Leadership

About our Officers, Directors and Consultant

Jerry and Debbie have been happily married for 45 wonderful years!

Jerry Reed, President/Executive Director

Jerry was a fundraiser for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund until he was drawn into this Christian ministry by exposure to the unmet needs of those fighting alone in this global war against terrorism: our military personnel and their families. Jerry retired from Chevron Chemical Company in July, 2000, and from that date forward he and Debbie have been doing philanthropic work in a number of areas involving our military including work to assist our seriously wounded and their families as well as supporting those serving in the combat theater of operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.Jerry spent thirty years with Gulf/Chevron from June, 1970, through July, 2000, holding positions of increasing financial responsibility during his career. Prior to a career with Gulf/Chevron, Jerry was in the Marine Corps from April, 1966, through January, 1970, having served in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Air Wing, Marine Air Group 13, VMFA-314, The Black Knights, from 10/'67 – 11/'68 in support of the fabled 1st Marine Division. He attended the University of Houston majoring in Finance with minors in economics and marketing and graduated from Mt. Carmel High School in Houston. Jerry is an avid hunter and a fisherman and he keeps a kennel full of good bird dogs and uses fine Tennessee Walking horses for hunting quail and competitively field trialing his English Setter bird dogs. Jerry is a member of the VFW, the Marine Corps League and is active in the Houston Chapter, 1st Marine Division Association, Inc., as well as the National First Marine Division Association, Inc.

Debbie Reed, Secretary/Treasurer

Debbie graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Technology. She then worked full time in the family business (her dad owned an office machine business) for 5 years in various positions such as Sales Secretary, Service Secretary, and finally Executive Secretary, then part time for 8 years. She also worked for Compaq Computers for 6 years as Human Resources Manager Administrative Assistant, and then as Executive Administrative Assistant. She is currently a part time Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Reflexologist. Debbie's hobbies include fitness and nutrition, scrapbooking, fishing, and reading. Both of Jerry and Debbie's sons are currently on active duty in the United States military.

Brenda Alford Kaiser Schultz, Vice President

Brenda was born in Alvin, Texas, and grew up in Meridian, Texas. She is the sister of Cpl. George Allen Alford Jr., USMC, who was killed in Vietnam on July 31, 1968. He was part of 3rd Platoon of Echo Company 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division and he is her inspiration for helping today's warriors. She graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S. in Elementary Education and Psychology. She also attended Houston Baptist University where she received her Bilingual certification in Spanish. She is now happily married to Kenneth Schultz, and has one son, Mark Kaiser, and Mark has three children. Kenneth also has a son, K.C., who is married to Christina.  Brenda is very active in her church, her community and in politics. She taught second grade in Houston for many years and taught at Salem Lutheran School while her son was attending that school. She enjoys spending time with her family, especially her son, grandchildren and her wonderful Mom who is Brenda's personal hero and the one whose "never quit" attitude and positive outlook has been such a source of inspiration for Brenda. She is an avid hunter and enjoys fishing. She grew up hunting with her Dad and big brother. She knows the price for freedom. Her family has paid the price when her only brother was KIA in Vietnam, and this indirectly led to the loss of her Dad and little sister. Brenda feels that she should help the military families of today because there was no help for the families during Vietnam and there should have been.

Directors

Eric Salley

Eric is a native Texan and left to join the United States Marine Corps in June, 2001, at the age of 18, not long after his high school graduation. After boot camp and the consequent training as a combat engineer, he joined the Fleet Marine Force as a member of the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion. He spent the remainder of his time after initial training in this unit. Shortly after joining his unit in December, 2001, he began the training buildup for a deployment on the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (SOC). The deployment began in January, 2003, and it's mission was the invasion of Iraq to begin Operation Iraqi Freedom. Having participated in the initial 6 weeks of this operation he was redeployed to his ship to continue the further mission of the MEU. After returning to the U.S., in July, 2003, he joined Charlie Co. of 1st CEB and again began buildup for an additional deployment with his new unit. The next deployment began in February, 2004, and lasted seven months. He has spent time in many now well-known locations in Iraq and participated in some very well-known operations.Eric is currently a student at Texas A&M University, though he is also still in the Individual Ready Reserve as a Sergeant. He is pursuing a degree in Construction Science. He is deeply indebted to all those who have sacrificed their lives and health for our Nation and feels genuinely blessed by God to be involved in this charity.

