NVF Leadership & Board of Directors
Floyd “Shad” Meshad, LCSW, CTS, TFTdx
President & Founder
For over 50 years, NVF Founder and President Shad Meshad has worked as a therapist for Veterans and an advocate for Veterans’ rights. After earning his master’s degree in psychiatric social work from Florida State University, he enlisted in the army in 1970 and served as a counselor for U.S. soldiers in Vietnam. On his return he was persuaded by the head of the VA's largest psychiatric hospital in the country to find out why Vets were not using VA facilities. His search for the answer took him into the streets of greater Los Angeles, its canyons and beaches, wherever Vets congregated.
Meshad founded and directed the Vietnam Veterans Re-Socialization Unit at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, California. It was the first program of its kind, focusing on the readjustment problems of Vietnam Veterans. During this time, Meshad was among the first to study the disorder now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
In 1977-78, he worked to develop and lobby for the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Bill. The following year, he founded the Vet Center Outreach Program, which now serves Veterans in more than 300 locations across the country.
In 1981, Meshad was nominated for the first Olin Teague Medal of Service Award. In 1982, he published a memoir of his experiences in Vietnam, Captain for Dark Mornings. In 1985, he founded the Vietnam Veterans Aid Foundation, which was later renamed the National Veterans Foundation to include all Veterans.
In 1988, he was sent to Russia to help counsel Russian Veterans from their war in Afghanistan, a connection that resulted in lifelong friendships. He returned to Russia a second time and later hosted Vets from Russia in Los Angeles, arranging for medical care and services for them.
Meshad served on the faculty of the International Critical Incident Foundation, as President and Board Member of the Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists and on the Board of Directors of the Green Cross Project. In the wake of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, Meshad was called upon by the U.S. government to help train the critical incident and trauma teams at Ground Zero.
Through Quantum Performance Institute, a firm he established in 2001, Meshad consults and teaches stress reduction and anger management techniques to mental health, law enforcement, and critical incident professionals. For several years, Shad’s regular blog at the Huffington Post addressed the issues returning Vets face while raising overall awareness of Veterans’ concerns.
He continues his work with Veterans in the Los Angeles area, helping them through the process of healing and readjustment, and training peer-to-peer counselors in trauma-informed training for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
The National Veterans Foundation runs street outreach missions to homeless Veterans in the LA area and continues to operate the nation’s first toll-free vet-to-vet crisis and information hotline, the Lifeline for Vets. Calls come in from all over the country and the world, wherever military service members are. Even from combat zones.
Meshad is the author of Captain for Dark Mornings, about his service in Vietnam as a Psych Officer.
NVF Board of Directors
Floyd "Shad" Meshad, LCSW/CTS*
President & Founder
Treasurer and Finance Chair