Meet The Team

Our Board of Advisors & Our Board

Board of Advisors

 The Rick Herrema Foundation is honored to have a distinguished and engaged Board of Advisors that is dedicated to supporting our mission of strong families, strong military, strong nation and protecting the national security of the United States. Their mentorship and support are testament to their leadership and a gift to our nation. This is a partial list as of April 2020.


Peter Bloom


New York

Chris Budnick

President, Vanguard Plastics


Mark Fauk

US Army (ret.)

Chick-Fil-A, Corp. (ret.)


AMB Tom Foley

Chairman, Stevens Aerospace


Jon Gerold

USSOCOM (ret.)

North Carolina

Ron Haynes

Chief Strategy Officer, Phoenix Global Support

President, Joint Special Operations Association

North Carolina

GEN (ret.) Charlie Holland

Commander (ret.), USSOCOM


Patrick Joyce



COL (ret.) Joseph LeBoeuf

 USMA (West Point) & Duke University, Emeritus

Thayer Leader Development Group

North Carolina

BGEN (ret.) Maureen LeBoeuf

Master of the Swords, USMA 

Chair, USO North Carolina

Thayer Leader Development Group

North Carolina

Robert Mack



LTC George Pappas (ret.)

Senior Advisor

US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

Washington, DC

Ed Petkovich

President & CEO, Walsingham Group, Inc.

North Carolina

Terry Ryan

President, Tenax Aerospace


MAJ GEN Kurt Sonntag

Deputy Commander (ret.), USASOC

North Carolina

GEN Gordon R. Sullivan

32nd Chief of Staff (ret.)

United States Army


Ken Thomson

Business Consultant;

Served 82 ABN, RHF Board 


LT GEN (ret.) Kenneth Tovo

Commanding General (ret.)


North Carolina

HON Christine Todd Whitman

Governor NJ (1994-2001)

Administrator, EPA (2001-2003)

New Jersey/New York

Board Members



RHF’s Fundraising Committee member and one of RHF’s founding board members. Darren is the recently retired Founder of Alpine Training Services. ATS is a leading international specialty rigging (design/ build) & training company. For 20 years he served as the Chief Visionary Designer, Licensee & Business Developer for the Hit TV shows such as “American Ninja Warrior,” “Ultimate Beast Master,” “Titan Games” etc., also, stunt based games for shows like “ The Amazing Race,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Big Brother” and many more. Additionally, he serves as an advisor to the board for the Peak Rescue Institute and was previously a professional wild land firefighter.



RHF’s Finance Committee member and Rick Herrema’s father. He has been VP and Treasurer of Great Lakes Painting and Decorating Inc. for 30 years. He has served as an elder at Forest Grove Christian Reformed Church for the last 9 years and Treasurer for 3 years and Chairmen of the building and grounds committee. Dick is also a board member at Hudsonville Christian School and a member of the building and grounds committee.


Chief of Protocol for US Forces Command. 


Vice President, Executive Committee and Fundraising Committee Co-Chair. Joanie is an entrepreneurial thought leader focused on the intersection of innovation, technology, and national security.  She is the co-founder of Strategic Link Partners.  An international Eisenhower Fellow, Joanie serves as a Trustee on the National Small Business Association and on the Boards of Advisors for Innovate-Educate and The National TRUST Center, a not-for-profit focused on economic security she founded.  


Joe is a Lieutenant Colonel with 20 years of active duty service, 16 of which have been with Army Special Operations Forces.  Army life has taken Joe and his wife Patty to duty stations in Europe and across the US, where they have weathered many peacekeeping and combat deployments while raising their 5 kids.  Joe worked side by side with Rick Herrema in the 101st Airborne Division, and is honored to serve the vision of RHF by helping to create a sanctuary in Fayetteville where families like his can come to find respite and renewal.


Executive Committee. Founded the original RHF’s Board of Advisors and helped cultivate RHF in its earliest days and continues to lead RHF as our organization matures.  He served with distinction in the US Army before transitioning to civilian life. He is a successful lawyer in New Jersey. His business acumen and civic virtue have helped create numerous successful endeavors for many people across the globe.  He currently co-chairs a $100 million capital campaign for Norwich University.

