Our group is a grass roots organization hastily united during the summer of 2014; the event/organization is called We Remember: A Night for Veterans, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Our committee is comprised of three veterans and several non-veterans who are passionate regarding veteran causes. The composition of our membership includes representatives from the community, Boy Scouts of America and Riverside Fire Department.
We chose U.S.VETS as our beneficiary because it is a unique organization dedicated to assisting homeless veterans and their families. It is a nation-wide nonprofit which has a local chapter, U.S.VETS, Inland Empire. Our first dinner was held April 17, 2015 at the Canyon Crest Country Club. (See link to our Face book page below; the photos section contains several images from our dinner event.)
Mike Terry, President
Mike Terry is a long term resident of Riverside California, having graduated from Rubidoux High School and then UC Riverside. Terry has been associated with the Boy Scouts of America for over 50 years, earning their highest award, Eagle Scout.
Terry recently retired from UC Riverside after 41 years of service where he was Assistant Director of the Department of Physical Plant (Facilities Management), overseeing a multi-million dollar budget to maintain and improve the campus in direct support of vital research, education and community service using in-house and contract personnel. In the year 2000, Terry founded the UC Riverside Pipe Band where he serves as Pipe Major – the musical director of the bagpipe and drum ensemble.
Under Terry’s direction the band achieved Champion Band of the Western United States for three years in a row. Terry provides classes at UCR and private instruction to help persons of all ages and backgrounds to learn to play the Great Highland Bagpipe. Terry also appears in a wide range of private and public performances, playing the bagpipe for audiences including President of Ireland Mary Robinson, California Governors Gray Davis and Pete Wilson, actors Sidney Poitier, Dennis Cole and Don Johnson, General Colin Powell, Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Saint Mother Teresa.
Mike Terry remains active in the community as Chair of the We Remember: A Night for Veterans steering committee, a member of the Salute to Veterans Parade committee, member of the UCR Athletics Association, past board member of the UCR Alumni Association and past board member of the University Club. Terry is married to his lovely wife of ten years, Nancy, who is recognized as a Center of Excellence in Learning Management Systems for the University of California ten-campus system.
Battalion Chief Thomas W. Jay Jr., Vice President
City of Riverside Fire Department Battalion Chief Thomas W. Jay Jr. (TJ) began his fire service career with RFD in 1987. He was promoted to Captain in 1994, also serving as Fire Training Captain, Department Safety Officer, and Department Public Information Officer. Jay holds numerous State Fire Marshal, National Wildfire Coordinating Group, and California Incident Command System certifications.
TJ served on and chaired several Department committees, including the Inland Empire Terrorism Early Warning Group, Fire Employment Recruitment Committee, Career Day Committee, Cultural Diversity Program, Merit Awards Committee, RFD Officer Development Program, and the Southern California Emergency Public Information Officers Assoc. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Fire and Burn Foundation, having been involved with the Burn Institute and the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center for over 16 years.
Earlier in his career Jay was active with the Riverside City Firefighters Local 1067 as its Second Vice President and board member, participating on Union committees including the Political Action Committee, Fire and Burn Foundation Committee, Riverside Firefighters Foundation, and the Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial Committee.
TJ joined the City of Riverside Fire Department /Union Local 1067 Honor Guard in 1998, later named Honor Guard Commander. As the unit’s bugler, Chief Jay plays “Taps” at firefighter funerals and memorial services statewide and across the nation. Jay has organized, facilitated, and participated in funerals, vigils and memorial services for area dignitaries and individual fire departments’ throughout the US as they honor their own fallen firefighters, doing the same for the City of Riverside’s own fallen and retired firefighters.
Under Thomas Jay’s direction, the Honor Guard has participated in parades and color presentations at City, County, State, and National events. TJ serves as the bugler for the International Assoc. of Fire Fighters’ Memorial held in Colorado Springs to honor firefighters who died in the line of duty throughout the United States and Canada. He is the Master Sergeant at Arms and bugler at the National Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial at Emmitsburg, Maryland, honoring US firefighters who died in the line of duty. Jay is the State Honor Guard Commander and Chairperson for the California Professional Firefighters’ Memorial honoring California Firefighters who died in the line of duty. Jay also serves as the California Statewide Honor Guard Commander for California’s Last Alarm Service Team.
