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Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)

 

Members of the ACMV

Nyamekye C. Anderson [African American]

Nyamekye Anderson is currently a Federal Agent with the Department of Energy.  He is also the Founder/Executive Director of the Veterans and Community Global, Inc.  He is responsible for the overall strategic and operational management of the Veterans and Community Global, Inc. staff, programs, expansion, and execution of this nonprofit’s mission.

Mr. Anderson served in the Marine Corps from 1995-2003.  He served in combat tours and participated in the Platoon Direct Action Raid on Safwan Hill, Iraq on March 21, 2003.  He received numerous medals to include:  Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal.

Mr. Anderson is an active member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and is a Veterans Advocacy Committee Member at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM.  He is also the President of the Veterans and Families of Central New Mexico Club at the Central New Mexico Community College.

Mr. Anderson has a Bachelor in Aviation and a Master’s in Business Administration.  He currently resides in Albuquerque, NM.

Melissa Castillo [Hispanic]

Melissa Castillo, Veterans Service Officer at the Dallas County Veterans Service Office (VSO) in Dallas, TX., was born and raised in Laredo, Texas until age 10 when her family moved to Converse, Texas.

Ms. Castillo enlisted in the Navy in 1994 and separated from active duty in 1996 with an honorable discharge.  From 2003-2007, she served in the Navy Reserve.  She completed basic training and Torpedoman’s Mate “A” School at the Naval Air Station, Orlando, FL.  Her duty station included on board the USS Simon Lake (AS-33) in La Maddalena, Sardinia, Italy; Naval Submarine Base, New London, CT; and Naval Operational Support Center, San Antonio, TX.

Ms. Castillo is an accredited Veterans Service Officer and has assisted many Veterans, surviving spouses and dependents in acquiring benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 9 years.  She is currently the Treasurer of the Veterans County Service Officer Association of Texas, member of the Greater Dallas Veterans Council, and member of the Dallas County Aggie Mom Club.  She also served as the Assistant Regional Director for San Antonio Region, Veterans County Service Officer Association of Texas; as the Assistant Women Veterans Coordinator; as Veteran’s Liaison for Congressman Ciro Rodriquez to coordinate with office staff in assisting Veterans and surviving spouse’s in applying for DVA benefits; Veterans Liaison for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care; Liaison to the Gold Star Families in Bexar County; Advisor to the US Army Survivor Outreach Services Program, and Advisor to the Alamo Community College District Veterans Affairs Committee.

Ms. Castillo has received many awards and recognition which included:  Appreciation Award Plaque for Outreach Service from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 837; Outstanding Officer of the Year Award 2011-2012 from the Veterans County Service Officer Association of Texas; Appreciation Plaque for Outreach Services from Veterans of Foreign Wars from Harlandale Memorial Post 4815; Certificate of Honor from the Veterans County Service Officers Association of Texas; Certificate of Recognition and Honor from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 76; and Certificate of Appreciation from Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9603.

Ms. Castillo graduated from Judson High School in Converse, Texas.  She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and is currently prospecting graduate schools to further her education while working full-time.

Benno Cleveland [Alaska Native]

Benno Cleveland is an Alaska Native Veteran, born in Fairbanks, Alaska.  He enlisted in the Army in 1968 under the “Great Society Choice” and served two tours of duty in Dong Tam, Vietnam, where he earned a Purple Heart before being released from the service in 1970.

In 2000, Mr. Cleveland founded the Alaska Native Veterans Association and is currently serving as the President.  He helps Alaska Native Veterans identify and advocate for benefits due to them from local, state and federal agencies.  After dealing with PTSD himself, he now assists other Veterans in dealing with PTSD and with other health issues related to PTSD.

He has served on numerous boards:  Coordinator, Spiritual Unity of the Tribes Gathering in Alaska; Vice President, Alaska Native Veterans Association from 2000-2002; Vice Chair and Chair, Midnight Sun Intertribal Pow Wow Council; Senior Vice Commander and Department Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart; and member of the Chapel of the Four Chaplains.

