NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS
April Box, President
A national leader in the world of non-profit organizations, Ms. Box was president and CEO of the Methodist Health System Foundation in Dallas, Texas, as well as the senior vice president of Methodist Health System, where she generated $355 million in annual direct and induced economic impact.
Ms. Box also has a background in political consulting and marketing for political candidates and civic groups. Awarded the Women in Business Change Maker award from Dallas Business Journal, she is an experienced, creative, visionary leader with more than 20 years of experience. She is known for delivering high-quality results, providing outside-the-box perspective, consistently exceeding goals, delivering record-breaking philanthropic programs and leading impactful marketing and public relations campaigns. She lives in Washington, D.C. and has two sons, Travis and Will, who are both university students.
James "Doc" McCloughanState Funeral for World War II Veterans is pleased to announce James "Doc" McCloughan, recipient of the Medal of Honor for bravery in Vietnam, was appointed a National Board Member. He is President Donald Trump’s 1st Medal of Honor recipient. The White House ceremony took place last July 31, 2017.
A graduate of Bangor High School and Olivet College, James resides in his hometown South Haven, Michigan. After earning his Bachelor of Arts Degree in sociology and a teaching certificate in 1968, he accepted a teaching and football coaching position at South Haven High School.
McCloughan taught sociology and psychology at South Haven High School until his retirement in 2008 earning him the Michigan Education Associations’ 40 years of Service Award. He was also the recipient of the Wolverine Conference Distinguished Service Award for 38 years of coaching football and baseball in addition to 22 years of coaching wrestling. His coaching career was exceptional, and McCloughan received a number of awards for his 38 years of coaching. He lives with his beloved wife Chérie. They are both very active in the planning and logistics of his demanding schedule.
“Jim brings his diverse background and leadership experience to the role of National Board member,” said Ron Ramseyer, National Founding Board member. “The National Board of Directors joins me in welcoming a second Medal of Honor recipient to our board. It is an honor to serve along side men like Don Ballard and Jim McLoughlin.”
Read the full press release by clicking on the following link (PDF): James-Doc-McCloughan-PR.pdf
Donald "Doc" Ballard, National Board Member
Colonel Don Ballard is a retired American colonel in the Kansas National Guard and former member of the US Navy, in which he was a hospital corpsman in the Vietnam War. Ballard was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He was married and working in a dental lab when he decided to join the Navy in hopes of becoming a dentist someday. Don was decorated with the Medal of Honor for heroic actions above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC2c. with Company M. To read his Medal of Honor citation please click here.
Today, Don lives in the beautiful Kansas City where he was born. He spends much of his time working as a funeral director. He is married and has 8 wonderful children. Don runs a nonprofit that pays for the funerals for veterans that do not have benefits. He is an avid lover of college football and enjoys going to games every time he has the chance.
Sidney Walton, WWII Veteran
As one of America’s oldest WWII Vets, Mr. Walton is famous for his current nationwide “No Regrets Tour”. He has met with 32 of the 50 Governors to date.
When Mr. Walton was a young boy, he was given the opportunity to shake hands with a Civil War veteran. Mr. Walton declined that chance and has later regretted it, thus leading to his “No Regrets Tour” and the opportunity to meet local officials, the Dalai Lama, and President Donald Trump.
Learn about Sidney Walton’s No Regrets Tour! 101 year old WWII Vet Sidney Walton. Driving across the country as an ambassador for all WWII veterans to build awareness of their dwindling numbers and the sacrifices they made to save America. gosidneygo.com
Rabel McNutt, an elementary school student of Dallas, Texas, was blessed to have Medal of Honor recipient, Walter Ehlers as her Godfather. When he passed away in 2014, Rabel turned to her father, Bill McNutt, and asked, "Are they going to have a big funeral in Washington DC for Uncle Ehlers and his friends?" This moment was the genesis of the idea to create the national nonprofit, State Funeral for World War II Veterans. Her father and her serve as Co-Founders of the organization.
Rabel enjoys playing competitive volleyball and basketball. Her hobbies include sewing, competing in chess tournaments, and anything having to do with Harry Potter. She also enjoys volunteering for her brother, Thomas McNutt's campaign for the Texas Legislature.
She is a veteran of Kanakuk Kamps near Branson, Missouri, operated by a family friend, Joe White. Robot and Drone camp is another one of her favorite summer activities.
Note: This is a photo of Rabel with Woody Williams, WWII MOH recipient, not Walter Ehlers.