Martha Wells

Martha has been married to Fred for thirty-two years, living in many places with him as he worked in the oil industry. With 3 sons and 6 grandsons, she was privileged as a homemaker to still have the time to serve in many volunteer organizations, most notably Pro America and Daughters of Liberty in Houston; and serving as the Philanthropy chairman for the American Women’s Association in Dubai, UAE, where her husband was stationed. It was during this Dubai assignment that Martha developed an even deeper admiration for our military through a program that allowed her and Fred to entertain US military during their R & R. Martha has stated that “being able to host the Sailors and Marines in our home was the highlight of our time in Dubai.”

After their return to Houston, Martha heard about Operation Military Embrace through a friend and sought out the people involved. After her first trip to BAMC in San Antonio to visit the “Warriors in Transition,” she was hooked on the program. “I find it very uplifting personally to visit these men and women and experience their enthusiasm for serving our country. I also find it very uplifting to see the positive response in support of OME from friends, my church, and other local organizations and foundations.”

Bob Padfield

Bob graduated from M. B. Lamar H.S., Houston, Texas, in 1959.  He volunteered for 4 years' service with the U.S. Navy and served from 1960-1964 as an Aviation Electronics Technician.  He started his professional sales career as a Life/Health Insurance Agent for 5 years.  He then joined Motorola C&E as a Sales Engiineer for 5 years.  

Bob spent the next 25 years in the Portable Building Industry, enjoying a variety of position responsibilities that resulted in extensive travel to all parts of the globe, visiting many Third World countries while participating in their continuing development.  He managed many large housing/infrastructure projects while being involved in daily operations of core business responsibilities.

The last 15 years of Bob's professional career was as a Home-Officed Broker of Material Handling equipment and supplies to local manufacturers, municipalities, school districts and other commercial business.

Prior to joining OME as a volunteer, Bob started and led a Military Ministry at a local church for 3 years.  During this time he developed many contacts and gained valuable first-hand knowledge of the needs of our veteran community as well as the shortcomings we face in meeting those needs.

Bob and his wife, Linda, of 50+ years raised 4 children, and enjoy spending time with those families who have given them 11 grandchildren! Bob and Linda currently attend The Woodlands United Methodist Church, and live in the Magnolia/Woodlands area.

Leslie Lefler

Born and raised in Waco, Texas. Attended Waco H.S. Awarded a two-year Choir Scholarship to McLennan Community College. While attending, took Business Administration and tutored students in various courses.

After college, Leslie started working full time in the Administration field. She held numerous jobs in Waco, until relocating to Houston, Texas in 1994. Since moving to Houston, she worked for a Valve company, Offshore company, and signage company, before landing at her current company, Igloo Products Corp. She is now going on 14 years with Igloo as a Sales Administrative Assistant.

She used to be an avid runner and ran in several events while in Waco. She always loves a good game of softball or volleyball, when the chances arise. Since then, she enjoys crafts, flower arranging and spending time in the pool. She married her husband, Randy, in 2004, and became a stepmom to son, Shawn. Currently she owns 2 adorable Schnauzers named Zeus and Astro.

Leslie stated: "We were proud when our son, Shawn, wanted to enlist and become a Marine and serve his country. We were blessed that God returned him to us unharmed. He served a tour in Iraq as an M249 SAW Gunner. So, when I was asked to get involved with OME a few years back, we jumped at the chance to volunteer as these are men and women fighting unselfishly for their country and our freedom. They put so much on the line for our country every day, the only thing I could do here is support them in any way I can. I feel blessed to be a part of this great organization, and will continue to do so every year... God willing!"

Jim Fry

Jim was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He attended Stephen F. Austin University, University of Houston and graduated from LeTourneau University with a degree in Business Management.

He spent his entire business career with Big Three Industries and Air Liquide based in Paris France after Air Liquide acquired Big Three. He was Vice President of Production and Distribution and Administrative Vice President for 20 years and President of the Ransome and Tempil Divisions until his retirement in 2002. He has been consulting with Air Liquide since retirement.

Jim is an avid golfer, enjoys both fishing and hunting. He was on the Governing Board of his church for forty years, which with golf has not allowed as much fishing and hunting as he would like. He and his wife, Patty, have three grown sons and three grandchildren. Jim is a strong believer in our military and believes that our freedom was paid for by our young men who paid the ultimate price in past wars and those fighting today. He is committed to Operation Military Embrace because of the devotion to our injured and fallen heroes.

Susie Helms

Susie was born in Miami, Florida, and moved to Texas in 1976 to attend South Texas College of Law. She has been practicing law as both an outside and in-house counsel for 30 years and is currently works as an independent legal consultant for energy-related companies. Susie is married to Brent, who is also an attorney, and has a wonderful teenage son, Cody. When not working or volunteering, she spends time with Brent and Cody fishing and relaxing at Lake Livingston or helping her hunter family on their property near Crockett, TX.

