MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY
Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, ND, Executive Director, is an Army wife of twenty years and mother to an active duty soldier. She taught in the overseas Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Caribbean and currently works for the federal government. In 2002, she compiled the stories of over 150 University of Maryland, Munich, Germany alumni, resulting in two books documenting the history of that campus’ 40-year history. She has been recognized for her unique education programs in the US and abroad and has been published in Eddiciones Santillana’s Strategies for Teaching English in Puerto Rico. She has been featured in the Army Times and has been quoted in scholarly books about growing up on military bases overseas. Circe belongs to the Blue Star Mothers and co-edits the American Overseas Schools Historical Society (AOSHS) Quarterly newsletter.
Dr. Allen Dale "Ole" Olson, Public Affairs, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and doctorate in General Administration from the George Washington University. Ole is a World War II-era veteran and spent most of his civilian career with the United States Defense Department assigned to the Headquarters of the U.S. Army in Europe. Following his retirement, Dr. Olson served as Dean of the Graduate School of Schiller International University and as the Executive Director of the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. Ole co-edits the AOSHS Quarterly newsletter, and is the Vice President of the Museum Collaborative Council of Albuquerque.
Meet the Executive Board:
For information about donating items to the museum, please call
To submit digital photos or audio/video memories, please email them to:
firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form (on right)
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 5085
Albuquerque, NM 87185-5085
Sue Pearson, Treasurer, has 30 years with the Federal government as an Administrative and Financial employee; 18 years have been in the Medical Auditing arena. She is a military brat and the spouse of a retired 24-year active duty US Air Force veteran. During Sue’s affiliation with the military, she has had the opportunity to travel the world, engaging with other cultures. She holds a degree in Finance from Liberty University; and two associates in Computer Information Systems Management from Central New Mexico Community College and a General Curriculum Liberal Arts from University of Maryland. First and foremost in her life, is Sue’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Sue’s spouse is a 100% disabled veteran, which has given her a deep compassion for helping people. This moved Sue to serve as the People with Disabilities Special Emphasis Program Manager at Kirtland AFB for over 15 years and also as the Kirtland AFB Blood Program Manager. Because of this, she has the pleasure of working with the military and the Albuquerque civilian communities to have blood available as needed.
Member of the American Alliance of Museums
Member of the New Mexico Association of Museums
Museum Collaborative Council of Albuquerque
New Mexico Business Coalition
Jude O' Reilly, Fundraising Committee and Special Events Planner can trace her military roots back to
the American Revolution. She graduated from Salve Regina College in Newport RI. While in Newport, she
had the pleasure of meeting many military families and was impressed with the support they gave to each other.
Jude then attended LSU school of Allied Health in New Orleans and after completion of her internship returned to New England and started her 30 year career with the VA hospitals. Her fundraising began many years ago and has benefitted such organizations as the American Cancer Society, The Symphony Orchestra of New Mexico, Boston Neighborhood Associations, Operation Food Basket, and several arts charities. She
is looking forward to working with MAMF in their future endeavors.
Dr. Wanda L. Umber, Ed.D., is a military brat with a passion for connecting people with skills and information. After finishing her Master’s in Health Administration, she joined the Civil Service to continue to serve in the community in which she was raised. She is currently the Chief of Strategic Planning & Learning Resources for a Federal Agency in the Albuquerque Metro. She and her staff are noted for their creative instructional strategies, and recently were the recipients of the Baldridge award. Wanda hopes to use those creative ideas to help share the stories and experiences of military families.
Community Outreach Liaison--Elizabeth Sacco was raised in a hometown steeped in early American history. Patriotism runs deep from her upbringing—she’s stood in the Headquarters of General George Washington, sat in on the reenactment of the Battle of White Plains and visited the many sites along the Underground Railroad. All the names listed on her town’s Honor Roll are her extended family, neighbors and friends. Elisabeth can still be found volunteering for Veteran causes here in her new home state of New Mexico. She is pleased to be part of the Museum of American Military Family.
