A Combat Veteran's Hope is made up of volunteers who want to give back. Our Board of Directors and Staff are committed to make a positive impact in the lives of our brave Combat Veterans and their families.
Bill is a native of Visalia, Ca. He proudly served in the U.S. Army and is a Combat Veteran of the Vietnam War. Bill's awards include the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze service stars, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Bill attended the College of the Sequoias and graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Ca. Bill currently serves as Commander of American Legion Post 18 and as Chairperson of the Visalia Veterans Committee. He was also the past president of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA)-Sequoia. Bill and his wife Janet were married on Valentine's Day 2011. He has two children, Laura and Jim. He is currently an agent for New York Life Insurance.
Mike was born in Tulare, Ca and graduated from Tulare Western. Mike proudly served in the United States Marine Corps and is a Combat Veteran of the Vietnam War. After returning from Vietnam, Mike worked for the United States Postal Service and retired after years of faithful service. Mike co-founded the Central Valley Vietnam Veterans to help his fellow Combat Veterans heal through unity. He currently serves as the Vice-President and Event Coordinator for the organization. Mike's awards include the Purple Heart Medal, Meritiorious Mast, A Battle Field Commission and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Co-Founder/Chief of Staff
Steve graduated from Redwood High School in Visalia, Ca. He proudly served U.S. Army and is a Combat Veteran of the Iraq War. After his active duty enlistment, Steve served in the California National Guard. Steven holds an Associates Degree in General Studies from the College of the Sequoias (COS). While attending COS he served as Vice President for the Veterans Society, a Veteran's club he helped establish. Steve also helped found a Softball Team made up of primarily Combat Veterans to provide a venue for them compete, while engaging with one another to foster healing through engagement. Steven has gained experience on providing various Veteran and family orientated functions in Visalia. Steve also serves as Chief of Staff for A Combat Veteran’s Hope.
Board Secretary/Volunteer Manager
Crystal was born and raised in the city of Tulare, Ca. She has been married to her husband Charles for six years. Together they have two girls, Gwendolyn (11) and Quorra (4). Crystal is currently Assistant Vice- President, Banking Services Officer at the Tulare branch of Rabobank. Crystal has been heavily involved in the community for several years; Organizations include: The Tulare Library Foundation, The Tulare Noon Rotary Club, AMVETS Department of California, The Tulare Sci-Fi Con and The Central Valley Vietnam Veterans. Crystal was nominated by her Rotary group to participate in the Tulare Chamber Of Commerce’s 2015/16 Leadership class where she currently is an active student, and hopes to graduate in May 2016.
Rhonda is one of the leading advocates for Veteran’s in the Central Valley and has served for the past three years as the President of the Central Valley Blue Star Mothers of America. For the past four years, she has also been the driving force behind Central Valley Heroes, a volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for worthwhile Veteran’s causes. Rhonda grew up the daughter of a 40 year career Navy Veteran and is the mother of three sons, all of whom have either served or are serving their country with honor and distinction. Her passion and leadership have taken her to the halls of the State Legislature to fight for the right for every Veteran’s vote to count.
Norbie Lara Director/Co-Founder
Norbie graduated from Sequoia High School in Visalia, Ca. He proudly served in the U.S. Army for 11 1/2 years. He is a Combat Veteran of the Iraq war and also has deployed to Kuwait and Bosnia. While on combat patrol, his squad came under ambush and he was severely wounded. Norbie eventually overcame his physical disabilities and through various non-profits around the Country, learned to adapt to his invisible wounds. Norbie retired in 2006 and returned to Visalia, Ca. Norbie volunteered numerous hours as one of the first Area Outreach Coordinators with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and was hired full time as a Spokesman for the organization. While working for WWP, he gained vast experience on the need and struggle of Combat Veterans. Norbie’s awards include: Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal (3rd award) , Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd award), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2nd award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and NATO Medal. Norbie is currently attending the University of Phoenix pursuing a degree in Business. Norbie is married to Priscilla Lara and together they have four children.
CJ Cantu Outreach Manager
Carlos (CJ) hails from Temple, Texas. During high school, he enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps which brought him to California. A Combat Veteran of the Iraq War, CJ’s service awards include two Navy Unit Commendations, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and a Certificate of Commendation for his duties as Fire Direction Control Man in addition to serving on a Personal Security Detachment. After his enlistment, CJ moved to Visalia to begin attending College of the Sequoias. While in school, he became a student worker in the Veteran’s Service Office and served as President of the COS Veterans Society for several semesters. He accepted a full-time position in the Admissions Office, where he met his wife Rosa, and has earned multiple degrees from the College. CJ currently manages the ACVH Softball team.