Staffing Up the Office

US Army Veteran Tonya Tran joined our team in April. Well-known in the LA Veterans Services community, she has served as an official liaison for the Office of Veteran Affairs – Mayor’s office in Los Angeles. A colleague of Kristine Stanley, our first director of the NVF’s Women Veterans program, Ms. Tran will represent the NVF in the Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative. During her military career, she served in Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom (OEF) and in Beyond The Horizon (BTH), an ongoing mission by U.S. Army South to provide humanitarian support, engineering renovations and medical treatment at various locations throughout El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Latin America and the Caribbean. With 14+ years in service as part of an operational Medical Support unit, she continues to serve in the Reserves. 

Tonya is a firm believer in freedom. “I believe in fighting the good fight. I fully support all Veterans and their families, and the countless sacrifices they make for human rights, God and country.” 

When not serving, her hobbies include: deejaying, singing karaoke, swimming, and playing with her cats Choco and Milkii, who are often seen sitting together raptly watching Animal Planet.

Army Vet Markham Anderson started with us a volunteer and was such a quick learner that we invited him onto our staff. Raised by his grandmother in Wichita, Kansas, Markham says, “I brought home strays.” He means animals and people. No matter whom he brought, his grandmother set a place at the table for them. Country breakfast or country dinner, it didn’t matter. Markham met Shad in 1984 through James “Sneaky” White and Geronimo Pratt, both decorated Vietnam combat Veterans. Markham’s gentle manner on the phones communicates a message of care at a time when it’s needed.

Kathleen Reilly, who’s from Venice, CA (really, she says), also came to us as a volunteer. She saw us in action on an Outreach mission and asked about volunteering. She fills a unique position in our outreach to Women Veterans who are often more willing to talk to another woman. A mother of two, she’s from a military family. Her brother was a Marine Veteran. Kathleen answers the Lifeline from home or the office. “Human to human. I love to be a listening ear. I feel so much more than an information services representative.” When she’s not working, she’s writing music and singing. She once auditioned for “the Voice.” She quotes Ram Dass, “We’re all just walking each other home.”  

You can be a part of our mission to help Veterans by making a tax-deductible donation!

Cathie Smith

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