In recognition of Mr. Cleveland’s distinguished military service and continued service, the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) bestowed him with their “Veteran of the Year” honors in 2014 at their Annual Convention in Anchorage, Alaska.

Ginger Miller [African American]

Ginger Miller is a native New Yorker and former homeless service disabled Veteran.  She served in the Navy from 1989 to 1992.  After taking care of her husband, a disabled Veteran who has suffered from PTSD for over a decade and experiencing homelessness with her family, she became Founder and CEO of two nonprofit organizations that serves Veterans and their families:  John 14:2, Inc. and Women Veterans Interactive.

Ms. Miller’s advocacy and outreach efforts have led her to host Veteran Round Tables with state Veterans agencies and elected representatives.  She facilitates workshops for Veteran caregivers and frequently receives invitations to speak at various government agencies.  She has served on numerous boards:  Chairwoman of the Prince George’s County Veterans Commission; Commissioner Maryland Commission for Women; Member of the Maryland Veterans Resilience Advisory Council; Maryland Minority Business Economic Advisory Committee; and a Member of the Maryland Caregivers Support Coordinating Council. She is currently a member of Disabled American Veteran (DAV).  She was recognized by the White House as a 2013 Champion of Change for Women Veterans.

Ms. Miller received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY and is currently pursuing a Masters in Nonprofit Management and her MBA at the University of Maryland University College.

**Librado M. Rivas, Command Sergeant Major, USA (Retired) [Hispanic]

Command Sergeant Major Rivas retired with over 25 years of total U.S. Army service.  Mr. Rivas has over 42 years of combined U.S. Army and Government service.  As a Command Sergeant Major, Mr. Rivas served at the Brigade and Battalion level.  As a Government civilian, Mr. Rivas served in the Pentagon, as a senior GS-15, leading Army-wide programs in Lean Six Sigma, Force Structure, Systems Analyses and Permanent Change of Station.

Mr. Rivas serves as a life-time member in the American GI Forum, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.  In the American GI Forum, Mr. Rivas has served as National Vice-Commander, National Treasurer, National Secretary, National Liaison Officer-Washington, DC and State Commander.  In these capacities, he provides leadership, direction and recommendations to the VA and VSOs to ensure Veterans are provided the entitlement and benefits we have all earned by our service to our country.  As a Post Service Officer with VFW 76, San Antonio, TX, Mr. Rivas also works with Veterans to provide assistance and keep them informed of their entitlements and benefits offered by VA, federal, state and local agencies.

Mr. Rivas’s last federal position was at the Pentagon serving as Director, Army Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Program.  He provided leadership and direction for the Army-wide program focused on continuous process improvement.  He served as the LSS Principal Advisor to general officers who are the stewards of our nation’s military resources.  Mr. Rivas ensured that the Lean Six Sigma Program continued to be an essential element to drive performance excellence to reducing inefficiencies and cost and enabling informed decision making.

Mr. Rivas holds a Master’s of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

Mr. Rivas is a native of Sinton, TX and the father of two - Lee, Jr. and Susan.

Ghulam H. Sangi [Asian American]

Ghulam Sangi is currently President/CEO of Saharo Foundation, Maryland based 501©(3) Nonprofit Corporation.  He enlisted in the Army in 2000 and served three combat tours in Kuwait and Afghanistan.  He received numerous campaign medals to include:  A Bronze Star, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Mr. Sangi started the first and chaired the American Veterans Affinity Network at the Office of Director National Intelligence.  He assisted with the development of policies and programs to attract, retain and promote a diverse workforce for the entire Intelligence Community (IC).  He served as a consultant to the Director of EEOD ODNI on issues related to EEO and diversity with a specific focus on Veterans.  He represented thousands of Veterans across IC.

