Traditional Non-Profits

This category honors some of the longest standing non-profit supporters of the veteran community. They continuously show dedicated and committed efforts to bring veteran and servicemembers’ interests to the forefront of the national dialogue, which has made them highly influential and powerful forces in enhancing veterans’ needs. The individuals listed below represent the leadership of these organizations.

Adrian Atizado, Disabled American Veterans

Adrian Atizado, a former Navy corpsman and service-disabled veteran of the Persian Gulf War, has served as DAV’s Deputy National Legislative Director since 2015.  He has over 17 years of experience on the legislative staff of the more than 1 million member organization of wartime service-disabled veterans. Mr. Atizado is a well-respected veterans’ advocate with expertise in all aspects of the Veterans Health Care System, including family caregivers’ needs, care coordination, long-term care services, VA’s budgetary needs and care for veterans through community partners. He is frequently invited to testify at Congressional hearings and provide comments to VA. Atizado led DAV’s America’s Unsung Heroes initiative to expand VA’s Program for Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers to caregivers of injured veterans of all eras which was accomplished through the VA MISSION Act of 2018 (PL 115-182) and continues to lead efforts to bring coverage to caregivers of seriously ill veterans.

Brennan Mullaney, Travis Manion Foundation

Brennan Mullaney is a United States Army veteran and a graduate of the United States Military Academy with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations.  Brennan held a variety of leadership positions throughout active duty and he deployed twice to Iraq. He currently holds a Master’s degree in Law & Diplomacy and continues to serve in the Army Reserve. Prior to joining Travis Manion Foundation (TMF), Brennan served as a regional director and eventually Deputy Director with Team RWB.  As Director of Training and Education with TMF, he is uniting communities to strengthen our national character. Empowering veterans and families of the fallen is deeply important to Brennan. His experience gives him the chance to connect with transitioning veterans who wish to serve once they hang up their uniforms. He has inspired civilians, youth, families of the fallen and veterans to come together in their communities in order to give back to others.

@BrennanMullaney

Ryan Gallucci, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Ryan Gallucci is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the VFW National Veterans Service (NVS), which ensures veterans, service members and their families have access to their earned benefits through the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor. To achieve this, Ryan oversees the VFW’s network of more than 1,900 VA-accredited claims representatives located around the world, and on almost two dozen military installations, to ensure they have the necessary training and resources to provide the best possible service to their veteran clients. 

Prior to his appointment as director in March 2017, Ryan served as deputy director of NVS overseeing a variety of initiatives to include the expansion of VFW operations on military installations and the modernization of the VFW’s constituent casework system. 

He previously served as VFW’s deputy legislative director, where he worked directly with Congress and federal agencies to craft and implement transition and education policies that benefited the veterans’ community, such as in-state tuition protections for veterans and the redesign of the military Transition Assistance Program. 

Ryan served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004 where he received the Bronze Star for meritorious service and the Combat Action Badge. He used his G.I. Bill benefits to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science from the University of Rhode Island.

José Ramos, Wounded Warrior Project

Since 2018, José Ramos has served as the Wounded Warriors Project’s Vice President of Government and Community Relations. In 2004, while serving on his third combat tour, Jose was severely injured in combat operations which included a left arm amputation, lung contusions, nerve damage to his left, back injuries and numerous shrapnel wounds. Since that time, he has demonstrated incredible grit and determination by completing a series of amazing physical achievements, including the New York City Marathon, as well as competing around the globe as a member of the US Paratriathlon Team. Equally as impressive, is his commitment to service which has led him to positions both in and out of government, but always on the side of Veterans. Prior to joining WWP, Jose served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as the Special Assistant for Constituent Inquiries and as an appointed Commissioner on President Bush’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors. Jose’s background as a combat-wounded Navy corpsman informs his current role and helps guide WWP’s efforts to promote policies that support the needs of America’s wounded warriors and their families. 

Danielle Applegate Corazza, VetsFirst

As a Camp Lejeune dependent and veteran, Danielle was instrumental in providing subject matter expertise on the Camp Lejeune Community Action Panel, which provided guidance and intense advocacy in developing and passing the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, the groundbreaking first law to require healthcare coverage for dependents sickened by DoD contamination. The larger victory came a few months later, when the Department of Veterans Affairs recognized eight Camp Lejeune diseases for presumptive service connection. She continues her efforts serving the veteran community as the lead executive of a 70 year old nationally-accredited veteran service organization, VetsFirst, which focuses on policy, advocacy, and direct services to support veterans with disabilities, and their families and caregivers.