John A.

Finance Committee Co-chair. John is a passionate supporter of Rick’s Place and believes deeply in its core values, people, and impact on families.  After serving in the Army, he spent several years in the financial services industry before returning to the service.  He searched far and wide for a organization like Rick’s Place focused on empowering veterans and, through a combination of divine intervention and happenstance, discovered the group tucked away in a quiet corner of Fayetteville serving a grand mission that started with a mere whisper.


John B.

Building Committee member. A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point (Engineering) and the University of Texas-Austin’s McCombs School of Business (MBA), John is an active-duty soldier. He, his wife, and four children serve military families through helping improve Rick’s Place infrastructure.  


Josh is our board president. An active duty soldier who joined the Army before 9/11 and has been overseas multiple times since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He currently serves on the board of directors and he along with his wife and the invaluable assistance of other dedicated supporters founded the Rick Herrema Foundation (RHF).  RHF is dedicated to the memory of Josh’s best friend, Rick Herrema, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2006. Josh has five children and, as a father and husband, knows first-hand the challenges of full time military service, Josh wanted to create a place that would honor his best friend by creating a retreat for still serving military families where they can come and spend fun, quality time with each other.


Treasurer and CFO, is an active duty military spouse. As a family, they have endured more than a dozen combat deployments. She is a beloved wife, friend and mother to two young daughters. She is also a former Army kid whose late father served in the Vietnam War. She has a degree in accounting and has spent most of her professional career working as an auditor and finance manager for local governments located near Ft. Lewis, WA and Ft. Bragg, NC.


Michael Ecker has over twenty-seven years of accomplishment as a leader with a track record of managing highly complex projects in multi-cultural environments involving senior international executives.  With past corporate experience at Lockheed Martin, Grayhawk Systems (now ManTech), and The Wexford Group (A CACI Company), his accomplishments are extensive.  He has significant experience building and developing successful organizations from nothing with few resources, and stood up the only Army National Guard unit that supports the Joint Special Operations Command.  Michael is a Special Forces Officer who has served in two different Special Mission Units, holds two Master’s Degrees, is a Project Management Professional and specializes in Lean / Agile Tech Product Development.  Michael is conversationally proficient in Spanish, loves the outdoors, and resides in Cary, NC, with his wife and two children.


Phil serves on RHF’s fundraising team.  He has an extensive background in software and consulting sales as an entrepreneur and with large organizations such as Oracle and SAS.  At SAS, he created the first leadership development program for sales organization members who wish to pursue a management career.  A graduate of Norwich University, Phil mentors existing students and the local alumni group in Raleigh.  He was a member of the Army National Guard from 1986 – 1991 as an M60A3 Tanker.  He is also an active volunteer in children programs at Hope Community Church in Raleigh.


Currently serving with US Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, NC

BA in History, University of Delaware

MS in Strategic Planning, National War College

30 year Army veteran, multiple combat tours, command at every level from Lieutenant to Colonel

Married, father of eight daughters


Sam, immediate past Board President, currently serves as a consultant to the U.S. Military. He is a U.S. Army veteran who spent his career in Special Operations serving multiple combat tours. Sam is married to author, teacher, and counselor Kathy. They are the parents of nine children and two grandchildren. Sam served with Rick Herrema.  


Since OCT 2013 Tom has served as President/CEO of Frank Management Group which specializes in commercial property management and investment. He is also the treasurer and board member of Virginians for Veterans (501c3). Prior to this he served as President/CEO of TransAuthority, Inc. with over 180 employees at six locations in southern Virginia. During his time with TransAuthority he was named Navistar “Dealer of the Year” (Global) in 2005 and Navistar Circle of Excellence Award Winner for 14 years. He has been married to his wife Lisa for 34 Years and they have 2 children, Robert & Leah.



Fundraising committee Co-Chair. Trabue is an executive in the financial services industry.  He is the President of ICE Futures US, a leading exchange for energy, agricultural and financial products.   Trabue and his family live in New York.