Ralph Bozella is a retired educator living in Longmont, Colorado with his wife Susie, also a retired educator and veterans’ advocate. Together they have raised four children, and have two grandchildren. After graduating college in 1970, Ralph was drafted into the U.S. Army and served through January 1972 including a combat tour in the South Vietnam from February 1971 through January 1972, with the 23rd Infantry Division and the 1st Calvary Division. After time in service, Ralph moved to Colorado and completed a graduate degree and a career in education that included service as an adult educator, community school director, middle school teacher, high school athletic director, school district energy manager and school district emergency manager. While caring for family and working, Ralph became involved with programs for veterans and their families through his local American Legion post in Longmont. As his children grew and he approached retirement, he was able to become more involved in helping veterans and has served veterans and their families through The American Legion in various capacities including state commander, Colorado’s representative to the Legion’s national executive committee and currently he is chairman for the Legion’s national Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission. Since 2001 he has served veterans and their families in the state of Colorado having been appointed by two governors to serve nearly 12 years on the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs which he chaired for three terms. He was also a governor-appointee to the first State Veterans Nursing Home Commission where he served as chairman, and he was elected and served two years as president of the United Veterans Committee of Colorado, an organization of 50 veteran service organizations where he still serves on the UVC executive committee. Ralph is a life member of The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and has dedicated the remainder of his life’s work to serving those who continue to serve us.
Brigadier General (Ret.) Gerald Dieter Griffin, MD, PharmD
BG Griffin’s military career as an officer began Aug. 24, 1968, when he was commissioned a 2d Lieutenant of Infantry after completing Officer Candidate School. His most recent promotion, to Brigadier General, occurred October 10, 1998. Prior to OCS, he served as an enlisted infantry soldier and medic for 4 years. BG Griffin was mandatorily retired for age in 2002, and re-appointed Colonel after he retired as a General Officer, with a 3 year Active Duty ‘retiree recall’ extension as a Chief, Emergency Medicine/ Triage & Deputy Commander/ Hospital Commandant/ Chief, Professional Services, Task Force 67, and 67CSH, Mosul, OIF II, Iraq; GMO, 118 ASMB, in Babylon, Ashraf & Balad, OIF II, Iraq. Dr Griffin retired again 21 Oct 2005, as Brigadier General, Medical Corps, United States Army. BG Griffin served 41 1/2 years in America’s Army.
He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in German and Zoology. He subsequently completed a Doctorate in Clinical Pharmacy / Pharmacology at the University of the Pacific. BG Griffin received his Medical Degree from the University of Juarez/Case Western Reserve Clerkship Program and completed a Flexible Internship at University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio. His Residency in Emergency Medicine was completed at Brooke Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Dr. Griffin is an Emergency Medicine physician in Pacific Grove, CA with over 31 years’ experience. Specifically, Dr. Griffin has an extensive background in clinical and basic research as well as in clinical medicine. In addition to his medical practice he currently conducts clinical research on Traumatic Brain Injury and offers his services as a consultant to various biotechnology companies. His specific research interests include TBI, the immune response and infection in TBI/stroke, the molecular/immune events of PTSD and treatments. He also sits on the scientific advisory board of the Geneva Foundation, non-profit organization that supports and advances innovative medical research and excellence in education within the U.S. military.
To Read articles on TBI and PTSD written by General Griffin, MD, Please Click on the title of the article listed below:
Founder and CEO, Innovator Health
Dr. Darren J. Sommer was awarded his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Master’s of Public Health degrees from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2003. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Sun Coast Hospital in Largo, Florida in 2006, and is board certified in Internal Medicine by the American College of Osteopathic Internists. He later went on to complete his MBA with Health Sector Management Certification from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 2011 and his Health Policy Certificate from the American Osteopathic Association in 2015.
Dr. Sommer is a member of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Ohio Osteopathic Association (OOA), Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists (ACOI), Fellow of the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), and a Certified Physician Executive (CPE). Dr. Sommer has served on the ACOI’s technology council, the AMA’s Telemedicine Coding Committee and is currently the President of the Columbus Osteopathic Association. And, as a combat veteran, and Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves, he also continues to work with wounded veterans as a medical advisor to the Resurrecting Lives Foundation. Dr. Sommer has recently introduced his telehealth care policies in Arkansas, as a mentor with RLF and Veterans Villages of America, making sure our veterans have a smooth reintegration into the civilian world upon discharge from the military.
