Board of Directors
Hearcel Craig (D) Columbus
State Representative, 26th District
U.S. Army veteran
Hearcel Craig is a Vietnam-era veteran who served in the U. S. Army from 1970-1972. From 2007 to 2014, he was a member of the Columbus City Council, where he acted as the first chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee. The committee helps meet the needs of veterans, service personnel and their families by connecting them with existing services and resources in the community. Craig also has created the Better Municipal Care for Veterans Home Fund, which helps veterans and their families make needed repairs to their homes. Prior to joining City Council, Craig was the Director of Customer Service for the Franklin County Clerk of Courts. He also has served as legislative liaison for the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Director of Recruitment for City Year and Executive Director of the Hilltop Civic Council. In 2014, Craig was elected to the Ohio General Assembly, where he proudly serves as State Representative of Ohio's 26th district.
Director of Planning, Preservation and Development
Ohio Housing Finance Agency
Kelan Craig is Director of Planning, Preservation and Development at the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), the leading agency of the state’s low-income housing tax credit program, multifamily bond program and several gap financing programs. Prior to joining OHFA, he served as a Community Development Analyst at the Ohio Development Services Agency, working on housing and community development programs. Craig also served as Housing Preservation Coordinator at the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, undertaking housing preservation program planning, implementation and evaluation as part of the Ohio Preservation Compact, a joint effort to preserve affordable housing. Before moving to Columbus, Craig worked at Freedom House, a homeless veteran's shelter in Portage County and for the Portage County Regional Planning Commission. He completed AmeriCorps service working closely with individuals served by the Portage County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Craig earned a dual degree in Political Science and Economics from Kent State University and holds Masters Degrees from Ohio State University in City and Regional Planning and Public Policy and Management.
Dan Hahn, President
Major General (Ret.,) U. S. Army
North Canton, Ohio
Dan Hahn retired from the U.S. Army in 2009 as a Major General with over 36 years of service. He grew up in Ohio and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 1973 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Hahn served as a Field Artillery officer and commanded at every level from company to corps, including service as a battalion commander in Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1991. Hahn was the Chief of Staff of all ground forces in Iraq in 2003 and was the Deputy Commander of a multi-national corps with responsibility for more than 40,000 troops. His responsibility included logistics, engineering, military police training of Iraqi police, aviation, civil affairs, military intelligence and medical support. His last assignment was the senior operations officer at NATO headquarters with responsibility for NATO Afghanistan operations.
Scott Hall, Ph.D., LPCC-S
Associate Professor of Counselor Education
University of Dayton
U.S. Army veteran
Scott Hall is an associate professor of Counselor Education at the University of Dayton (UD), and a professional clinical counselor and supervisor in private practice. He is also a partner with Hawthorne Integrative, LLC, a healthcare consultancy. Hall has served as Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at UD for 21 years and as president of the Ohio Counseling Association from 1998-99. He is co-author of the recent book Managing the Psychological Impact of Medical Trauma: A Guide for Mental Health and Health Care Professionals (Springer Publishing), as well as numerous articles on medical trauma, PTSD, positive psychology and therapeutic communication. In his clinical practice, Hall counsels adults with depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and relationship concerns. He is a Certified Master Trainer in the Department of Defense TeamSTEPPS® program and has received additional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (from the Omega Institute/University of Massachusetts Medical School faculty). He is also certified by the American Red Cross as a Disaster Mental Health Therapist. Hall served in the U. S. Army Reserves between 1985-1993 as an officer in the Corps of Engineers and with the 11th Special Forces Group.
Brad Howard, Treasurer
Ernst & Young
Brad Howard was raised in Ohio and is the son of two US Army veterans. He currently helps lead Ernst & Young’s pension risk management practice nationally. Howard has over fifteen years of experience consulting with retirement plan sponsors and insurance providers. He advises clients’ CFOs, CHROs and Market Innovation functions regarding an array of human capital and related finance matters, including actuarial services, pension funding and risk transfer strategies, asset-liability management, capital strategy, tax planning and retirement and welfare benefit plan design. Howard is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, Fellow of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries and an Enrolled Actuary.
