The moving forces behind Operation Healing Forces.


The Board of Directors and staff members of OHF are honored to serve our country’s Special Operations Forces in our own, meaningful way.

These hard workers know that neither they nor the Nation can ever repay the debt of gratitude owed to these extraordinary military personnel and their families.

Board of Directors

Gary L. Markel

Gary Markel & Associates, Inc.

Anthony F. Markel

Markel Corporation

James Chadwick, Esquire

Carteret Management Corporation

James Attkisson, CPA

Managing Partner
Attkisson Hongo, LLC

Ronald J. Campbell, CCIF

Executive Vice President
Seminole Financial Services

Royce G. Imhoff II

Lion Street Inc.

Michael C. Denton

Senior Vice President
Investments at Davenport & Company, LLC

Cynthia P. Schwarzkopf

Army Brat
Board of Directors,

Miami International Securities Exchange (MIAX) & MIAX PEARL

Robert P. McBride

Metro Transportation Planning and Solutions Group

Joshua Onyschuk

Sales Director
Naples National Golf Club

Philip C. Connell

Oppenheimer & Company Inc.

Keith Leclerc

International Diamond Center

K Bruce Connell

Executive Vice President
Chief Underwriting Officer (retired)

XL Group

Robert F. Mizell

Executive Vice President
Davenport & Company, LLC

OHF Logo

OHF Founder & Chairman, Gary Markel receives the 2018 Special Operations Command Patriot Award for his commitment and service to our Nation’s Special Operations Forces & their Families.



Jeff Hudson

Lieutenant Colonel(R),
US Army, Executive Director

Not long after our inception, it became clear that Operation Healing Forces needed an Executive Director. Finding the right candidate was essential.

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We needed someone who could efficiently manage the nonprofit side, effectively interface with the Special Operation’s Command Care Coalition, and be respected by the Special Operators as one of their own.

As OHF founder Gary Markel said, we are very fortunate to have found Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Hudson, US Army Retired. He is the “real deal”, having served as a special operator for eight deployments into Afghanistan and Iraq. A 1993 graduate of West Point, Jeff parachuted into Afghanistan and then Iraq after 9/11. Hudson injured his spine and, while home for rehabilitation, he earned a Masters of Science degree in Defense Analysis with a concentration in Irregular Warfare. Jeff has also received the Legion of Merit Award, two Bronze Stars, three Meritorious Service Medals, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Today, he is key to the continued success of Operation Healing Forces. Having come from the special operations community, the Special Operators and their spouses quickly relate to him and look forward to the program.


Billy DeLong

First Sergeant(R),
US Army, Retreat Program Director

Given our success and desire to aid additional SOF wounded couples, Operation Healing Forces needed a Program Manager whose leadership and combat experience would resonate with our couples and whose work ethic would be compatible with the rest of the team.

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Joining the OHF team in 2016, Billy’s 20-year SOF career included 16 years in the 75th Ranger Regiment and four at USSOCOM Headquarters. Billy had 13 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan earning the Legion of Merit Award, two Bronze Star Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Kerry Irvin

Director of Development

Kerry is a nonprofit management professional with extensive experience strategically developing growth for a sustainable and impactful future.

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She is an active duty military spouse with extensive time spent in the SOF community. As the daughter, wife, and mother of U.S. Service Members, Kerry has a unique understanding of the challenges faced by those we serve through our OHF mission.

Kerry is poised to lead the continued developmental growth of OHF to build powerful partnerships across the nation in order to increase our programming and capacity, helping us to enhance our abilities to aid special operations service members and their families.

She is a Master Resilience Trainer as well as an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) facilitator, and Transition Assistance Program (TAP) employment facilitator. Kerry is a member of the board of directors for the Military Special Operations Family Collaborative and the TEACH Family Advisory Panel of the Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans (THRIVE) program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kerry’s advocacy efforts and ability to bring together diverse resources to forge impactful collaborations and partnerships in support of military and veteran communities have been recognized at the highest level. She is the recipient of the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Secretary of the Army’s Superior Public Service Medal, and has thrice been named as Military Spouse of the Year. Kerry is also a columnist, authoring The Home Front bi-weekly column for the Military Times which shines a spotlight on military family life.


Desiree Holley

Resource Director

As Operation Healing Forces has continued to grow and offer our program to more wounded Special Operations couples each year, finding a new member of the team became a priority in late 2016.

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Desiree Holley joined the team in November 2016 to assist Operation Healing Forces with accounting processes and procedures, development goals, and assist with the continued growth of our programs and services for Special Operation’s couples.

Desiree has over 12 years experience working within the non-profit community, 8 of those years in the Community Outreach section at the USSOCOM Care Coalition. Desiree was a member of a 2-person team that resourced $4.5 million in benevolent support to wounded, ill, and injured Wounded Warriors in 2015. Her in-depth knowledge of the resources and benefits available to SOF families will allow OHF to provide increased guidance and assistance to wounded SOF couples.

Desiree earned her Masters of Science from the University of Florida in Health Education and Behavior and will be a key player as we move forward in tracking the long term success of Operation Healing Forces through measurable outcomes and making program improvements through continuous program evaluation and best practice guidance.



