Members of the ACMV - Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)
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Center for Minority Veterans (CMV)

 

Members of the ACMV

Nestor A. Aliga, Colonel, USAR (Retired)
Asian American

Nestor Aliga enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and retired from U. S. Army Reserve at the rank of Colonel (O-6) after thirty-three years of service.  Nestor previously served as the Senior Staff Analyst for the County of Solano, California Department of Health and Social Services.

Mr. Aliga facilitated the call to action the Veterans’ Community of Vallejo, CA for the transfer of ownership of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery, the oldest military cemetery on the west coast, over to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.

He received his Bachelor in Management from Saint Mary’s College of California and a Master of Business Administration in Military Management from Touro University International.

Dorothy A. Button, Petty Officer First Class, USCGR, (Retired)
American Indian

Dorothy A. Button is currently a Health Planner Assistant at the Seneca Nation Health System.  She previously served as the Administrative Officer for Indian Health System and Director of Veterans Affairs, Seneca Nation of Indians.  In addition to her professional career, Ms. Button served in various leadership positions within the Department of New York’s American Legion, to include, Department Commander’s Aide.

Ms. Button is a Veteran of the United States Coast Guard, retiring at the rank of Yeoman First Class (E-6) after twenty years of honorable service to the nation.  Her military decorations include:  Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Hourglass Device, Coast Guard Achievement Medal, Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation with one Gold Star, Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and Global War on Terror Service Medal.

She received her Bachelor Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the State University of New York at Fredonia and a Master of Strategic Leadership from the Saint Bonaventure University.

Lisa Carrington Firmin, Colonel, USAF (Retired)
Hispanic

Retired Colonel Lisa Carrington Firmin is the Military Liaison and Associate Vice President for Veteran and Military Affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). As the founding leader for Veteran and Military Affairs, she oversaw the consolidation and realignment of all Veteran support services on campus and the creation of the Center for Military Affiliated Students to better support and serve Veterans and military affiliated students. To help transition Veterans to UTSA more efficiently, she helped to streamline the Veteran certification process, instituted priority registration for Veterans and developed a tailored Veteran Orientation program.

She is the founder of the premier UTSA Top Scholar program, combining merit scholarships with student enrichment experiences. During her military service, Col. Carrington Firmin held a multitude of leadership roles and received numerous awards – including, but not limited to, the Legion of Merit Medal with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Among her many professional honors, Col. Carrington Firmin was featured on the SA Movers and Shakers radio show, San Antonio Magazine and LATINA Style Magazine; earned the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Latina Leader award, the Governor of Texas’ Yellow Rose award, the State of New Mexico’s Major T.H. Baca award, the National Diversity Council’s Trailblazer and Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas awards, the Texas Diversity Council Greater San Antonio LGBT Ally award, the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas Latina Trailblazer award and the Northside Education Foundation Pillar award.

Colonel Carrington Firmin retired from the United States Air Force as its most senior ranking Latina officer, after leading UTSA’s ROTC program to the best in the nation and being awarded a Bronze Star Medal for her efforts in combat as an Expeditionary Mission Support Group Commander in Iraq’s Sunni Triangle.

William “Bill” Cundiff, Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired)
Pacific Islander

Bill Cundiff is a proud Chamorro son from the southern village of Agat. In 1991, after 24 years of service with the U.S. Air Force, his military career culminated with his retirement at the rank of Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). His diverse career experiences include Supply Computer Systems Analyst, Professional Military Education Instructor and Manager1 First Sergeant (Resource Management Superintendent), Family Support Center Deputy Director and Director. Bill Cundiff holds the record for First Sergeant of the Year – selected three times – at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

In 2010, Bill Cundiff retired from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam after ten years of federal civil service as a Community Readiness Consultant. Selected in 2007 as the Civilian of the Year, GS-9 and above for the 36th Wing, he also holds the distinction of Senior Community Readiness Consultant of the Year, Pacific Air Forces. His collaboration with the Guam Legislature resulted in the passage of legislation that eliminated written and road tests for military spouses who possess a valid state driver’s license. He conducted extensive research on the Military Spouse Dislocated Worker Program under the U.S. Department of Labor and participated in writing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Andersen Air Force Base 36th Wing and Guam Department of Labor. The MoU resulted in a significant increase of military spouse recipients eligible for free education and training and ultimately earned college degrees from both Guam Community College and University of Guam. Bill Cundiff was awarded the Civilian Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding service.

