausau. From the moment I met Mr. McDaniel and Josh Kruger, his associate, I knew I was in for a great weekend. They set me up with a turkey guide by the name of Todd Bohm and my hunting experience was top of the line. This weekend was the first time I felt a sense of healing in which I had been looking for since my return home.”

Through friends and fellowships of the WIAA Matt continues on his path of healing. “I walked away with a feeling of belonging and understanding that I believe could not have come from individuals never in combat. The WIAA not only met its mission statement of healing the hearts and minds of combat veterans, it exceeded it exponentially. I feel a great honor and sense of pride being associated with Mr. John McDaniel and The Wounded Warriors in Action.”

Brian Eisch

Brian Eisch

Hometown: Wisconsin
Service: US Army
Rank: Master Sergeant
Awards: Bronze Star for Valor Purple Heart 3 x Meritorious Service Medal 5 x Army Commendation Medal 4 x Army Achievement Medal Combat Infantryman's Badge Audie Murphy Club Member

Master Sergeant Brian Eisch joined the Army in 1992 as an infantryman. Was in the delayed entry program with the Wisconsin National guard until early 1994 while still in high School. Served as a RTO/Scout/Senior Scout in the III Corps Long Range Surveillance Company, E Company, 52nd Infantry Fort Hood, TX from 1994-1997 earning his airborne wings and expert infantry badge. 1997-1999 served with the 25th Infantry Division as a Rifle Team Leader and an Air Assault Instructor and also graduating from Air Assault School and Rappel Master School. 1999 he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division C co, 1/504 PIR where he graduated from Ranger School and earned his Russian Parachutist Wings. Then assigned as a Drill Sergeant and Senior Drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, MO from 2000-2004. In 2004, he PCS'd to Germany where he was an Observer Controller with the Joint MultiNational Readiness Center, Hohenfels, Germany. He then PCS'd to the University of Wisconsin where he taught College level ROTC and competed in the US Army NCO of the Year competition in 2008, winning 5 out of 6 competitions making it to the All Army competition and being named the TRADOC NCO of the Year 2008. also in 2008, Brian was inducted into the Audie Murphy Club and is a current standing member. In early 2009, Brian Eisch moved to Fort Drum, New York where he was assigned as a Platoon Sergeant with D co, 1-87 Infantry, 1st BDE and later as the Platoon Sergeant for the Battalion Scouts. During his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010, he was shot three times in his legs while aiding a wounded Afghanistan Policeman during an ambush. Brian is an avid tournament Bass fisherman. He likes spending time with his family and of course fishing. Brian retired in 2012 due to his wounds at the rank of Master Sergeant.

Qualifications:
Airborne
Ranger
Air Assault
Drill Sergeant
Expert Infantrymans Badge
Rappel Master

Richard Wheeler


Board Member

Richard Wheeler

Board Member

Biography: Rich Wheeler is an accomplished veteran of the U.S. Army Special Forces, offering guaranteed results, domestic and abroad, with demonstrated success in executing corporate strategies and leading operations. He is a proven leader with an extraordinarily diverse background capable of mastering the science of any industry standard. Rich possesses an uncanny ability to motivate and lead world-class individuals and multi-dimensional organizational teams under pressure, worldwide, while assessing and mitigating the risk to the organization. He has a Master of Military Art and Science, Master of Business Administration, and is a bilingual English-Spanish speaker.

Rich is employed as Director of Operations for Jacobs Technology, Mission Operations Group (MOG), located in Tampa, FL. Jacobs' MOG is dedicated to special operations, intelligence, and IT support. The $12B company delivers solutions and services focused on operational mission planning and execution support, special-mission training, intelligence analysis, IT, cyber-security, data management, and the acquisition and support of related technologies and systems.

Arthur Kandarian


Board Member

Arthur Kandarian

Board Member

Art Kandarian is a US Army Veteran with over 27 years of active duty service with the United States Army as an Infantry Officer in Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger and Special Operations units. He led platoons and commanded companies, a battalion and he also commanded the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He led the Brigade, known as Combined Task Force Strike during the President’s surge into Afghanistan from 2010-2011. Combine Task Force Strike earned the Presidential Unit Citation and Valorous Unit award for exceptional gallantry in action in a decisive fight.
Art’s last assignment in the Army was as the Chief of Staff for the Special Operations Joint Task Force / NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan.

Over the course of his military career he deployed on eight combat deployments to Panama, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan and is a Silver Star Recipient.

After retiring from the US Army, he worked as the Senior Vice President for Business Development for two years with Combined Insurance, a Chubb Company in Chicago, Illinois. Art then worked as the Senior Director of Supply Chain, then as Vice President of Operations for APR Energy, a global fast track power company in Jacksonville, Florida.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in East Asian Studies from Washington and Lee University and a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the Air War College.

Art has been on the Board of Directors for the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation since 2007 and is an active supporter, avid outdoorsman and woodsman. “Some of the wounded Soldiers who served under my command have been served by the WWIAF as part of their healing and I know this foundation has helped them. I believe strongly in the foundation’s mission to Honor, Connect and Heal!”

Mark Broda


Secretary

Mark Broda

Secretary

Mark Broda is a US Air Force Purple Heart veteran. Enlisting in the USAF in 1992, he honorably served 4+ years as a Survival Equipment Specialist and served 2 tours to the Middle East in Turkey supporting Operation Provide Comfort and in Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Southern Watch where he was injured in the Khobar Towers bombing.

He graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Computer Technology in 2003 and started his IT career with IBM before finding his way back into Federal Civil Service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is currently with the Department of Veterans Affairs, OI&T managing project requirements.

As a veteran and an employee of the VA he has a very vested and passionate interest in serving his fellow veterans. After attending a WWIA event in 2012 he got involved with the organization as an Associate. He continually leads 3-5 WWIA events each year and participates in several fundraising activities. He has proven to be a valued Associate and a trusted leader to the foundation.

As a Board Member, Mark is continuing to lead WWIA in its mission to serve our Nation's combat-Wounded Warriors.

Karen D. McDaniel, Esq.


Legal Counsel and Board Member

Karen D. McDaniel, Esq.

Legal Counsel and Board Member

Karen McDaniel serves as pro bono legal counsel to Wounded Warriors in Action, and is also a Board Member. Karen was admitted to the practice of law in 1988, and is licensed in both the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Karen is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin law school, cum laude.

Karen is presently in private practice as a partner at the law firm of Briggs and Morgan. During her nearly 30-year career, Karen has not only run and managed her own legal practice, but has also served as legal counsel to the largest medical device manufacturer in the world. She brings her extensive legal expertise and her diverse business background to the WWIA.

Karen has deep experience in negotiating agreements and resolving complex business disputes. She is a recognized leader in the law. In 2012, she was named as one of Minnesota Lawyer's Attorneys of the Year. In 2013, she was named a ‘2013 Top Rated Lawyer' by American Lawyer Media and Marthindale-Hubbell™. She holds an AV Preeminient® peer review rating, the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.

Karen comes from a military family, with a number of veterans who have served our Nation. She supports the work of WWIA in all its various aspects, but in particular she focuses on the business and legal needs of the organization. She solidly believes in the mission of WWIA, and is proud to be connected to this growing, grass-roots organization that is helping to heal the spirits of our combat-wounded Purple Heart veterans.

John McDaniel


Founder and CEO

John McDaniel

Founder and CEO

John McDaniel, Founder and CEO:

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John J. McDaniel served on active duty in the United States Army from November of 1987 to November of 2007. John is a decorated combat veteran, former Infantry Officer, Airborne Ranger, and Master Parachutist with a Special Operations background.

Shortly before his military career ended, John began taking wounded veterans on fishing trips in the Florida Keys and in Tampa Bay. What once was a grassroots initiative has now developed into an ever-growing national charity, the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation. Although retired from active duty, John says of his work, "I'm not done serving. We simply can't do enough for these tremendous Purple Heart Heroes."

A Master of Business Administration, John is a successful entrepreneur, business developer, and former CEO in the private sector. In addition to his work with the Foundation, John is a certified US Coast Guard Captain, a senior certified USA Hockey coach, an outdoor enthusiast, avid sportsman and conservationist. John lives in Apollo Beach, FL and is blessed by his two sons Dylan and Luke with whom he enjoys spending time exploring the great outdoors and various other sporting activities.

John Keeney

John Keeney

Hometown - Dawsonville, GA
Branch of Service - USMC
Rank - Sgt
Awards - Purple Heart, Navy Achievement Metal with Combat Valor, Combat Action, Presidents Unit Citation and several other Unit Citations
Theater - Iraq

John began his obsession with the outdoors at a very young age. Growing up in Dawsonville GA gave him the opportunity to chase multiple types of game and fish. After graduating from Dawson County High School in 2001 he enlisted into the Marine Corps. In February 2003 he was deployed to Kuwait. He was attached to 1/5 and 2nd Tanks as they invaded Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On April 10, 2003 as we were taking Saddam's Presidential Palace he was shot in the elbow. After many surgeries and years of physical therapy, He is doing great. The best therapy he has found has been the outdoors. He is now a Manager at Tyson Foods in Cumming GA. He married his high school sweetheart Kellie Keeney and is raising two amazing children Kendall and Kolton.

Nathan Allen

Nathan Allen

Nathan Allen grew up with a passion for the outdoors as a country boy from God’s country (Iowa). With limited resources, he was either fishing, hunting, or studying fishing/hunting. He also trained hunting dogs on upland birds, thoroughly enjoyed watching the dogs work the fields. After graduating high school, he went to college for a year, but it wasn’t his forte. He enlisted in the military as an Infantryman and upon graduating basic was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Nathan deployed from 2010-2011 to Kunar Province, Afghanistan. After a long year, his platoon was fifteen days away from coming home when he was wounded while going after a fellow wounded soldier. Back stateside in the hospital, fellow WWIA associate Jacob Whipkey told him to apply for a hunt with WWIA. He had nothing else to do at the time while lying in a hospital bed, so he did. Nathan says this was one of the greatest decisions of his life.

Nathan’s first WWIA hunt was the MO/KAN Ducks and Bucks, and it was everything he possibly could dream about in one hunt. Being able to meet the founder John McDaniel and listen to him speak about the organization and how it helps wounded veterans inspired Nathan to get more involved. Afterwards he began spreading the word about WWIA and helping with some fundraising on behalf of the Foundation. He enjoys seeing these Warriors go on the hunts and have a great time, watching their body language change from hesitant to “heck yeah man, let’s go!” is truly a blessing in disguise. Nathan is proud to be an Associate of such an amazing brotherhood that helps our nation’s Heroes.