Mr. Sangi is a member of the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).  He has a Master’s of Business Administration in Management from Strayer University, Maryland, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Mehran University, Pakistan.

Mr. Sangi was a recipient of the Senior Executive Fellows Program and Emerging Leaders Program at the Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA.  He also received a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University, NY.  He currently resides Ellicott City, Maryland.

Xiomara Sosa [Hispanic]

Xiomara A. Sosa is the Founder and Principal of XAS Consulting, LLC (XAS), an integrative mental healthcare and holistic wellness private practice consulting firm she founded in 2003 that serves all communities.  She is a clinical mental health — forensic counselor, a nonprofit executive, a social change advocate, and a United States military Veteran.  As a multicultural counselor, her cultural competency specialty is focused on working with the Hispanic, Veteran, and sexual and gender minority (LGBTQQIA) communities.

During Ms. Sosa’s military career, she served in the Air Force Reserves from 1983-1986, in the Army from 1986-1988, and in the Army Reserves from 1988-1994.  She was awarded the Campaign Air Force Training Ribbon, Campaign Army Service Ribbon, Army Certificate of Achievement for Meritorious Service and Army Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service.

Ms. Sosa founded two national nonprofit, social change advocacy organizations:  The Get-Right! Organization, Inc. in 2010 and You Are Strong! in 2011 to effect positive social change through innovative and purposeful advocacy initiatives that serve her communities.

Ms. Sosa has served on numerous boards:  Women Veteran Social Justice Board of Directors; Military Partners and Families Veteran Initiative; Semper Fidelis Health and Wellness Advisory Board Mental Health Officer; Senate Republican Conference Task Force on Hispanic Affairs Advisory Committee, and is currently a member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and her Master of Science Degree in Mental Health — Forensic Counseling from Walden University.  She is currently a doctoral student working on her Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services — Public Health.  She is a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern (Application Pending).  She attended the USAF University Community College of the Air Force, is a graduate of the USAF Military Training Center, the USAF Technical Training Center, and the United States Army Training Center.

Larry M. Townsend [American Indian]

Larry Townsend is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and a volunteer Tribal Veterans Service Officer for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.  He is a Vietnam Veteran, having served honorably in Vietnam in 1969.  While in the Army, he attained the rank of SP5 in Vietnam and earned the Bronze Star Medal.  He is also currently serving his second term on the Lumbee Tribal Council.

Mr. Townsend currently serves as the East Region Commander for the National American Indian Veterans, Inc.  He was re-elected to serve another two-year term as the Southeast Region Vice President to the Executive Board of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).  He also serves as co-chair of the Veterans Committee for the National Congress of American Indians in which he has served in this capacity for over 8 years.

Mr. Townsend is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), and a member of the American Legion.  Mr. Townsend is a Graduate FELLOW of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership, spring of 1989.  He was a past 8 year member of the North Carolina Commission on Indian Affairs.  He has a BA Degree in Justice and Public Policy with a concentration in Politics from North Carolina Wesleyan College.  Also, he has two Associate Degrees.

Mr. Townsend currently resides in Pembroke, North Carolina and married to Dr. Rose Marie Lowry-Townsend.  He loves to read, has a passion for politics and assisting Veterans, and loves to play golf.

Maria B. VAA-Igafo [Pacific Islander]

Maria VAA-Igafo currently works as the Sua District County Chief, for the American Samoa Government, Department of Samoan Affairs in Pago Pago, American Samoa.  She is responsible for the welfare and good order of the people within the Sua District and supervises 7 village Mayors.

Ms. VAA-Igafo’s military career consisted of over 30 years of service in the Army with a combination of both active and reserve before retiring.  She received numerous service medals to include:  Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism.

Ms. VAA-Igafo is currently the VFW Service Officer for American Samoa, Hawaii State Post Judge Advocate, and the Assistant Disability Service Officer.  Since there is limited access and assistance due to the American Samoa being a remote location, she volunteers her time on several outreach programs to assist Veterans in American Samoa and in other neighboring Islands with their benefits entitlements.