Extremely active in his community, Bill Cundiff served as PTO President for three individual schools and founded the Guam U.S. Air Force Veterans Association, where he is currently serving his fourth term as president. He is currently serving his first term as Vice Chairman of the Guam Veterans Commission. He was previously chairman for three years. Bill Cundiff is married to Rosie Cruz Terlaje and they have three children: Tressa, Andrea, and Bill 11. They have ten grandchildren.

Margaret G. “Muggs” Garvin
American Indian

Margaret G. Garvin is the Veterans Service Officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation and also serves as the Division Manager of HCN Veterans Affairs. She was previously the County Veterans Service Officer for Monroe and Jackson Counties in Wisconsin.

Ms. Garvin is in her third term serving the CVSOA-WI County Veterans Service Officer Association of Wisconsin as the Secretary. The CVSOA-WI consists of 72 counties and the 11 tribes of Wisconsin. She is also a member of the NACVSO – National Association of County Veterans Service Officers. While an active member of both associations she continues to advocate and create a great rapport with other tribes throughout the United States as the Ho-Chunk Nation does not have a reservation, the tribal members live nationwide. While in the US Navy, Margaret was stationed in Washington DC for 4 years as a Yeoman. She acquired her passion for the military while stationed at NMPC-6 Pride, Professionalism and Personal Excellence Command. After her time on active duty, Margaret continues her passion for the military by serving all veterans as a CVSO.

Ms. Garvin has education within Supervisory Management and Human Services and continues to ensure all Veterans obtain their federal, state, county and tribal benefits. Margaret spends her spare time sewing native regalia, swimming, and golfing with her two sons.

Robson M. Henry, Sergeant First Class, USA (Retired)
Pacific Islander

Mr. Henry is retired Army Sergeant First Class (E-7), who served two tours of duty in Iraq, and one tour of duty in both Saudi Arabia and Haiti during his twenty-six years of active duty.  He is currently the President of the Kosrae Island Veterans Association and Vice-Chairman of Civil Society of Kosrae.

Mr. Henry is a fierce advocate for Veterans, focusing on identifying programs that provide Veterans from the Federated States of Micronesia with access to high quality health care, access to mental health services, and assists in navigating the various benefits and health care services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He received his Associate Degree in Business Administration from the Community College of Micronesia.  Mr. Henry resides in Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia with his wife and two children.

Irvin Lyons Jr., Sergeant Major, USA (Retired)
African American

Mr. Lyons Jr. is a retired Army Sergeant Major (E-9) and is currently the Vice-Commander of Region VI of the National Association for Black Veterans (NABVETS).  One of the core missions of NABVETS is to generate and preserve the historical records for minority Veterans and promote necessary revisions to assure historical integrity.

Irvin has held several key leadership positions within various Veteran Service Organizations to include:  Kentucky NABVETS State Commander, Past State Commander Military Order of the Purple Heart, Past Chapter President Bluegrass Command Sergeant Major/Sergeant Major Association, Chairman NAACP Veterans Committee, and Chaplain Fort Knox Buffalo Soldier Motorcycle Club.

In addition, he served on active duty in the United States Army for thirty-one years and served in Vietnam.  His military decorations include Military Order of the Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal tenth award, South Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm.

Robert V. “Bobby” McDonald
African American

Bobby McDonald is president and executive director of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, and he is leading the organization into its 30th year.  Under his leadership, the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County has partnered consistently with minority business associations, local chambers and legislators to provide support and advocate for the county’s many small-business owners.

Mr. McDonald developed the chamber’s educational outreach programs and has established the chamber’s Veteran’s business network programs.  Through a partnership with Explorer Studios, two award winning educational films have been produced:  “Building the Dream” and “History of the Buffalo Soldiers.”  McDonald is now a member of the PBS So Cal Board of Trustees where he has assisted with historic African American PBS presentations such as “The March at 50” and “African Americans, Many Rivers to Cross.”