Joe Liddell

Joe Liddell

Hometown - Philomath, Oregon
Branch of Service - Army
Rank - Captain
Awards - Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge, German Armed Forces Badge (Gold) and Schützenschnur (Gold).
Theater - Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman

Joe Liddell enlisted on 23 October 2001 in the Army as an Artilleryman and transferred to Infantry in 2003. He was commissioned in 2005 as a Tactical Intelligence Officer and deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005. Jonah attended Intelligence Officer Basic Course from September 2005-April-2006 and deployed to Afghanistan from April 2006- May 2007, where he was injured in combat. Joe completed the Captains Career Course with branch transfer to Maneuver (Infantry and Armor) in 2009 and way deployed to Iraq from April 2009- August 2010, then again for joint training in Oman from January – February, 2012. Jonah became a Commander of a Cavalry Troop in Redmond, OR, where he began the process for Military Medical Evaluation Board/Physical Evaluation Board December 2012 (medically retired 30 September 2015).

Dixon Gunther


Senior Outdoor Instructor and Advisor

Dixon Gunther

Senior Outdoor Instructor and Advisor

Dixon M. Gunther is WWIA’s Senior Outdoor Instructor and Adviser. A retired United States Army Colonel, Dixon culminated his 25 year career as an Infantry officer in JUL 2012. He is a decorated combat veteran whose assignments included service in the 1st Cavalry Division, 2nd, 6th, and 25th Infantry Divisions, and the 101st Airborne Division, along with various TRADOC, International Exchange Officer, and Joint assignments.

His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (second award), Combat Infantryman’s Badge (second award), and the coveted Ranger Tab. He holds a Master of Science degree in Adult, Occupational, and Continuing Education from Kansas State University.

Dixon is also a musician, outdoorsman, as well as a certified NRA Rifle and Shotgun Instructor, and an avid competitive shooter. Dixon is married to the former Katie McSheffrey. They have two sons and a daughter, and currently reside in San Antonio, TX.

Keith Tidball


Science Advisor

Keith Tidball

Science Advisor

Dr. Keith Tidball, of Cornell University's Department of Natural Resources, serves as Science Advisor for WWIA.

Tidball, an avid hunter and angler and licensed NY State Guide, enlisted in the Michigan National Guard in 1990 as an E1 Infantryman, 38th ID. He was selected for Officer Candidate School, which he completed in 1993 at Fort Knox. He served as an Infantry platoon leader until receiving a career-ending eye injury. Despite the injury, Tidball continued his service by becoming an International Affairs specialist in the Foreign Service (USDA/FAS/ICD), where he served as a Subject Matter Expert in natural resources management in conflict and disaster settings throughout the world.

Today, Tidball serves as Assistant Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension for Veterans, Military Families, and Disaster Education, and as a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Natural Resources, where he conducts research, extension, and outreach activities in the area of ecological dimensions of human security. Tidball also volunteers as a member of the Brigade staff of the 10th Brigade, New York Guard and is a life member of the American Legion.

Nichole Veesaert


Executive Assistant

Nichole Veesaert

Executive Assistant

Nichole Veesaert is WWIA’s Executive Assistant. An integral part of WWIA’s Headquarters in Apollo Beach, Nichole provides event support, processes and allocates donations, and ensures everything runs smoothly behind the scenes.

Nichole is originally from Clarks Summit, PA. She graduated from Millersville University with a BSEd in Mathematics and taught for a year in rural North Carolina. After moving a few times, she ended up in Tampa, FL, working in Payroll for a staffing company. In 2011 she joined the WWIA staff and loved the variety of tasks she did at that time. In 2012 she felt a strong call to go back to the classroom and taught Middle School Math for three years, returning to WWIA in 2015.

When Nichole isn’t working for WWIA, she volunteers weekly at church, does a lot of crafting, and loves traveling. She currently lives with her husband Robert and their dog Ralphie in Apollo Beach.

Nichole loves being back with the Foundation because each day she is doing something that has the potential to positively affect someone. No two days are the same--there is always so much going on! The best part of any day is calling a Hero or reading a testimonial that talks about how transforming an event can be. She feels lucky knowing that she is part of something that can have such a tremendous impact on our Nation’s combat-wounded veterans.

David Kelber


Mission Support Specialist

David Kelber

Mission Support Specialist

David Kelber is our Mission Support Specialist. He provides comprehensive event support, including: thank you letters and recognition gifts to event supporters; social media admin; event newsletter content and press releases.
David has worked the past twenty years with at-risk youth and families, and is now honored to be working on behalf of Purple Heart Heroes as a part of the WWIA team. He holds an Undergraduate Degree in Theology, and a Master’s Degree in Human Services Counseling/Leadership. David’s most coveted title; however, is being a husband to his wife Denise, and a father to his four children Kari, Gabriel, David Jr and Ember. In his spare time, David enjoys spending time with his family, working out, and enjoying the great outdoors.

Corrina Bea Hart


Logistics Coordinator and Hero Engagement Specialist

Corrina Bea Hart

Logistics Coordinator and Hero Engagement Specialist

Corrina Hart, our Logistics Coordinator and Hero Engagement Specialist, ensures our operations run smoothly and that we provide the best services possible to our Purple Heart recipients.

She is the proud daughter of a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran who succumbed to his wounds in June of 2009, and sister of a career Air Force senior NCO (retired). An accomplished sportsman herself, having owned and operated a hunting and fishing guide service for nearly 10 years, Corrina has an intimate understanding of what's entailed in making our events successful. She is honored to have such a critical role in an organization that gives so much back to our wounded veterans.

In addition to her work with WWIA, Corrina is a Volunteer Firefighter/EMT currently residing in Idaho. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and grandson.

