MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Mr. Bergeron is a gratefully retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant; finishing his Marine Corps career from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, San Diego, California; serving on active duty for 20 years in both the Air and Ground components of the Marine Corps. Allen is one of the founding members of Honor Flight Austin. Allen currently serves as a Veterans Consultant for the City of Austin and Military Ombudsman for the Department of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR). Allen is a passionate advocate for City of Austin employees who are Veterans and those serving in the Guard and Reserves, as well as supports Veterans and Guard/Reserve members throughout the Austin community, providing military and veteran information and benefits offered through local, state and federal resources.
Matt Gardner is a native Texan and recently retired Army veteran of 21 years. Prior to joining the military, he attended Texas A&M University. He began his Army career as a helicopter mechanic and crew chief, before completing flight school and serving his remaining time in service as a helicopter pilot. He retired from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment as a Chief Warrant Officer 4. His overseas duty tours, combined with several combat tours, placed him out of the country for nearly half of his career. He is therefore very happy to finally be back home in Texas! Matt is currently employed by Travis County STARFlight as a Senior Helicopter Pilot. He is a Lifetime Member of both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Nightstalker Association.
Mr. James is a native Texan and former student athlete with the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. His professional career included 30 years with the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, retiring in the rank of Colonel. Upon leaving the military, he served as the Executive Director for the American Collectors Association of Texas for 10 years before assuming his current position as the Executive Director for the Texas Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency.
Barbara has served many Veterans organizations in various leadership positions for the last twenty years. The organizations include; Sons and Daughters of the Pearl Harbor Survivors as National Secretary, District Director and currently as State chairman, Ladies Auxiliary of Veterans of Foreign War, Past President and current Vice president, and member of the Blue Star Mothers, the Fleet Reserve Association Branch 201, and is also a member of the Marine Corps Mothers. Her passion for Veterans is also close to her heart for her Father who was a Pearl Harbor Survivor and Husband serving in the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Desert Storm and Bosnia. Her son is currently serving (second tour) in the Marine Corp. Barbara has lived in Austin for 40 years and is passionate about all that Austin does to honor, celebrate, mourn and take care of our veterans and is extremely honored to serve “The Greatest Generation” once again.
Mr. Ryan is a proud U.S. Marine veteran, and he currently serves as Honor Flight Austin’s legal counsel. In addition to Honor Flight, Kory provides extensive legal services to veterans, including Force Recon Association, at no charge. He is an Advance Guard for the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as co-founder and attorney for Honor Courage Commitment, Inc. HCC recruits, mentors, and guides transitioning military veterans into becoming socially responsible entrepreneurs. Kory is the founder and Managing Partner of Ryan Law Firm, LLP, a national law firm headquartered in Austin. He received his law degree, with honors, from Southern Methodist University.
Mr. Davis has been around the military his entire life. His father is a retired Naval Master Chief whose 30 years of service shaped David’s understanding of the tremendous sacrifices our military families endure. During his father’s tour of duty in Europe, David attended a Department of Defense high school in London, England, with other children of American military personnel. After graduating, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, proudly serving for six years. Mr. Davis is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm and spent much of his enlistment in the Middle Eastern theater. His eldest son continues the family military tradition by currently serving in the United States Air Force. David and his family recently relocated to the city of Austin in early 2012. In addition to serving as interim treasurer for Honor Flight Austin, Mr. Davis is a managing director of independent financial planning firm with offices in California and Texas.
Dr. Glass grew up in a Gold Star family and learned at a very early age the meaning of patriotism, sacrifice, and courage. Her father served proudly in WWII in the Pacific and was fortunate to return home to his family. Her brother’s father, however, was killed in action in France in 1944. It was that loss plus the loss of many friends in Vietnam that would later influence her dedication to veterans and their families. She considers it a profound privilege and honor to serve on the Board of Honor Flight Austin. Flying WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. is the very least that she can do to honor their extraordinary contributions to our country. These men and women are our national treasures and should be cherished and honored while we still have time.
Honorary Board Members
As an honorary board member, Mayor Leffingwell was instrumental in the creation of Honor Flight Austin. Mayor Leffingwell, a veteran himself, served as an officer and a pilot in the United States Navy and served in the Vietnam War. After leaving active duty, he served in the Navy Reserves and retired at the rank of Commander. Mayor Leffingwell attended the second and Austin’s largest Honor Flight in October 2012. Mayor Leffingwell is committed to helping Honor Flight Austin serve all local WWII Veterans.
As Navy Veteran, a Council Member and Mayor, Mayor Leffingwell has been very passionate and focused on supporting Veterans; under his leadership and vision, the City of Austin has created an unequivocal Veterans program. The City of Austin has been recognized both locally and nationally for their unprecedented program; most notably is receiving the DOD, Secretary of Defense Freedom Award; one of only 15 employers nationally to receive this honor and of course the DAV’s state and national commanders large employer of the year award.
Betty, wife of WWII Veteran, Ben Schleder served as a guardian on the Inaugural Honor Flight and at that point became committed to raising funds to send our local WWII Veterans to D.C. A resident of Sun City in Georgetown, Betty contacted and presented to local civic organizations, corporations and community members to gather funds so all local WWII Veterans can experience the Honor Flight. Betty’s tireless efforts has seen her raise nearly $100,000 for Honor Flight Austin. Betty’s passion and determination to see all local WWII Veterans make the Honor Flight is inspirational.
Ernest Banasau – Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919
John Burkhardt – Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919
Raymond Diaz- Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919
Dr. Charles Edwards - Retired Army General, Chaplain
Lee Hagan – Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919
Olie Pope- – Travis County Veteran Service Officer
Ken Wallingford – Texas Veterans Land Board, POW Survivor