Staff

The moving forces behind Operation Healing Forces.

OHF-blog-post

The 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.

Directors

Kerry Irvin

Chief Executive Officer

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

Chief Financial Officer

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

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Desiree has over 18 years’ experience working within the nonprofit community, 14 of those years serving families in the Special Operations Community. Desiree was a member of the Community Outreach team at United States Special Operations Command Warrior Care Program that resourced $4.5 million in benevolent support to wounded, ill, and injured warriors annually. Her in-depth knowledge of the resources and benefits available to SOF families has allowed OHF to provide increased guidance and assistance to wounded SOF families.

Desiree earned her Master of Science from the University of Florida in Health Education and Behavior and remains 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. Most recently she completed a program at University of Tampa in Nonprofit Management to better serve Operation Healing Forces as their Resource Director overseeing the SOAR Program, finance, human resources, and other operation functions.

Billy-DeLong

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.

Mike Stone

Assistant Director of Development 

Mike is an experienced executive leader and strategic thinker with a passion for service.

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After a 27 year career in the Army, Mike retired as a Colonel from U.S. Special Operations Command in February 2024. He has served as a paratrooper, helicopter pilot, and psychological operations officer, before his final tour at MacDill Air Force Base working for the Chief of Staff and Commanding General on the command’s top priorities.

Mike is engaged to Kathy Ott and has two adult children.  Alexander lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia, and Kylie is attending college in Plant City, Florida.

He holds advanced degrees from the Joint Advanced Warfighting School, the University of Kansas, and Touro University alongside his military schools, awards, and ratings. Mike is committed to learning from the experts at Operation Healing Forces and developing new skills as part of this impactful non-profit effort.  As a recent addition to the Operation Healing Forces team, he is excited to apply his skills, experience, and education in support of this incredible mission of service.

Staff

Tiers Arnts

S.O.A.R. Program Manager

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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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 community. Tiers has been a part of OHF’s Special Operations Additional Resource (SOAR) program since 2021.

For the last 20+ years, Tiers has worked directly with Special Operations 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).

Elizabeth Christiana

Corporate & Foundations Relationship Manager

Elizabeth Christiana is honored to join Operation Healing Forces and serve as the organization’s Corporate and Foundations Relationship Manager. Liz has an extensive background in serving the military community for over fifteen years. She is a licensed attorney and practiced for almost a decade in Cumberland County, North Carolina, which encompasses Fort Bragg, the largest military installation in the country and the home of the Airborne and Special Operation Forces.

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As a prosecutor, public defender, and a private practice attorney, she worked daily with service members and their family members to seek justice. She is keenly aware of the struggles facing military families especially with her experience in practice areas such as family law and domestic violence matters.

Liz also has volunteered in the Judge Advocate General’s office on Pope Army Airfield and served in various other positions to include defense counsel and member of the Cumberland County Veterans Treatment Court where she provided resources to Veterans in crisis and legal representation to Veterans in the court system. Liz has been a military spouse for over twelve years and is the mother of three children. She understands the unique hardships that military families face. She is a lover of history, travel, learning new languages, and a self-professed foodie.

As a first generation American, Liz believes strongly in the American dream and feels privileged to live in the best country in the world. President Harry Truman once said, “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in service to our country can never be repaid.” Liz is excited to be a part of OHF and serve the Special Operation Forces community and she is grateful for the opportunity to chip away at that debt in any way she can.

Phillip Fong Jr., Chief Petty Officer (Ret)

SOAR Program Coordinator

Phillip Fong was born in Houston, Texas and he joined the Navy in 2002 and reported to Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, where he graduated as a Distinguished Graduate. His first permanent duty station was the USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG-57), homeport Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While aboard the USS REUBEN JAMES, he held various positions ranging from Boat Engineer to Auxiliaries Division Leading Petty Officer.

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Upon departing the REUBEN JAMES in 2005, he transferred to Joint Mobile Ashore Support Team (JMAST) in Sigonella, Italy where he earned several awards and achievements and was meritoriously advanced to Engineman First Class. His unit directly supported Presidential Missions, Joint Task Force, EOD Mobile Unit 8, and The European Theater.