John Moline

John Moline

Email: info@innandoutcharters.com

Phone: 907-224-5356

Representing: Inn and Out Charters

Website: http://www.innandoutcharters.com/

Service Provided to the WWIA: WWIA fishing guide and host of our Alaska Halibut event, John Moline is an avid hunter and loves fishing. He grew up in Holcombe, WI, then moved to Seward, AK in 1996 after 10+ years in the U.S. Navy. John is the owner of INN and OUT Charters, Inc. and Kenai Fjords B&B, both in Seward. He has enjoyed charter fishing since 2003, which he treats like a hobby, not a job, so it’s still fun. He recently dropped from 3 boats to just 1 so he can enjoy life again.

Doug McMann

Doug McMann

Email: skinnercreek@telus.net

Phone: 1-250-476-1288

Representing: Skinner Creek Hunts

Service Provided to the WWIA: Hunting guide and event host

Living in the West Chilcotin on the edge of the Coastal Mountains in British Columbia, Doug and Julie McMann along with their two children Colton and Courtney, enjoy the outdoor lifestyle of hunting, fishing and horseback riding.

Their guide service, Skinner Creek Hunts, caters to small groups of hunters and individual hunters who stay in one of three modern log cabins, equipped with a wood stove, hot water and electricity.

This awesome part of British Columbia hosts an abundance of wildlife which can be hunted during the spring, fall and winter seasons, including mule deer, Canadian moose, mountain goat, black bear, cougar and lynx.

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

Email: richard.wright@wwiaf.org

Phone: 740-606-5559

Representing: Charter fishing for Lake Erie

Service Provided to the WWIA: Fishing Guide

Richard joined the U.S. Army in 1989 and was stationed at Ft Bragg NC, and is now still serving in the Ohio Army National Guard. He served in Desert Shield/Storm as well as in OIF II as a Combat Engineer.

Richard’s passion is to spend hours on Lake Erie fishing for Walleye and the walleye fish family. He didn't get into fishing the big waters of Lake Erie until 2000, but has been hooked on big water walleyes ever since. Starting in 2010, he began fishing in many of the walleye tournaments in that area.

Richard is a valued volunteer at WWIA. He promotes the Foundation by wearing the logo at nationally televised fishing tournaments as well as sharing program information. He also contributes time by setting up information tables at Combined Federal Campaign fairs and Ohio State Employee Campaign events.

Tim Fischer

Tim Fischer

Email: tim.fischer@wwiaf.org

Phone: 740-606-5559

Representing: Wisconsin Fishing Guide

Service Provided to the WWIA: Fishing Guide

Wherever his angling adventures lead him, Tim Fischer is dedicated to achieving, then sharing, a profound understanding of the fishery. A lifelong angler, Tim was introduced to the art of fly fishing at an early age. Since that time, it has been his primary drive and passion. He divides the year guiding for musky and steelhead in northwest Wisconsin, managing a premier flats fishing lodge on the Yucatan Peninsula and guiding clients to rising trout on the Henry's Fork in Idaho. Tim's fly fishing knowledge, patience and even-keeled disposition make for a great day on the water for novice and advanced fly anglers alike.

Chris Willen

Chris Willen

Email: chris@chriswillen.com

Phone: 847-878-4781

Representing: Chris Willen Guide Service

Website: http://www.chriswillen.com

Service Provided to the WWIA: Musky Guide

Chris Willen has been musky fishing for well over a decade, from the freestone rivers of the Upper Midwest to the limestone rivers of the Cumberland plateau and most places in between. One of the things he has enjoyed the most is sharing the sport of fishing with others, which is why he began Chris Willen Guide Service.

Chris specializes in hunting wild, native musky in the beautiful lakes, rivers and flowages of northern Wisconsin. A knowledgeable and innovative angler, he can customize a day on the water to match any skill set, from beginning musky fly anglers just getting started in the sport to more experienced anglers looking to sharpen their skills with fresh methods and new approaches.

Chris's guide service offers all-day and half-day float trips on beautiful Northwoods watersheds; he also offers multiple boat trips to accommodate larger groups.

Capt. Joel Brandenburg

Capt. Joel Brandenburg

Email: anabananafishing@earthlink.net

Phone: 813-267-4401

Representing: Anabanana Fishing Company

Website: http://www.anabananafishing.com

Service Provided to the WWIA: Florida Fishing Guide

Memberships: USCG Certified & Approved

Captain Joel is a native Floridian and Southwest Coast resident. He has fished and hunted the globe from Africa to Argentina, Australia to Hawaii, Costa Rica to Canada, Bahamas to Mexico, Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico along with many other areas. After his vast experience of different lands and waters, he is convinced the world's most epic fishing adventures are right here in the gulf and bay waters! Let Captain Joel prove to you that this is unequivocally the true sportsman's epicenter!

In addition to his guide service, Joel runs and participates in a number of charitable fishing tournaments throughout Tampa Bay, and is the Head Captain of WWIA’s Purple Heart of the Bay Charity Fishing Tournament.

John Carlson

John Carlson

Email: john.carlson@wwiaf.org

Phone: 715-339-3625

Representing: Ross's Sport Shop & Guide Service

Website: https://rosssonline.com/

Service Provided to the WWIA: Musky Fishing Guide

John grew up on the shores of the Phillips Chain of Lakes and can't remember a time that he wasn't chasing Musky. He started working at the local sport shop when he was 16 and bought Ross's Sport Shop 5 months after getting out of high school.