These memorials include musicians, color and honor guard members from across the United States and Canada which he commands at each ceremony attended by family members, fire service personnel, and dignitaries from local, State, and the Federal government, California’s Governor, US Senators and Congress Members, and the President and Vice President of the United States.
Chief Jay is a classically trained musician, playing the trumpet for over 50 years. He majored in music education at Central Connecticut State University where he marched with several drum and bugle corps. TJ is currently working on his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with Columbia Southern University.
Thomas Jay is a military veteran, serving on active duty for six years as an Aero-Medical Technician with the US Air Force, plus six years in the 68th AeroMed Evac Squadron, US Air Force Reserves. Jay was honorably discharged at the rank of Master Sergeant.
Chief Jay continues to assist the military by volunteering with “Bugles Across America” performing at the Riverside National Cemetery and elsewhere in California. Chief Jay has bugled with all 5 Military Service Honor Guards to honor our fallen veterans’ and soldiers who were “killed in action” during the war in Iraq and the conflict in Afghanistan.
Dan Rios, Secretary
Dan Rios is a California native and has lived his entire life in the Inland Empire; born in Corona and a graduate of Elsinore Union High School. He attended Riverside Community College majoring in electronics where he also played two years on the RCC baseball team.
Dan was drafted in 1966 into the US Army during the height of the Vietnam War. During basic training at Fort Ord, he was selected from a company of 185 men as Soldier of the Cycle. After basic training, he was ordered to Fort Belvoir, VA, where he was trained as a Powerman, or generator operator. He was ordered to Vietnam and eventually assigned to the 91st Evacuation Hospital where he served as a Headquarters Clerk working under the Command Sergeant Major and Hospital Adjutant. During Dan’s tour of duty in Vietnam, September 1967 to September 1968, US forces endured a great number of casualties as a result of the infamous Tet Offensive.
Shortly after his return from Vietnam, Dan began his career with the University of California Riverside. During his employment with the University, Dan held several positions including Electronics Technician, Shop Supervisor with the Department of Biology and Facilities Coordinator/Chemical Hygiene Officer with the Departments of Biology, Cell Biology and Neuroscience and the Natural Reserve System. After retirement and serving 37+ years as a full time employee, he was hired by the Physical Plant Department on a part-time basis for three years where he worked as a Project Manager and Department Safety Coordinator.
Dan has been active in the community by serving as a girl’s softball coach and, most recently, served two years as Chair of the Architectural Committee, Orangecrest Country HOA. He is currently a member of the US VETS Advisory Council. Dan and his lovely wife Yvonne have been married for 43 years and have three beautiful adult daughters.
In general terms, Dan is responsible for email communication within the organizing committee by disseminating critical messages regarding meeting dates & locations, meeting agendas, meeting notes and other critical issues discussed online. He is also the liaison to local veteran groups.
Lauri Pitcher, Treasurer
Lauri Pitcher is a 48 year resident of Riverside. She is CEO and co-owner of Lucia & Co. CPAs, an accounting, tax and business consulting firm which has been serving the Inland Empire since 1984. Lauri earned her accounting degree at CSUSB and passed the CPA exam in 1994. She then joined Lucia & Co. in 1995 and received her CPA certification in 1998. Lauri regularly conducts training in the areas of Improving Your Cash Flow, Understanding Your Financial Statements, and QuickBooks Accounting Software.
Most important to Lauri are her client relationships, and having fun in all areas of life both personally and in business.
Austin Coulson is an internet marketing consultant and the owner of ACU Web. ACU Web is a website design and internet marketing company that has been in business in Riverside CA for over 10 years. He is currently on the board of directors for Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center. He’s given presentations on Search Engine Optimization and internet marketing for large groups including the Riverside Chamber Of Commerce.
Web Design and Internet Marketing have been passions of Austin’s for many years. While starting out by creating websites for himself, Austin ascertained many of the fundamentals and theory that constitute professional website development. Through networking and word-of-mouth, Austin soon began building and marketing websites for many different businesses and industries.
Austin’s first full-fledged business endeavor was realized when he became co-founder of House on the Moon (HotM). As a start-up design, development and marketing company, HotM discovered the pitfalls and the roads to success of a service-based business. Following HotM, Austin founded his own web design business, ACU Web.
