Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Elects New Chairman

Moves to strengthen governance include new vice-chair, additional director.

Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Elects New Chairman
Leesburg, VA, May 15, 2014 --( The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes (Coalition), a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the War on Terror, announced today that its Board of Directors has elected Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski as its new chairman. The position was previously held by David Walker, who remains on the board as the Coalition’s president and chief executive officer.

The board also elevated Gail Laude to the position of vice-chairperson, and elected David Wetherell as its newest director. Bruce Kelly continues as secretary/treasurer. In addition, a new Audit Committee was formed, with Kelly and current director Tom Sircher serving in that capacity.

“These moves are the latest tangible signs of our commitment to strengthening the governance of our organization,” said Walker, who was named chief executive of the Coalition in July 2012. “Both Tom and Gail have stepped up as invaluable leaders and visionaries for the Coalition during their tenure as directors, and I know we will continue to benefit greatly from their experience, their ideas and their high expectations.”

Lt. Colonel Orlowski’s 20-year Army career included assignments in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), HQ U.S. Army Europe, HQ U.S. Continental Army Command and the Office of The Adjutant General of the Army. For his service in Vietnam, Orlowski was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Air Medal. His other awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. He is currently an information systems, management and marketing consultant to government contracting firms.

“Since I joined the board in November 2012, I have witnessed first-hand the extraordinary work done by the Coalition as well as the great strides the organization has made in virtually every area of operations,” said Orlowski. “David has done an exceptional job leading us, and he will continue to do so for many years, I’m sure. I’m very proud to have been elected chairman, and I look forward to working even more closely with David, Gail and the rest of the board to make certain that the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes remains one of the most vital and respected veterans service groups in the nation.”

With more than 15 years of experience teaching and assisting individuals with severe learning, emotional and physical disabilities, Gail Laude has been an important contributor to the Coalition’s board since her appointment in August 2012. She currently has two sons deployed overseas in the global War on Terror. Her son Justin proudly serves in the Army, and Jonathan serves his country in the Navy.

“Serving on the Coalition’s board has been one of the true highlights of my career,” said Laude. “I could not be more proud of my affiliation with this organization nor could I be more bullish about its future. Very few people have had the privilege of witnessing the difference the Coalition makes in the lives of so many wounded veterans and their families, and I am personally committed to ensuring that this sacred trust continues as long as it is needed.”

David Wetherell served in the United States Army for 27 years, including the Army Special Forces Command (USASFC), 5th Special Forces Group (A) and 82nd Airborne Division. His primary duties through multiple combat deployments were to conduct or support direct action, special reconnaissance, counterterrorism and information operations to deter or prevent the acquisition of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), while neutralizing proliferation. Wetherell currently lives in Palm Beach, Fla., where he serves as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, assisting veterans in overcoming the barriers associated with severe mental illness, physical disabilities, homelessness and economic hardship.

“I’ve witnessed the Coalition’s fine work from afar for the last three or four years, and I’m honored that they’ve asked me to join them in a leadership capacity,” said Wetherell. “America’s combat wounded deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, but too often our government falls short. The Coalition stands in the gap and lends a helping hand when it’s needed most. You just can’t put a price on that.”

In other business, the board endorsed the formation of a new Grant Review Committee staffed internally and overseen by CEO Walker.

The Coalition’s Board of Directors is now comprised of six outside members and Walker.

About the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, based in Leesburg, VA, has provided an invaluable immediate lifeline to thousands of America’s wounded veterans since its establishment in 2004. The Coalition is distinguished from other veteran-focused organizations by its direct financial assistance to America’s wounded heroes. Its Emergency Financial Aid program has stopped foreclosure proceedings on veterans’ homes and kept their vehicles from being repossessed. The organization regularly provides gift checks to cover meals, medical and utility bills, clothing, car repairs and even baby diapers.

For more information on the Coalition, and to learn how you can support its mission, visit
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
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