Ross’s Sports Shop & Guide Service supplies all gear needed: Tooth Tamer or Deep South Fishing Rods, Shimano Reels, Quality Lures from Dreamcatcher - Bobbie Bait - Doetails - and many other popular companies, PFDs in the summer and Power Auger, Portable Shacks, Electronics, Rods, Tackle, Tip-ups for ice fishing along with any live bait needed. If you need it and don't have it, they will.

Milt Yagel

Milt Yagel

1SG (Ret.) Milt Yagel served over twenty years in the U.S. Army. He lives in Theresa, NY with his lovely wife Heidi and their two boys, Milton Alan and Mason Lee.

Milt retired after serving our country at Fort Stewart, GA; Camp Carroll, Korea; Fort Hood, TX; Fort Lewis, WA; Fort Knox, KY; and Fort Drum, NY. He was deployed to Kuwait in 1994 and Egypt in 1995. His last deployment was as a Platoon Sergeant to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom VI and VII (FEB 2006- FEB 2007).

During his last deployment, he served as a Recon Scout Platoon Sergeant. At which time he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (BSM), Purple Heart (PH) for wounds, and the Combat Action Badge (CAB).

He was injured most significantly on September 11, 2006 when a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) his his truck and detonated inside the cab of the vehicle. As a result, he retained shrapnel to his right neck, shoulder, and hip, initially. He worked numerous incidents, troop in contact, quick reaction details and medivacs. He lost three Soldiers and our Squadron Commander to a helicopter crash. The remaining five (including Milt) secured the site and recovered their brothers to include the six crewmen of the Chinook.

Throughout Milt's career he was awarded the BSM, Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) 2nd award, Purple Heart (PH), Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) 5th award, Army Achievement Medal (AAM) 4th award, Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) 2nd award, Army Superiour Unit (ASU) 2nd award, Army Good Conduct Medal (AGCM) 6th award, National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) 2nd award, South West Asia Service Medal (SWA) with Bronze Service Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (ACM) wtih two campaign stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (GWOTSM), Korean Defense Service Medal (KDSM), Overseas Service Ribbon (OSR) 2nd award, NATO Medal, Combat Action Badge (CAB), Driver and Mechanic Badge with driver wheeled vehicles. He was also awarded the prestigious Order of Saint George Bronze Medallion and three sets of silver spurs on the coveted pair of gold spurs.

Timothy Spence

Timothy Spence

Hometown - Littleton, NC
Branch of Service - NC Army National Guard
Rank - Master Sergeant
Awards - Purple Heart
Theater - OIF

Tim has been an Associate with WWIA since 2010 and graduated the Inaugural WWIA Guide School in 2016. With a great love of the outdoors, there is no better way to continue his service than helping with WWIA.

Crystal Masek

Crystal Masek

Hometown: Columbia, MO
Branch: United States Army Reserves
Rank: Master Sergeant MSG
Awards: Purple Heart, Silver De Fleury Medal, Combat Action Badge
Memberships: AMVE - Ameren Military Veteran Employees
Theater: Operation Enduring Freedom

Crystal has served in the Army Reserves now for twenty years. She was in a transportation tractor trailer unit for first 10 years, moved on to an Engineer Instructor unit for 6 years following that, then went on to be the First Sergeant of a Drill Sergeant company for a two-year tenure. She received her Purple Heart medal for shrapnel wounds to the neck when an RPG collided with her truck while in Iraq.
On the civilian side, Crystal was a union commercial/industrial electrician for 12 years. With her Army experience in the Reserves, she decided it more fit for her to be a leader in all aspects of her life. She decided to apply for an Electrical Supervisor position at a Nuclear Facility where she had previously worked under a local contractor. She was eventually hired on and has now held that position for five years.
Crystal has been blessed with a daughter who is now 15 years old. She enjoys hunting and fishing with her at times whenever the other teenager activities are not taking over her life. Mostly, Crystal enjoys teaching her and watching her grow into the young woman that she is.
Crystal appreciates most anything outdoors. She especially enjoys new experiences and traveling. She loves to bow hunt but would use almost any means available if it were a challenge and she could eat it. She finds it exciting to learn from others what she has not yet learned on her own, and possibly share with them some of her experiences in return.
After going on an event with WWIA, Crystal felt a desire to do something more. She wanted to give back just as it had been done for her. She is looking forward to the opportunities this program will afford her as well as others along the way.

New Friends
New Experiences
In this together, all the way.

Pat Corcoran

Pat Corcoran

Sergeant Major(R) Pat Corcoran
Pat Corcoran, originally born and raised in Denver, Colorado, joined the United States Army in 1986, and served for 28 years at multiple duty locations. During that period, he served multiple combat tours, and received the Purple Heart Medal after being critically injured serving overseas in support of the Global War on Terrorism. After multiple operations and nearly a year hospitalized, he bares permanent wounds from the injuries. Pat has been married to his wife, Becky, for 25 years and they live with their two sons TJ and Patrick.

Jacob “Jake” Whipkey

Jacob “Jake” Whipkey

Jake Whipkey served five years in the U.S. Army, 101st ABN division, stationed at Fort Campbell Kentucky. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds he received while serving his second tour in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This tour was cut short on November 18, 2007, when he was wounded while under fire in Samara, Iraq.

After being medically retired in December of 2009, Whipkey retured to Boswell, PA his home town where he lives today. He joined WWIA in 2010 and has been leading numerous events across the country ever since. Jake is a successful fisherman and hunter and has harvested small game, turkeys, wild boar, white tail deer and bear in his hunting lifetime.