Chris Stowe

Master Gunnery Sergeant(R),
US Marine Corps, Project Manager

With the continued growth of Operation Healing Forces, there was a need to add an additional project manager that was keenly aware of the needs our SOF wounded couples face.

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Chris’s leadership, combat experience, and direct involvement with USSOCOM’s Care Coalition as a Senior Enlisted Advisor at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda was a perfect match. As Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technician, Chris spent his twenty-four-year career either supporting, training, or being attached to SOF units during his seven deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and other points in the Middle East and Europe. Chris also spent a year on Capitol Hill as a wounded warrior fellow on the House Veterans Affairs’ committee, advocating for Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) reform. Chris spent his last two years on active duty directly serving SOF Wounded, ill, and injured SOF members at Walter Reed as the Care Coalition SEA.

Retiring in 2016, Chris has become a vocal advocate for Creative Art Therapies and runs a military and veteran glassblowing course in St. Petersburg, FL in his spare time, a result of his personal successes with the therapy modality in his own healing journey.

Chris’s personal awards include two Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V”, Army and Navy Achievement medals, two Combat Action Ribbons and the Purple Heart.

Chris has a BS in Environmental Science from American Military University, and an MFA in Writing from National University. Chris currently lives in Tampa, FL with his wife Brandy and their two children, Zac and Miranda.


Glen Mason

Chief Warrant Officer(R),
US Army, East Region Liaison Officer

Operation Healing Forces’ recent expansions are partly due to its unrelenting and enduring support for SOF couples. That message of support continues to resonate within the SOF community.

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Due to Mr. Mason’s combat experience, leadership, and extensive networks within Special Operations, he will be able to further that support and message to the 32,000 plus SOF service members located on Ft. Bragg and the surrounding area as the East Region Liaison Officer.

During Mr. Mason’s 23 years of service, 18 of those years in Special Forces, Mr. Mason has either supported, trained, or sometimes led Special Forces Operational Detachments deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, or numerous Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET) within the United States Pacific Command. (USPACOM)

CW3 Mason recently retired in 2020 and is now one of the newest members of the Operation Healing Forces Team (OHF). Mr. Mason currently lives in Ellerbe, NC with his wife Trudy.

Jason Forouhar

Former Captain,
US Army, West Region Liaison Officer

Jason’s extensive experience as a combat leader, and his relationships within Special Operations, he will be able to further the OHF support and message to the 30,000 plus SOF service members located on Joint Base Lewis-Mchord and the surrounding area as the West Region Liaison Officer.

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During Jason’s  12 years of service, 7 of those years in Special Forces, with 10 more years supporting special forces as a civilian Jason has supported, trained, and led Special Forces Operational Detachments deployed in combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, as well as numerous Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET) within the United States Pacific Command. (USPACOM)

Jason brings the unique perspective of both being a spouse deployed in extensive combat for many years as well as being the stay at home military spouse for years raising two young daughters while his wife was focused on accomplishing her mission in the army.

Jason is now one of the newest members of the Operation Healing Forces Team (OHF) and currently lives in Olympia, WA with his fiancé Sarah and three daughters.

Tiers Arnts

SOAR Program Assistant

Tiers Arnts has been a Special Forces spouse since 2002. She married her husband Sean while he was completing the Qualifications Course (Q Course) at Fort Bragg, NC.

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Her volunteer history in nothing short of impressive. She has been a Team point of contact for five separate Special Forces Operational Detachment – Alpha’s (SFODAs) a Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader at the company level, served as the battalion volunteer coordinator, as an organizational point of contact and as a Battalion FRG Advisor.

Over the years, Tiers has developed a vast global network and cultivated the knowledge and skills necessary to help promote resiliency within the Special Forces household.

She recently completed her third appointment as a Battalion Senior Enlisted Advisor with 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Okinawa, Japan, where she advised the Battalion Command team on the needs of the family and force. Tiers also served as a Senior Advisor for F.I.R.S.T. Mentorship, whose mission is to enable 1st SFG (A) spouses to thrive in SOF life through the provision of learning opportunities and the development of authentic mentoring relationships.

She was selected as one of the first five panelist for their inaugural event in 2015 and has been a valued member of the program since attending the specialized training hosted by USASOC.

For the last 19 years, Tiers has worked directly with Special Forces Soldiers and their families to educate, encourage, support, and inspire them while their spouses are deployed around the globe.

Tiers has dedicated her time and mentorship during 7 combat rotations and countless deployments where she became a strong advocate for the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Preservation of the Family and Force (POTFF) program. Due to her keen familiarity of military operations and extensive personal experience, Tiers has continually been called upon for advice and guidance during times of need and tragedy.

Tiers’ awards and certifications include; the prestigious 1st Special Forces Command (Airborne) “COL Maggie” Raye Volunteer Award, Meritorious Public Service Medal, The Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service, The Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Service (second award), The United States Special Operations Command (USASOC) Spouse Mentorship Training Certificate, The Army Family Team Building Program Level III Certificate, The Armed Forces Community Service (AFCS) Care Team Training Certificate, The AFCS FRG Treasurer Training certificate, The AFCS FRG Leadership Training certificate, The 1st SFG (A) FRG Budget Training certificate, and numerous certificates of appreciation’s from 1st SFG (A).