Currently, Dr. Sommer is the CEO of Innovator Health, a healthcare technology company based in Dublin, Ohio. Innovator Health provides very simple yet personal telemedicine technology that is focused on bridging the healthcare gaps for medically underserved communities. Previous positions include service as a physician with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division serving as both a Brigade Surgeon and Flight Surgeon. In addition, his military career spans more than 20 years of service, completed two combat deployments and earning numerous decorations including the Bronze Star, Combat Medic Badge and the Combat Action Badge. After completing his active duty service, Dr. Sommer went on to serve as the Medical Director of the Hospitalist Program at Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton, NC. He later led as the Senior Vice President of Hospitalist Services with Premier Physicians Services in Dayton, Ohio.
Technology Executive; US Air Force, Retired
Clifford Rich leads the Enterprise IT Service Center for Cardinal Health, his 120-person team provides 24/7 support to Cardinal Health’s employees, contractors and customers. Since joining the company in 2013, Cliff has held roles in HR Information Systems and the Enterprise IT Project Management Office (PMO). Cliff also serves as the communications director for the Veteran’s and Military Advocates (VMA) Employee Resource Group at Cardinal
Prior to Cardinal Health, Cliff served for 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lt Colonel. He held a variety of roles with increasing responsibility as an aviator, intelligence officer and diplomat.
Within the local community, Cliff is active in the youth ministry of his church and is also a mentor to transitioning Veterans through the Overwatch Partnership. He serves as a member of the Business Management Advisory Board for Columbus State Community College and has also been a cyclist and fundraiser for Pelotonia since 2015.
He holds Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, a Bachelor of International Studies from Rhodes College and a Master’s of Science in International Affairs from Troy State.
Stewart Ryckman, son of WWll Veteran, Navy Ensign, Stanley Ryckman, is an active member and Finance Director at the Sons of Amvets Squadron, Mansfield Post 26. Stewart has been assisting RLF since 2012 and both he and his father attended the Congressional Showing of the Documentary Operation Resurrection on 11/12/13. Dr. Ryckman is a graduate of Ohio State University School of Medicine and he practiced Obstetrics and Gynecology in Richland County for 22 years. From 2005 to present, Dr. Ryckman has been the Richland County Coroner. Stewart Ryckman is a very strong advocate for Military members, Veterans and their families.
Dr. Ryckman has been and continues to be a very active member in his community in several leading roles and activities.
Medical Technician, US Air Force Retired
Dino Villarreal is a medical technician at the Columbus Military Entrance Processing Station where they process over 600 applicants monthly for enlistment into the United States Armed Forces. He assists Medical Officers with applicant physical examinations, identification of physical abnormalities, to include discovery of disqualifying enlistment/retention factors, and determination of applicant’s fitness for military duty.
Juan was born and raised in a small town in South Texas, and entered the United States Air Force (USAF) in September 1991, where he served for 23 years. He started his USAF career as a Medical Services Technician. As a medic, he was assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base (AFB), TX, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ, Andrews AFB, MD, Lackland AFB, TX and the Columbus Military Entrance Processing Station, Columbus, OH. He also was deployed to Eskan Village, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Southern Watch. He then finished his USAF career as an Enlisted Accessions Recruiter in Chillicothe, OH and became a Flight Chief in Wilkes-Barre, PA. As a Flight Chief, he managed 6 recruiting offices covering Northeastern PA and led his Flight to back to back top ten finishes in the nation for recruiting. He is a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and numerous other awards and decorations.
Juan lives in Dublin, OH with his wife Shawnna Villarreal.
United States Army, Ohio National Guard
Christopher “Corey” O’Brien was born in Massillon, OH, and later attended The Ohio State University graduating with a BS in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB). While an Undergrad, he joined the Ohio Army National Guard the summer after his Sophomore year. He was a 21C, Combat Engineer/Bridge Crew Member and did Basic Training at Ft. Leonardwood, MO. Corey graduated from OSU in 2001, and was accepted to the MSaT (Math, Science, and Technology) Graduate Program for his Master’s degree in Education in 2002.