Derek VanBuren

Derek VanBuren

Hometown - Negaunee, MI
Branch of Service - US Army and Michigan Army National Guard
Rank - Staff Sergeant
Awards - Bronze star, Purple Heart x 2 , ARCOM w/valor, ARCOM
Theater - OEF

Derek was born and raised in the small rural town of Skanee in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula on February 6th, 1980. Over the years he learned about the outdoors from his father, grandfather, and several other relatives and friends. He loved to hunt, fish and trap from an early age and his passion for all things outdoors continues to this day. While attending college, he worked as a hunting guide, which broadened his interest in hunting, especially bow hunting. He attended his first WWIA event at Camp Hackett, Wisconsin in the fall of 2010 and had a blast.

Derek joined the Active Army in July of 1998 and was deployed to Afghanistan from Nov 2008 until July 2009. While deployed, he and other members of his crew were wounded by an RPG during an intense firefight. He then spent some time in Lundstuhl, Germany, Walter Reed Army Hospital, and the Warrior Transition Unit while recovering from wounds, for which he received the Purple Heart medal.

Today he lives in Negaunee, MI, with his wife Katie and two children Eli and Amelia. He enjoys stream fishing for Brook Trout, fishing Lake Superior for Lake Trout, Predator Hunting, grouse and small game hunting, Bow hunting of all kinds, and most anything outdoors.

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith

Hometown - Slate Hill NY
Branch of Service - US Army
Rank - E4 Specialist
Awards - Purple Heart
Theater - Iraq

Jeremy served 2-1/2 years in the U.S. Army with the 101st Airborne Division. In 2006 he was injured by mortar shrapnel in Baghdad, Iraq, and was awarded the Purple Heart. After several surgeries and months of physical therapy, he was medically retired from service.
Jeremy is currently working as a Land Manager just East of Richmond, Virginia. Hunting and fishing have always been a part of his life, but it never played such an important role until now. Since leaving the military, Jeremy has found special solace in the conservation of the outdoors, and the tranquility and peace it provides.

Jeremy attended his first WWIA event in 2011 and graduated from the Inaugural WWIA Guide School in 2016. He has been an active member of WWIA, leading events all over the country.

Tyson Scott

Tyson Scott

Hometown: Amarillo, TX
Branch: USMC
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Awards: Purple Heart, Navy Achievement Medals, etc
Theater: Iraq

Tyson Scott joined the United States Marine Corps in July of 2003 and served just under 10 years. As a Staff Sergeant, Tyson held various positions at Camp Pendleton, California, as well as a recruiting duty tour in South Houston until late 2012. During Tyson's first deployment to Iraq in 2006, in support of the CASEVAC mission, a 120mm mortar landed a couple feet away, causing injuries for which he received his Purple Heart. Since leaving the Marine Corps in late 2012, Tyson moved home to Amarillo, TX. He worked for Bell helicopter building V/CV-22's for the Marine Corps and Air Force.

Tyson became a WWIA Associate in 2015 and graduated from the Inaugural WWIA Guide School in 2016. He travels the country serving his fellow Wounded Warriors. He is an avid outdoorsman who loves to hunt and fish whenever he can.

Ed Reed

Ed Reed

After serving in the US Army and retiring at the rank of Colonel after 28 years of service with many decorations, including a Purple Heart, Ed Reed joined the civilian work force but continued to serve others. He started as a Program Manager for the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, where he served for 7 years. He then moved onto a position with The Terrorism Research Center as a Senior Director and was responsible for many aspect of that organization, including training others on terrorist’s mindsets and ideologies. Finally, he founded his own Emergency Management Company where he assists with coordination of emergency management situations in over 14 major cities. As an Associate, Ed continues his quest to assist others in need by helping Wounded Warriors who join WWIA.

Grady Rakestraw

Grady Rakestraw

Grady Rakestraw was born and raised in Western Oklahoma, where he currently resides with his wife and two children. He grew up as a small town farm kid who loved the outdoors and hunting. After high school he joined the United States Marine Corps, where he proudly served with 1st Battalion 7th Marines as an Infantry Squad Leader and was deployed to Iraq in 2003.

Grady joined team WWIA in 2016 and looks forward to giving back to his fellow combat-wounded veterans. As a husband and father, he has found a new passion in sharing the outdoors and helping others experience the thrill of what it has to offer.

Jeremy Lake

Jeremy Lake

Jeremy Lake was born and raised in York, PA. He joined the Untied States Marine Corps in 2004 right out of high school. Jeremy went on his first deployment to Iraq in early 2005, where he received his first Purple Heart from injuries sustained from a suicide bomber. When he returned from his deployment he received orders to MARSOC for a trailer Platoon and was deployed again in 2007, this time to Afghanistan.

Once back in the US, Josh attended the Basic School in Quantico, VA, to teach officers the basic tactics of an Infantry Leader. During this time he met his wife Leah and fell in love and they had their first boy in 2009. Shortly after, Jeremy deployed back to Afghanistan as a Police Advisor in 2011. On this deployment he received his second Purple Heart from injuries sustained from an IED blast. While Jeremy was in Afghanistan, his wife had gave birth to their 2nd son. When he returned home, he went to the Wounded Warrior Battalion where he received care. During this time, he stayed active with the Battalion and Regiment, competing in events like the Marine Corps Trials and the Warrior Games. In 2014 he was nominated for Recovery Service Member of the Year and in 2015, he was Medically Retired from the Marine Corps.

