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.
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.
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. 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. Norbie gained vast experience helping those that struggled due to combat Veteransd. Norbie’s notable awards include: The Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, and Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2nd award). Norbie is married to Priscilla Lara and together they have four children.
CJ Cantu Outreach Manager
CJ hails from Temple, Texas. During high school he enlisted into the US Marine Corps which brought him to California. A Combat Veteran of the Iraq War, CJ’s service awards include: two Navy Unit Commendations, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. A Certificate of Commendation was also bestowed upon him for serving on a Personal Security Detachment in addition to his duties as a Fire Direction Control Man. 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 staff position in the Admissions Office, where he met his wife Rosa, and has earned multiple degrees from the College. Along with his primary responsibilities as Outreach Manager, CJ also services as manager of the ACVH Softball team.
Family Support Manager
Priscilla is a homegrown product of Tulare County, and graduated from Mount Whitney High School. She went on to marry Norbie Lara and together they have four children. In the past eight years of marriage, not only has Priscilla earned an Associate of Arts in Psychology from the College of the Sequoias and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Fresno State University, she has also assisted Norbie with his efforts as a spokesperson with the national non-profit military veteran organization Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Her first-hand experience of being a combat veteran spouse and her dedication to empowering others within WWP led to her to become a peer mentor for spouses within the organization; setting the stage for her current position within ACVH as the Family Support Manager. Today Priscilla works for the Visalia Unified School District as a Para Professional in Special Education. She will begin working on her Master’s Degree next year, majoring in Counseling – Education Administration.
Michael Garza Chief Financial Officer
Michael Garza was born in Hollister, Ca and raised in Porterville, Ca where he graduated from Monache High School. In 2002, he enlisted in the United States Marines Corps and was stationed with 5th Battalion 11th Marines in Camp Pendleton, Ca. Michael is a proud Combat Veteran of the Iraq War. He then finished out his enlistment with the 1st Tanks Battalion in Twenty-Nine Palms, Ca where he was honorably discharged in 2006. His personal military awards include Meritorious Mast, Letter of Appreciation, Navy Meritorious Commendation, and two Certificates of Commendation. He was also awarded Combat Action Ribbon, Sea Service Deployment, Presidential Unit Citation, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. Michael holds a Bachelors degree in Business Management from Fresno Pacific University and has worked to gain an extensive financial background. Michael currently resides in Visalia, Ca with his wife of 12 years and three children.
Christopher Peichoto Outdoor Program/ Outreach Team
Christopher is a product of the Valley, being born and raised in Fresno County. After graduating from Riverdale High School, Chris enlisted into the United States Marine Corps as an Infantryman. He worked his way to eventually becoming a section leader within his company. During his years of service, Chris was deployed to two tours of combat, both in Iraq. During his service, he was awarded multiple accommodations to include 2 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals with Combat "V" for Valor, Combat Action Ribbon, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. Chris is a member of the Riverdale Rodeo Association and is very active with the Portuguese Community throughout the Central Valley. In addition to his current position as the Kings County Outreach Coordinator, Chris is also pioneering our new ACVH Outdoor Program to engage our Warfighters in various outdoor activities from hiking and archery, to hunting and fishing.
Jeremy Hull Outreach Team
Jeremy is a native of Anaheim, CA but currently resides in Visalia. He proudly served in the United States Army from 1998-2012 and deployed to Iraq as a Military Police Officer in 2003. After hanging up the uniform, Jeremy pursued education at College of the Sequoia and then to Fresno Pacific University. He earned Associates Degrees in Psychology, Sociology, and Behavioral Science before completing his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Business with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. Jeremy worked at COS, assisting Veterans and their dependents with VA educational benefits and served as the Vice President of the Veterans Society (after Steve finished his tenure). Jeremy’s Army awards include the Army Commendation Medal (x4), Army Achievement Medal (x3), Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, as well as a Driver and Mechanic badge for both wheeled and track vehicles. He maintains a desire to serve those who have served wherever and whenever there is a need.
James Reitzel was born in Exeter, CA and was later adopted and raised in Tulare, CA. Just two weeks after graduating from Tulare Western in 2004, he went on to become part of our nation’s greatest fighting force, the United States Marine Corps. James was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and was deployed to Iraq in 2007. During his time with the Marine Corps, He served as a mechanic with Motor Transportation, a Swimming Qualifications Coach, and a Combat Marksmanship Instructor. After returning from duty he met his wife and they have one child together, with a second due in July 2018. James became involved with ACVH because of his wife’s cousin and it has changed his life for the better. James wants nothing more than to help other combat veterans adjust and help to provide the services that have helped him.
Rosa has lived in the Central Valley for the past 23 years. After graduating from Redwood High School, she proceeded to enroll at College of the Sequoias (COS) where she earned an Associate’s Degree. It was while working on her Bachelor’s Degree at Fresno State, that she was able to attain a job at COS and has been working there for the past 13 years in the Financial Aid Department. Through that role, Rosa has been able to assist people not only in an office setting but also by coordinating outreach presentations throughout the area. It was at COS that she also met her husband, CJ Cantu, the ACVH Outreach Coordinator. His enthusiasm toward the program interested Rosa into becoming a more active member. She is passionate about assisting our combat veterans, and hopes to make a positive impact in this capacity.