Executive Director and Chapter Director of Texas
Matthew Marin is a Houston Police Officer with 17 years of exemplary service on the force. He has received numerous accommodations along with two life-saving awards, the hostile engagement award, the officer of the year award, the award of valor from the state of Texas, and also the award of excellence. Inspired by his father, who is also a decorated officer, he grew up knowing and admiring the life of a cop.
Receiving a football scholarship right out of high school, he opted to join the U.S. Navy after his first year of college. After completing four and a half nine-month tours overseas, he left the military, transitioning into the Police Force.
Now, he looks back on his experiences, reflecting on them, while throwing more light on the travails of vets and ex-cops, post-traumatic stress, and it’s coping mechanisms.
Chief Financial Officer
Wendy Mendoza is a highly sought-after expert on veteran issues. With over 15 years of executive leadership experience in the public and private sectors in areas of strategic planning and operations, scaling organizations, program design and management, as well as the development of infrastructures to assess and cultivate the culture of quality and people growth. Wendy has a track record of successful systems and programs she has developed throughout the years that are still sustainable operating models in those respective communities. Her education, experience, training, and compassion for others has equipped her with the conceptual, organizational, and leadership skills needed to ensure she best supports the ongoing needs of diverse communities.
Wendy travels extensively to advise individuals, companies, and organizations on military and veteran related matters throughout the nation. She has directly helped over 200 veterans and their families in addition to thousands of others by connecting them to resources in their communities. Her passion and dedication stems from her servant leadership style, where “the people part” is at the heart of every mission. Wendy was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and received her M.Ed. from the University of Southern California and her BA in Communications from the University of California, San Diego to include studying abroad for a year at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Ted Crowder joined the Birdwell Foundation team in September 2019. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He began in information technology and being a webmaster in 1998 and has worked for various corporations both webmaster and IT positions. Ted enjoys the camaraderie within The Birdwell Foundation and helping make a difference in the lives of veterans and first responders.
Ted also enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, the Atlanta Braves and the Georgia Bulldogs.
United States Army
From obscurity and homelessness to success.
Karmai has been through the dark valley of MST and PTSD due to the traumas of sexual assaults and a neck fracture from car accident while serving in Germany (1994 and 1996). She joined the Army in 1994, a year after high school, and received an Honorable Discharge in 1997. Then battling depression, she drew on the passion for art instilled in her by her mother and grandparents when she was growing up in Buffalo, NY. In her 20s and 30s she began creating colorful pieces of artwork as a way of healing herself from the ravages of MST/PTSD. In her 40s, Karmai began incorporating meditative techniques, propelling her into other forms of art. She digitally creates the same bright and colorful scenes then cuts and edits to create content with huge impact. Karmai is now Media Director and a Peer Mentor for the Birdwell Foundation for PTSD helping Veterans and First-Responders suffering from MST/PTSD. "My secret for having endless creativity is through silence, nature, and meditation with God."
Director of Camp Valor
John B. Bailey
John Bailey served in the US Army from August 1966 to April 1969, Served in Vietnam from January 1968 thru April 1969, Gunner on a chinook, flew over 150 combat missions, Specialist 5 (E5) - Honorable Discharge, Three years volunteering on the streets with veterans, Co-director of Camp Valor from 2021-2022, Director of Camp Valor 2022 to current, Certified PTSD counselor, Ordained Chaplain
Chapter Director of Arkansas
Dana Novak has been with the Birdwell Foundation since September 2021. She is the Director of Arkansas for First Responders. She also helps with the MST crisis hotline. Dana was a first responder and firefighter for over 15 years. She is a certified Peer Support Officer, Regional Detox Specialist Nurse, Crisis Prevention Intervention, BLS and CPR Certified. She has other certifications in addiction, trauma, mental health, and PTSD. Besides the Birdwell Foundation she works in recovery at a detox facility. Her passion is helping others through their traumas / PTSD / mental health and addiction. No One Heals Alone!!
San Antonio and West Texas PTSD Mentor/Facilitator
Master Texas Peace Officer Retired, B.S. Psychology- Wayland Baptist University, M.S. Counseling- Texas A&M University, Peer Mentor, Life after Loss Bereavement Facilitator, Certified in Care & Counsel for Combat Trauma, LCDCI- License Chemical and Drug Dependency Counselor intern.
Chapter Director of Washington
Benjamin Heck is from Azusa CA and joined the Army in 2002. He went to basic training in Ft Sill OK, and AIT in Ft Bless TX. He deployed in 2005 to Iraq and was there 11 months out of a 12 month deployment when he received injuries by IED and small arms fire. He continued my service for 16 and a half years and retired in June 2018. Fort Lewis WA was his last duty station and he has been working for the Birdwell Foundation since 2017 and really enjoy helping Veterans and first responders that have PTS and he looks forward to what else we can do in our community.
Chapter Operations Director of California
Sergeant Paul Parkhurst is a 17 year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department proudly serving Walnut/Diamond Bar. Over the course of his career he has worked five (5) different divers patrol areas. Sergeant Parkhurst is a former Marine with two (2) Combat tours in the Middle East. He is actively involved with the Vets for Vets program and helps Deputies who are active duty military re-adjust to life after returning home from military deployments.
Chapter Director of California
Ed Choi joined the Birdwell Foundation team in August 2000. He has been married to his wife Kathryn for over 27 years and they have 4 wonderful children. He served in the Army as a Chaplain and deployed to Iraq twice and once to Afghanistan. Retired in 2014 and currently serve as the CA Chapter Director for the Birdwell Foundation. He has been part of this organization because he believes in the mission and purpose of the Birdwell Foundation. We are here to provide hope and healing for our Veterans & First-Responders who suffer from PTSD.
He enjoys traveling with my wife and family. Reading books about Biblical truths and history and watching his favorite sports teams, Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, USC football & UCLA basketball.