Jeremy is an avid outdoorsman and joined WWIA as an Associate in 2016.

Joshua Krueger

Joshua Krueger

Staff Sergeant Joshua Krueger was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating high school in 1997 he enlisted into the United States Marine Corps where he attended basic training in San Diego California. After completion of his basic training he was assigned to first battalion fifth marines as an anti-tank guided missile man. He was deployed with his unit to numerous locations around the globe to include Australia, East Timor, Okinawa, and Egypt. After completion of his tour with the fifth marines Josh was reassigned to the second marine expeditionary force as a detail leader for a twenty-five-man unit responsible for the safety of high ranking officials within the Iraqi theatre of operations.

On February 28,2005 Josh's detail was struck by an Improvised explosive device. Josh was critically wounded by the blast and medevacked immediately to Ballad, Iraq where he was triaged and stabilized as best as possible. He was then sent to Landstuhl, Germany and ultimately to the National Naval Medical Center where most his care would be rendered. After numerous surgeries, Josh completed rehabilitation and was medically retired from the USMC on November 26, 2007

Josh now lives in Hubertus, Wisconsin with his wife and twin daughters where he works as an operations manager for a fire protection company. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves fishing, hunting and spending time with his family.

Jason Johns

Jason Johns

Jason Johns is an avid outdoorsman who has been fishing since he was 3 years old, and hunting since he was old enough to get his hunter’s safety certification at the young age of 12.

Jason served in the WI Army National Guard and United States Army Reserves from 1994-2002. In February 2003 his Army National Guard unit, the 229th Combat Support Engineers, were mobilized for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He voluntarily left his civilian life and re-enlisted to join them during their combat tour with the 4th Infantry Division from 2003-04. On the morning of 26 Oct 2003, while assuming control of a checkpoint north of Samarra, Johns and a fellow squad member were wounded by the detonation of an anti-tank land mine planted by enemy forces. He completed his tour of duty in April 2004, earning a Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, Army Commendation Medal, War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal and the Armed Forces Reserves Medal with an “M” for meritorious service.

In the years since his return from Iraq, Jason has worked in state government relations and lobbying, eventually establishing his own firm, Wisconsin Legislative Strategies, Inc, in 2009. Jason was appointed by Governor Scott Walker in 2010 to serve in his cabinet as the Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. He did so until 2012. He served 3 years as commander of his local VFW Post and currently serves as the state Legislative Officer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Co-Chair of the VFW Legislative Committee, and the Vice-Chair of the American Legion Legislative committee. Jason also served as the National Judge Advocate for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, U.S.A.(MOPH) from 2014-16 and is currently the National Senior Vice-Commander of the MOPH. Jason, his wife Carin, their twin daughters Abby & Ellie, and their son William currently reside 10 miles outside of Madison on 12 acres of hunting and rural paradise.

Bryan Gray

Bryan Gray

Bryan served 12 years in the U.S. Army, being medically retired after encountering an IED blast in January 2006, while serving in Iraq. Having been raised in southwest Ohio, he and his family chose northern Cincinnati as home as they began to build their new, post-military life together. After completing school, and growing a career in healthcare administration, Bryan and his family now call North Georgia home.

Since early childhood, one of Bryan’s passions has been the outdoors. As an avid fisher, hunter, and camper, he is always looking to build on his knowledge and experience of the wildlife around him. He will be the first to tell you – he still has a lot of learning to do! Being introduced to the WWIA has provided a huge positive reinforcement to all his passions: the outdoors, camaraderie and giving back to his fellow combat-wounded vets.

Jon French

Jon French

Jon French grew up on a farm in Michigan's rural farming country. His passion for the outdoors was fostered by his parents who actively took him and his siblings hunting, fishing and made sure they spent a lot of time in the outdoors. Jon graduated with a BS and MS in civil engineering and played Division 1 varsity hockey for Michigan Technological University. He enlisted as a combat engineer in the Michigan Army National Guard. Along with several men in his unit, he was wounded in action during an enemy engagement on July 19, 2009 in Afghanistan's RC East region when he was struck in the chest with a rocket propelled grenade (RPG).

Jon still serves on active duty status out of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He attributes his mental and emotional recovery to his family, friends, and support from the local community; time spent outdoors hunting, fishing; and helping other veterans. Serving as a WWIA Associate, Jon hopes his military brothers and sisters will also benefit from the camaraderie and time spent in the outdoors as much he has.

He currently lives with his wife and two young sons in Michigan's Western Upper Peninsula, where he works as a civil engineer/project manager, a farrier (trims and shoes horse hooves) and engineered/manufactures/distributes the French Visually Impaired Sighting System (a firearm sighting system for visually impaired outdoorsmen/women). Jon is also a certified State of Michigan Hunter Safety Program instructor and a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), VFW and the American Legion.

Nick Fox

Nick Fox

Nick Fox retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2015. A machine gunner by trade, he served in infantry units within the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Divisions from the rank of Private First Class to First Sergeant. He retired as a Sergeant Major within the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing. During his career, he deployed 12 times, including, deployments to Iraq (3x), Afghanistan (x2) and Yemen. In 2004 he was awarded the Purple Heart, twice, while deployed to Iraq.

Nick lives in North Carolina with his beautiful wife and two daughters.

Gabriel Fierros

Gabriel Fierros

Gabriel Fierros was born and raised in Marengo, a small town in northern Illinois. He joined the Army after high school in June 1998 and was deployed to Iraq three times during his service. On his first deployment in 2003, he was injured by a grenade explosion during a riot on Highway 8 near Baghdad. He received a shrapnel wound to his leg and stayed in country to heal. After thirty days, he continued his tour.

