Join us for our Monthly Dinner & Meetup For Veterans, Family & Supporters! ∙Dinner is provided for free. Optional: Bring a dessert to share
Michael Bluemling Jr. is a patriot, father, veteran, F45 business owner, NASM F45 Coach, advocate, author, former Radio co-host, and former candidate for U.S. Congress in Florida District 21 in 2020.
Having served our great country in the United States Army, as a Sergeant during the Kosovo campaign and America’s war on terrorism, Michael chose to serve those who fought for America when he became a civilian again. Discharged with honor, Michael worked for the Department of Labor and Department of Veteran Affairs, a fierce advocate for our veterans and their families, fighting for their present and future.
In 2013, Michael Founded Power of One, a veteran-owned coaching service to help veterans and people in transition, which was highlighted in U.S. Veterans Magazine in the November 2013 issue, as well as in DAV (Disabled American Veterans) Magazine in the issue of July/August of 2014. He closed Power of One in December 2016. He also worked for the state of Virginia, leading the Virginia Values Veterans Program, helping to create over 30,000 jobs for veterans inline with the governor’s initiative. Michael was also the previous host of the Podcast, Live with Michael Bluemling Jr. and the radio show host, with Chauncey Brown III, of “The Michael and Chauncey Show” on BlogTalkRadio until April 2020. In July 2020, Veteran Nation with The SGT and Skipper started on New Right Network, where Michael is a Co-Host and that ran until September 2020.
Mark Moody retired as President and CEO of the WEA Trust (the Trust) at the end of 2016.
Mark has a diverse professional background as a health care and IT executive in both the private and public sectors, in the United States and internationally.
Mark was Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Medicaid program and then Staff Director for the Hospital Rate Setting Commission in the 1980s. Mark went into the private sector as CEO of Network Health Plan in the Fox Cities when it was a start up and later became CEO of an HMO in Cleveland, Ohio. He was subsequently appointed National Vice President of Managed Care Product Development for Aetna Health Plans. In 1993, he and his family moved to New Zealand where he led Aetna International’s team in launching a managed care business. Upon returning to the United States, Mark worked in the managed care software and services industry for a company that was subsequently acquired by United Healthcare where he was appointed Vice President for International Operations.
Mark was later CEO of a computer software company in the Twin Cities for three years. In 2003, Mark was appointed Director of Wisconsin’s Medicaid, BadgerCare, and SeniorCare programs by Governor Doyle. He also served as chair of the Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan (HIRSP) Board of Directors from 2003 to 2006 and chaired the Governor’s Pharmacy Reimbursement Advisory Commission.
In retirement Mark has remained professionally active, serving on boards of directors of healthcare and information technology not for profit enterprises. He is also active in Rotary International.
Mark enjoys travel, cooking, cycling and Bible study.
Eric Konovalov is an immigrant, refugee, who’s family fled communist Russia in the early 90’s, when he was ten years old. Growing up in Baltimore, MD, Eric found his appreciation for the United States and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1999 as an Aviation Operations Specialist and a Russian Linguist.
During Eric’s military career he had the honor to serve in combat zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also supported Joint Task Force Operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
After an eight-year career with the marines, Eric decided to focus on building his family and a new career. He received his degree in Business Administration from University of MD and then went on to lead a sales team for Xerox in the Baltimore area.
In 2012, Eric Joined DCA Imaging Systems as their Director of Sales and helped the company grow their revenues.
To grow himself as a leader, Eric became a certified leadership trainer and coach through the John Maxwell Team. In 2015 he founded his own Executive Coaching and Sales Training company, The Goal Guide, Inc.
In 2020, Eric, his wife Julia, and their two boys, Max and Mikey, made the move from Maryland to Bradenton, FL.
Today, Eric continues to operate the Goal Guide. He is the author of B2B Sales Secrets and the host of Lead Sell Grow – The Human Experience Podcast. He travels the country and speaks at conferences on the topics of mindset, leadership, and sales. He also enjoys coaching executives to help them grow their businesses and develop their leadership abilities.
Eric and his family love to spend their time discovering all the amazing things Florida has to offer and helping the veteran community whenever there is a chance.
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.
