The Executive Staff
JAKE CLARK - PRESIDENT & FOUNDER
Ronald “Jake” Clark is a US Army Veteran of the Cold War era and the California Army National Guard during the Post 9/11 era. During a lengthy break in military service, Jake served with the U.S. Secret Service, the Los Angeles Police Department, and as a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Following the events of 9/11 he reenlisted in the Guard, completed Officer Candidate School, and served multiple Peacekeeping tours to the former Yugoslavia where he witnessed the aftermath of genocidal atrocities, greatly impacting his worldview. While an MBA student at Pepperdine University, he interrupted his studies to create Malibu-based Save A Warrior. Jake's novel and disruptive approach in the areas of reintegration and PTS-related suicide prevention, inspired the creation and informs the curriculums of several derivative resiliency programs across the country and abroad. A sought after public speaker on the challenges of Veteran transition and reintegration, as well as his work with First Responders exposed to workplace trauma, his passion for serving those who serve has inspired several films and major news articles. In 2015, he received the WebMD Health Hero Award for his work in Veteran advocacy. In 2017, Save A Warrior was declared a winner at the second annual VA BrainTrust: Pathways to Innovation for its disruptive and pioneering approach to ending Veteran suicide.
RAYCHAD VANNATTA - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Raychad “Ray” Vannatta has over 20 years of military service in the United States Army and the Army National Guard. In 1997, Ray enlisted and served as a forward observer. Following his honorable discharge from the active component, Ray transitioned to the Ohio Army National Guard and completed his education, earning his Bachelor’s Degree. In 2004, Ray attended Officer Candidate School and upon completion was selected to attend the Army's Flight School where he learned to fly the Blackhawk helicopter. As a commissioned officer and returning OIF Veteran, Ray has served as a Platoon Leader, Company Commander, and on Battalion and Brigade Staff. A full-time instructor pilot, he is the lead trainer for his unit’s Rescue Hoist Program, often serving as the Air Mission Commander. Ray is also completing his MBA from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. His affinity for his work with Save A Warrior is very personal, motivated from losing his closest friend to suicide. His life’s passion is caring for his fellow Warrior.
TERESA RIVERA - vice president of outreach
As a Vietnam-era veteran, Teresa Rivera served on Active Duty for 10 years around the globe in the Military Intelligence Branch of the US Army. After her military service, Teresa continued her career at Procter & Gamble, where she fine-tuned her marketing skills. Teresa returned to government and held various management positions nationwide with the US Postal Service, the US Department of the Interior, and the US Department of Labor. Working in partnership with major corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, Teresa is known throughout government and industry as a leader in marketing and communications. Her dedication to supporting her fellow veterans and delivering the SAW message are unequaled.
BRIAN HAGERTY - DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Christopher “Brian” Hagerty is a Veteran having served Active Duty in the US Army and the Army National Guard from 1986-1994. Since 1995 Brian has been a member of the Los Angeles Police Department where he has worked patrol and other specialized units. With great pride, Brian is part of the SAW Alumni and the Servant Leadership it strives to create for this great nation. As Director of Operations, Brian manages Alumni Affairs, First Responder Relations, assists with planning and execution of Cohorts, and maintains direct communication and guidance over Alumni & Shepherds. Brian’s affinity for this work and desire to serve and honor all Warriors comes from his love for his grandfather Cpl. W.W. Hall, USMC, an Iwo Jima Survivor.
Board of directors
Tim Agajanian - BOARD MEMBER
Tim is a Partner in the Los Angeles office of Ropers Majeski Koh & Bentley and is a member of the firm's Business Litigation, Intellectual Property, and Toxic Tort & Environmental Law practices groups. He focuses his practice on matters involving business law and commercial litigation, construction defect litigation, environmental law, general liability and casualty litigation, insurance, municipal contracting, government affairs, professional liability, business transactions, and real estate. Known for providing practical, hands-on advice to regional and national clients in business transactions and litigation, his counsel includes advising clients on daily operations, leases, strategic planning for future ventures and growth, new business formation and entity selection. In addition, Tim has extensive experience handling environmental remediation matters across Southern California, involving Superfund issues and other regulatory compliance concerns for waste management and landfill companies.
TERRY Scariot - Board Member
Board Member and Officer of USA Cares, Board Member of Western Kentucky University Clinical Education Complex/Autism Center, and an Advisor to The Mission Continues, Smoky Mountain Service Dogs, and The Center for Courageous Kids. From 2001 to 2011, Terry held the position of Chief Executive Officer for Pan Oston, a manufacturer and marketer of retain fixtures. He held positions of increasing responsibility in executive management from 1972 to 2000 at several diverse companies in the chemical, automotive, energy, capital equipment, and consumer hardware product markets. Terry was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Missouri in 1970 and a Master's in Business from the University of Missouri in 1972, graduating summa cum laude and number one in his class.