Brat Liaison --Joe Condrill grew up around the world as an 'Army Brat.' In 19 years he saw 21 homes, attended 12 schools in 12 years before graduating from high school in Iran in 1973. In 1986 he founded the OVERSEAS BRATS organization that involves former military & overseas dependents. In his capacity with OVERSEAS BRATS, Joe has worked with hundreds of alumni groups, published a magazine three times a year, and hosts annually regional get-togethers, an annual national convention and every three years an all-school reunion event. He is happy to be part of the Museum of the American Military Family team. Joe can be reached at: email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Service Organization Liaison--Ernest Garcia, is currently the New Mexico VFW District Senior Vice Commander. He is a Vietnam Veteran and served as an Avionics Specialist and helicopter doorgunner in Vietnam. He is a life member of the VFW, and of the NOTR (National Order of Trench Rats, a prestigious organization of the Disabled American Veterans). He also holds memberships in the DAV and American Legion. His passion is serving our Veterans in any capacity he can, as well supporting the Museum of the American Military Family.
Spouse Liaison--Stacy Marinaro grew up in Connecticut where she worked with her family's bicycle shop. She graduated from college with a BS in Business Management and an AS in Marketing. She travels throughout the United States with her husband who is an active duty US Marine. She is very active in the military community and has self-published her own line of children's books.
Veteran Liaison--Larry Hurtado is a Vietnam veteran who, following the combat death of a friend in Vietnam, conceived the idea for and became the driving force behind the establishment of the Vietnam Memorial/Monument in Bernalillo, NM. With the backing and financial help from the Sandoval County Commission and volunteer help from military veterans, family and many friends, the project came to fruition with a dedication ceremony on Veterans Day 2006. Larry is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders, whose mission is to honor fallen heroes and support their families. With an abiding respect for those who serve, they attend funerals of U.S. armed forces members as well as military veterans, police, firefighters and first responders. Larry can be reached at LordiLordi40@live.com
Parent Liaison--Barb Tremmel currently a military mom to an active duty soldier and part of an extensive military family. She has been a federal employee dedicated to working with veterans since 2008. She is currently in seminary school for her Masters in Divinity with aspirations of working with veterans through the chaplain services.
Donna Musil is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and proud Army “brat.” She is also the Executive Director of Brats Without Borders, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1999 to honor the contributions and improve the welfare of current and former military children and other “Third Culture Kids” (www.USAbrat.org). Donna’s award-winning film, BRATS: OUR JOURNEY HOME, is the first documentary about growing up military, narrated by Kris Kristofferson and featuring General Norman Schwarkzopf. BRATS has been broadcast on AFN television in 178 countries, screened in over 100 theaters and military bases around the world, and featured on CNN’s “This Week at War,” NPR’s “All Things Considered,” the Stars & Stripes and many more media outlets. Donna is currently designing “Growing Up Army,” the first permanent exhibit dedicated to Army brats for the National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and co-curating with artist Lora Beldon “UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show,” the first traveling art exhibit about growing up military, and winner of the 2012 Newman’s Own Award.
Mark Pastirik has a varied and extensive background in the construction industry. He currently is a construction control representative for the federal government. For 17 years, he was the former president of Bomar Construction, Inc in Chicago. Prior to that, he was a union carpenter, carpenter foreman, and office manager for various construction companies in the Chicago area. Mark is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
Marc Curtis is a Military Brat who grew up in California, Texas and Japan. His Military Brats Registry™ at MilitaryBrat.com is the largest social networking website for people who grew up in military households. In 2006 during a tour of the Silk Road he discovered the 2200+ year history of wine in China and developed China Wine Tours™ to bring tourists to China to “Taste the Culture of 5,000 Years!” He has become one of the world’s leading experts in the Chinese wine industry and has been interviewed by the international media on numerous occasions. Marc has more than 40 years in radio and television broadcasting and has been nominated for many awards for his work on documentaries for the PBS Frontline series.
In 1997 Marc and two friends started a business to provide travel video for news reports. During 15 years of world-wide trips he visited 40 countries, and his footage has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Morning, CNN, Fox News, and many other media outlets. In 2005 he realized that doing business in China held the future to success, and began visiting mainland China 4 times a year to understand the culture and research business opportunities. He recently launched a new business exporting Chinese Tea to the USA (www.GLFTeaUSA.com)
Writer in Residence Caroline LeBlanc, MFA, MS, RN is the creator and leader of Writing For Your Life © creative writing circles for active duty service members, veterans and their family members. As a veteran of both the Army Nurse and Public Health Service Corps, and as a military spouse and mother, she is familiar with many aspects of military life. Her poetry and essays, published in the US and abroad, include a 2010 chapbook, Smokey Ink and a Touch of Honeysuckle. Currently, she writes about her New France ancestors’ 18th century saga, the experience of 20th century French Canadian immigrants to the US, and her military related experiences.
