A Veteran-Owned Nonprofit

The Team

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Meet The Team

Through our programs and events, The Long Walk Home has helped thousands of Veterans and military families overcome difficult circumstances and find their purpose. Here’s what they have to say.

Ron Zaleski

President/Executive Director

I’m the founder of THLW in 2006, USMC 1970-72. I owned and ran a gym and scuba shop in the Hamptons for 28 years. After 9/11 I realized if I did nothing I allowed others to go through what we did and have little to no guidance after getting discharged. This was unacceptable to me. I walked the AT barefoot in 2006-7 to create awareness then across the country barefoot in 2010-11 carrying a petition which I brought to Washington DC trying to get mandatory counseling for all military personnel prior to discharge. Then 2014-16 had a homeless shelter in the Keys and now we have a mentorship program 2020 that has been the most effective thing to help more people across the country. I’m involved in every aspect of the organization and spend most of my time doing events and mentoring.

 

Terri Miller

Executive Assistant

I have volunteered for TLWH over 12 years. Now, I’m an employed team member since the organization has grown and transformed. My job entails administrative, bookkeeping, event planning, Human Resources, and wherever else I’m needed. I’ve always enjoyed helping people, so working for an organization that helps veterans and their families is a mission that I can get behind. I’m also a Mentor for our “10 Challenges to Service” program.

I’m also a designer for my jewelry business established in 1999 called “Custom Tails Jewelry.”  I enjoy the beach, scuba diving, bike riding, yoga and lifting weights.

I graduated in 1977 from East Detroit High in Michigan and went on to college for dental assisting. After a few years, I went back to school to become a Dental Laboratory Technician. I soon opened my own dental lab, making gold and porcelain crowns and running the business. After realizing that jewelry is made the same way that gold crowns were constructed, we began making dolphin tail jewelry which helped make the transition from dental to a jewelry company. My  husband and I moved to Florida Keys where we grew the business. I was also a certified reflexologist and energy healer. My husband passed away in 2010 so I gave up my healing business to dive into the jewelry full time. 

I met Ron Zaleski in Key Largo where we both lived. I was impressed with his organization and what he did. Our friendship began while I volunteered for the TLWH events he held. In 2015, I moved here to Venice to be near the beautiful beaches.

Heath Fleener

Volunteer

Heath is a new member of The Long Walk Home Team. Bio coming soon!

 

Ron Newhouse

Training Director

I have served for 21 years in the Navy Reserve as a Chaplain. I have a combat tour in Iraq with the Marine 9th Communications Battalion, and active duty tours with the Marine Wounded Warrior Battalion West and Marine Forces Reserve. I have been privileged to help hundreds of Marines, Sailors, and veterans with combat stress, marriage enrichment, resiliency training and suicide intervention training. My civilian work experience was in large churches as a Church Administrator. I am excited to be on The Long Walk Home team to use my Navy and civilian experience to support and help our veterans and their family members make their transition from military to civilian life.

I grew up in Indiana and, after college, moved to Texas for graduate school where I have lived most of my adult life. I currently serve on TLWH team and my Navy Reserve command is with the Force Headquarters Group at Marine Forces Reserve, New Orleans.

I enjoy hiking in city, state, national parks and caves. I like traveling, camping, trains, and staying in fun B&B’s with my wife Michele. We’ve stayed in a caboose and old train depot hotel!

“Only two defining forces have ever volunteered to die for you; Jesus Christ and the Armed Forces American. One died for your soul, the other for your Freedom” – author unknown.”

Cody McElhinny

Operations Manager

I am a civilian with a passion for helping others. Several of my family members and friends served in the military, so helping veterans is a cause that means a lot to me. I grew up in New England, where I completed high school. In 2017 I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Shortly after moving to Florida in 2020, I met Ron Zaleski at the Veterans Day Bike Ride. Since then I’ve been a proud team member of The Long Walk Home, helping with marketing, communications, program development, grant writing, videography, and photography. 

Outside of work I enjoy biking, playing the guitar, exploring the outdoors, road trips, reading, writing, and filmmaking. 

 

AJ Schepp

Volunteer

AJ has been a volunteer for The Long Walk Home for over 2 years! Bio coming soon.

 

Ashley Ruskavich

Volunteer

Ashley’s bio is coming soon.

 

Duane Stamm

Volunteer

Duane C Stamm is originally from Lakeland, FL. After graduating with a degree in Criminology from Florida Southern College in 1999, he joined the Marine Corps. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps on August 10th, 2001. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Course, Assault Amphibian Officer Course, and MAGTF Intelligence Officer Course. He has served overseas in Okinawa, Japan, and has combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, both in uniform and as a contractor. He started volunteering as a mentor for the 13th Judicial Circuit’s Veterans Treatment Court (VTC), located in downtown Tampa, in May 2016. He started fundraising by conducting his personal fundraiser for the Senior Mentor Fund by cycling 50 miles from Fort Desoto to Tarpon Springs. Through Facebook, he was able to raise $1,500. This was a start to what is now, two of his main passions: cycling and helping others. He met Ron Zaleski at a Project Welcome Home Troops retreat, in Boone, NC, and after deploying to Baghdad, Iraq, in 2018, he decided to start volunteering with The Long Walk Home Inc (TLWH). Helping to organize the first advertised cycling event for The Veteran’s Day Bike Ride, he helped TLWH raise over $2,000 from riders and another $5,000 from donations. This was a great start in building a veteran focused community and spreading mindfulness. Duane still serves as a Major in Marine Corps in Tampa, FL. He is married to Selena and they have a 9-year old daughter Brooklyn. They have two dogs, a Husky named Kirra and an American Bulldog named Parris. Duane enjoys studying Brazilian Ju Jitsu and Vinyasa Flow Yoga. He loves gardening with orchids, roses, hot peppers, and citrus, and you will often find him sharing some of his many seeds and propagations with neighbors, friends, and family. He runs regularly to push himself and his longest run yet is a 50K, which he hopes to start training for a 50-miler soon. Duane recently started planning bike rides across the width of Florida and completed his first cross-state ride on Jan 18th from West Palm Beach to Venice for a total of 189 miles. He is currently planning more routes and hopes to encourage others to find their own peace through mediation, yoga, cycling the open roads, helping others, and whatever it is they love to do…

 

Alexandria White

Associate Director

Alexandria White is an Army veteran, 91B Combat Medic, real estate agent, and mother to an amazing son. She was raised in the mountains of North Carolina and on the canals and rivers of Florida. She comes from a long line of service to this country. Both her grandfathers were in WWII, one Navy and one Air Force. Her father was in the Air Force, and three uncles were in the Army, during the Vietnam era. She is dedicated to helping veterans prevent suicide and giving support to families that have lost loved ones. She created an application, EMO Calendar, to prevent suicide in 2018, at Florida Gulf Coast University. During this time, she met Ron Zaleski, and was inspired to join The Long Walk Home, as a volunteer since their introduction. Following a few years of volunteering, she has now joined the team as the Assistant Director of Operations. She continues to work with veterans as this is her passion. Her hobbies are hiking, fishing, kayaking, and painting. She is excited about her own personal journey, with The Long Walk Home.

 

The Long Walk Home, A Book By Ron Zaleski