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, Secretary/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.
Meet the Executive Board:
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Jayne Pilley, Treasurer is an Administrative and Financial Executive with much experience driving operations and sales, creating innovative, strategic internal process and growth strategies promoting sales and service increasing profits and mentoring staff. For over a decade, Jayne was the Regional Administrative Manager for Inter-Tel Technologies and prior to that, she was a Controller for Duke City Videos, Inc. Jayne's father is a WWII and Korean War Veteran. As a military spouse, Jayne lived on Ft Bliss for several years. She has a daughter and grandson.
Iain M. Woessner, Social Media Manager is a writer, a web designer, and a Military Brat. A graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Iain has spent the past years honing a variety of multimedia skills, which he’s put to great use helping out the museum. Iain’s passionate about preserving the stories of Military Families, and hopes that this museum will showcase and honor the pain and sacrifices that every family goes through in service to its country. Born in Bad Hersfeld,Germany, he has lived in Puerto Rico, Maryland, Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona and, most recently,Kansas.
Member of the American Alliance of Museums
Member of the New Mexico Association of Museums
Museum Cooperative Council of Albuquerque
New Mexico Business Coalition
Secretary Allen Whitt, PhD, grew up in Texas, Arkansas, and New Mexico. He attended the University of Texas at Austin (BA), and the University of California, Santa Barbara (MA, PhD). He served as a Navy officer on USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) an attack aircraft carrier operating in the Gulf of Tonkin, conducting air strikes against North Vietnam (1965-67). He is now a retired Professor Emeritus (University of Louisville) who has numerous social science publications, including a book from Princeton University Press, and a co-authored book from Cambridge University Press (which won a national social science award).
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.
Polly McLaughlin has extensive marketing, public relations and communications experience. Polly managed all aspects of marketing, advertising and public relations for four financial companies. She planned and executed marketing strategies, selected media and purchased print and television advertising and was responsible for planning and executing marketing and sales events. She developed advertising content, brand management strategies and wrote copy. As a small business owner, Polly was responsible for sales, public relations and marketing. She also served as board member and Board President of Silver Horizons New Mexico, Inc. and was involved with the working board in most aspects of managing a small non-profit and helping it grow.
Claire O. Lissance, MA, M.ed --Artist in Residence --.She is an educator, researcher, curriculum designer, artist and project manager who holds masters degrees in Human Resource Counseling from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and in Art Education from City College of NY. She has a B.A. in Studio Art from the University of Albany, NY.Claire has designed curriculum for many organizations to include: Albuquerque Museum, Northeastern University, DeCordova Museum, The Cloisters, MOST Initiative, FDNH (Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses), Danforth Museum, Brooklyn Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. She has taught art classes to adults and children for over 30 years in some of the following venues: Albuquerque VA Medical Center, Mudfish Pottery,NM, Harwood Art Center,NM, DeCordova Museum, MA, ArtPark, NY, Polaroid Corporation,MA, Danforth Museum, MA, the New England Folk Festival, and the Cambridge River Festival, MA. Claire also shows and sells her work throughout New Mexico.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com
Bridget Quinn, Spouse Liaison, is an alternative form of a military brat. Born in California, she spent some time on the west coast before her family moved overseas for her mother’s career with the Department of Defense. Bridget spent the next 10 years in Europe. When she was 18, she moved back to the U.S. and started college. She received her BA degree from Clemson University in Elementary Education. After college, Bridget started her first job as Kindergarten teacher in Philadelphia but quickly realized she wasn’t yet ready to be a grown-up, so she went back to school! She earned her MA degree from Teachers College, Columbia University as a Reading Specialist and married her high school sweetheart soon after. Less than a year after that, Bridget and her husband moved overseas again for his career in the Air Force, this time to the Pacific. They spent 3 years there, where Bridget was fortunate enough to work for the DoD as an elementary school teacher. Their daughter was born overseas. Bridget is excited to be involved with the Museum of the American Military Family, and hopes to give back to the community and do something that is worthwhile and meaningful to others.
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
Wanda L. Umber, Ed.D., Education Program Manager 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.
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
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.
David A. Wilson, a small business owner and Veteran’s advocate, Is a 6th generation New Mexican and a decorated US Army Combat Veteran who served as a US Army paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Viet Nam 1968-1969. He currently is the Executive Director of the New Mexico Chapter of the American Fire Sprinkler Association apprenticeship program, and is a member of the New Mexico Municipal League, which represents and serves New Mexico in developing policies, laws and regulations. He is a registered lobbyist working to benefit and support Veterans, the Public Education Department and the Youth Build Program. He has been a New Mexico State Delegate as well as a Certified Veterans’ Official since 2003 for the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services. Appointed in 2009 as the Village of Tijeras Planning and Zoning Commissioner, he was instrumental in the financial and physical building of the Veteran’s Memorial in the Village of Tijeras, NM. As a talk show host for Vanguard Media, a locally owned AM radio station, he addressed Veterans’ issues targeting disability benefits, loans, education, medical and financial support and involvement with homelessness issues. He was the recipient of the East Mountain Outstanding Citizen in 2011
Eduardo X. Martinez is a business consultant specializing in non-profit corporations. An accomplished facilitator, trainer, and organizational development expert with more than 30 years experience in research, analysis, and planning initiatives, he provides technical assistance in areas of organizational assessments, strategic planning, continuous quality improvement, and program evaluation for numerous community-based initiatives and economic development projects throughout New Mexico. Eduardo has a Masters degree with emphasis in Systems and Statistical Analysis; he is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the USDA Graduate School and serves on the Board of Directors for several New Mexico charitable organizations, including several social service providers and one charter high school. Eduardo volunteers at the Veterans Hospital in Albuquerque and also as an interviewer with the Veterans History Project, which collects oral histories of veterans for the Library of Congress. Eduardo's interest in helping veterans stems from a rich history of military experience within his family, including that of his father who served in the Army during World War II and worked on the 'Death Railway' in Burma as a Japanese Prisoner of War.
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.
Joan Y. Olson, Education and Special Events taught in the Defense Department Schools for 30 years. She is an artist, a chef, and a writer who enjoys volunteering with "Operation Footlocker'. She is a laureate of La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in France and has taught classic French cooking for more than twenty 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. She worked very closely with the late Gustave Rinn of Alsace and with Wolfgang Nagle and Johann Lummer in Germany. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and of the National Restaurant Association. 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.
Parent Liaison, Elizabeth Roth Benson-- is a Blue Star mother and military spouse. Her husband, Jim, is retired from the USAF (enlisted then finished as an officer) He is a veteran of the Vietnam era. Two (2) of Elizabeth's daughters were serving with the US Navy when "the world stopped on 9/11". Both daughters are honorably discharged veterans; one is disabled. She has two more children serving on active duty now. Her son is a Marine and has served in combat zones multiple times, and her youngest daughter serves in Security Forces for USAF and just finished a tour at a NATO base overseas.