Vicki served in the Army Nurse Corps from 1968-1971. She worked in ICU, non-contagious pulmonary, and as a night supervisor. Her career consisted of private practice individual/group psychotherapy and national healthcare consulting; she ended her career as a professor teaching nursing and physician assistant students’ bioethics.
She still serves on 2 hospital bioethics committees, a quality improvement committee, as well as the Nursing Academy bioethics expert panel. Her last book was on moral courage.
Since her retirement in 2012, she spends more time gardening, world travel, and volunteering with the Sarasota Democratic Party clubs and caucuses (i.e., Democratic Veterans Caucus). Vicki D. Lachman, Ph.D., APRN, FAAN
I joined the Army in 1997 and my very first deployment was to Albania, which led to the liberation of Kosovo. Most of my first tour (97-2001) was spent in that part of the world until my ETS date in February 2001. I was still a member of the National Guard when 9/11 occurred so I immediately trained up to go back on active duty. You can imagine how everything about life had changed for me.
I went on to serve in multiple conflicts until my luck ran out and I was no longer able to serve due to wounds I received while on deployment. Since my discharge, I have gone through an amazing journey of tragedy and triumph, while trying to find a sustainable middle ground. I have worked with Veterans from every modern conflict and two former WW2 prisoners of war.
Most recently I have worked with organizations that provide service dogs to Veterans. Every day is a new opportunity.
Spiritual liberation producer
emotional freedom technique trainee
practiced psychic cosmonaut
commune outreach volunteer
criminal law educator
usmc war veteran
Spiritual SciANKHs author
ptsd awareness advocate
spoken word entertainer
radio show host
accomplished professional poet
legal civil rights advocate
AfRAkan Unification ambassador
wandering homeless vagabond
organic botanical nurturer
nutritional preparation artist
foreign lANKHage tutor
college entrance exam tutor
preschool playgroup coordinator
children’s exercise instructor
traditional egyptian reflexologist
ordained church reverend
magna cum laude graduate
past life regression guide
yoga asana instructor
distANKHs energy healer
biological sound healing therapist
intuitive massage therapist
herbal medicine professional
alternative medicine consultant
combat water survival instructor
unvowed forest monk
I was born and raised in Maryland. I’m an Army combat veteran and served from 2007-2017. I did tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Korea along with several stateside assignments.
I currently live in North Carolina about an hour north of Ft. Bragg. I am a father to two amazing young daughters (4 & 2). I’ve been married, divorced, and currently in a relationship.
I work full time currently as an electrician. I am an avid outdoorsman. Hiking and backpacking being at the tip of the list. I also love fishing, hunting, biking. I love live music and meeting people at concerts.
I try to live my life by 2 rules; be cool to people and don’t do anything half-assed. I genuinely care about other people and believe in helping when called to help.
I am a proud husband, father, retired Marine, and an Ordained minister. I have a degree in Christian Life and Christian service. I have two songs published with Operation Song out of Nashville TN. I hold the position as Pay Master with my local Marine Corps League and Treasury for Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at East Milton Elementary. I’m an author of World of Wow a wonderful children’s book.
Nancy is currently working as a medical technologist and has a clinical laboratory background. She also has worked for the Diocese of Venice, as an administrative assistant at their Spiritual Retreat Center, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
She was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey – maiden name Bayus.
She attended Sayreville War Memorial High School; then graduated from East Stroudsburg University, in Pennsylvania, with a bachelor’s degree in Laboratory Medicine.
The few long years she spent in the Pocono mountains was enough to send her to Florida by 1987. Pompano Beach was “home” for several decades. Some years after meeting and marrying Martin Gazo, they relocated to Venice, Florida. They make their home with several Greyhounds now and have become very active in Greyhound adoption. They also are members of Paws For Friendship, and all of their Greyhounds are registered Therapy Dogs.
Nancy’s interests include reading, yarn work (although she is a beginner at knitting and crochet), chess (again, not highly accomplished), and writing. She would love to be a published author someday. In the 1980s, she was a competitive bodybuilder – and was Ms. Summers On The Beach, 1989. In the 1990s, she studied Martial Arts, earning a yellow belt in Aiki-jujitsu, and a brown belt in Kenpo Karate. Animals and animal rights have always been my main passion. She has also been a member of MWA – Mystery Writers of America – for a couple of decades. Her dream is to be able to retire, and indulge her interests.