Major (Ret.,) U.S. Army
MillerCoors Trenton Brewery
Wayne Township, Ohio
Marc Messerschmitt is a team manager with the MillerCoors Trenton Brewery and is also the site leader for the MillerCoors Veterans Group. Messerschmitt served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted soldier and later as an officer. He started his service in the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea, then in the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC and Ft. Benning, Ga. Messerschmitt earned his commission through the Officer Candidate School (OCS) and served as a Rifle Platoon Leader, Assistant Operations Officer, Company Commander, Battalion Operations Officer and Executive Officer in the 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft. Benning, Ga. In total Messerschmitt deployed six times, commanded three infantry companies and was the winner of the 2000 David. E. Grange Jr. Best Ranger Competition. Messerschmitt retired as a major after 22 years of military service. Messerschmitt’s awards include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, ten Army Commendation Medals and three Army Achievement Medals. Messerschmitt is a graduate of Troy University earning a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice in 2001 and a Master of Science in Management in 2007. Messerschmitt retired from the Army in 2012 and now resides in Wayne Township with his wife, Katie, and daughter, Cora Grace.
Len Proper is the founder and Executive Director of Military Veterans Resource Center. After service in the Marine Corps and New York National Guard, he earned a degree in electrical engineering and worked in research labs at General Electric and Oak Industries. After returning to school to earn a degree in human resource development, he worked for a consulting company, providing some of the earliest participatory management training in the automotive industry. After earning a MBA, he then taught in the business school at the Ohio State University, and later served as director of workforce development for the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services. While there, Proper initiated the nation’s first program to help veterans earn civilian credentials to document skills they learned during their military service. This led to over $2.5 million in grants to help veterans earn credentials and find employment in high wage jobs. Since its founding in 2003, Military Veterans Resource Center has provided career and supportive services to over 8,000 veterans.
Director, Veterans Services
Family and Community Services
Matthew Slater has worked at Family & Community Services since 2001. He began his career as a Housing Specialist at the agency’s homeless shelter, Miller Community House. This was a part-time minimum wage job. Since then he has worked in a variety of positions with the agency administering grants to help the indigent and homeless of Northeastern Ohio. In 2004, the agency began developing programs to assist homeless veterans. Slater was instrumental in setting up the agency’s first homeless program for veterans, Freedom House. Since then, under his leadership, the veterans programming budget has grown from under $100,000 a year to over $3 million. Services for veterans have increased from nine beds serving 30 veterans a year to over 100 beds of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, a rapid re-housing and homeless prevention program that serve over 500 veterans a year in five Northeastern Ohio’s Counties.
U.S. Army veteran
Huber Heights, Ohio
Andrea Werner-Cassidy is a substitute teacher in the Huber Heights City School District. She attended Shawnee State University and graduated with dual bachelor's degrees in Sociology and Criminal Justice. She brings a broad spectrum of experience as a veteran’s advocate to the board, including her role as a corrections officer in the United States Army and her experience as a member of the Ohio Governor's Women Veterans Advisory Committee. During her time as a student, Werner-Cassidy started the Shawnee State University chapter of the Student Veterans of America and became extensively involved in speaking on behalf of veterans. She was also the first Director for Women Veterans of the Student Veterans of America, which involved traveling the country giving speeches and presentations in regards to veterans' educational and mental health needs, as well as participating on multiple panels.
Chief Financial Officer
James West is the Chief Financial Officer for ITLynk. Previously, West served as Chief Executive Officer for CARSTAR Collision Care Center. Before that, he served as vice president of Summit Funding Inc., and was a healthcare administrator for Neurological Surgery Associates. West started his career as a certified public accountant for Brankamp, Vosler and Co., in Worthington. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with bachelor’s degree in business administration. West has two sons and a daughter-in-law serving in the U.S. Army. He has served on the board of trustees of the Fisher House Foundation for the past eight years. The Fisher House Foundation supports injured veterans by putting their families up in special houses while they recover from injuries sustained in combat. The foundation also operates the Hero Miles program, using donated frequent flier miles to bring family members to the bedside of injured service members as well as the Hotels for Heroes program using donated hotel points to allow family members to stay at hotels near medical centers without charge.
Gary Wilhelm has been a practicing structural engineer since 1981, is a registered professional engineer in Ohio and Michigan, and is the president of WRIST Engineering Company. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and pursued graduate work at The Ohio State University. In addition to structural investigations and design, he has designed numerous home modifications for persons with disabilities, including veterans. Wilhelm has taught seminars to other engineers, architects, and building officials. He has also served as a plans examiner for Delaware County and the City of Columbus. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the National and Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (currently chapter vice-president) and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Wilhelm served in the United States Army from 1968-1970, including a tour in Vietnam. For many years, he has volunteered to assist struggling veterans.