During a deployment to Monrovia, Liberia he contracted Cerebral Malaria and encephalitis. He was transferred in 2008 to National Naval Hospital Bethesda for hospitalization and rehabilitation for 12 months.

He was then selected for orders at the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) schoolhouse, Naval Small Craft Instructional and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) at Stennis Space Center, Mississippi in 2009. He served as the Leading Petty Officer of Boat Maintenance and Training Department. He deployed to various locations around the world where he led several key Joint Combined Exchange Training or JCETs. He was selected as the Command Sailor of the Year, Instructor of the Year, and NSW Group Four Sailor of the Year in 2012. He was also selected and initiated to the rank of Chief Petty Officer that same year.

In 2016, he was transferred to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Tampa, as the Operations and Training Chief, where his team effectively managed travel, funding, and orders for over 600 Navy Reservists.

For his last tour of duty, he was hand-selected to remain in Tampa and work for the United States Special Operations Command, Warrior Care Program. He began as the Southern Region Operations Officer, then became the NCOIC of the Southern Region. He also supported the Warrior Care Program Benevolence and Adaptive Sports sections.

Chief Fong is a graduate of The Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, qualified as an Expeditionary Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Surface Warfare, Naval Special Warfare Combat Service Support, Master Training Specialist, First Class Swimmer, and a Coxswain on several Naval Special Warfare Craft. His awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (7), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, as well as various joint, unit, and campaign awards.

In 2018 and 2019, he participated in the DoD Warrior Games as an athlete on Team USSOCOM where he competed in powerlifting, rowing, shot put and discus. In addition to Warrior Games, he also represented Team USA for the Invictus Games 2018 in Sydney, Australia and Invictus Games 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands earning gold and bronze medals for rugby and rowing.

Phillip has earned his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management, Associates degree in Marine Engineering, and a recent graduate from the University of Health and Performance as a certified Personal Trainer/Coach.

Phill has a wonderful wife Sylvia of 19 years and  three great sons Phill, Will, and Dill.

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.

Glen-Mason

Glen Mason

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

Mr. Mason joined the U.S. Army in 1997 and retired in 2020. In his 23 years of Military service, 18 of those years were as a Green Beret in Special Forces.

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Mr. Mason has been on or led a Special Forces Operational Detachments Alpha (ODA) deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Southern Philippines and numerous Joint Combined Exercise Training (JCET) within the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). Mr. Mason is the recipient of the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat action in Afghanistan. Mr. Mason is currently the Eastern Region Liaison Officer for Operation Healing Forces an organization dedicated to aiding active duty and recently retired Special Operations Forces (SOF) and their families with healing, both mentally & physically, and to integration into family/civilian life. Mr. Mason is consistently reinforcing, creating new relationships as well as building trust and rapport with each of the SOF units in the Eastern Region. Mr. Mason has endeavored to ensure that units are aware of and have access to OHF service programs. He works closely with 3rd Special Forces Groups and the Special Warfare Training Center leadership to prioritize and identify the upcoming requirements of the unit and its service members with the greatest need.

Kelsey McCabe

Social Media Manager

Kelsey McCabe is honored to be a part of Operation Healing Forces as the Social Media Manager, bringing her expertise in creative digital design and tailored content to make a meaningful impact in the Special Operations Forces community. Kelsey is an active-duty NSW spouse, OHF alumni, and mother of three.

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A member of the SOF community since 2011, she has comprehensive knowledge of the unique lifestyle and daily obstacles Special Operators and their families experience.

In 2020, Kelsey and her husband participated in OHF’s couples retreat to Aspen, CO. The transformative experience not only strengthened their marriage, but presented the opportunity to try activities together that would have otherwise been beyond their reach. Recognizing OHF’s unique value to SOF families, Kelsey eagerly embraced the chance to join the team.

