Dusty was appointed Boulder Crest Retreat's Executive Director in July 2015, following considerable involvement as a mentor, teacher and guide in a number of our combat stress recovery (PATHH) retreats. Dusty is a retired US Army Airborne Ranger MP/S3/G3/Operations Specialist. He served as part of the 82nd Airborne’s Combat Parachute Assault in Panama during Operation Just Cause and with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment for Desert Shield / Storm. Since retiring Dusty has dedicated his life, passion and abilities to bringing relief, healing and hope to our active duty, veteran and transitioning military personnel experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress common in service members. His personal journey of healing combined with his exceptional leadership and teaching abilities, credibility in the Military community, and pure passion for helping Veterans, coupled with Transcendental Meditation, an effective technique for reducing PTS symptoms, delivers a powerful message and results.
Dusty previously served as the National Director of Operation Warrior Wellness for the David Lynch Foundation. He concurrently served as the Executive Director of Transcendental Meditation (TM) for Veterans with the Maharishi Foundation USA and is a Certified Transcendental Meditation(c) Teacher. Dusty has developed and managed numerous TM/Veterans based projects teaching TM to hundreds of Veterans to date. Recent projects have included DDEAMC FT Gordon, GA at the Neurological Research Center (NRC)/Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clinic, Nellis AFB, FT Benning, GA, Boulder Crest Retreat, VA, Annapolis Vets Center, and Project Jericho in Bronx, NY.
Coach is a championship coach and motivator, focused on unlocking the potential that resides within our nation’s combat veterans and their family members. He joined Boulder Crest Retreat as Director of Programs in June 2016, after having participated in the development and delivery of Warrior PATHH for 13 months.
Prior to joining BCR, Coach spent seven years with NASCAR’s most dominant organization, Hendrick Motorsports, where he coordinated, directed, inspired and taught pit crew preparation, training and choreography for drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
During that time, Coach, and the crews he coached, built a staggering resume. He was a part of four Sprint Cup championships with Johnson’s No. 48 team, while winning two Daytona 500s, three Brickyard 400s and is the only coach in the sport’s highest series to win two MVP Pit Crew of the Year awards.
Prior to joining Hendrick, Coach spent three years as Head Coach and Director of Motorsports for the Performance Instruction and Training (PIT) institute, training students to become potential NASCAR pit crewmembers.
While Coach greatly enjoyed his time in Nascar, and was highly successful, he chose to begin serving our nation’s combat veterans and their families because of what this community stands for. He eats, breathes, sleeps and dreams coaching. As a coach the biggest win and reward is to see your players grow, achieve succeed and then serve out of the desire to live a life of significance. A life that educates, inspires and leads others to their own greatness. He coaches because he wants his kids to have a legacy to grow up with and carry on, a legacy built on courage, discipline, sacrifice and service. Everything the men and women he gets to serve with and for stand for.
Kevin Sakaki comes to us from the Virginia Department of Veteran Services (DVS) Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) program, where he assisted veterans and family members coping with the impact of deployment, military service, operational stress, transition to civilian life, posttraumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injury. He has also been involved in Criminal Justice Partnership training for Justices and staff providing veteran advocacy within the Virginia court system, guided a bi-monthly combat support group, and facilitated reentry work from within Northern Virginia Adult Detention Centers to ensure successful veteran transition (employment, housing, I.D., treatment, and peer support) prior to release. Kevin has worked with the Commonwealth of Virginia's Crisis Intervention Team speaking to Law Enforcement and Crisis Negotiation Units on veteran awareness for Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince Williams counties. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Service Source. Service Source is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides employment, training, habilitation, housing, and supportive services to individuals with disabilities. Kevin served 10 years in the Marine Corps and 10 years in the intelligence and special operations community with multiple combat deployments.
For the past two years, Suzi has regularly traveled to BCR to provide Horse Inspired Growth and Healing (HIGH) and other therapeutic activities for our PATHH Programs. In January 2016, Suzi made the move from Malibu to Bluemont to be a full time BCR staff member and Lead PATHH Guide. Before coming to Virginia, Suzi was the Clinical Director of a residential, dual diagnosis treatment center and founder of BIG Heart Ranch and Farm, where veterans, families and clients participate in animal-assisted therapy and organic gardening. Suzi has also worked with several national VSO’s and other healing organizations for veterans and their families. Many years ago, Suzi started her own healing journey by participating in a wild horse gentling program, which she continues to provide as a post traumatic growth activity for veterans and organizations such as the EOD Warrior Foundation.
Before becoming a therapist, Suzi received a BA in Theater from Middlebury College and worked as a video and film producer/director. Later, her unique therapeutic work with trauma lead her to being featured on many TV talk shows, including Oprah, and having two books published by Putnam.
