Jim Welch

President

Jim Welch is the Founding member of Veterans R&R. After working with a group of Veterans in Lake and McHenry counties who were seeking alternative treatments for PTSD, Jim realized a need was not being met. He envisioned an organization dedicated to providing Veterans with educational and outreach programs that will help to enhance veterans’ productivity and quality of life.

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Jason Teasley

Vice President

Jason is a founder of Veterans R&R. Nearly every male in his family served in the military, including one of his brothers, and Jason views the organization as a way of giving back to all the men and women that serve our country.

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Tim Howe

Legal Council

Tim has a very personal connection to Veterans R&R. His wife’s godson is a Vet and Purple Heart recipient who has been impacted greatly by both physical and emotional scarring from many years serving in combat zones. Tim hopes that his very small sacrifice of time working at Veterans R&R—compared to the sacrifices made by those who’ve served—contributes to making Veterans lives better.

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Peter Langerock

Secretary

Father and Son

A “son of a Sailor” and Navy brat, Peter and his family have lived all over the world as his father served in the United States Navy for nearly 30 years. You could say that loyalty, honor and patriotism are at the fundamental core of who he is. A native Chicagoan, Peter is currently living in the heart of Wisconsin—a Bear fan residing behind the Cheddar Curtain!

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Ryan Jacobsen

Program Director, Outdoors and Outreach and Resource Locker

Ryan grew up in small town in Iowa and joined the Navy shortly after High School, enlisting as a Boiler Technician. Ryan completed 20 years of dedicated service in his naval career. Before Ryan retired, he met Jim Welch, and his friendship with Jimmy grew over the next 2 years. When Jimmy approached him about Veterans R&R, Ryan was thrilled—he saw this as a great way to give back to his brothers and sisters in the service, past, present, and future.

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Dan Cahill

Program Director, Outdoors

Dan was born and raised in the Chicago area and grew up hunting & fishing throughout Illinois.  As Dan and his brother learned to hunt, their father instilled in them some key principles:  always be safe, abide by the rules and regulations, respect the game, ethically harvest only what you will eat and always cherish the opportunity to spend time in the outdoors with family and friends.  Additionally, Dan was raised to love our county and appreciate the men & women of our military whose sacrifices provide us with these precious freedoms we richly enjoy.

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Lisa Keeton

Program Director, Outreach and Resource Locker

Lisa’s involvement with Veterans R&R began after Jim, the founder, approached her and asked her to attend a meeting at the Lake and McHenry County Mental Health Board. At the meeting, Lisa listened to Veterans’ stories and realized that she needed and wanted to be involved in helping Veterans. Watching family members who are Veterans coping with PTSD, Lisa had even more motivation to get involved.

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Patti Gruber

Director & Equine Specialist, Heroes Equine Leadership Program H.E.L.P

Patti grew up the granddaughter of two WWII veterans. One a Marine who was captured on Wake Island and spent years as a POW in Japan.  The other a Navy machinist who served on the USS Hancock. Without a firsthand understand of the struggles her grandfathers both endured during wartime service, Patti grew up knowing there were emotional scars from their time in service. As an adult she learned about PTSD and started to draw the lines to connect her experiences, those in her family and her grandfathers back to their experiences during WWII.

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Dr. Cheryl Novas

Director & Mental Health Professional, Heroes Equine Leadership Program H.E.L.P

Dr. Cheryl Novas, M.S., Ph.D. (c), EAGALA Certified Mental Health Professional has served in social service leadership for over twenty-five years. Coming from a multi-generational military family, her focus has been on advocacy for veterans, active military and their families. Her masters thesis explored PTSD, combat stress disorder and secondary PTSD. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the experience of family caregivers for combat disabled veterans.

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