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Meet the individuals who make the Mil-Tree Project happen! We are grateful for thier service to this organization and their contributions to changing lives.

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Cheryl Montelle
Founder / Executive Director

Cheryl Montelle has worn many hats. Starting as a professional dancer and an actress in her youth, she has run a Pilates fitness business, she is a writer and performs her own stories, and currently conceived and curates Live From Joshua Tree, an annual community-based spoken word fundraiser for Mil-Tree. Mil-Tree was formed out of her wish to have the community at large embrace returning veterans and their families. Mil-Tree was founded in 2012, inspired by Dr. Ed Tick and his book, “War and The Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Patrick Wallis
President / Chairman / Veteran Outreach

Pat Wallis, AICP, GISP, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP has led Esri’s indoor practice since 2011. He develops the methods and processes to create and use indoor location information to meet the needs of employees, visitors, students, and business operations worldwide. After graduating from Tulane University with a master’s degree in architecture, Pat began his career as an engineer officer in the US Army, serving in various roles before leaving the service with the rank of captain. More recently, Pat worked as a senior asset manager for the United States Coast Guard, overseeing a real estate portfolio of over 4,000 assets totaling more than 8.6 million square feet, with a value exceeding $3 billion.

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Julia Cheryl Bookout
Non-Profit Advisor

Julia C. Bookout is our expert in all things non profit. She is currently the ED & Co-Founder of The Chimaera Project, a nonprofit focusing on advocacy and action for female filmmakers. As an individual artist, Bookout is included in the California Women Artist Project archived at the University of Southern California and Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, a project organized by Gloria Orenstein, Professor of Women in Literature and Art at USC. Bookout has co- produced two award-winning short films and is co-producing a feature-length documentary film with a 2023 release date.

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Roy Felton
Board Member | Treasurer

Roy is a Marine Corps veteran. He is a jack of all trades as he started out his career serving 5 years in the service as a communications and electronics specialist and later attended multiple schools for auto/diesel mechanic, networking, HVAC, business administration, and massage therapy. He also worked at the Center For Health as the Veterans Coordinator, and has supported veterans by working with veteran resource programs like the Veterans Court.

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Sarah Forman
Board Member | Secretary

Sarah is a resident of Morongo Valley, but grew up in a military family and has lived across the country as well as abroad in Germany. Her Grandfather served in WWII, her father is a retired Army Colonel and her brother is a retired Army Warrant Officer and Flight Instructor. She attended Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and is 24 year Starbucks partner. Sarah opened the Twentynine Palms Starbucks, a dedicated Military Family Store, in February 2020. Through partnership with Starbucks Armed Forces Network, Starbucks military family stores function as the hub within military communities. Partners at these stores represent their communities, with an emphasis on hiring partners that are veterans or military spouses. Each MFS is designed to recognize, honor and appreciate veterans, active members of the military and their families. These stores are designed with military-inspired art, feature unique merchandise and are a convening place for local military community.

Board Officers

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Jet Tucker
Officer of Mil-Tree / Treasurer

Jet has a diverse work background in the public and private sector in both sales, marketing and accounting. Herprofessional experience found her working in agricultural, manufacturing, municipal and non-profit environments,with her experience running the gamut from small family businesses and multi-national food manufacturing companies to real estate sales and personal assistant. Jet has volunteered with Mil-Tree Veteran Project for several years, helping with bookkeeping, and has great empathy for all our veterans.

Advisory Board

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Marie Bobin

Marie Bobin is the Program Director for Arts Connection, the Arts Council of San Bernardino County and the Deputy Director of the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. After starting her career producing for the Finborough Theatre in London, she worked for the Getty Museum’s education and registrar departments before being appointed Director of Operations for the Jules Verne Film Festival. Marie was the founding producer of TEDx Culver City and the creative producer for the Skirball Cultural Center where she produced and programmed exhibition-related programs as well as film, music, and theater series. She received her BA in Theater Studies from Emerson College and her MM in International Arts Management from Southern Methodist University and HEC Montreal. Marie was on the board of Mil-Tree from 2018 to 2019 and is grateful to be able to continue supporting Mil-Tree as an advisory board member.

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Miguel Rivera

Miguel Rivera Is a teacher, drummer and translator, and has sat on the Board of Directors for Soldier’s Heart. Director of Western Gate Roots and Wings Foundation, has been leading retreats and Ceremonies in the United States for over 30 years.

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Scott Rusczyk

Scott has served in a variety of C-Level executive roles in organizations ranging from $5M to over $70M in annual revenue. Scott has also overseen a wide range of M&A transactions and projects ranging from $5M to $50M, building a reputation for efficiently driving transactions to their most rewarding conclusion. Scott earned his J.D from Brooklyn Law School and, although no longer practicing, his transactional, restructuring and business operations experience continue to be accretive in his solely owned consulting company, MMHF, Inc., located in Yucca Valley.  Scott is an avid golfer and student of military history.

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Ed Tick Ph.D

Dr. Ed Tick was the founding director of Soldier’s Heart: Veterans’ Safe Return Programs. Honored for his groundbreaking work in the spiritual, holistic and community-based healing of veterans and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dr. Tick has been a psychotherapist for 38 years, specializing in working with veterans since the 1970s, and wrote the award- winning book War And The Soul. Dr. Tick is an internationally recognized educator and expert on veterans, PTSD, and the psychology of military-related issues and has conducted trainings, retreats and workshops across the country and overseas. He has lectured and trained staff and worked with wounded warriors at West Point, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Fort Knox, Altus Air Force Base and other Dept. of Defense facilities. The Department of Defense now uses his pioneering work and he is the U.S. Army’s 2012 trainer for its annual Chaplain Sustainment Training in PTSD.

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Renee Pickup

Renee Pickup is a writer, editor, and Marine Corps veteran. Her short fiction has been featured in nine anthologies and several online publications. Her essays exploring our culture’s obsession with true crime have reached millions of readers, and she has worked as an editor at every level in both traditional and online publishing. Her novel, co-written with Andrez Bergen, Black Sails, Disco Infernowas published by Open Books in 2016. Renée runs the weekly Mil-Tree writers group and produces the Mojave Noir reading series.

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Terry Taylor Castillo

Terry Taylor-Castillo moved to Joshua Tree in 2014 and opened Taylor Junction art gallery and event space. She is currently the executive director of the Joshua Tree Retreat Center, a 501c3 organization for individuals and groups to create and experience new ways to approach spiritual living and personal well-bing. From 2009 -2013 she was the president of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 30 in Pomona and the District 18 community chair.

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