Sergeant Joshua DeFour U.S. Marine Corps
Joshua has been an avid filmmaker since his first years in college. He left an undergraduate journalism program in 2010 to pursue filmmaking full time in the U.S. Marine Corps as a combat videographer. Over the course of four years Joshua documented military exercises in Japan, Guam and Tinian, humanitarian relief projects in Bangladesh and Thailand, and deployed to Afghanistan to support coalition efforts and combat operations. Serving as a “one-man band” in the field, Joshua wrote, shot, and edited over 200 video stories that were broadcast worldwide on the American Forces Network. Several pieces were also featured in the nationally syndicated PBS show, “In The Fight.” Joshua left the Marines in 2014 and was hired by Fathead, LLC., where he created video spots with Warner Bros. Pictures. In 2015 he was accepted into the University of Texas’ Film Production MFA program. His film, “The 11th Order,” was a semifinalist for the 2019 Student Academy Awards and has amassed over 1.5 million views on YouTube.
Colonel Gregory D. Gadson U.S. Army
Greg served in the United States Army for more than 26 years and became the Garrison Commander of Fort Belvoir. He has served in every major conflict in the past two decades, including Operations Desert Shield/Storm in Kuwait; Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His greatest challenge came in Iraq, where an IED attack cost him both legs above the knees. Despite this, he remained on active duty and continued to inspire many with his message of courage and perseverance. In 2007, Tom Coughlin, New York Giants head coach, asked Greg to meet with the then-struggling team. He talked to the players about teamwork, perseverance and adversity. The Giants have heralded the key inspirational role he played in their unprecedented season culminating as victors of the 2008 Super Bowl. Greg also established himself as an actor, acting in several movies and TV shows. In 2012, he starred in “Battleship” portraying the role of Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales.
Producer Gary Lucchesi
Gary is Partner/Producer at Revelation Entertainment and former President of Lakeshore Entertainment, The Producer’s Guild, and Paramount Pictures. He began his career at the William Morris Agency as an agent, representing artists such as Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner, Michelle Pfeiffer and John Malkovich. He served as both Vice President and Senior Vice President of Production at TriStar Pictures before becoming President of Production at Paramount Pictures. Following his time at Paramount, he founded Gary Lucchesi Productions, where he produced the Oscar nominated film “Primal Fear.” He was also President of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Film Co., producing the film version of the hit musical “Cats.” To date, Gary has produced close to 70 Hollywood feature films, including Academy Award winning films such as; “Million Dollar Baby” starring Hilary Swank (Oscar winner) and directed by Clint Eastwood.
Sergeant Jason McCarthy U.S. Army Green Beret
Jason enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and served in Special Forces in Iraq and the Sahel region of West Africa. In 2007, built his wife Emily a “go-ruck” for her to keep in her vehicle and at home, ready to go at all times. This was the origin of his company GORUCK. In order to raise awareness for the gear and the brand of GORUCK, Jason started community building through physically grueling events based on Special Forces training called the GORUCK Challenge. To date, GORUCK has earned over $100 million in revenue and led over 7,000 events with 150,000 participants. There are over 300 Official GORUCK Clubs all over the world, accessible and open to all. Jason is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Emory University, a Connelly Scholar graduate from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, and a combat decorated veteran of Special Forces, including a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal with “V” for Valor. He proudly serves on the Board of Directors of the Green Beret Foundation.
1st Lieutenant Kenneth Merin U.S. Army
Ken is a 1969 graduate of George Washington University. He received law degrees from Seton Hall (J.D.) and George Washington University (LL.M.) Schools of Law. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-1972 as an infantry officer, and is a Viet-Nam Veteran. He has worked in various capacities for the United States Congress, as well as in the private practice of law. Ken served as Deputy Chief Counsel and Director of Policy and Planning for Governor Thomas H. Kean (N.J.) He also served as Commissioner of Insurance for the State of New Jersey during the Kean Administration. A Trustee of the Charles Hayden Foundation for over thirty years, Ken was President of the organization for over twenty years.
Corporal Mark Otto U.S. Marine Corps
Mark is a 2x combat veteran of the United States Marine Corps who currently serves as President/Executive Director at the United War Veterans Council. Mark is the Senior Official and lead organizer of the New York City Veterans Day Parade which is the largest parade that honors veterans in our country. Mark is Founder of the UWVC Health and Wellness Program which is focused on assisting at risk veterans through holistic, therapeutic and social fitness related events including equine therapy, horseback riding, art, sailing, rucking and hiking. Mark is an active member of the veterans communities of New York and New Jersey as a volunteer and leader of multiple veteran organizations. As a long time trader on the New York Stock Exchange Mark has hosted many military VIPs and Veterans on the trading floor for social networking opportunities and to educate them about the equities markets.
Captain Shad Meshad U.S. Army
For more than 50 years, National Veterans Foundation Founder and President Shad Meshad has worked as a therapist for Veterans and an advocate for Veterans’ rights. After receiving his master’s degree in psychiatric social work, he enlisted in the army in 1970. Upon his return to the U.S., Shad founded and directed the Vietnam Veterans Re-Socialization Unit at the VA Hospital in Los Angeles, California. It was the first program of its kind, focusing on the readjustment problems of Vietnam Veterans. During this time, Shad was among the first to study the disorder now known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. In 1978, he worked to develop and lobby for the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Bill. In 1979, he founded the Vet Center Outreach Program, which now serves Veterans in more than 300 locations across the country. In the wake of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, Meshad was called upon by the U.S. government to help train the critical incident and trauma teams at Ground Zero.
Master Sergeant Roger Sparks U.S. Marine Corps & U.S. Air Force Pararescueman
Roger served within the military as both a Recon Marine and an Air Force Pararescueman for over 25 years. On November 14th, 2010, Roger’s life changed forever. His Silver Star citation states: “Despite continued enemy fire and with no concern for his personal safety, during Operation Bulldog Bite, Roger immediately performed lifesaving measures for nine wounded soldiers. He feverishly triaged chest wounds, punctured lungs, shattered hips, fist-sized blast holes and arterial bleeders with limited supplies and only the light of the moon.” Roger returned home with deep wounds of his own. Roger struggled with post-traumatic, during which he turned to tattooing. “I couldn’t shake the catharsis of it.” The obsession took on greater meaning as he began tattooing fellow veterans. He is currently transitioning from a career of special operations into the civilian world as an artist, author and speaker. His military records indicate that Roger has saved over 300 lives.