Ms. VAA-Igafo currently resides in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

Cornell A. Wilson Jr., Major General, USMC (Retired) [African American]

Major General Cornell Wilson, Jr. currently serves as North Carolina’s Secretary of Military and Veterans Affairs.  He advises the Governor, State Agencies and General Assembly on initiatives to support the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security communities and activities located in the state.  He also chairs the Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service members and their Families to ensure their needs are met through coordination and collaboration with the Veterans Administration, State Agencies and Veterans organizations.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, he received his commission in the United States Marine Corps through the Navy ROTC program in 1972.  He has a long and distinguished record of service to our country in both active and reserve duty assignments.  He has commanded Combat Arms and Combat Service Support units from the Company, Battalion, Group and Brigade levels.  His staff assignments included service in manpower, operations and logistics positions.  Selected as a General Officer in 1999, he served as a Deputy Commanding General for Marine Forces Central Command, Commanding General for 4th Logistics Service Support Group, Commanding General for II MACE, Deputy Commanding General II MEF, Commanding General Marine Forces Europe, Deputy Commanding General Marine Forces Command, and Commanding General Marine Forces Southern Command.  In 2003, he commanded a Joint Task Force of Coalition Partners in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom based in Kuwait.

His professional military education includes the Harvard University Program for Senior Executives for National and International Security, Marshall Center Senior Executive Seminar, NATO Defense College General and Flag Officer Course, National Defense University’s Capstone Course and the Logtech Executive Course.

Cornell is a founding Board member for Charlotte Bridge Home, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting military members and their families transitioning off of active duty.  He and his wife, Mary, reside in Charlotte, N.C.

Fang A. Wong [Asian American]

Fang A. Wong was born in Canton, China, immigrated to the United States in 1960 at the age of 12 and has been a naturalized citizen since 1963.  He joined the Army in 1969 and served 25 months in Vietnam.  He also served tours in Germany, Korea and at several stateside bases.  His military decorations included the Bronze Star, numerous Meritorious Service Medals, Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.  He retired after 20 years of service.

After retirement, Mr. Wong joined the American Legion, Lt. B.R. Kimlau Chinese Memorial Post #1291 and has been a member for 26 years.  He has held many positions at the Post, County, District levels throughout the years and was elected Commander of the Department of New York American Legion.  From 2011-2012, he was elected as the American Legion National Commander.

Mr. Wong has served on several committees and commissions in various positions.  He was a member of the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach (ACVETEO) from 2006-2009.

Mr. Wong was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame in 2012.  He currently resides in East Brunswick, NJ with his wife Barbara Lam, of 40 years, and has one son, Eric.

Anthony C. Woods, USA [African American]

Tony Woods, a northern California native, works for Cisco as an advisor to government clients focused on innovation and security.  Prior to joining Cisco, Tony worked for President Obama’s reelection campaign and served in the Obama administration as a White House Fellow assigned to the US Office of Personnel Management.  Before that, Tony managed a program that developed volunteer-driven solutions for American cities as a program director at ServiceNation.  The program focused on improving outcomes in third grade literacy attainment, environmental sustainability, neighborhood revitalization, and Veteran reintegration.

In 2009, Tony launched a bid to represent California’s 10th district in the US House of Representatives.  He’s served as an aide to the Governor of New York and as an officer in the US Army.  While in the Army, he deployed twice to Iraq and earned the Bronze Star for his service.  Tony has written op-eds on politics and national security for The Washington Post, Daily Beast, and Huffington Post and appears regularly on TheAgenda on SiriusXM.

He’s earned an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a B.S. from West Point, and is currently an Executive MBA candidate at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business.  Tony serves on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign and on advisory boards for the American Red Cross and the Truman National Security Project.  Tony and his husband Zack reside in the Washington DC area.

**   Chairman