Holding dual bachelor degrees in business and marketing, her academic background powers a strategic approach, while her personal connection fuels her passion to elevate awareness of the extraordinary impact of Operation Healing Forces.

Chris-Stowe

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.

Jamie Thomas

Campaigns & Events Manager

Jamie is a results-driven professional with 10+ years of marketing and sales experience. She is adept at market analysis, strategy development and marketing optimization.

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For the last three years, Jamie worked for a nonprofit located in Sasebo, Japan where she played an instrumental role in program development that provided annual support to over 12,000 active duty. She consistently exceeded her goals and was valued for her ability to take complex situations and provide unique solutions. In 2021, she received the “USOvation” Award which recognizes employees who have made “above and beyond” contributions to the organization.

“As a military spouse and as someone who has worked with the military community, I know firsthand the impact and importance of organizations like OHF,” Jamie says. “From Kerry’s ‘Want more than a job?’ job post to the panel interview, my interaction with the OHF team was nothing short of awe-inspiring. I felt the team’s passion and dedication and knew this was the organization I wanted to be a part of! I was looking for more than just pay, but PURPOSE, and that’s what being part of the OHF family means. Our purpose is to create bonds that cure!”

Dynamic, energetic and highly motivated, Jamie strives for excellence and dedicates her success to her professional relationships as well as operating with the mindset of “giving more than you receive.”

Lexy Walters

Administrative & Accounting Assistant

Lexy was born in Orange, Va. She comes from a long line of family and friends who have served in all branches of the U.S. military and has been a military spouse for 20+ years. During this time, she has become well versed in the military lifestyle and the many unique joys and struggles that this life can bring.

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She has been in the veterinary world since the age of 15 as a veterinary technician, where it has led to many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. After college, she worked in medical research labs at the University of Virginia, caring for all different types of animals, from mice to monkeys. Then, at San Diego State University, as a scientist doing cardiovascular research, she garnered many accomplishments there, one of which was becoming the first person to successfully create the PIM1 Knockout mouse.

Eventually, life as a military spouse took her to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. There she worked for the S1 office of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron as the MEDEVAC Defense Travel System (DTS) agent for military personnel and their families, Red Cross emergency travel, and the base-wide DTS help desk. Afterwards, she was briefly stationed stateside in Norfolk, VA. There, she continued her work with DTS, working for SURFLANT as the DTS agent personally handling DTS travel for 26 ships in the Atlantic fleet.

After a brief stent in Norfolk, Va she found herself back at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. This time the base had opened a veterinary clinic, where she was promptly hired as a veterinary technician for the clinic and found herself in the unique situation of being able to work with military working dogs (MWD). That experience led her to her new passion of working with MWDs and ensuring the health and welfare of those amazing dogs during their active duty life and into their retirement life. She has worked with rescues and MWD sanctuaries around the world to ensure they receive the retirement that they so deserve by flying them back stateside to be reunited with former handlers who have now adopted them, as well as finding organizations to help cover their medical care costs for the rest of their lives. Many are flown back to the states who have not been adopted to live out their days in MWD/First Responder Dogs sanctuaries until they find their forever homes. After working with MWDs for many years, she found that they have many of the same post-military life issues that many of their human counterparts suffer from, such as PTSD, trauma, gunshot wounds that leave lasting issues with mobility, and amputations, among other lasting issues.

She still continues to work with MWD organizations, helping these amazing dogs find a new life post-active duty service.

She has always had a giant soft spot when it comes to working with military members and their families. Helping them with all of life’s amazing moments and moments of need has always been a passionate way of life for her. Getting to work with Operation Healing Forces, she gets to help on a larger scale, helping more families than she ever thought possible.

She currently lives in Tampa with her husband Erick, who an active duty Marine and prior K-9 Handler, their daughter Ryley, and their son Grayson. They have 5 rescue dogs they have adopted from around the world: Athena Rose, Coco, Ozzy Osborne, Oleg (a former police-trained EOD K9), Xena (a former police-trained Narcotics K9 and service dog to Lexy), as well as two rescue cats, Maleficent and Neko Bento Box.