His many honors include the Human Relations Leadership Award (from the Orange County Human Relations Commission), being named the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Millennial Man of the Year by COR AME Church, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. International Alumni Brother of the Year in 1999, and Distinguished Alumnus Award from Cal State Fullerton. He has been president of the CSUF Alumni Association, president of the CSU Statewide Alumni Council, recognized as one of CSU’s Statewide Outstanding African American Alumni, and one of Cal State Fullerton’s 50th Anniversary prominent alums.  LA Harbor College, for their 60th Anniversary, bestowed their prestigious Outstanding Community Leader, their Alumnus of the Year award and inducted McDonald into their Athletic Hall of Fame.

McDonald is a U.S. Navy Vietnam Veteran, serving four years and separating as an Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Aircraft Handler Petty Officer 3rd Class.  He is also a member of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Calvary Association-Buffalo Soldiers, a former Student Body President at Los Angeles Harbor College and he served as a governor’s appointee to the California Cultural Historical Endowment Board and the 17 member State Board of Governors of the California Community College System where he created and chaired the Board’s Veteran’s Affairs Committee.  He was recently re-appointed to the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council, where he is now chair of the council. Mr. McDonald resides in Anaheim, CA.

**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.

Carlos Rivera
Hispanic American

Carlos Rivera served 4 years in the US Air Force and attained the rank of SGT(E4).  During his service in the military, he was temporarily assigned to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa to support a unit that was permanently stationed there.  Mr. Rivera is the Founder and President of Legacy of Valor.  Legacy of Valor is a nonprofit organization established to research and identify gaps in services to Veterans and their families.  In his capacity as president, Carlos was the driving force in establishing a monument to honor and remember El Paso County, TX Vietnam Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Mr. Rivera has served as the National Vice-Commander of the American GI Forum.  He was responsible for assisting the National Commander and Board Members in the management of day to day operations of a Congressionally Chartered Hispanic Veterans Service Organization.

Carlos led the effort to establish a Veterans Business Association in El Paso, TX.  The association was founded to advocate for El Paso area Veterans and active duty personnel interested in start–up, expansion, acquisition of small businesses, and technical assistance in business development.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Texas at El Paso and Masters of Social Work from the University of Texas.

Monica Valdiviez-Wiley, Sergeant First Class, USA (Retired)
Hispanic American

Monica Valdiviez-Wiley is the Strategic Communications Director at the Operation Renewed Hope Foundation.  She is responsible for developing, implementing a strategic communication plan, and ensuring that all communications further the organization’s mission, goals, and are aligned with the overall organizational vision.

Ms. Valdiviez-Wiley is a 20 year retired Army Sergeant First Class (E-7).  In addition, she currently serves as the District of Columbia Chapter Commander of the American GI Forum, a Congressionally Chartered Hispanic Veterans Service Organization.  Her duties include presiding at all chapter meetings and encouraging eligible Veterans to join the American GI Forum and maintaining memberships.

Prior to her current position, Monica served as Marketing and Outreach Lead for Defense Center of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI.  Her duties included provding strategic communications consulting services, message development, and the development of external and internal communications collateral posted on the agency’s

Glenda Wrenn Gordon, MD, MSHP, FAPA
African American

Glenda Wrenn Gordon, MD, MSHP, FAPA is a board-certified psychiatrist and Director of the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity at the Morehouse School of Medicine where she is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

A 1999 West Point graduate (recipient of the Distinguished Cadet Award), Dr. Wrenn survived a near-fatal car accident while a cadet, which left her with permanent disabilities and foreshortened her military career.  Her commitment to a lifetime of service to the nation has since been actualized through her community service and professional work.

Currently, she works clinically with women Veterans at the Women’s Center of Excellence for Specialty Care Education at the Atlanta VA.  She is involved with many efforts that benefit Veterans including promoting military cultural competence among healthcare providers, and developing integrated systems of care that address mental health and physical health.  She currently resides in Decatur, Georgia with her husband and three children.

**   Chairwoman

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