Short version: She has seen a lot of crap in her life, so far – but has also witnessed a lot of good!
I am a US Navy Veteran who served for 10 years. I was stationed on an aircraft carrier (USS Eisenhower) and also on a tour of Presidential Duty at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland. I really enjoy spending time getting to know veterans and helping them in any way possible.
Jackie is a mom, wife, dog-mom, Veteran, REALTOR®, and sweet tea lover. She loves helping others achieve their goals and as a real estate agent she is able to do that by helping them “find a home.” Veteran homeownership is a passion of hers and she is a dedicated advocate for those who have earned the VA home loan benefit. Jackie grew up in Utah before joining the Air Force. After 11 years, marriage, two kids, and several life-changing events, she needed something different and decided to separate from the military. She went on to work as a DOD Civilian for 8 years. Between her time on active duty and as a Civilian she went TDY a lot and discovered her love for traveling.
Hating the snowy winters of Utah, Jackie and her husband James decided to make the early retirement move to southwest Florida. However, she is unable to completely let go of the mountains and makes her family go back every summer to go camping. She enjoys fishing for anything but catfish, napping, and reading silly romantic suspense books. Jackie has a bachelor’s degree in Social Psychology and was fortunate enough to be selected as a Civilian to attend the Air Command and Staff College, where she received her master’s degree. Her degrees have absolutely nothing to do with her current chosen profession of a real estate agent. She is a certified real estate mentor and finds tremendous joy in helping newer agents get their businesses on track. She also enjoys volunteering at the Animal Welfare Center with her daughter a couple of times a month.
Born a Buckeye in Central Ohio, my parents moved our family of 6 to a small island in Southwest Florida. It was a move for improved health I learned later and it placed us next door to my mother’s maternal aunt when I was 6. It was an ideal life from many aspects however, it was lonely as it was barely populated back then. A one-room schoolhouse with 30 students did help me feel safe and connected and somehow, I did finish college and grew up to be a small businesswoman, much like what happened with my parents in Florida. We had the ‘American Dream’.
As a college freshman, I met the man I married and eventually moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York State. What a radical weather correction that was but it provided a wonderful environment to grow both a business and a family with two sons. As they flew the nest for college, I quickly saw a path to more time in Florida again and became a snowbird. I was able to withdraw from working and refocused on volunteering. I also returned to campus for my master’s degree. This helped me remain stable through a divorce and my own health challenges in my 7th decade.
A new decade and a world undergoing radical disruptions have found me in Englewood in 2021. Gratitude ranks high for me today, especially for lessons learned in 12-step meetings over two decades. Years ago I fought against technology but today it helps me feel connected still to a web of friendship & through Zoom groups. Finding a way to relax, just like when I was learning to swim so many years ago, is needed now. These lessons have helped me learn to float comfortably above the muddled turbulence that I accept as ‘the norm’ now. I have learned to trust, when I reach out to others, that I can find others who are ready to act in loving kindness also.
Growing up I attended a technical high school and graduated with a machinist certificate and a high school diploma. I quickly realized I didn’t want a career as a machinist and joined the military as a jet engine mechanic. Once I got out of the military I attended an aviation technical college to get an airframe and power plant license in order to become an aircraft mechanic for a major airline. Halfway through my working career, I decided it was time for another change and I went back to school and got a degree in mechanical engineering and got a job working for a major aerospace company as a design engineer. I then decided enough was enough and retired and did what all retired Americans do, I moved to Florida. I was an avid runner and cyclist for 30 years. I still cycle a little bit but haven’t done any running in a while although I would like to. Working for an airline allowed me the opportunity to travel quite a bit and I’ve been fortunate to have seen a lot of the world. I’ve had a motorcycle since I was 14 and enjoy riding and taking motorcycle trips from time to time.
I grew up in the Southwest part of Pennsylvania. From 6 years old, I knew my path. At 18, thanks to the help of the local Marine Recruiter, I was on my way to Parris Island.