Mary Edwards Wertsch, a seasoned investigative reporter and writer, is the author of the non-fiction book Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood inside the Fortress, which broke new ground in its analysis of the military as a home culture for the children raised within it. Wertsch has an authentic brat resume of her own: The daughter of a career Army infantry officer, her childhood encompassed three countries, 20 different houses, and 12 schools by the time she was 18. Her B.A. in philosophy was earned at the College of William and Mary, a popular college destination for military families of the time. Currently she lives in St. Louis in dwelling no. 43 with her husband, James V. Wertsch, with whom she has two sons. She continues to write and lecture about the military brat cultural identity she has been credited with identifying since Military Brats was first published in 1991, and she is at work on a sequel to Military Brats.
Artist in Residence Joan Y. Olson taught in the Defense Department Schools for 30 years. She is an artist, a chef and a writer. She is a laureate of La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in France and has taught classic French cooking for more than thirty years. Much of her training came from her association with some of the most renowned chefs in France — Emile Jung, Paul Haeberlin, Georges Blanc — to name a few. With her husband, she has produced seven guide books to restaurants in Europe. Mrs. Olson has prepared and hosted dinners for ambassadors, counts, generals, Michelin-starred chefs, and some of the most prestigious wine producers in France and Germany. She has taught cooking and done cooking demonstrations at Schiller International University in Strasbourg and at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, Indiana where she also taught art and served as the Artist-in-Residence for eight years. One of her paintings hangs in the Governor's Residence in Indianapolis. She also managed an art gallery in the 19th century Story Inn in Brown County, Indiana. She is the grandmother of Army Soldier.
Paul Silva, Construction Projects Manager, has 40 years experience in construction. From 1966 to 1969- he was in U.S. Army Aviation, CH-47 Chinook Flight Engineer, Vietnam Veteran. His construction career started in 1971 as a Carpenter Apprentice, and then as a Journeyman Carpenter. From 1974 to 1977, he helped build the Washington D.C. subway system. He moved to Albuquerque, NM, where from 1977 to 1981, he built custom homes and commercial projects. From 1981 to 1994, Paul was a Carpenter Foreman, then General Superintendent for a contractor supporting Sandia Labs. From 1994 to 2007 he was a Sandia Laboratory Architectural/Structural/Civil Building Inspector, mobile crane/bridge crane Inspector, and level 2 rigging Inspector. From 2007 to 2011, he was a Sandia Laboratory Facility Building Manager (Reactor Facility [Area 5], Solar Tower, radiological & explosive component facilities).
Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, eventually retiring from Nortel Networks in 2002. Steve served in the US Navy as a Radioman (RM3) and was honorably separated in 1965. He earned a BA in Management from St. Mary's College, Moraga, California. Steve is married to Judy Lee Sparks and living in Depoe Bay, Oregon. Steve’s family includes 3 adult daughters, 4 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. His current passion and life work is mentoring and improving the education of K-12 kids, including helping the responsible after-school nonprofit agency www.neighborsforkids.org achieve sustainability. He was elected in 2014 to a four year term as City Councilor, Depoe, Bay, Oregon. Steve is a non-fiction author and blogger who writes about his roots as a post WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Steve & Judy love to travel America, explore new places, and play golf. Mexico is another favorite destination.
Gayle Vaughn-Wiles, President AOSHS is a Kansas native with a BA from Kansas Wesleyan, a MA from Prairie View, a MS from Johns Hopkins, and a PhD from Michigan State University. After working 10 years in Kansas, Texas and Maryland, she joined DoDDS with her first assignment in Okinawa as a Language Arts teacher at Naha Middle School. When Naha closed she moved to Eisenhower Elementary teaching Kindergarten and part-time reading. She also taught at Zukeran for a short time before Dr. Ed Killin selected her to oversee the DoDDS Pacific Schools Reading Programs in Korea, Japan, Philippines and Okinawa. Gayle later transferred to DoDDS Germany Regional Office and moved through various coordinator positions (compensatory education, special projects, and EEO). She spent 10 years as Assistant Principals for Frankfurt Elementary, Rhein Main Junior High and Gen H. H. Arnold High School before being selected as Principal of Patrick Henry Elementary in Heidelberg. She then returned to Okinawa as Assistant Superintendent and became Superintendent in 3 years. She loved this position that brought her back to her DoDDS roots. Gayle remained in Okinawa for 9 more years before transferring to Guam as Superintendent. By design, Gayle wanted to obtain experience in schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. Between Gayle and her husband, Dean C. Wiles, they have nearly 75 years of education experience.