Bradley Hillstrom Jr - Board Member
Bradley is the CEO of vMocion, LLC, a technology licensing company. Prior to vMocion, Bradley co-founded and led Transparent Media Company, a film finance company. Bradley also served as President of Hillstrom Equities and Hillstrom Entertainment, where the companies reached notable success in the technology, entertainment, and healthcare sectors under his leadership. He played an integral role in developing innovative financing structures and backend technologies that created both profitability and efficiency within each organization. In addition to spearheading the company’s corporate development activities and digital initiatives, Mr. Hillstrom closely managed the legal and business aspects of each transaction that occurred. Bradley served in the Unites States Marine Corps, where he built upon his natural leadership abilities, innate focus, discipline, and commitment. He served from 2003-2007 and was a member of F.A.S.T. Company (Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams) for two tours of duty. Additionally, he was a member of the 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment where he was awarded a medal for bravery in combat.
Matt Bassitt - Board Member
A licensed loan originator since 2003, Matt started his own Mortgage Branch (Northwestern Home Loans) in 2009 where he specializes in VA home loans. He served in the USAF Reserves from '97-'03, and was Presidentially Activated for Kosovo Campaign where he flew as a crew chief aboard the HC-130 (P-model’s) in the 939th Rescue Wing. While serving in the Air Force, there is a motto within Search and Rescue - “That Others May Live”. Matt always felt very fortunate to have served his country without disability or ailment, including Post Traumatic Stress and he can’t help but want to help. Matt is also a huge part of "The Scotch" - a 2 day golf/auction fundraising event that began in 2015 to help raise awareness and funds for Save A Warrior. It is a great way to enjoy camaraderie with friends, enjoy one of the best golf courses in the country, and most importantly raise funds and awareness. Matt, with a grateful heart, donates much of his time, money, and energy, for one reason….That Others May Live! He feels lucky to be introduced to Save A Warrior, and he couldn’t be prouder to be an alumni, board member, and strong supporter of this great organization. In his free time, Matt spends time with his amazing wife Sarah, and 3 little girls, Ayla, Dani, and Harlow. "They bring me more joy than I could have ever imagined." Family, friends, and golf make up most of his time away from work…he can’t complain too much!
extended staff and shepherds
Chakir' underdown - Chief of marketing for ohio
As a survivor of domestic violence, Chakir' Underdown brings her passion for advocacy and empowerment to the Save A Warrior family. After graduating with her Bachelor's from The Ohio State University, Chakir' continued her educational career by earning an M.A. in Latin American Studies and an M.S. in Marketing Communications. Chakir' dedicated her passion for helping others by serving as a peer mentor, while also dedicating her volunteer marketing and organizational services to the Columbus Legal Aid Society, The Ohio State University, and the City of Dublin, OH. A long time resident of Columbus, Ohio, Chakir' serves as the Ohio Marketing Director for Save A Warrior, connecting the organization and the SAW mission to the Central Ohio community. Currently, Chakir' is completing her law degree at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Adam carr - deputy director
Adam Carr has over 12 years of service in the U.S. Army. As a Special Forces Green Beret, Adam hunted Al Qaeda operatives, developed intelligence networks, conducted diplomatic relations, and briefed Ambassadors and Generals on Geopolitical environments. In 2006, Adam earned his B.A. in Security and Intelligence from The Ohio State University. He spent the next eight years deploying to Asia, including Operation Enduring Freedom - The Philippines and Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan, twice. Adam's passion comes from a deep-rooted desire to serve others and save lives. He has been profoundly affected over the loss of his teammates, mentors, and close friends to suicide. He currently speaks to students, corporations, and a wide variety of audiences all over the country. Adam will be attending Stanford Graduate Business School over the summer for their Ignite Program. In the Fall of 2017 he will begin his MBA at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. Currently, Adam lives in Dublin, OH with his wife Tarah and their three children, Noah, Jonah, and Norah.
ian fuller - Chief of business development
Ian Fuller is a retired U.S. Army Major with over 22 years of service. He enlisted in the Army in 1994 as laboratory technician. In 1998, Ian received his bachelors degree and in 2001 his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant through a Green-to-Gold scholarship. Ian received training as an UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot at Fort Rucker, AL in 2002. Thereafter, he spent 8 years in the 101st Airborne Division deploying to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. Ian also served in Hohenfels, Germany at the Joint Multi-National Readiness Center prior to attending the Air Force’s Air Command & Staff College (ACSC) where he earned his Masters Degree. After graduating ACSC, Ian transitioned to become an Operations Research & Systems Analyst where he worked on the Army’s most difficult problem sets. He holds a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and is a member of PMI. Prior to his retirement in August, 2016, Ian served at every level from Platoon to Major Army Command and was a Pilot-in-Command of the UH-60L and the UH-72A. Currently, Ian lives in Vine Grove, KY with his wife, Katie and their two boys, Keaton and Kyran. He is extremely passionate about serving the Nation's Warriors and First Responders.