Fast forward to now with too many stories. I am an avid cyclist, painter, husband, father of two, and Veteran Advocate.
“We help ourselves by helping others.” ~ Unknown
I am a Mentor and Volunteer for The Long Walk Home. I help make the chocolate candies that are sold at the Farmer’s Market, the proceeds going to help the Veterans. I also assist in making the signs for various Veteran’s events and fold The Long Walk Home T-shirts and hoodies, placing them in plastic bags and marking them ready to sell. I am proud of the fact that My husband Robert Charles Miller was a WW 11 Navy veteran, My father, Arthur Henry Dettmer and my Mother’s brother, Louis Michael were WW 1 Army Veterans. My father was very active in 2 Veterans’ Organizations, always fighting for Veteran’s Rights.
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, writing newsletters, Human Resources, making chocolate for the Farmer’s Market or wherever I’m needed. I’ve always enjoyed helping people, so working for an organization that assists veterans and their families to empower themselves is a great mission for me. I’m a mentor in our program called “10 Challenges to Service” that Ron created to assist vets and families transition from military to civilian life. 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. And especially love traveling and camping with my boyfriend Ron Zaleski. My mom, Ron and I live together with our kitten in Venice, FL 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 Z 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.
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.”
Sam served in the United States Army as a Combat Engineer with the 555th Engineer Brigade. After completing his active-duty service, he attended the University of South Carolina, Columbia, where he graduated with degrees in History and Criminal Justice and Criminology. After completing his degrees Sam moved to Charlotte, North Carolina where he became the Chief of Staff for a non-profit organization, The Independence Fund. With a thirst for adventure and a legacy in aviation, Sam decided becoming a pilot was his true calling. The excitement of traveling and meeting individuals from all walks of life solidified his passion and desire to take to the skies. The connections and experiences he has obtained from serving his country, giving back to his fellow veterans through non-profit and the joy of helping others has become a staple in his life and seeks to continue that pursuit.
Heath is a new member of The Long Walk Home Team. Bio coming soon!
I was born in Greenfield, Massachusetts but mostly raised in Cumberland, Maine. I attended Swarthmore College where I earned my bachelors in Film & Media Production and directed several short films. My late grandfather served in the US Navy during the peak of World War II. Still to this day I am both horrified and fascinated by his war stories. I found out about The Long Walk Home through Craig, who’s been my friend since high school. In my spare time I enjoy photography, playing guitar, and cooking.
After I started a social media agency 5 years ago and dropping out of college, I worked with local and online businesses and built online communities around their brand. I met Ron Zaleski in an ice cream shop 6 months ago and we started talking about ideas on how we can turn The Long Walk Home into a national movement and a platform to help Veterans make their transition to civilian life. It’s an honor to apply my skills to help better serve Veterans while they make their transition to civilian life. My hobbies include; playing guitar, being a dog dad and working out.
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.
Sean is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps, LCpl, from 1992-1996. He enjoys volunteering for TLWH because it gives him a direct way to give back to veterans who are not as fortunate as him. Sean has spent the last 20 years working in the electric utility industry. He has spent the majority of that time in the field as a Journeyman Substation Electrician. In this time he has worked 6 hurricanes and multiple large storms to ensure electric service for customers throughout Florida. Sean loves fishing and running with his dog Summer who just turned two. He also enjoys participating in mud-runs, BBQing, and his favorite sports are football and hockey. Sean established our Annual Independence Day Salute To Our Veteran’s BBQ which was free to all military in Islamorada, FL.
Zach has been a real estate broker, with Keller Williams, since 2009 and certified residential appraiser since 2005. In his career as an agent, Zach and his team have successfully closed hundreds of transactions. He has earned the respect of colleagues and clients for his integrity and the exceptional results he delivers. He holds CDPE, GREEN, ABR, and REALTOR designations in Colorado. Zach’s specialized appraisal background is what sets us apart and ensures your home will be priced right from the start. Zach enjoy’s snowboarding, rock climbing and snorkeling. He enjoys being part of the board on TLWH because it is an opportunity to give back to the veterans that have given so much for all of us.
Ashley’s bio is coming soon.
AJ has been a volunteer for The Long Walk Home for over 2 years! Bio coming soon.