Colonel Jill Willig Chambers, USA (Retired)
Colonel (R) Jill W. Chambers served four Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff over an eight-year period. In 2007, she was selected to serve as Special Assistant to former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, to conduct a focused study of wounded warrior issues, specifically in the areas of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Colonel (R) Chambers built a team and spent 18 months traveling the U.S. She witnessed firsthand the often heart-breaking difficulties facing returning warriors, many of whom experienced multiple deployments.
Understanding the urgency for both real-time solutions and long-term prevention strategies, Colonel (R) Chambers imagined and assembled an unprecedented strategy and team, including world renowned psychologist Martin Seligman and immediate past U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, world leading expert in Health Literacy, with the hope of increasing resiliency in Service Members before they face adversity and reducing the stigma surrounding PTS for the invisibly wounded.
Taking her Joint Staff experience related to returning warrior issues she moved to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel in November 2008 and arranged a meeting between the team she had assembled and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. They successfully presented their unique vision as the strongest opportunity to care for the record number of men and women in all branches of service facing from TBI and PTS.
She is widely recognized as the first person in the history of the U.S. Military to develop a successful, sustainable strategy designed to reduce the crippling stigma associated with mental health challenges in a Warrior culture. Her clear vision, comprehensive experience, understanding of the issues at hand, willingness to think laterally and dogged determination laid the groundwork for the development and adoption of the first holistic approach to wellness for our Service Members. The U.S. Army subsequently developed the “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” program that launched in 2009 and created an unprecedented number of messages via Armed Forces Radio and Television declaring and encouraging the “Permission to Speak” across all branches of Military Service.
Retiring in 2009 after 28 years of active duty, Colonel (R) Chambers “re-launched” as the Founder of This Able Vet, LLC, where she continues her commitment to real time solutions and long term strategies working with non pharmaceutical alternatives for PTS like Neuro-feedback alongside Dr Tim Royer and Guided Imagery with Belleruth Naparstek.
Jill serves on the SBA’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs and The American Legion TBI/PTS Ad Hoc Committee. Most recently, as of June 2011, she is serving as an external Advisory Board member for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Partnering with JPMorgan Chase, this is the first institute of its kind serving as a national center in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service.
Additionally, in recognition of her rare gifts as a leader and her many groundbreaking accomplishments over 30 years of service, she was selected as the Senior Professional Women’s Association Department of Defense Woman of the Year for 2010.
In 2011 Jill was recognized at the American Legion National Convention for her service towards children and youth in connection with the TAG You’re It High School Assembly program and received their 2011 Americanism Award.
The American Legion Auxiliary awarded Jill their 2012 Public Spirit Award that recognizes outstanding organizations and/or individuals for contributions that positively impact communities through service to our military, veterans and their families. The Auxiliary celebrates those who make a difference through a creative body of work or a single generous act.
Jill has a wonderful daughter, Captain Gwynn Miller who is serving as the Battalion Adjutant for the 709nd MP Battalion, Grafenwhor, Germany.
Michael Peterson - Creative Communications Consultant
With nine tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, six since December 2010, Michael Peterson is the 2008 recipient of the distinguished Bob Hope “Spirit Of Hope” award for his service to the nation and the servicemen and women of the Armed Forces. He is loved for such million selling country music chart toppers as “Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie” and “From Here To Eternity. This multiple Grammy and CMA award nominee has moved audiences all over the globe for over a decade.
Recognized by Billboard Magazine as Country music's top selling new male artist and top new airplay artist in 1997 -1998, he burst on the scene with 5 consecutive Billboard and R & R top 20 hits between 1997 and 2001 including three top five singles and three number one music videos. His wedding standard “From Here To Eternity” was recently chosen as one of G.A.C’s top 100 greatest love song videos of all time.
A proven hit songwriter with multiple #1 songs in gospel and country, both in the U.S and Europe, Michael’s songs have been recorded by Grammy winning superstars like Travis Tritt, Timothy B. Schmit (The Eagles), The Classic Imperials, Ty Herndon, John Berry and Deniece “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” Williams.
From 2007-2011 Michael continues to bring the “TAG YOU’RE IT!” High School Assembly program sponsored by The American Legion and the U.S. Army, to more than 150,000 students. The success and powerful messaging created for young people has been a goldmine of Social–Emotional learning for Educators, school administrators and students and is now rated as one of the top ten high school Assembly programs in the nation.
The national footprint and impact of the TAG YOU’RE IT! was recently reflected in Michael’s selection as the sole recipient of the American Legion’s 2011 National Education Award. The award, whose previous recipients include former First Ladies Barbara and Laura Bush, Tom Brokaw, Former US Secretary of Education William Bennett, Fred Rogers (Mr Rogers) and Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) is presented to groups or individuals that have significantly and positively enhanced education in the United States.
In February 2012, he received the prestigious PUBLIC SPIRIT AWARD from the American Legion Auxiliary. This award, established in 1983, recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations for contributions that improve their communities, especially efforts that benefit the military, veterans and their families. Previous recipients include Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.), Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former President Ronald Reagan, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick, advice columnist Ann Landers and Miss America 2000, Heather Renee French.
Michael is now serving as the National Spokesperson for the Ag Warriors program aimed at placing Veterans in long – term agricultural careers. The program was launched at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California where Michael served as Emcee and former President George W. Bush was the Keynote Speaker at the inaugural Ag Warriors Gala.
For nearly 25 years Michael Peterson has consistently created, inspired and entertained millions of people.