He was pulled from Grad school and did a 6 month mobilization for a 24 day deployment to Kuwait in 2003 with the 1193rd Panel Bridge Company. Feeling unfulfilled from his mobilization, he volunteered to deploy to Iraq with the 216th HSC Engineer Battalion in 2004-2005.
Prior to this deployment, he married Lyndsi O’Brien and was reclassified as a 21V, Concrete and Asphalt Equipment Operator at Ft. Leonardwood again.
Immediately upon returning from this 2nd deployment, Corey resumed his Grad School Program at OSU. He picked up his Master’s Degree in Education and his Teaching License in 2006. O’Brien ETS’ed from the military in 2007 as an E-6, Staff Sergeant. Corey did PLDC (Primary Leadership and Development Course) at Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin, and Phase-1 BNCOC (Basic Non Commissioned Officer Course now known as Advanced Leaders Course) at Rickenbacker Air Force Base, in Columbus, OH.
Corey did 9 years in the Ohio Army National Guard, which included his two deployments to the Middle East, and missions in Eagle Pass, Texas, and San Diego, California.
Corey comes from a military family, where his father was a Marine during Vietnam, later an Army Green Beret, and his Grandfather was in the Air Force during WWII and Korea. Between the three O’Brien men, they have 56 years of military service covering 4 conflicts.
O’Brien is currently working on his 12th year as a Science Teacher at Hamilton Township High School, where he is the liaison for military connected families. Hamilton Local Schools is one of the first Districts to earn the distinction of being a Purple Star School. Corey is married and resides with his 5 children in Dublin, OH. He is also an alumnus of the Wounded Warrior Project, and a member of the Columbus chapter of Team Red, White, and Blue.
Picture above courtesy of Columbus Dispatch, Shannon Gilchrist.
Former Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, retired from the Supreme Court of Ohio after 23 years in the judiciary to pursue criminal justice reforms, particularly as they relate to mental health, juveniles, and veterans.
She came to the bench by a very different route. Born to missionary parents in Bangkok, Thailand, Stratton spent her childhood in Southeast Asia. She attended boarding school in South Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam War and later in Malaysia, visiting America on occasion with her parents. At age 18, she returned to America alone with only a few hundred dollars in her pocket. Working her way through school, she earned a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law.
She began her legal career as a trial lawyer in the courtrooms of Central Ohio. In 1989, she was the first woman to be elected Judge of the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, where she became known as “The Velvet Hammer” for her approach to sentencing in serious felony cases. Her success on the trial bench led to an appointment in 1996 to the Supreme Court of Ohio, where she was elected to a third term in 2008.
Stratton believes that the courts, in partnership with the mental health system, can affect positive change in the lives of many defendants whose mental illness has led to criminal activity. To that end, she formed the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness & the Courts, which was composed of mental health, law enforcement and criminal justice professionals who were dedicated to mental health initiatives in the court system. That committee has now merged into the Attorney General Task Force on Mental Illness and Criminal Justice, and she still serves as co-chair along with Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Nationally, Stratton is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Judges’ Leadership Initiative, a professional association that supports cooperative mental health programs in the criminal justice system. Her latest focus in Ohio and nationally is on establishing veterans courts to help those returning veterans with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and other issues, whose problems may lead to involvement in the criminal justice system.
Since retiring from the bench, she works through EStratton Consulting, LLC on criminal justice reforms, particularly focusing on engaging the judges in different states in these reform efforts. She is also Of Counsel to a major Ohio law firm, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, where she consults on litigation and appellate advocacy and strategies.
Among her many honors are the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Angels Award, as well as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Adoption Excellence Award.
Additionally, in May 2008, Stratton received an Ellis Island Medal of Honor at a ceremony in New York City. Established in 1986 by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, the Ellis Island Medals of Honor pay tribute to American citizens of diverse origins for their outstanding contributions to their communities, their nation and the world. Ranking among the nation’s most prestigious awards, recipients are listed in the Congressional Record.
Stratton is the wife of John A. Lundberg III, and the mother of two adult sons. She enjoys painting, Thai cooking, and fly fishing with her husband. But surely her most interesting accomplishment was her first-place finish in a college Stampede Girls Goat Tying Competition — a talent she later put to good use as a trial lawyer.