Bill McNutt, Co-Founder and Chairman
The son of a World War II U.S. Army Staff Sergeant, our co-founder and chairman, Bill McNutt, has built a successful career in government and civic leadership, international trade and private business.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, McNutt graduated from the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management. He and his daughter, Rabel McNutt, have created a nationwide effort to convince the President of the United States to designate a state funeral for the last Medal of Honor holder from World War II – a final salute to the 16 million men and women of the greatest generation who served in our armed forces from 1941 to 1945.
Bill McNutt worked for the 40th and 41st Presidents of the United States. He served in the Reagan White House as a Special Assistant in the Office of Privatization, a division of the Office of Management and Budget. He worked for Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush at National Campaign Headquarters during the 1988 presidential campaign, and as a member of the 1988-89 Presidential Transition Team. Following his service in the Bush-Quayle Administration at the Department of Labor, he organized and lead 53 United States trade missions.
Bill and two partners bought a controlling interest in Tradesman Truck Box, the sole supplier of Huskie pickup truck storage boxes to Home Depot. After growing the enterprise, they sold it to Lund International Automotive. Since the sale of Tradesman, Bill has been active in Silicon Valley venture capital, both as a general partner and investor.
Some of McNutt’s civic leadership experience includes service on the following boards:
Bill lives with his wife Susana McNutt, an attorney, and their two daughters. He also has two adult sons. Thomas McNutt, a former college football player and high school coach, and Will McNutt, a lawyer and Marine Corps-trained Major, serves with the Texas National Guard.
John T. Digilio, Jr., National Board Member
General Digilio earned BA and MBA degrees. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1967 from LaSalle University's artillery ROTC program; entered active duty in 1969. In 1970, he was transferred to the 95th Evacuation Hospital, DaNang, Republic of Viet Nam.
Shortly after his return from Viet Nam, he joined the New York Army National Guard. He has held numerous command positions including Commander, 244th Medical Group, a Contingency Force Pool unit under the 44th Medical Brigade (Airborne), XVIII Airborne Corps. In July 1997, Digilio lead a team of military and civilian experts to Montevideo, Uruguay to train that country’s senior civilian and military personnel on the health aspects of natural and man-made disaster preparedness.
General Digilio is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College, the Command and General Staff College, and attended programs of the National Defense University. He has been awarded over 24 decorations and distinctions, including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Unit Citation, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, four Army Commendation Medals, and the New York Army National Guard Conspicuous Service Medal.
He is the first member of the New York Army National Guard to be inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit, U.S. Army Medical Department; the first recipient of the Colonel Gouverneur Morris Citizen Soldier Award presented by the Adjutant General of the State of New York. In 1997, he received the prestigious Joel T. Boone Award from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS). He is listed in Who’s Who in America and was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.
General Digilio was granted the dignity of Grand Cross in the Papal Knighthood Order of St. Gregory the Great. He was invested into the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (Knights Templar) and holds the high dignity of Grand Croix (GCTJ) and Grand Commander, Order of Merit. He serves as the secretary general of the international Order (OSMTH) and a deputy grand prior in the Grand Priory of the United States.
He was the national commander of La Sociétè des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux (Forty and Eight) in 2003; is a member of the National Security Commission of the American Legion; a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Military Order of the Cooties; a life associate member of the Marine Corps League, and a life member of the Disabled American Veterans.
In the civilian sector Digilio is the Vice Chairman, Aviation Technologies LTD; and President, International Integrated Logistics Systems, Inc.
His is a trustee of the Childrens Leukemia Research Association and a Past Chairman, Board of Directors, Long Island Chapter, Arthritis Foundation.
Brett P. Reistad, National Board Member
The 2018-2019 National Commander of the American Legion is a member of the National Board at State Funeral for World War II Veterans.
A successful businessman and Vietnam veteran from Virginia, Mr. Reistad played an important role in the American Legion passing our resolution at their 110th National Convention in the summer of 2018.
Brett has 37-years of active American Legion service at all levels. He served as the Chairman of the National Legislative Commission of the American Legion from July 2013 to October of 2016.A graduate of Bluefield College, he has had a long private sector career in criminal justice activities, including 14 years with a congressionally funded program administrated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Stephanie Vandegrift, National Board Member
Stephanie Vandegrift is the granddaughter of General Alexander Archer Vandegrift, a general in the U.S. Marine Corps who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Solomon Islands campaign in World War II. Her father, Alexander Archer Vandegrift, Jr., also served in the Marine Corps as a colonel during World War II and the Korean War.
Stephanie attributes her success to her Marine upbringing. Her father and grandfather taught her to, "stand up on [her] own two feet, stand for what is right, stand/protect others, and most importantly to respect and stand for our country.