Paul Downs joined the Boulder Crest Retreat team in July 2016. Born in Dallas and raised in Virginia, Paul enlisted into the Marine Corps on December 3, 2003. He served in three different units over a ten-year career, and deployed twice with 2/2, Fox Company. After leaving Fox Co., Paul reported to Officer Candidates School permanent personnel in Tactics Platoon as a platform instructor. After three years in that role, he served at the Marine Corps Information Operations Center (MCIOC) as Psychological Operations, where he finished his career. Paul joins us from Whitney, Bradley & Brown, where he worked as the Manager, Military Information Support Operations Program of Instruction. Paul is a graduate of Boulder Crest Retreat's Warrior PATHH program, and is currently studying for his B.S. in psychology.
Jamie Mizerak has worked with BCR since the summer of 2014, caring for our two horses, Clayton and Gabriel. Jamie has now taken on a full-time role, helping to design and implement a five-star recreational schedule for our R&R guests. From 2012-2016, Jamie worked as the Social Media Coordinator for the EOD Warrior Foundation. Jamie has always had a heart for the men and women of the armed forces who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our country. From a personal perspective, Jamie loves everything the active, country life has to offer; riding horses, hiking and shooting. Jamie was born and raised in western Loudoun County, Virginia. With a heart to serve those in need, she has gone on several mission trips with various local groups, traveling to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Zambia, Africa. Jamie is a true patriot and we are thrilled to have her as part of our team here at Boulder Crest.
Carrie is a native of Virginia, born and raised in Loudoun County. She graduated from Loudoun Valley High School in 1997 and attended her freshman year of college at High Point University. She transferred to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA and graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services Counseling. She has two children, Dante, 14, and Ryder, 9. They currently live in Winchester, VA with their family dog, Batman!
Carrie has a strong background working in non-profit and counseling. Her experience has ranged from working in homeless shelters to domestic and sexual violence women's center to helping children with Axis 1 diagnoses in the school system. Carrie has always been passionate about making a difference in people's lives and helping them improve their lives in any capacity possible! She is excited for this new opportunity to interact, engage, and positively impact the veterans and the families that visit BCR.
Sarah Fehrer serves as Director of Development for Boulder Crest Retreat for Military and Veteran Wellness, overseeing all aspects of the organization’s fundraising and development activities. Sarah joined the Retreat’s Founder and Chairman in November 2011, to lead the capital campaign to build the Retreat. She is now spearheading the Retreat’s second fundraising campaign (Phase II) to enhance and expand the Retreat’s signature PATHH programming and long-term sustainment.
Sarah has more than 25 years of development and fundraising experience spanning the non-profit, association and political arenas. Sarah’s previous non-profit experience includes having served as Director of Corporate Relations for the Smithsonian Institution where she provided oversight for all corporate development activities for the Institution’s 19 museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo. Within the association community, Sarah worked for the Manufacturing Institute and served as an Officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in the position of Vice President for Corporate Development. Also an accomplished political fundraiser, Sarah held senior director-level fundraising positions at three national political party committees. Noteworthy special events, international and government experience early in her career include work for the 1992 World Exposition in Seville, Spain and the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations. Sarah served in the White House, during the first Bush Administration.
Sarah has a special appreciation for Boulder Crest’s mission, having come from a family comprised of many veterans and grown up in a small town in upstate New York. She has a B.A. in Business Administration from St. Bonaventure University and resides in Catharpin, Virginia, with her husband and two children.
Angela serves Boulder Crest Retreat as Development Officer. Prior to joining BCR, she has served other non-profits within Washington, D.C. in a variety of capacities. Her career thus far has consisted of working with investors and building relationships with those who share the same passion for various causes. Most of her experience comes from time spent with local non-profits, political fundraising and working on campaigns since her graduation from Liberty University in 2011. Angela is passionate about helping others, making a difference and leaving this world with a positive impact.
Angela is a proud West Virginia native, and in her free time loves to explore new wineries and happenings in the Northern Virginia area, any outdoor activity, and spending time with her husband and their English bulldog.
Halley Cook was born and raised on a 20-acre countryside in Manchester, Michigan. She is accustomed to the inner workings of the country life complete with many animals, from dogs to horses to raccoons (yes, pet raccoons). Halley moved to Toledo, Ohio to attend the University of Toledo and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Management.
During her college years, Halley was active in club volleyball, Relay for Life, Changing Health Attitudes + Actions to Recreate Girls (CHARRG) and her sorority, Kappa Delta. In addition, Halley worked part-time for the Detroit Tigers via their Foundation, which handles much of the Team’s fundraising activities and donations for their recipient organizations throughout the Detroit area and nationally. Her responsibilities included educating volunteers in new technology to facilitate the selling 50/50 raffle tickets, as well as overseeing 40+ volunteers during each game.
Following college, Halley’s first full-time position was as a Community Engagement Manager with the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, where she worked with scout troops throughout the Toledo Area and managed the development of their community service units to support volunteers. Halley left this role to continue her work in sports and became a sales consultant for group outings and season tickets with the Toledo Walleye and Toledo Mud Hens Teams. There, she coordinated details for the Teams’ season ticket holders and group leaders to ensure they had a memorable experience during games.
