Veterans Base Camp's Team
PLEASE NOTE: EVERY member of the team is a volunteer and EVERY dollar you donate goes to support the program and our veterans.
Cindy Archibald, a licensed clinical social worker earned her MSW from UCONN, and BSW from ECSU. Cindy graduated from Emmaus Road Ministry School, has 30+ years of experience working with individuals to set/achieve goals for their lives while coping with trauma, mental illness, and developmental disabilities. Cindy came to VBC in 2018. She created R.E.S.E.T- VBC's transitional housing program, recruited/leads VBC's talented, dedicated team and expanded the services offered at Base Camp.
Retired Navy Master Chief, Chaplain, and retired Program Director from the Veterans Rehabilitation Program at Stonington Institute, Mitch Willsie joins the team as the Chairman of the Board. Mitch also serves as the Chaplain and Program Director-he works 1:1 with veterans, leads recreational groups and much more! Did I mention he is the New England Archery Champion in his division as well?
CT Army National Guard Veteran Sergeant First Class (ret) Russ Johndrow is also the Food Pantry Director and is most often heard saying: "I know a guy..(or gal)." and whoever it is, they always come through for VBC! This guy epitomizes the concept of: "I've got your six" as he gives his all to support the veterans we serve.
Dwayne Gardener is a retired Navy Petty Officer First Class who after 12 years in the Navy left to work for the Department of Environmental Protection. Dwayne spent 20 years with DEP as their Communication Officer. At VBC Dwayne went through training to become a Peer Support Specialist and has volunteered at the Eastern CT Veterans Community Center. Welcome Aboard Dwayne!
Mike Staats is a Marine Veteran, and has become Russ Johndrow's right hand man in the Pantry. Between the two of them and their amazing volunteers, they do a wonderful job serving our veterans and their families.
Mitch Sibley-Jett is a retired Air Force Captain, and a member of our Board of Directors. Mitch brings a wealth of experience working with people from all walks of life. Mitch works with the veterans at VBC in many different roles: mentor, teacher, facilitator, group leader and more. Mitch recently joined the VBC Board of Directors and is a real asset to our team.
Keith Watson, an Army National Guard veteran who keeps the vets at Base Camp well fed with his culinary creations and a valuable member of our team!
Army Sargent Garrett Twele oversees VBC's Vets-table garden that has provided fresh veggies and greens for the veterans at VBC and for the Vittles 4 Vets Food Pantry. On any given day, you will find Garrett and Treya, his service dog-in-training hiking or working on his plan to create a disc-golf course at VBC!
Janet Freniere is a Retired Airfield Management/Base Ops veteran, where she served 22 years. Janet also recently retired after 17 years from UCONN. Janet is putting her Air Force Air Show events planning experience to good use helping us to coordinate our fundraising events. We are blessed to have her on or team!
Army Veteran Doug Barton advises us on our fire safety issues, cuts wood for the Camp and veterans in need. He has been planning to "grow" our pond! Doug is another vet that can always be heard saying: "I know someone that can..."
Bonnie, wife of a Navy veteran, is a Pantry Volunteer who also makes delicious meals for the vets. Thank you Bonnie!
Scotty is a Navy veteran who has been volunteering in the V4Vets Food Pantry, and with anything Russ needs help with! A jack-of-all-trades and a welcome addition the the VBC Team!
Moe served in the Marine Corp from 1965-1969, wounded at Khe Sanh in 1968. Did auto body work until taking a job with the Disabled American Veterans in 1982 where he met his future wife Leila. He then devoted his career to helping vets with their claims through the DAV and the CT State Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Now retired from his last position as Acting Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, he still devotes his volunteer work to assisting veterans at Veterans Base Camp
Leila attended Hartford Secretarial School and took a job working at the Disabled American Veterans Office in Hartford, where she met her future husband, Moe. After working for vets for 12 years, she worked as an Office Manager at Independent Home Service. After retiring, she rejoined her husband doing volunteer work for veterans at the VA in Newington, and now through Veterans Base Camp