James is a six-year U.S. Army veteran, 18-year law enforcement veteran, public speaker, and current mentor & coach for transitioning veterans and survivors of suicide loss. James' passion to support veterans and first responders is positive response from the aftermath of the tragic death of his Army veteran brother to death by suicide in 2018. The VMPI program is his passion and empathy guides his decisions when working with his staff and leading The VMPI mentor program.
James has a Master of Science degree in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership from the University of San Diego and recently completed the Resilience Building Leadership Professional Trainer (RBLP-T) certificate program.
When he transitioned from military service in 1999, he also completed A.A. and B.A. degrees in 1999 and 2003, respectively . He continues to serve his community and co-founded The Veteran Mentor Project, Inc. with his wife, Luv, in January 2021.
In addition to his military service, James has five years experience in the private sector and he is a law enforcement professional. He has been recognized for his work in suicide prevention advocacy by the Ventura County Crisis Intervention Team, as Officer of the Year (2014); Ca State Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin for his suicide prevention advocacy (2019). James has been interviewed and featured by the California Police Chiefs;' Association, Taking Care of the Human Behind the Badge initiative, Ventura County Star, KCET Crisis Intervention feature, VC Not Alone Campaign and the 6th Annual Ventura County Behavioral Health Conversations About Suicide Forum. received many commendations throughout his career and carries the same passion and work ethic into the VMPI.
James' words of encouragement for transitioning veterans and first responders are to advocate for yourself, be diligent in your research, and be willing to do the work necessary to have a successful transition. Additionally, James says, "Don't be afraid to try new things, follow your interests, as well as your skills but most importantly do not be afraid to fail. The only failure is not trying. Your success depends on one critical factor...'DO THE WORK.' Transition from service never stops, become a lifelong learner. The success will follow."
Luv is a veteran of the U.S. Army. She now works for the school district serving our youth as a,health assistant. She certified Yoga instructor and currently working on her "Warrior Yoga" credential.
After her transition from service in 1996, Luv completed both A.A. and B.A. degrees. She has worked in banking, been a preschooler teacher and director for nearly 15 years. Luv is now working on our wellness & yoga programs for veterans. More info. to come soon!
Vice President Carlos Garcia is a two time Operation Iraqi Freedom (4 & 6) veteran of the US Army.
Carlos earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and was decorated for his leadership while serving in combat zones. He spent many years as an infantry team leader and squad leader while assigned to the 101st Airborne Division.
Carlos possesses a Masters Degree in Public Administration (MPA) and B.S. In Psychology, as well as extensive specialized training in law enforcement. He now works as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer (Sergeant). and contacts our active service members and military veterans almost daily.
Carlos is also trained in crisis intervention and serves as the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) departmental coordinator. With nearly two decades in uniform and multiple combat deployments, Carlos is committed to serving veterans and first responders who are transitioning from service.
Carlos knows and understands the veteran transition process and encourages all veterans to find a mentor to help support and guide them to the next phase of their lives.
Pastor Ed has been in ministry since 2004. He has always felt lead to help the less fortunate in the world, including those in need of mentorship and biblical counseling.
As a pastor he has counseled many individuals & couples looking for peace and spiritual balance. He also has a financial background as an owner of a mortgage company. He has been active in the financial industry since 1996. He is happily married and is father to four amazing children
Stella's bio is coming soon.
Casey served in the US Marine Corps. He is a 24 year LE veteran and current patrol Sergeant.
Casey's advice to transitioning veterans and first responders is to find healthy pastimes and hobbies, explore your faith. Stay active!
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help!!
Quinlan is a former EMT/FF1. Medically retired correctional officer of ten years. Father of five kids and I have been married for seventeen years. Born and raised Alaskan living in the Alaskan wilderness.
Quinlan's advice to a transitioning veteran/first responder: "I would tell those transitioning to civilian life that while the job defined many aspects of your life. Your are not the job and the job is not you. You are your own person with hopes and dreams. Your loved one love you not the job. Do not dwell on the past. Now that that part of your life is over don’t mourn it. Celebrate it and all the good you have done and look to discover your next adventure. Rekindle old flames and light new ones. Find purpose."
Quinlan is also a suicide loss survivor, like so many others. His heart and passion are in this with us. His brothers, Gavin, is honored on our memorial page. Say their names so they may live. Til Valhalla.
Name: Jarrod M. Wilfert
Prior Law Enforcement: Ventura Police Department (5Years)
Years transitioned/New profession: 2012 Transition- Business Owner/ Attorney at Law
Jarrod's encouragement to you:
I think when we address the notion of transitioning career paths that involve leaving law enforcement or the military, we are really talking about making fundamental changes to our identity.
Sometimes we make these decisions on our own terms and sometimes the truth is that life makes them for us. This can be an incredibly difficult and, at times, overwhelming process. I would like to think I have "transitioned" twice now in my career having been a Deputy District Attorney and also a Police Officer working the streets of Ventura. I tell my kids that I have found my dream job three times (I work for myself now as an attorney) in life even if I did not plan things this way.
The one thing I have learned over the years is that we are never alone. If we fail, we do not do so in a vacuum and if we find successes, often if we really look we see those successes were possible because of the love and support of those around us. Transitioning career paths or perhaps, career identities, is the same. If I could give any advice it is simply this: Reach out to others and you will be surprised by the help you get and the new information and world of possibilities that is available to you.
David (Dave) Abrahams enlisted in the Army in 1987 as an infantryman. Following a short enlistment he attended West Point, graduating and earning his commission in 1993. Dave served until 2019 retiring as a Colonel with a total of 32 years in uniform.
Dave’s recent transition from retired Army officer to successful Real Estate Agent is the result of hard work, focus, and deliberate action. His motto is ‘never believe you deserve any of it’ an axiom recently popularized on the hit show ‘Yellowstone.’
His advice to transitioning Veterans: Don’t let your past define you, and don’t believe that you deserve special treatment because you volunteered to serve. Leverage the values, discipline, and team mentality that your years of service instilled in you as a springboard for success. Those things you carry with you after a successful career in the service will automatically put you in the top tier of the civilian sector but only if you demonstrate them by the way you live your life and approach your work.
Ralph served eleven years in the United States Army where he served as an enlisted man in the field artillery and in the aviation branch as a military intelligence pilot. He is a current mentor to transitioning veterans and has a passion for supporting the veteran and first responder community.
He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering (Aerospace) from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and an MBA from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.
Ralph is a national account manager for an industrial supply company and has over 20 years of experience in sales and procurement.
Perry is a U.S. Army veteran (1994-1997). Perry has a passion for serving veterans as a result of his own struggles after military service. After a diagnosis ofTBI, PTSD, anxiety and depression he decided to stop using alcohol as a crutch. He educated himself on how to live a better life, medicine free, and became motivated to help other veterans find themselves amidst the demons. Perry is determined to not become another statistic.
Perry is also the founder of Ride for Light, based in North Carolina. Perry's mission included a 15,000 mile ride across the USA through all 48 CONUS states! Check out Perry's organization at www.operationpurpose.net and on Instagram @rideforlight!
You can also check out Perry's ride at https://ridermagazine.com/2022/10/20/veteran-takes-a-15000-mile-ride-for-light/
Perry is ready and willing to serve our veteran community.
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