@DanielleAC

Jeremy Butler, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Jeremy Butler serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), which provides advocacy, public awareness and 1-on-1 case-management support. Their policy agenda includes a focus on homelessness, veteran employment, equality, service dogs, and a national memorial for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, among other issues. Current advocacy priorities include combatting Veteran suicide, recognizing and supporting women Vets, defending the GI Bill, reforming the VA, driving support and recognition of burn pit exposure, and empowering wounded Veterans to utilize medical cannabis. Butler joined IAVA in 2015 as a Senior Military Fellow, bringing 15+ years of experience providing substantive and strategic counsel to leaders in high-profile government and private sector offices, to include the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. In 2018 he became IAVA’s Chief Operations Officer, before being selected as CEO in 2019. He is a graduate of Knox College and the U.S. Naval War College, where he received a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies. He is also a Surface Warfare Officer and a Commander in the Navy Reserves with nearly 20 years of uniformed service.

@jeremybutler01

Jan Brown, AMVETS

Jan joined the Air Force in 1973 when only two percent of soldiers were women. She expected to serve no more than six years in the military, but she gained strength and thrived until she retired after 27 years. Jan’s Military Occupational Specialty jobs were a Medical Lab Tech, an Aero-Medical Evacuation Technician for C-130, and Recruiter with the Air Reserve Recruiting office. In April 1975, Jan was part of the Baby Lift Operation in Vietnam. This operation was a mass evacuation of orphans to Clark Air Force Base, Pampanga, Philippines. The babies arrived in cardboard boxes where Jan and her team cared for them until they were adopted.

After her Air Force career, she joined AMVETS and began to rise through the ranks, holding a number of critical leadership positions. Jan served as AMVETS National First Vice Commander, National Second Vice Commander, the first-ever National Third Vice Commander, National Credential Chairperson for 20 years, a trustee on the Ohio Service Foundation, numerous years as Post 44-OH Commander, and Commissioner of the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission. Jan Brown was elected National Commander during the 2019 AMVETS National Convention. Commander Brown lives in Boardman, Ohio, with her husband J.P. Brown.

@AMVETSNatlCmdr

David Zurfluh, Paralyzed Veterans of America

David Zurfluh is the national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, serving his third consecutive one-year term. He travels extensively throughout the country advocating for and serving Paralyzed Veterans of America. A member of the U.S. Air Force from 1987 to 1995, Zurfluh served as a jet engine mechanic and a crew chief in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. While on active duty in April 1995, he was injured in a motor vehicle accident in Japan. He suffered a shattered left arm, broken left wrist and a broken neck, and was diagnosed with incomplete quadriplegia. Zurfluh became a member of PVA in 1995, after two national service officers assisted him. Once he completed his three-year rehabilitation, he began volunteering with PVA in the Northwest, determined to make it his life’s mission to help veterans with spinal cord injury, disorders, and related diseases like MS and ALS. He held chapter-level positions as legislative director, vice president, president, and was a  member of the sports committee, and national senior vice president prior to his election as national president.

@zurfluh_david

BJ Lawrence, Veterans of Foreign Wars

BJ Lawrence was elected for the year 2018 to be the National Commander of the VFW, one of the oldest veteran service organizations in the U.S. Lawrence is an Army veteran who served in South Korea from 1983-1986. The VFW provides numerous services to veterans and their families, and BJ has been with the organization for more than 19 years, filling leadership roles at all levels of the organization. BJ himself has testified before Congress on many issues, including leading the push to get Blue Water Vietnam Navy veterans the benefits they have earned for service in Vietnam. Many of these veterans are facing severe medical problems related to exposure to Agent Orange, and the VFW, in coordination with other VSO’s, was instrumental in getting medical benefits for them. BJ also was instrumental in working with the VA to roll out the implementation of the VA MISSION Act of 2018, which allowed veterans to access medical care if they live in underserved communities.

@VFWCOMMANDER

Melissa Bryant, American Legion

Melissa Bryant is a noted veteran and military advocate-leader with 20 years of experience in government, military, and non-profit work. She is currently the National Legislative Director for The American Legion and represents the interests of nearly two million members to Congress. She previously served as the Chief Policy Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). A former Army Captain and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, Melissa has delivered oral and written testimonies before Congress and Administration, as well as conducted interviews on CNN, NPR, CBS Radio, PBS NewsHour, C-SPAN, Washington Journal, MSNBC, HLN, local television, and various publications in service to veterans, military families, and national security.

@mabryant256