Jayne Kennedy is an American icon, a pioneer! A name most remembered for her 1978-1980 groundbreaking tenure as co-anchor on the previously all male desk of the most popular network sports show in TV history, CBS’s NFL TODAY. As one of the first female sports broadcasters, she destroyed the myth that women couldn’t make it in the world of sports broadcasting, forever blasting the doors open for women in sports But breaking ground is nothing new for Jayne. There was always a hurdle on the track as she raced through a career that brought her acclaim as an actress, broadcaster, TV personality, producer, exercise guru, talk show host, model, singer, dancer, infomercial host, lecturer, spokeswoman, author, mom and community activist. Her awards are numerous and her high demand has made her a spokeswoman for corporate America as well. As a Children’s Miracle Network Telethon co-host for 17 years alongside Marie Osmond, Marilyn McCoo, John Schneider, Merlin Olsen and Bob Hope, Jayne helped to raise $1.6 billion for children’s hospitals. While still in high school she represented the state of Ohio as a Senator to the American Legion’s Girls Nation Program in Washington DC where she won the office of Vice President of the United States.
It is in her passion to improve the lives of others that she has joined with Resurrecting Lives Foundation as a Community Outreach Adviser. RLF is a full circle event for Ms. Overton. At the beginning of her career Jayne entertained with Bob Hope at the height of the Vietnam War. In 1980 she worked with the USO as host on the NBC’s Speak Up America interviewing our troops in South Korea and the anxiety of serving on the DMZ. Jayne has served as a girls soccer coach and club soccer team manager for 11 years. During that time she has advocated for youth against the dangers of sports related concussions; particularly since the numbers of concussions for girls in soccer is far greater than for boys. Whether it is in soccer, the NCAA, NFL or in the case of America’s veterans, Jayne is calling for change! TBI is a global epidemic. One that demands more attention be paid to the issues and the effects on our society. In that light, Ms. Kennedy Overton is currently developing a film and TV series on the plight of our fallen heroes and their struggles – not in combat on foreign fields but with the enemy here at home; unemployment, depression, TBI and PTSD.
Allergist, Physician, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Allergy
Dr. Friedman graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine after completing his undergraduate studies at Miami University of Ohio. Dr. Friedman is certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology and specializes in the care of adults and children with allergic diseases. Dr. Friedman is currently practicing with Ohio ENT and Allergy Physicians with offices located through out central Ohio. He is a member and has held leadership positions in a number of Boards, Foundations and Associations.
Dr. Friedman is an Active Staff member at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and is the Director of the Thursday afternoon Asthma Clinic. Dr. Friedman has been chairman of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Medical Alumni Association for over 10 years and its Career Contribution Awards event. He has trained over 200 Pediatric and Family Practice residents of whom 20 have become Allergists.
Dr. Friedman is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Allergy at The Ohio State University College of Medicine (OSU COM). He has been a contributing Clinical Faculty member of OSU COM since 1982, and has remained a Clinical Professor, Pediatrics and Allergy at The OSU COM since 1998. Dr. Friedman has served as class chair for OSUCOM reunion and has served on the OSUCOM Board of Governors since 2008. Over the years, Dr. Friedman has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ohio State University College of Medicine for his teaching services.
Dr. Friedman has published numerous articles, given national presentations and has received numerous awards to include twice being recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America, Best Doctors in the Midwest and Best Allergist in Columbus, and the People’s Choice award.
To view his bio, Please Click Here.
Gary Johnson served in communications operations and intelligence in the Air Force from 1975-1980. Upon discharge from active duty, he entered the fire service. He retired in 2012, as Chief of the Marysville Fire Department with over 31 years of service, serving as Assistant Chief from 1987-2000. He received numerous awards and citations at the local, state and national levels during his career. Gary also served as a flight paramedic, in addition to his fire department duties, from 1985-1990.
He holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from Ohio Dominican University and a Masters in Business Administration from Franklin University. He has held numerous instructor certifications, lecturing on a variety of public safety management topics. Gary serves as adjunct faculty in the Public Safety Management program for Franklin University, and has designed courses in public safety and business management for that institution. He also currently serves as an instructor in Fire Science Technology at Central Ohio Technical College. Gary has been involved with several veterans organizations and projects prior to joining Resurrecting Lives upon his retirement from the Fire Department in 2012.
