Micheal Washington, Director of Resources
Micheal Washington served in the Army’s 193rd infantry battalion from 1976-1979. Micheal has been working with the National Veterans Foundation for over 15 years as head of the resource department and as special assistant to Shad. Micheal is the go-to guy of the Foundation. His initiative and perseverance have kept the Foundation’s ability to support veterans all over the country at a peak. Micheal’s dedication and talent have spearheaded many of the Foundation’s fundraising events. He continues to be a major contributor to the Foundation’s realizing its mission.
“I especially like finding resources to provide food and clothing for homeless veterans and non-veterans with various programs throughout the Los Angeles area.”
Richard Rudnick, Director of Operations
Rich Rudnick served in the U.S. Navy from 1977 through 1983 as an Interior Communications Electrician’s Mate aboard the USS Manitowoc out of Little Creek, Virginia. After leaving the service, he worked as a bench tech and as a system specialist, designing multistory building heating and ventilation systems. For the last 15 years, he has worked for organizations serving the homeless. He joined the NVF in February 2007.
“I’m very happy and honored to have joined an organization with such a strong history of helping veterans.”
Bill Morgan, Development Director
The son of a retired USMC Master Sergeant, Bill Morgan is a non-profit fund raising professional and Veteran advocate with more than a dozen years leading organizations and their development efforts. Prior to being the Development Director at the National Veterans Foundation, Bill worked with Feed Our Vets, the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank, St. Anne’s Maternity Home, the Foundation for the Junior Blind and the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus.
”I’m proud to be part of the National Veterans Foundation’s work helping Veterans in need and their families. Our Veterans deserve all the help they can get transitioning back to civilian life.”
Gerald Hillard Jr II, Information Services Representative
Gerald Hillard joined the NVF as an Information Services Representative. He is a Los Angeles native and comes from a family of veterans. He got involved with the NVF to be part of a movement that can actually make a difference to improve the lives of veterans across the nation through our Hotline and Street Team.
“I am honored to be accepted by the NVF. And I am thankful they have given me the opportunity to help veterans who have risked their lives to serve this country.”
Mary Ann Mayer, MSW, ASW, Women Veteran Outreach Director
Mary Ann Mayer brings extensive experience working with veterans, most recently at New Directions on the VA Campus in West Los Angeles, where she conducted individual and group therapy for homeless men and women vets, including crisis intervention. Prior to that, she was with the Clare Foundation in Santa Monica, working with dual-diagnosis homeless adults, securing housing and providing individual and group therapy. Before that, she was a grants researcher and developed volunteer training programs for the Downtown Women’s Center on Skid Row, Los Angeles. She holds a degree in English and an MFA in creative writing. She completed her MSW at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Mary Ann’s father is a Navy combat vet who served in Korea and later joined the Air Force until his retirement. Her mother was an OR nurse in the Air Force. They met on an Air Force Base in Germany. Mary Ann married a Desert Storm Navy combat vet.
“As the daughter of two veterans, I am proud to serve my country by serving those who served. I have always believed in going the extra mile for each and every veteran that is seeking help. The mission of The National Veterans Foundation is in line with my personal ethics as well as my ethics as a social worker. I’m thrilled to be part of such a dedicated and compassionate team!”
Christina Noguera, Outreach Coordinator
Christina Noguera joined NVF this April. Christina served 6 years in the US Army as a Heavy Motor Transport Operator. Christina holds a degree in Geography and has a civilian background in freight. She is a tireless advocate for women veterans and has already assisted many with securing employment, benefits, and equitable access to VA services.
Apolonio “Apple” E. Muñoz III, Outreach Coordinator
Apolonio “Apple” E. Muñoz III, a disabled US Army OIF Veteran, launched the NVF’s Community Outreach Program when he was with us from 2009 – 2012. Untreated combat-related PTSD flared up and he left the NVF in 2012. He eventually became homeless, living in a Veteran Shelter in Hollywood. With help from the VA and other local providers, he found stable housing and is now on the Lived Experience Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). Prior to returning to the NVF, he worked for one of LA’s largest homeless providers as a Grant Compliance/Internal Auditor, responsible for 17 Veteran Programs in Los Angeles and Orange County. Before this, he was a Peer Support Specialist for the VA’s HUD-VASH Program where he helped homeless Veterans gain stable housing using local Section 8 Vouchers. Apple’s lived experience as both a combat vet and a homeless vet make him a very valuable member on our team. In addition to providing services and information on our Lifeline for Vets crisis hotline, he directs our Community Outreach. But that’s not all: he’s a volunteer, advisor and board member with several local, regional and national LGBT and Veteran non-profits. Originally from South Texas, Apple now lives in Downey with his PTSD service dog, Marcee.