As Austin further honed his design and service skills, ACU Web fared well and created many long-lasting relationships, including many international clients from as far away as Australia. Operating his own web design business provided Austin with a solid understanding of what is required to market, sell, and build a quality website. Many happy, satisfied customers continue to do business with ACU Web as a result of the hard work and commitment that was poured into ACU Web.
Austin has also managed marketing efforts for several companies in the technology industry. He has been involved with every aspect of several businesses which gave him a broad, yet deep understanding of different business processes and how to positively affect the bottom line. Austin managed all marketing efforts for Memory.net, a start-up online-based memory upgrade provider, headquartered in Dana Pointe, California. By utilizing several marketing channels, Austin significantly increased the revenue of Memory.net. These combined experiences allow Austin to truly consult his clients in many respects. A website is one component of a successful strategy; Austin recognizes that marketing a website and using it efficiently with other business efforts is key.
Charlie Cox is a Riverside native, having lived most of his life in the La Sierra area. He attended La Sierra High School before transferring to Riverside Community College in 1995. Charlie is an Eagle Scout with a long history of supporting local charitable causes, including U.S.VETS, faith-based organizations, the Salvation Army and the Loma Linda VA hospital.
As an entrepreneur, he has provided social media services to small businesses, associations, event organizers and charities – including We Remember: A Night for Veterans, and U.S.VETS–Inland Empire. He is a seasoned public speaker, American Red Cross-certified First Aid/CPR/AED instructor, National Rifle Association-certified Chief Range Safety Officer, and outspoken advocate for the exercise of civil liberties. He currently works for Sysco Corporation as the Director of Fleet and Facilities Maintenance for the Pacific Market, including the State of California.
Charlie is the proud father of three bright, witty girls, and serves as a volunteer soccer coach for their teams.
Tennille Cox is a lifelong resident of the City of Riverside. She was a student athlete at La Sierra High School and Riverside Community College. For the past two years, she has managed the physical arrangements for We Remember: A Night for Veterans, including facilities, fixtures, decorations, planning and meals. Tennille has played a key role in the children’s athletic ministry at La Sierra University Church for three years, first as a volunteer and now as an employee of the church.
For the past 25 years, she has been a licensed care provider for developmentally disabled women. She actively raises funds and seeks out contributions for local charitable causes, including U.S.VETS, faith-based organizations, the Salvation Army and the Loma Linda VA hospital.
Tennille is an enthusiastic event planner, a small business owner and the devoted mother of three daughters.
In 2016, Candy retired from Alvord Unified School District, Riverside California, after 15 years of service. 7.5 years as the Continuation High School Secretary processing all aspects of the sites fiscal, administrative and clerical duties. And 7.5 years in the District’s Fiscal Services during the summers and at Norte Vista High School during the school year processing the budgets for the school and also for the 75+ active ASB clubs.
In 1995, Candy received and AA/AS- Associate of Applied Science in Banking, graduating with honors from Rock Valley College in Rockford Illinois. She worked 17 years in the banking industry. 15 years at Alpine Bank, Rockford Illinois. 14 years as the Teller Supervisor and 1 year as a Teller. Previously she worked 2 years as a bookkeeper at First Interstate Bank, Golden Colorado.
In 1980, Candy received a CNA-Certificated Nursing Assistant Certificate from Rock Valley College in Rockford Illinois. She worked 5 years in the medical field as a Certified Nursing Assistant, in Rockford, Illinois.
In 2017 Candy began serving as a committee member for We Remember: A Night for Veterans, in Riverside California. She also served as a Board Member, for Alvord Educational Foundation in 2017. And, she served over 12 years (2004-2015) with Boy Scouts of America in Riverside California. Among the positions held were: Treasurer and Associate Advisor for Venture Crew 2, Committee Member for Troop 2 Boy Scouts, and Treasurer for Cub Scout Pack 176, including one year as “Popcorn Kernel” organizing, collecting and processing the fundraiser.
Candy’s gift is to give service to others. She has worked numerous additional service industry jobs over the years and enjoyed each and every position held. She and her husband, David Huxley, are also avid campers. As a mother of 3 and a grandmother of 8, she is kept quite busy. However, she is looking forward to adding another service career in the near future.
All about me…the legal stuff….
David Huxley has lived in the Inland Empire off and on since 1979, with a short 10 year stent in the Great Mid-west. David Originally hails from Imperial Valley and is a product of an agricultural upbringing. He is recently a long-term resident of Riverside, California.