Halley recently moved to Reston, Virginia with her fiancé, who accepted a position within the defense industry. In her spare time, she loves to stay active, explore new places and spend time with her family, friends and fiancé. She is a wine enthusiast, baseball junkie and a lover of all animals. Halley is pleased to be joining the Team, feels blessed to have this opportunity with such a remarkable organization, and is beyond excited to support our combat veterans and their families.
Susan Meredyth Smith has worked as a grant writer for non-profit organizations for the past seven years. She has been the Grant Writer for Boulder Crest Retreat since the fall of 2011. Previously Susan worked as a Systems Design Analyst for a company that produces software for hospitals and physicians.
Susan received her BA from Brandeis University. During her time in the Boston area she worked on a three year longitudinal study for an NIMH study at Mass General Hospital and conducted research for emergency room protocol used by Beth Israel Hospital.
Susan's family has a long history in the state of Virginia and she has lived here most of her life. Her father was a World War II veteran who served as an aviator with the Marines in the South Pacific. She is honored to be working for Boulder Crest Retreat and contributing to the invaluable work they are doing to help our veterans.
Lynnette is a proud Pittsburgh native, who has had the opportunity to live all over America alongside her husband, a Marine for 22 years. She joined the Boulder Crest Retreat team in January 2012. Lynnette is strongly committed to our mission, and feels fortunate to have the opportunity to serve a community with which she is so familiar and has so much respect and admiration for.
A Marine wife through and through, Lynnette provides the highest performance standards within a diverse range of administrative duties supporting executive staff members in various fields, including contract and grant submission. She is also responsible for accounts payable and receivable functions. Lynnette attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania studying Criminal Justice.
Lynnette currently resides in Loudoun County, with her husband and two daughters.
Josh joined Boulder Crest Retreat in June 2014 and is responsible for the development of strategy - ranging from marketing, communications and strategic partnerships to program delivery and follow-on support. Josh led the Retreat's efforts to develop the nation's first comprehensive, non-clinical curriculum for Post-Traumatic Growth, based on our breakthrough Warrior PATHH program, and is the co-author of three books: the Warrior PATHH Instructor Guide, Warrior PATHH Student Guide, and Warrior PATHH Journal.
In addition, he is responsible for strategic partnerships and supporting efforts to scale and expand the Retreat's efforts.
In 2017, Josh was named as one of 60 Presidential Leadership Scholars. Established by the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson, the Presidential Leadership Scholar program is an innovative leadership program designed to ensure that scholars have the opportunity to succeed in creating and executing meaningful and impactful leadership projects in communities across the nation.
Prior to joining Boulder Crest Retreat, Josh worked as a communications executive at ExxonMobil's Dallas headquarters from 2006-2011, and was an entrepreneur-in-residence at 2M Companies. During his time at 2M, Josh began advising several non-profit organizations supporting veterans, with a specific focus on combat-related stress and PTSD. After volunteering for a number of months, and in recognition of the remarkable strength, capacity and potential of the men and women of the U.S. military, Josh decided to dedicate his life to ensuring that service members, veterans and their families had the opportunity to live the great lives they deserved – full of passion, purpose and service – here at home.
James joined Boulder Crest Retreat in July 2016, and is responsible for maintaining the Retreat's idyllic 37 acres. James served as a U.S. Army Paratrooper from 2003-2011, and then spent time as a law enforcement officer. James is a trained crossfit instructor and a physical fitness fanatic.
As a Warrior PATHH graduate, James possesses a deep understanding of the power of Boulder Crest Retreat and our programs, and joined the team to ensure that he could help his brothers and sisters come all the way home from war, and provide their families with the peace they deserve.
René joined the Boulder Crest Retreat team as head chef and horticultural specialist in January 2017. As a self-taught, award winning culinary artist, René aims to prepare 5-star nutritious, seasonal meals for veterans staying at the retreat. Overseeing the Wallis Annenberg Heroes Garden, René manages the organic garden just steps away from the kitchen. René helps immerse participants in a farm-to-table experience with practical take-home knowledge and skills. She believes that growing and preparing food in a good way is part of the healing exchange and vital to reducing suffering for our military veteran families – one ingredient at a time.
Before arriving to BCR, René earned a Bachelor’s degrees in both Math & Art and Master’s degree in Diplomacy. She has worked with people of influence fostering critical interagency partnerships with the Pentagon, White House, State Department, Secretary of Defense, news media, embassies, etc. Her highest valued product managed was a $250 million dollar contract solicitation. She herself is a veteran; a U.S. Air Force retired Lt. Col. with 22 years active-duty military service and humble Native American Lumbee Indian Warrior.
She currently volunteers in various community positions to support culture, arts and education and received President Obama’s Call to Service Award for volunteerism. When not at BCR, she and her husband lead their own Native American Indian non-profit helping leaders, bringing recognition to contributions of indigenous people to reduce suffering. She is a proud daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and resident of Bluemont.