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 service members’ 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.

Lauren Augustine, Student Veterans of America

As a leader in the passage of H.R. 3218, the Forever GI Bill, Lauren cemented her reputation as a pragmatic and consensus-driven leader in policy, and in this country. Having been selected as a Top Lobbyist this past year by The Hill, it was clear that Lauren was making waves; she doesn’t do this by appearing on TV, or making bold plays on social media. Lauren is a shrewd negotiator that appeals to people’s better intuitions. This was especially evident this past year as the implementation of the Forever GI Bill faced near-impossible struggles. After warning VA months in advance, she worked with them to fix the problems. She rolled up her sleeves to deliver a consensus-driven solution-oriented discussion, and it worked.


Cherissa Jackson, AMVETS

Cherissa Jackson served 23 years of active duty military service with 10 of those years as a U.S. Air Force Nurse. She is a veteran of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, having served a total of 3 combat deployments where she honed her expertise as a battlefield clinician.

Following her honorable service, as an Air Force commissioned officer, Jackson became an ambassador and advocate for persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She was inducted into the SHEROES United Organization Hall of Fame and traveled to Rome, Italy in November 2016 in order to collaborate with the Vatican, the Nation of Congo, and the city of Amatrice, Italy to help advance a global discussion on eliminating stigmas associated with PTSD.

Her mission included improving healthcare for women in underserved populations, which directed her interests to the African continent where she worked over several years to save the lives of Ugandan women against cervical cancer. Jackson is the author of “At Peace Not in Pieces,” a bestselling memoir that outlines her principles of coping with her own PTSD challenges as a combat veteran and nurse. She was also named one of “25 Individuals of Influence” in the June 2018 issue of PTSD magazine.


Rene Bardorf, Wounded Warrior Project

Rene’ Bardorf is the Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations and has worked tirelessly to grow the advocacy arm of WWP. Coming from the DoD as a Deputy Assistance Secretary of Defense, her background is in assisting service members, however, she took that knowledge and has successfully applied her skills to assist the veteran and VSO/MSO community at large. During her time at Wounded Warrior Project, she has effectively passed legislation protecting death gratuity benefits for survivors, assisted in the MISSION Act passage, built a toxic exposure working tiger team, and helped bring together a divided community by funding partnership grants to legacy organizations and younger VSOs.


Patrick Murray, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Pat Murray is the Deputy Director of the National Legislative Service for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. It is his responsibility to plan, coordinate and implement the VFW’s national legislative agenda with respect to education, and economic opportunity with members of Congress, their staff and committees, and with other federal departments, agencies, and organizations.

Pat served five years in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in the Infantry as a Noncommissioned Officer. In 2006, he deployed to Fallujah, Iraq where his unit conducted hundreds of counterinsurgency operations in support of Iraqi Freedom. After rehabilitating from a wound received in Iraq he successfully transitioned back to work in the D.C. Metro area.

Joe Sharpe, Director of the National Veterans Employment and Education Division, The American Legion

Joe Sharpe of the American Legion Speaks at a conference in Las Vegas

Joseph C. Sharpe Jr. was appointed to the position of Director of the Economic Division in April 2009, now Veterans Employment & Education and currently serving as the Acting Director for National Security Division. Prior to serving as Director, he served as Deputy Director of the Economic Division, Health Care Field Representative and Assistant Director of the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission.

He is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC, where he earned an M.A. in International Relations and Economics.  He also has two Graduate Certificates in International Business and Trade and Health Care Management from Georgetown University.  Joseph also earned his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

In 1982, he entered the United States Army.  After completing initial training at Ft. Sill, OK, and Ft. Sam Houston, TX, he served as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor with the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea.  He also served as a Mental Health Counselor in Ft. Benning, GA, worked as a Behavioral Science Research Specialist at the Walter Reed Institute of Research, Heidelberg, Germany, and was appointed as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Inpatient Social Work and Psychiatry Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, DC.  In addition to his active duty service, Joseph recently retired from the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve, Riverdale, MD, as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Brigades Economics and Commerce Team.

During his military service with the Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Sharpe was deployed twice overseas, in Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and recently for the Global War on Terrorism, in which he received the Bronze Star Medal for work completed in the restoration and improvement of public and private financial institutions and banking services in Iraq.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he and his family currently reside in Bristow, Virginia.

Edward R. “Randy” Reese, Executive Director, DAV Washington Headquarters

Edward R. “Randy” Reese, Jr., a combat veteran of the Persian Gulf War, was appointed Executive Director for the more than 1 million-member DAV National Service and Legislative Headquarters in Washington, D.C., in December 2018. His responsibilities include assisting the oversight of DAV’s primary mission of advocating for and protecting veterans benefits. He serves as one of the organization’s principle spokespersons before Congress, the White House and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Reese was previously appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to serve on the following Federal Advisory Committees and assist in the review and improvement of disabled veterans benefits:

• VBA Task Force on Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment
• Federal Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation
• Federal Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans

A life member of DAV Arlington/Fairfax Chapter 10, Reese joined DAV’s professional staff in 1995. Reese was previously assigned to numerous locations across the nation as a national service officer before his appointments as Associate National Service Director in May 1999, Assistant National Service Director in August 2000, Deputy National Service Director in August 2001, National Service Director in 2002, Deputy Director of Human Resources in July 2010 and National Human Resources Director in August 2013.

Aleks Morosky, National Legislative Director, Military Order of the Purple Heart

Aleks Morosky is the National Legislative Director of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), a Congressionally Chartered Veterans Service Organization headquartered in Springfield, VA. He is primarily responsible for communicating the MOPH legislative agenda to the United States Congress, federal departments and agencies, and other organizational stakeholders in the veterans’ community. Aleks’ efforts include advocating for all veterans and their families, with a special emphasis on those who were wounded in combat.

A native of Norwich, Connecticut, Aleks served as an infantryman in the U.S. Army for one week shy of seven years, reaching the rank of Staff Sergeant. He deployed twice to Iraq from 2003-2004 and 2005- 2006 as a member of the 502d Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. On February 15, 2006, Aleks was wounded along with two other soldiers when their HMMWV was struck by an improvised explosive device on a night mission near Mahmoudiyah, Iraq. He would spend the next 10 months recovering from his injuries in Landstuhl, Germany and Fort Campbell, KY before being honorably discharged from the Army on Christmas Eve, 2006.

Following his military career, Aleks graduated magna cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a BA in Political Science using the GI Bill. Upon graduation, he served as a veterans and military aide to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from 2011-2013. He then went on to work for the National Legislative Service of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in their Washington, DC office from 2013-2016, where he was ultimately promoted to the position of Deputy Director.

Aleks assumed his current role as MOPH National Legislative Director in June 2016. Having joined MOPH in 2007, he is a life member of George Washington Chapter 1 in Derby, CT. He currently resides in Washington, D.C.