She recently began a career with New York Life where she works personally with companies and individuals with specific needs to protect and allow them to grow and live well. She has a strong corporate background with Coca-Cola, ACNielsen, and Price Waterhouse coupled with entrepreneurial success with The Cookie Company.
Ronald L. Ramseyer, Treasurer
A former President of Bass Pro Shops and the Founder/CEO of Macy’s Direct Marketing & Sales, Ron is no stranger to new enterprises. He has held a number of senior executive positions at several leading multi-channel retailers, including Talbots. There he was responsible for Direct & Stores Marketing, CRM, stores expansion, credit marketing and business development. He serves as a business mentor and as an advisory board member of the Silicon Valley Growth Syndicate, which holds investments in 65 tech startups.
Ron is also the Managing Partner of Ramseyer & Associates, LLC, a multi-channel marketing, strategic planning and business fund raising consultancy He serves as Chairman of the Board for the Children’s Well-Being Foundation and currently resides on Boston’s South Shore in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Mr. Ramseyer received his MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Chicago and his BA in Sociology from Northwestern University.
Tennell Atkins, National Board Member
A lifelong resident of Dallas, Tennell Atkins was first elected to public office in June 2007 to represent Dallas City Council District 8, the southernmost district of Dallas. He began his fourth and final term as a Dallas City Council Member in June 2013. As a City Council representative, Mayor Pro Tem Atkins committed to promoting economic development, including new business recruitment, enhanced human capital support, and infrastructure renewal. Mayor Pro Tem Atkins believes District 8’s historic neighborhoods are the driving forces behind the district’s success and, as such, partners closely with District 8’s neighborhood associations and community organizations to create and implement his economic development agenda.
Mayor Pro Tem Atkins has served as Chair of the Economic Development Committee, member of the Budget, Finance & Audit, Transportation and the Legislative Ad Hoc Committee. In these roles, he has worked to grow the city’s tax base and to enhance quality of life in Southern Dallas. He is also an active participant in and supporter of a number of local and national civic organizations, including the Charlie Taylor Foundation, the Southern Methodist University Doak Walker Board, the Southern Methodist University Lettermen Association, the Oak Cliff Jaguars Youth Foundation, and the Oak Cliff Ram Youth Baseball organization. He currently serves on the National League of Cities Board (2014 Membership Committee). He was elected to serve on the board of National League of Cities and its Economic Development Policy Committee in 2011. He serves as the secretary of the Texas Association of Black City Council Members (TABCCM). In 2013, he was nominated by Mayor Mike Rawlings, and approved by the City Council to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System.
Mayor Pro Tem Atkins graduated from the Bishop Dunne High School in 1974. While attending, he was an All-American Athlete in football and track. He was ranked #1 in the world for the 120-yard high hurdle in his senior year. In 2006, Mr. Atkins was inducted into the Bishop Dunne Catholic School Alumni Sports Hall of Fame. He attended Southern Methodist University on a football scholarship and stayed as a four-year letterman. He was in the first class to graduate from SMU’s Cox School of Business as a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He also holds an Honorary doctorate of Divinity from Trinity Institutional Seminary.
Mayor Pro Tem Atkins brings strong entrepreneurial and business experience to the council. He has served as CEO of M & A Transportation, a national tucking company, A & T Construction, a construction company, Redbird Development Corp. in Dallas, an aviation development management firm and owner of a professional football agency. During the 1980’s, he was an executive at Ford Motor Company, where he led the Marketing and Development team of the Tractor Division, covering a five state region.
Mayor Pro Tem Atkins lives in Dallas with his wife Marshella Atkins. They are the proud parents of twin sons who have blessed them with five grandchildren.
John Albers, National Board Member
John is a retired U.S. Marine Colonel and decorated combat veteran with over 24 years of experience leading defense acquisitions organizations.
John was the first Marine selected to command the US Navy’s test squadron, VX-20, at NAS Patuxent River, MD. There he lead a team of 420 personnel flying 13 different types of 25 aircraft. He was also the military team lead for the C/KC-130 team managing the acquisition of a $1 billion aircraft program. Later, he managed a $6 billion CH-53K program. Both these efforts required significant engineering, financial management, and project management of teams exceeding 300 personnel around the country towards the goal of delivering aircraft safe and suitable to fly on time and within budget. His skill at leading geographically dispersed groups in large projects earned him personal awards and recognition. John is also adept in the Washington, D.C. arena, having spent a year as the Marine Corps’ personal advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition.
As a test pilot, John has flown over 4300 hours in 38 different types of aircraft. He flew just over 140 combat hours in the KC-130J in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he also served as an engineering and technical liaison to Marine Aircraft Group-29 (Reinforced) in the Anbar Province, Iraq.
