Mil-Tree Board of Directors


President / Founder / Executive Director
Cheryl Montelle
Cheryl Montelle has worn many hats. Starting as a professional dancer and an actress in her youth, she has run a Pilates fitness business, hosted Pilates workshops, she is a writer and performs her own stories, and produces spoken word events. She 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.

Melissa Grisi

Melissa Grisi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist, Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher and artist. She has her own business called, Blue Sky Therapy. Melissa began her career in social work 17 years ago. Upon moving to the desert in 2015, she began providing mental health care to the local military population. Melissa specializes in trauma and created a trauma-informed yoga program for active duty Marines and Sailors at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms.  As the granddaughter of WWII veterans, Melissa’s commitment to veterans is shaped by her grandparents' experiences during wartime, including her grandfather’s residual trauma as a POW. Their service helps inspire her own work with active-duty and veteran populations.

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.

Community Outreach
Bruce Baughman

Bruce Baughman our community liaison, was born and raised in southern California.He is educated and employed in behavioral health, and has 35 years of experience working in that field. He also worked at Juvenile Hall in probation for 10 years. Bruce has suffered from cumulative PTSD due to exposure to violent, physically assaultive clients, and relates to the veterans that suffer from this affliction. He is now a yoga instructor, herds two Australian Shepherds, and is an avid bookworm and hiker.

Yoga / Energy Work
David Romero

David Romero is a Veteran Captain in the Air Force.  After separating from the service, David spent 5 years in Medical Device Sales followed by 2 more years building surgery centers.  David left the medical field to pursue teaching yoga full time.  He is currently a Lecturer of both Yoga and Stress Management at the University of Southern California.  David also teaches Stress Management at Substance Abuse Recovery Centers and Mental Health Clinics.  He owns a holistic wellness company called THE YOGI DR which is focused on mid body wellness.  

Head of Social Media / Leads Mil-Tree’s Online, Weekly Writing Class
Renee Gurley

R. Gurley, MA, MFA, is a writer and English teacher with two decades experience with words. She teaches at Barstow Community College, English Instructor Copper Mountain College-ESL Instructor, and Post University- English Instructor. Her works have appeared in Coping Magazine, Lehigh Valley Woman’ s Journal, and Budget Press. Her main focus as a writer is women and getting their voices heard globally. Her father is a 1968 Naval Academy Graduate and her step-father was a front line Marine the same year in Vietnam. They raised her with awareness of the impact military service has on families and communities as well as the importance of healing. She is forever indebted for their service and is honored to be part of this organization.