The Executive Staff
JAKE CLARK - FOUNDER, chairman of the BOard, and director of programs
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.
Patrick Atkinson - President & CFO
Patrick (Cohort 040) has nearly ten years of experience working with two of the nation’s largest veteran organizations. He has worked alongside the lead officers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion providing strategic insight and financial guidance in the state of Ohio.
As an alumnus of Save a Warrior, Patrick has experienced firsthand the transformative power of the “War Detox” program. He truly believes that SAW saves lives and wants nothing more than to help in the fight against veteran suicide.
Patrick holds a master’s degree in business administration, a bachelor’s degree in International Studies, and is a Certified Public Accountant. He is also a former Squad Leader in the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment of the United States Army (1999-2004). Patrick most recently held the position of Financial Officer for The American Legion Department of Ohio and has 10 years of combined experience in finance and leadership in the non-profit sector. Patrick is grateful for the skill set he has acquired from the before mentioned organizations and is excited to lead Save a Warrior in achieving their goals; because these men “are worth it.”
BRIAN HAGERTY - DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Brian (Cohort 009) is a Veteran having served Active Duty in the US Army and the Army National Guard from 1986-1994. He then retired from the Los Angeles Police Department after 22 years of service where he 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.
Adam Carr - Major gifts officer
Adam (Cohort 035) 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. 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 is a graduate of the Ignite Program at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Currently he is earning his MBA at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. Adam lives in Dublin, OH with his wife Tarah and their three children, Noah, Jonah, and Norah.
IAN FULLER - Director of Marketing
Ian (Cohort 038) 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 Project Management Institute (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 Blackhawk and the UH-72A Lakota helicopters. 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.
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 (Cohort 017) 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 (Cohort 035) 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 (Cohort 035) 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!
Keith Ritz - Board Member
Keith (Cohort 048) has spent most of his adult life in Cleveland, OH, where he lives with his wife of 25 years. Together they have raised 2 children. He is passionate about his family. He helped found and grow Redwood Living, a Midwestern single story apartment development company and retired in 2015. He is familiar with many facets of real estate development, construction and general business. He received an MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He has a passion for the outdoors, hiking, riding his ATV’s and spending time with his family, including his 2 brothers, both of whom he is extremely close with. Keith has had an interest in military affairs for most of his life. His deep appreciation for the sacrifices of those who have served both in the military as well as our first responders is evident in the work he and his wife Liz are performing for SAW. The suicide epidemic in these communities has motivated him to commit considerable personal time and energy to do whatever he can to help alleviate this crisis. He realizes that there is a need for disruptive applications to help serve a segment of this community as the Government programs to date have been grossly inadequate in getting the results needed to help those who have sacrificed so much.
Elisabeth "Liz" Ritz - Board Member
Liz lives is Cleveland Ohio with her Husband and two children Jack and Emma. Her deep sense of commitment of helping and showing her appreciation for our Veterans and their families stems from a life long imbued indoctrination from her Grandfather and Fathers influences. Both men served and later spent a combined 80+ years paying it forward through the American Legion. This left a indelible impact on Liz, who met and saw first hand the cost of our country’s conflict on our young and Veteran service members. As an avid horsewomen she expanded her knowledge in working with Veterans at Fieldstone Therapeutic Riding Center. Equine therapy showed her a new way in which she could hone her life long skills with her passion to help our Veteran community. Soon after Meeting SAW’s Deputy Director Adam Carr and inviting him to speak at her children’s High School a friendship began and a new awareness of what many of our returning Veterans were experiencing. The epidemic of Veteran suicide can not be ignored and her mission to serve those who have served us and our nation was clear. Liz and her Husband Keith are passionate and committed to establishing Warrior Village, a sacred place for our Military’s Men and Women to heal and move forward so that they can live the lives they deserve.
staff and shepherds
Jason Roncoroni - Chief Leadership Officer (TRIBE)
Jason (Cohort 041) is the principal author and creator of the TRIBE reintegration program. He is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and former battalion commander with 33 months of combat experience in Afghanistan. Jason is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, holds a Master’s in Organizational Psychology, and graduated valedictorian from his MBA class at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. His experience as an assault and MEDEVAC pilot and organizational leader through multiple combat deployments significantly affected his perspective on leadership and comprehensive warrior wellness. Upon retiring from the military, he served as the Executive Director of Stop Soldier Suicide and authored the nationally recognized Reverse Boot Camp initiative. He traveled the country speaking to suicide survivors, military organizations, Veterans, and related advocacy groups on the urgency of transforming the military to civilian transition process. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “An Ordinary Hero” that deconstructs the spiritual and emotional consequences of multiple combat deployments and offers enduring solutions to improve the resiliency and long-term wellness of both military and Veteran communities. Jason is also launching a professional coaching program to continue to help Veterans transform their lives and communities.
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, first responders, and their families, who have been challenged by post-traumatic 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 has 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.
James "Jimmy Jam" Connors - Shepherd
As a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, James P. Connors (Cohort 009) 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.
Billy Otter - Shepherd
Billy Otter (Cohort 036) Served as Special Operations Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) for 13 years in the Air Force. During his career, he served with numerous Special operations teams as their JTAC. Billy did tours in Bosnia and made seven deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, totaling over 300 combat operations. For his actions, he was awarded four Bronze Stars with Valor. Currently Billy is living in Louisville Kentucky with his wife, Gina and their two boys, Logan and Spencer. He works as a regional manager for Turning Point Brands and conducts carry concealed classes on the side. Billy values the time he is able to give back to the Veterans because of the impact SAW had on him and his family.