Michael G. Hofrath - Head of Trauma Intervention & Depth Experiential Healing
Michael is a Somatic Depth Psychoanalyst Ph.D. Candidate, Addiction & Recovery Counselor and Intuitive Body Soul Healer. Michael works with civilians, military veterans, law enforcement officers, firefighters/ first responders, and their families, who have been challenged by posttraumatic stress, or extreme trauma. Michael has been in the body, mind and soul transformation field for over three decades. His lustrous career originated in the health, fitness and wellness field and h quickly became a highly sought after fitness expert, and inspirational leader as a functional performance and movement coach (CPFT), health educator, author and speaker. Martial arts fueled curiosity in the Eastern religions, Yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which led him to train in energy and indigenous shamanic healing practices. Attainment of his doctorate in somatic depth psychology completed the alchemical merging of body, mind and soul healing. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/ Marketing Management with a minor in Communication Studies from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He earned his Master's degree in Somatic Depth Psychology, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate from Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, while concurrently, completing a Fellowship with the Association of Integrative Health and Medicine. Michael’s therapeutic healing philosophy is highly integrated in the humanistic/ transpersonal, psychodynamic and object-relations therapy approach, through a neurobiological, neuropsychological lens, combined with somatic body-based practices.
JOSH WHITING - social and broadcast media support
Josh Whiting is an U.S. Army veteran with combat deployments to Iraq (07-09) and Afghanistan (10-11) as an Infantryman in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Josh is proud to have become a SAW Alumni while still on active duty and, after being medically retired, has played part in Save A Warrior’s marketing, social media, and the SAW Talks podcast. Josh continues to find new ways to serve his fellow man across the spectrum of Veteran and civilian organizations. This desire is driven by the courage, honor, and sacrifice of his friends who were injured and lost. For Josh, their lives were selfless examples of "Servant Leadership" and “leaning in” to whatever may lay ahead.
Adam K. - Shepherd
Since 2003, Adam has been employed as a First Responder within the Greater Los Angeles area. “KOW”, as he’s commonly referred to, possesses a passion for serving and supporting others, in and out of his community. He serves as a Peer Support Member, a Critical Incident Response Team member and co-facilitates Critical Incident Psychological Debriefings. His personal journey through sobriety led him to complete his certification as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CCAPP), to include supporting adolescents who struggle with both substance abuse and mental health challenges. KOW volunteers weekly at a transitional living facility in Orange County where he assists the clinical team, designing and implementing lessons dealing with: relapse prevention, 12 Step topics, rigorous exercise and basic life skills. After attending numerous, silent Vipassana Meditation technique (Eightfold Path) retreats, KOW now devotes his life to sharing these life-changing practices with others.
Mason blankenship - shepherd
Mason Blankenship served in the United States Marine Corp from 2005-2010. In 2008, he was deployed to Afghanistan with 2/7, where his under-supported unit came to be known as "The Forgotten Battalion". Since 2007, he has been working with Central Ohio American Charities (COAC) to provide various non-profits with the needed resources to continue the lifesaving operations available through various types of therapy. He is currently pursuing his bachelors degree from Franklin University, and tutors children with special needs. Save A Warrior is very personal to Mason as a substantial number of warriors, and friends with whom he deployed, have ended their own lives. It is his genuine desire that no returning Veteran should ever feel forgotten.
James "Jimmy Jam" Connors - Shepherd
As a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, James P. Connors deployed seven times to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as a professional firefighter, and during his rookie year, found himself at Ground Zero, assisting his fellow firemen of the New York City Fire Department. Because of many wartime experiences, James sought help from (SAW) in January 2014, and a few months later, he was humbled to accept New Jersey’s highest military honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, from Governor Chris Christie. Since then, he uses his experiences to help those suffering from wartime service issues, such as PTSD. Four years ago James closed the chapter in his life with the Fire Department and now resides in New Milford, New Jersey, where he works spreading the word about SAW and telling warriors in need that the road to wartime recovery need not be walked alone.