Louis Geiger Jr., Information Services Representative
Louis has been in combat during Operation Desert Shield/Storm as an Artilleryman, and in Operation Iraqi Freedom as an Infantryman. He was honorably discharged from active duty in 1992. He transferred to the reserves and was reactivated in 2002 for Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Iraqi Freedom. When he left active duty for the second time, he had a one-week period of debriefing. Not enough time to fully grasp what benefits he had earned and how to access them. Not enough time to acclimate back to civilian life, either. “I didn’t know what came next,” he says. “I knew about the VA, but you have to do your research. Here in Southern California, it’s fairly easy to find resources and get to the nearest VA. I expect the same is true in large metropolitan areas. But in many small towns across the country, there’s often no support for veterans, and it’s not uncommon to have to drive 1-2 hours to get to a VA clinic or hospital.”
While in the reserves, Louis was in charge of his Reserve unit, married, worked full-time in the cable industry and was going to school full-time. He was functioning at a high level, but his PTSD would flare up to the point that his wife delivered an ultimatum that he get help. In 2004, he went into the PTSD program offered at the West Los Angeles VA. The program began with group sessions, followed by one-on-one counseling. “If it weren’t for that program, the PTSD counselors and the appropriate medications, I would not be here today.” Louis says “For the program to work, you have to be proactive and do your part. Unfortunately, the PTSD department at the local VA has moved locations within the campus and the program is now more of a clinic than a therapy environment, which was more effective for so many vets like me.”
Louis says “90% of veterans have no clue about the benefits and resources available to them.” He’s a counselor who can speak from personal experience to vets. That’s what makes him such a valuable member of our team.
Chauncey McNeill, Information Services Representative
Chauncey McNeill smiles easily when you meet him, but engage him in conversation and you quickly find out how passionate he is about learning. Born in Southern Pines, NC, he grew up in Charlotte where he attended UNC- Charlotte, graduating with degrees in Chemistry and Criminal Justice. Pressed, he mentions his publications in scientific journals: as an undergrad doing research on using carbon nano tubes for use in energy storage devices.
McNeill moved to Los Angeles seven months ago to experience an international city. “Growth happens out of your comfort zone. When you put yourself in a new environment, you think differently, acquire new skills.” He grins. “It stretches you.”
Both grandfathers were Viet Nam veterans. One was 101st Airborne, the other was in the Air Force. Both had overseas postings, and Chauncey grew up hearing their stories.
Chauncey is studying for the LSAT. “If you want to change things, you have to be the person in that position. It’s not realistic to expect another person to speak for you.” We’re happy to have his energy on our team.
Rachel Winters, Women Veteran Program Intern
A second year student in the Master of Social Work program, she holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree. She brings five years of experience working with non-profits to combat homelessness and domestic violence. Rachel’s passions include raising awareness about relationship abuse, providing Trauma Informed care, and fighting for social justice for underserved populations.
Winters says, “I am very excited to use my skills to connect veterans with the best possible resources in their local areas. I am also looking forward to working with domestic abuse survivors and using my counseling skills to assist them with positive growth.”
Rachel currently runs a women and children’s transitional housing program for Venice Community Housing. Mary Ann Mayer, NVF Women Veteran Outreach Director, says Rachel has a lot of experience working with domestic abuse survivors. “That will be a plus because many homeless women veterans are also victims of domestic violence.”
Originally from Sacramento, Rachel says, “As a kid, I enjoyed participating in Food Drives and Homeless Outreach. I think that is what drew me to social work.” The oldest of seven, her wide range of interests includes movies, painting and “spending time with my six brothers.”
Angela Garcia, Women Veteran Program Intern
Angela is a first year student in the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy program at California State University Dominguez Hills. Of special interest to Angie is building and strengthening healthier communities. Angie is a Violence Prevention Specialist, certified by Peace Over Violence, a non-profit organization headquartered in Los Angeles since1971. Prior to that, she facilitated talks on healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, domestic violence, the cycle of violence, and teen dating violence.
Through her other non-profit work, Angie has seen and felt the importance of helping those who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence and other traumas. She says, “Survivors are dear to my heart and I will use the resources at my disposal to ensure that they receive all the help they need.”
Angie feels we as a nation have not cared for our veterans and their families the way they deserve. “If I’m going to help, I want my knowledge and resources to go where I know people need it. I truly believe that I’ll find satisfaction and fulfillment being part of the NVF.”
We’re delighted to have Angie on our staff, especially supporting our Women Veteran outreach.