Businessman, Patriot, Grateful Citizen
Brian Mamula, of Nitro Software, brings technology intelligence and enterprise empathy to large and complex organizations. For 10 years, he has earned a reputation for combining passion with opportunity to help enterprises accomplish initiative targets, operational efficiency goals, and process improvement measurements.
Brian seeks to apply his business acumen, network, and selling disciplines to drive meaningful improvement in RLF goals.
Brian Mamula graduated with a degree in Political Science and focus on International Relations, from Ohio University in 2005. World events at this time provided a heightened focus on policy theory, terrorist networks, military strategy, and the requisite role of US on world stage. Brian became an active participant with veteran issues in honor of dear friends and family who served as Marine in WWII to US Army National Guard in Iraq.
Jacob Bueno de Mesquita completed a BS in biological sciences and global health from Georgetown University in 2012. During his undergraduate studies he trained in biomedical laboratory science with rotations at Fundación Infant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he investigated a Respiratory Syncytial Virus vaccines, and at Georgetown’s Lombardi Cancer Center, where he studied the preventive potential of vitamin D receptor on colorectal cancer.
As a CDC postgraduate fellow assigned in rural Ohio, Jacob enjoyed the opportunity to contribute to the delivery of local public health services as an emergency preparedness planner, immunization consultant, and division operations coordinator. He is completing his doctoral studies in toxicology/environmental health at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland, College Park.
To further promote community health, as a Certified Nonviolence Trainer, Jacob has co-conducted nonviolence seminars both domestically, and overseas. He has witnessed and experienced a wide range of human action and behavior, both violent and nonviolent. He realizes the dramatic health and class disparities throughout his travels across urban and rural United States, and abroad in Honduras, Argentina, Spain, Nepal, and Suriname.
Concerned by the significant public health impacts of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affecting nearly 450,000 military members and Veterans from the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jacob’s goal is to foster a broader culture of health care that can attentively support service personnel and Veterans by an integrative wellness approach. As a governmental agency liaison for Resurrecting Lives Foundation, his focus is to sculpt public sector action through the translation of proposed solutions promoting wellness and employment for those who protect our nation.
Curtis Armstrong joined the Army in 2001. After completing Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, he was assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, “The Fighting Deuce” in Mannheim Germany. In 2004 he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, where he trained the Iraqi police and conducted daily policing operations.
During a mortar attack, the tower he was in took a direct hit at the base, and SSG Armstrong suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). After 8 years of service he was discharged from the Army. Shortly after discharge, he noticed symptoms of memory loss, attention issues, and headaches that were not explained by his VA diagnosis of PTSD. While working with the Veteran’s Court in Richland, Ohio, he met Dr. Chrisanne Gordon and volunteered his story for the Operation Resurrection documentary which dealt with solutions for TBI. After filming the documentary, SSG Armstrong made 2 trips to Washington, D.C., to advocate better TBI diagnosis and treatment on Capitol Hill. He also With the assistance of RLF, Curtis received proper diagnostic testing to prove his brain injury for which he now receives benefits from the Veterans Administration.
Curtis Armstrong has appeared in printed media and television interviews to increase TBI awareness. He continues to use all available parties: celebrities, city and state officials, big corporate organizations, professional sport organizations, multiple veteran organizations to campaign for TBI awareness and further proper diagnosis and treatment. The RLF is a big part of his life and may of gone as far as saving it as well! He now resides in Holland, MI.
Wendell Guillermo, Veterans Representative
Wendell Guillermo served with the 82nd Airborne Division under then-Battalion Commander Col. Christopher Gibson (now the Congressman representing the 20th district of New York). He deployed twice to Iraq and was wounded from an enemy grenade, earning him the Purple Heart. Guillermo held a variety of positions from rifleman, designated marksman, and ultimately become a team leader within an Airborne Infantry company. He currently lives in Los Angeles and works with the National Veterans Foundation in Southern California while working towards his degree.
Through Operation Resurrection, Guillermo hopes to address the issue of unemployed veterans, particularly those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI), by working with Congress to formulate and implement solutions to allow for the rehabilitation and care of these veterans while also finding them suitable long-term employment