David attended and graduated from Cal Poly, Pomona and Rockford College (university), Rockford, Il. and is currently a High School Science Teacher for a local school district. David is now enjoying his 20th year of teaching. During these years he has held various leadership positions, including Department Chairperson at several school locations. He is currently part of the Science Leadership with the Alvord Unified School District. Previous to his teaching career David worked in the industrial meat sciences. He is also a hobbyist Tiki Carver.
David Huxley has been involved in the Boy Scouts of America since 2004 and has held several leadership level positions such as Committee Chairperson for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He is currently registered with Venturing Crew 2 BSA as Associate Advisor and is a merit badge counselor for the Mt. Rubidoux District (BSA), offering a variety of Merit Badge opportunities for our scouting youth. Other leadership positions include volunteerism through Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful (KRCB), sponsored by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and Riverside Public Utilities. David has lead volunteers in Adopt-A-Street, Ward area cleanups, and the Great American Cleanup. He received the “Iron Eyes Cody” award from the City of Riverside for this leadership. David Huxley currently plays the Bagpipes with the UCR Pipe Band and is an active member of the band’s Board of Directors representing Riverside Pipes and Drums Foundation. He is also proud to be an active member of the steering committee for We Remember: A Night for Veterans.
David is a proud family man with a wonderful wife, Candy, three children, and seven grandchildren.
A Southern California native and transplant to the Riverside area, Dr. Cori Knight is a lecturer at UC Riverside, where she teaches business writing and freshman composition. She also works for CSU Fullerton’s Center for Insurance Studies as their editorial consultant, where she is responsible for editing the Center’s major projects, proofing faculty publications, and writing grants.
She comes to ANFV with 15 years of experience as a writer, editor, and proofreader, as well as volunteering with a number of non-profits.
In her off hours, she plays the bagpipes and serves as manager for the UC Riverside Pipe Band, a role she has held since Fall of 2015.
Born in Cuba and came to the US in 1968 at the age of 7. He is the owner of Bullseye Sport Guns & Ammo in Riverside CA and has been in the firearms industry since 1978. He got his start at Western Auto in the sporting goods department. He has always been a strong supporter of our military and law enforcement and is involved on many different levels with several organizations that support both. After moving to Riverside from Downey over 10 years ago Vince established Bullseye Sport and has been going strong since.
Denise Desirello, U.S. Veterans – Devt. and Comm. Manager
Denise Desirello has lived in Riverside County since 1995 where she and her husband have raised three boys. One is active duty in the Air Force, one is a college student and her youngest in high school. Denise has worked in the nonprofit sector for over a dozen years and before she stared working with U.S.VETS, she worked with The American Cancer Society and The Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, focusing on community development and fundraising. She earned her BA degree from the University of Redlands and volunteers her time supporting various fundraisers throughout the year.
Eddie Estrada, U.S. Veterans – Inland Empire Representative
Mr. Estrada has over 25 years of executive nonprofit management serving vulnerable populations, using a wide range of integrated, community-based services. Mr. Estrada has extensive experience in senior executive leadership, health and social service programming, fiscal management, strategic planning, donor relations, and fundraising.
He completed his Bachelors degree in Organizational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University. Mr. Estrada is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and sits on several national boards including National Health Care for the Homeless, Riverside Countys Continuum of Care, Prison Ministry of America, and past board member of the National Association of Community Health Centers, Substance Abuse Committee and Social Security Task Force Committee. He has appeared in the Documentary Skid Row and has been recognized by the community including a recognition from Senator Roth, Congressman Takano, and Assemblyman Medina for his commitment to empower homeless individuals to lead more stable and fulfilling lives.
Prior to his work at U.S.VETS – Inland Empire, Mr. Estrada served as the Vice President of Health Services for Path Life Ministries also known as Health to Hope Clinic where he provided leadership and vision in securing Riverside Countys first and only Health Care for the Homeless Clinic under the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Program managing a growth of over 1,000% percent. He also previously served as the Administrative Director for the Los Angeles Mission where he provided leadership in securing two FQHC designations and several FQHC expansion grants and managed a growth of over 1,300%.
He is married to Connie Estrada with five children and delights in his three grandchildren. He enjoys playing softball, paintball and taking his grandchildren camping.