Susie has been volunteering and serving on the Board of OME for 7 years. Martha Wells, her fellow director, told her about the trips OME made to Brooke Army Medical Center and invited Susie to come along. After her first trip in January 2008, she was hooked. Seeing the incredible strength and positive attitudes of the seriously wounded and their families, she continues to work tirelessly to help ease their plight. In addition to serving on OME’s board, she also served for six years on the board of the South Texas College of Law Alumni Association.

Robbie Sheltz

Robbie was born and raised in Houston, growing up near Hobby Airport. He’s been married to his wife, Merrie, for 33 years, and they have one son, Joshua, and two daughters, Michelle and Rachel. Robert started his business, The Pool Man in 1981. They build, renovate, and service pools with a great group of people. He loves the Lord Jesus Christ and was brought to O.M.E. by God’s hand through his church St. Timothy’s. He has always been grateful for the sacrifices that the men and women in the military have made for the freedom we enjoy so this was a perfect fit. His first visit to SAMMC in San Antonio showed him men and women who had gone through so much yet they were extremely thankful for the small gifts and company that the volunteers from O.M.E. brought. Robbie is simply thankful to be a part of a great group of people who are serving the Lord by bringing His love to those who need it.

Brad Witty

Brad graduated from Stroud, OK High School; and obtained a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma.  In 1988 he became a Certified Public Accountant in Oklahoma.

Brad began his career with the Oklahoma Tax Commission before joining and holding various accounting positions for 15 years with French Petroleum Corp., a small independent oil & gas company in Oklahoma City, then later in Houston, Texas.  In 1996, he started a 15-year career with Plains All American Pipeline in Houston before retiring in 2011 as Director, Operations Management, where he was over the budgeting of PAA's U.S. operations and internal reporting.  Currently, he is a general partner in two privately-held partnerships that own various oil & gas interests in Texas and Oklahoma.

Brad and his wife, Jean Anne, have been married for 31 years, have 3 daughters, and 2 grandchildren.  He is a member of the Metropolitan Baptist Church where he is the director of a Bible study class.  He enjoys fishing, hunting, and an occasional round of golf.

Communications Consultant

Kimberly S. Conon

Kimberly is the sister of fellow Board member, USMC Sergeant Eric S. Salley, and friend to many other members of the armed forces. Thankful for her “little” brother’s safe return following two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom, she jumped at the opportunity to help bring Operation Military Embrace, Inc. from idea to thriving 501c3 organization. Kimberly has been involved with OME since its inception over 5 years ago, helping the founding team to distill OME’s story and educate potential donors.

A native Texan, Kimberly is living her dream of working on Madison Avenue as a media professional. Her expertise spans media/advertising research, brand analytics, and consumer insights, and she has worked across the marketing ecosystem at advertising agencies, client-side, and for leading business publisher Forbes Media. In 2010, Kimberly earned her MBA with Honors from Chicago Booth, where she concentrated in Marketing and Finance and consulted for multiple non-profit organizations, including Accion Chicago and Partners in Health (Haiti). She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Syracuse University (Go Orange!) with a B.S. in Business and Advertising Management.

Kimberly currently resides in Jersey City, NJ with her husband Jonathan who practices law in NYC. Her passions include food, travel, Spanish culture, running half marathons, and startups/entrepreneurship. In her continued involvement with OME, Kimberly will strive to give our wounded heroes a voice, help forge strategic partnerships, and assist with other development projects.

Care Package Program Mgr.

Dennis Bernhart

Dennis was born in Kansas City, MO in 1945.  In June, 1968, he attained a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, California.  In 1968 he entered Officer Branch School, Corps of Engineers at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia.  He received an Honorable Discharge as Captain ffrom the Army in 1971.  From 1971 - 1999 he worked for Fluor Corporation (FLR), a major publicly-held company in the Engineering & Construction Industry.  Last position held: Group President, Americas.

From 1999 - Present he has been a "Graudate of Employment" (retired).  From 2006 - 2013: Served as Director of a 501c3 charity with a mission of sending care packages to members of our military deployed in harm's way.  From 2013 - 2014: Served as Director of a second 501c3 with an exclusive mission of sending care packages.  From 2014 - present: Serves as Care Package Program Manager to help organize/guide the Care Package Mission.

Married to Charlene for the past 49 years, with 2 daughters and 5 grandkids in California.  He and Charlene are members of the Woodlands Church.