Following his military career, John has used his leadership and entrepreneurial skills to establish himself as a business leader in diverse market sectors. His business ownership interests include aerospace manufacturing, technology, and government services. He remains an active pilot to this day.
John is a graduate of the US Naval Test Pilot School, holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M, and has an MBA from Northcentral University in Arizona.
Morris Kahn, Vice President
Mr. Kahn received his Bachelor’s degree in economics from Tulane University. With skills in strategic planning, entrepreneurship and public speaking, Kahn owns Morris L. Kahn & Associates. He currently resides in the Greater New Orleans Area.
Alexander Muse, National Board Member
Mr. Muse is a serial entrepreneur who has raised millions in venture capital and built and sold several technology startups. Today he is managing partner of Sumo Ventures, a boutique investment firm based in Dallas, Texas. Muse is the grandson of Captain Ralph B. Muse Sr., a WWII veteran who served as a B-25 pilot, the son of Commander Ralph B. Muse Jr., a Vietnam veteran who served aboard the USS Biddle, and is himself a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.
Adam Crepelle, SecretaryMr. Crepelle has an array of Indian law and policy experience. He is an enrolled citizen of the United Houma Nation and has served on the tribe's election committee, diabetes coalition, and tribal security and community services committee. He is the former vice president of the California Indian Law Association and is a co-founder of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana. He has authored several articles on topics including tribal cannabis, violence against American Indian women, and American Indian economic development. He is also an award winning film producer. His film, Indian Santa, screened at numerous venues including the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.
Adam is an attorney and serves as general counsel for A&E Office Machines. He is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program as well as the Small Business Administration's Emerging Leaders Program. In addition to his law degree, he holds a master's degree in public policy from Pepperdine University, where he was valedictorian of his class. He is currently pursuing an LLM in indigenous peoples law and policy at the University of Arizona.
Scott Mexic, National Board Member
Few American's can match Scott Mexic's record of bipartisan service in democrat and republican presidential administrations. His service includes the Office of Privatization in the Reagan White House and the Veterans Administration during the tenure of President Clinton. During the Bush-Cheney years, he served in the United States Department of Agriculture and was deployed to Afghanistan to help reorganize the Afghan Agriculture Ministry.
Dr. Danny P. Reeves, National Recruiting Chairman
Dr. Danny Reeves is the National Leadership Recruitment Chair. His ties to World War II are both personal and meaningful. Dr. Reeves' World War II American G.I. grandfather, Brian Bracken, met his French grandmother, Madeleine Alexandre, in Normandy while fighting his way eastward in 1944 with General George Patton's 3rd Army. Dr. Reeves is serving with State Funeral because of his love for the USA, his love for his heritage, and his deep appreciation for veterans.
Dr. Reeves recently served as the President of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and holds Master's of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Baylor University. Appointed in late 2019, he has already recruited our first female State Chair (Montana) as well as new Chairs in many other states.
While not a member of our National Board, Dr. Reeves works closely with our leadership to uncover new leaders. Please review our list of State Chairs on this website and contact him directly with your recommendations! firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Graves was a 19-year-old U.S. Marine when he stormed the beaches at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. He was an Assault Squad Leader and carried a flamethrower in the 28th Marine Regiment. Mr. Graves fought and survived all 36 days of combat on the hellish, sulfur-spewing, volcanic island. Don was near the group of Marines who raised the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi and witnessed the famous flag-raising first-hand. He was with the 5th Marine Division, 28th Regiment, 2nd Batalion, Company D. He joined our national board upon the death of his friend and fellow Pacific War WW2 Veteran, Fiske Hanley. Mr. Graves lives in North Texas with is daughter Rebecca, an outstanding patriot in her own right.
Fiske Hanley, National Board Member
On his 7th combat mission over Japan in March 1945, Second Lt. Fiske Hanley's B-29 was shot down by the largest Japanese battleship of World War II, the Yamato. A 1938 graduate of Paschal High in Ft Worth, Texas and a 1943 graduate of Texas Tech, Fiske was treated as a "special prisoner" by the Kempei Tai military police and treated worse than regular American POW's. "My life and the lives of all Japanese prisoners of war were saved by the atomic bomb. The Japanese had orders to execute every POW the minute the US invasion of their homeland started."
Fiske passed away on August 9, 2020 at the age of 100. We will continue his fight to convince the President to designate a State Funeral for the last Medal of Honor recipient from his war. Rest in Peace.
"State Funeral for World War II Veterans" is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. Tax ID: 82-1730871.