His third deployment to Iraq began in 2006. he was injured in a helicopter crash 20 miles outside of Baghdad. He received additional shrapnel injuries and wounds to his left eye and nasal passages. He was sent to Walter Reed Medical Center in DC for 7 months of treatment, during which time he was diagnosed with a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. After treatment at Walter Reed, he was sent back to his post in Alaska and placed in a Warrior Transition Unit to continue his care until he was medically retired from the Army. Once retired, he worked in Anchorage, Alaska as a contractor for the Army until March 2012. Then he relocated to northeast Pennsylvania and took a federal position with Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Gabriel initially heard about WWIA from one of the guys in his unit. His first trip was duck hunting in southwestern Ohio. It was relaxing to be around like-minded people who understood his experiences and the level of camaraderie was just what he needed. Gabriel now leads WWIA events and enjoys giving back to his fellow Wounded Warriors. He currently resides with his wife and son in Long Pond, PA.

Derek Duplisea

Derek Duplisea

Hometown - Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Branch of Service - US Army
Rank - Sergeant 1st Class
Awards -BSM, PHM, numerous other Operational Awards and Commendations. US & Canadian Airborne Qualified AATW!
Theater - Iraq

Derek is originally from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada but was born in the USA. Derek served a total of 5 years with the 1st Battalion, Royal New Brunswick Regiment (Carleton & York) as an infantryman, leaving the Canadian Armed Forces as a master corporal before enlisting in the US Army.
During his second tour in Iraq, Derek was leading a patrol with 2nd platoon, Able Troop, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, when his unit was hit by a female suicide bomber and heavy small arms fire. The blast detonated within feet of the dismounted members of the platoon, severely wounding Derek and three of his Soldiers. He spent two years recovering from his wounds before medically retiring from the Army.
Derek has been a WWIA Associate since 2010 and leads events all over the USA and Canada. He graduated from the Inaugural WWIA Guide School in 2016. He is married to his Canadian sweetheart Andrea and has four wonderful children. He loves to spend his free time traveling, hiking, camping, hunting & fishing with friends and family. Derek holds a BS in Criminal Justice from Troy University and an MBA from University of Phoenix. Derek and his family live in Maine. AATW!

Mark Broda

Mark Broda

Hometown - Avon, IN
Branch of Service - USAF
Rank - Senior Airman (E-4)
Awards - Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation, Air Force Achievement
Theater - Southwest Asia

Mark was born in NW Indiana and has a lifelong passion for fishing. He has been an Associate with WWIA since 2012, leading events and fundraisers and graduated from the 2nd Annual WWIA Guide School in 2017. He thoroughly enjoys the work he does with the Foundation and has met some incredible friends (now family) along the way.

After completing his enlistment, he graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Technology and has been in the Information Technology field ever since, currently with the Department of Veterans Affairs as an IT Specialist.

Doug Alderton

Doug Alderton

Doug Alderton was born and raised in Rhinelander WI, where he developed a true love and passion for bow hunting and fishing from an early age. He joined the Army after high school and in 2008/2009 was deployed with the 951st Sapper Company to Afghanistan to conduct route clearance missions. In the early morning hours of Oct 1st into the morning of Oct 2nd his convoy came under heavy small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. Many of the trucks were struck and Doug, along with many other great soldiers, were wounded.

Upon returning home, Doug struggled with getting reintegrated back into society. He was even unable to enjoy the outdoors. After a time, a good friend got him involved with the WWIA and showed him that he was not alone. He saw that with the help of others dealing with the same issues, he could embrace his love of the outdoors and appreciate the things he could still do. Doug now leads WWIA muskie fishing events in his home state of Wisconsin.

Gerard Dempster


Chief of Staff

Gerard Dempster

Chief of Staff

Gerard Dempster (gerard@wwiaf.org) is responsible for coordinating the Foundation’s staff actions across a broad spectrum of events and activities; both administratively as well as operationally. A native of New York, Gerard served 26 years in the United States Marine Corps and retired in September of 2016 from US Special Operations Command. He is a Mustang Marine, combat decorated Infantry Officer, and Purple Heart recipient. He is an active volunteer with the USO and Big Brothers Big Sisters. In addition, he actively participates in numerous adaptive sports clinics and veterans social events with other wounded warriors. Gerard holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership from American Military University. His daughter Kaitlyn attends college in North Carolina.

John McDaniel


Founder and CEO

John McDaniel

Founder and CEO

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John J. McDaniel served on active duty in the United States Army from November of 1987 to November of 2007. John is a decorated combat veteran, former Infantry Officer, Airborne Ranger, and Master Parachutist with a Special Operations background.

Shortly before his military career ended, John began taking wounded veterans on fishing trips in the Florida Keys and in Tampa Bay. What once was a grassroots initiative has now developed into an ever-growing national charity, the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation. Although retired from active duty, John says of his work, "I'm not done serving. We simply can't do enough for these tremendous Purple Heart Heroes."

A Master of Business Administration, John is a successful entrepreneur, business developer, and former CEO in the private sector. In addition to his work with the Foundation, John is a certified US Coast Guard Captain, a senior certified USA Hockey coach, an outdoor enthusiast, avid sportsman and conservationist. John lives in Apollo Beach, FL and is blessed by his two sons Dylan and Luke with whom he enjoys spending time exploring the great outdoors and various other sporting activities.