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The Roy Williams Foundation Meeting Minutes, Meeting 40

Date of Meeting: Meeting 40 8/21/2022 1300 MST

Roll Call:

Chairman: Alhaji Bangura- Absent/Family Emergency
Vice Chairman: David Newton- Present
Managing Director: Ashley Ottmer- Present 


Board Members/Directors: 
Zach Krause- Present
Dexter Pitts- Absent/Working
Travis Garvin- Present



Bret Collyer- Present

Assistant Secretary:

Social Media Manager:

Amber Holmes- Absent/Working

Alternate Director:
Markus Hugle- Present



Simeon Chelf- Present


Call to Order:

Additions, deletions or changes to the agenda?: None

Adoption of Meeting Minutes, Meeting #39: 7/24/2022: Newton made a motion to approve the
minutes with Hugle seconding. The motion to approve the minutes was unanimous.


Old and continuing Business:
1) In Person meeting date Friday November 4th at 4:00pm with recreational activities to be planned for the 5 th
and 6th . Who can/will commit?: Directors Garvin, Ottmer and Newton have committed so far, as well as
Secretaries Collyer and Holmes and Alternate Director Hugle.
The brief conversation focused on Krause and his
ability to make the in-person meeting as scheduled. Krause advised members to keep the date on the calendar
and he will do his best to attend. If he is unable, he will have to attend remotely as in the past.


2) Reminder Boathouse Cantina Comedy Club Fundraiser for the RWF on October 26th:

3) Follow up on assignments from last meeting: Hugle began the discussion by stating that he has reached out
to the Ross Perot Foundation and has been speaking with a representative for the foundation (Kristin Garcia)
about possible collaboration. They have been playing ‘phone tag’ and will continue trying to follow up with
her. Hugle also suggested exploring ‘rounding up’ options with businesses in the community (the practice of
asking customers if they would like to ‘round up’ their bill at checkout). Noting that this is a common practice
with businesses large and small and starting a conversation with local businesses to see if they would like to
participate. Garvin thanked Hugle for his efforts and added that he has been looking into the “Warriors Heart

Foundation” for possible collaboration adding that ‘we need to stick with outreach efforts, because we need
to be persistent to get on their radar screens’. Garvin continued by explaining that he has been working with a
group called to learn more about how they operate as well as other nonprofits,
including some in Colorado. Members were thanked for their efforts.


Secretary Collyer then introduced Simeon Chelf as a guest for this meeting and invited him to tell the Board
about himself and his service:
Chelf thanked the directors for inviting him. He told members that he left the
Army last year after serving for 20 years. He was a Blackhawk Pilot, CW03 and sent 14 years overseas, finishing
in Korea. He is happy to be home now and is raising his family and helping to run his family’s Lumber Yard
business. He went on to explain that due to some of his experiences, he developed PTSD and an anxiety
disorder, which required professional counseling. This led to him being “Grounded” as an aviator for a short
time, which is standard protocol. He went on to explain that throughout his experience, the official policy of
his leadership was a “Counseling without consequences” environment. Chelf stated that this policy dictated
that nobody (counselor) spoke to his CO until he, himself said it was ok. He added that it was a very good
policy that worked well for him. (Note: It seemed that Chelf believed that this policy was Army-Wide for all
members). Director Garvin replied that he was glad that Chelf was ok. He asked “What was the timeframe”?
Chelf replied, ‘that was 2018, I joined in 2001’. He went on to say that, looking back on his career, after 20
years, he says that the military has changed a lot; their approach to these issues seems to have softened. Most
likely because, with the volume of these types of injuries has gone up with 20-plus years of war, they have
learned more about treating them. The “Army seems to have learned more about itself”. He finished by
saying “When I left it seemed that every week me and my colleagues had to attend a suicide prevention class”.
A brief discussion was then had among members about how that experience seems unique to Chelf’s service
as all (RWF) members didn’t seem to have access to the same policies or resources. Director Ottmer stated
that “It began and ended with those classes and that rank may have something to do with it”. Chelf agreed
that was a possibility.


New Business:
1) Consider Alternate Director Hugle for Full Director Position: Director Garvin made a motion to
promote Hugle to a full-director position. Vice Chairman Newton seconded the motion and the vote
was unanimous. Hugle thanked members for inviting him along, he was ‘glad to be here and be part of
it’. Noting that ‘if we didn’t all have to have jobs, we could dedicate more time to it.’ All members


2) Consider reserving table for next years “Rocky Mountain Service Dogs Project” Banquet. Note, every
year a different service dog organization is featured/supported. $325.00 for a table for 10 Collyer had
breakfast with the organizers on 8/18:
Director Krause said he thinks it is a good idea, and asked what
is the projected date for the event. Collyer responded that it would probably be held July 15th next
year. As the discussion continued, Collyer stated that ‘we don’t have to decide right now, we can
discuss it at the next few meetings’. Director Garvin replied that ‘maybe those most likely to attend
should decide’. All agreed and it was determined that Hugle, Collyer, Holmes and Ottmer would be
most likely to attend. Ottmer added that it wasn’t a very good networking opportunity due to the
schedule and ace of events, but she enjoyed it. A lighthearted conversation ensued about making
ourselves known to the group with our “Class and Charm”. At the end of which it was determined that
we should reserve a table for the RWF for next years event. Collyer ended the discussion by relaying
that we will be invoiced for our reservation at a later date once the specifics are finalized.


Critical Path/Structural Discussion for the RWF:
1) Fundraising/Events and Grants: (Discussion held previously) Director Garvin reiterated that he will
continue to look into the and organizations for us and report back.


2) Structural Evolution. Bangura: (Bangura absent) Secretary Collyer asked if members had any thoughts
or ideas about our evolution thus far. Newton spoke about there being a “Catch 22” for our efforts in
the sense that to accomplish our mission, we needed money, but other larger organizations won’t
donate until we can clearly demonstrate how we are spending our money. There are some larger
organizations who are already doing some of the things we are hoping to do and in essence, we are
competing for those dollars. He continued that we might need to consider narrowing our focus or
refining our mission. Such as, should we focus more on referrals, or transportation to appointments?
We really need more certified and licensed mental health professionals like Ashley (Ottmer), but for
now, she is it and we need to be sure that we don’t overload her. Collyer replied that all of that is true,
and it’s important to remember that Ottmer’s efforts (First Responder Friday program) are the tangible
results for our efforts and over time will be able to demonstrate continuity in our efforts which will
make more eligible for grants and fundraising opportunities in the future. Newton replied in the
affirmative and added that he is planning to reach out to CSM Troxell, but would like more
“Ammunition” first to demonstrate the successful potential of our efforts. Director Hugle stated “We
need to show that we have traction first”. Newton agreed and said that we need to get our message to
the very top of the VA and Troxell can help us with that. It seems that his peers were more on the
frontlines than the COC (chain of command). The conversation drifted to the need to ‘push’ our efforts
to facilitation (of treatment) and scholarship outreach. Director Garvin stated that “Newton just hit on
something important that during our service, peers kept each other in line, encouraged and watched
out for each other”. He continued that now there is a fairly robust network of non-profits and a big
disconnect between veterans and non-profits, we need to be part of the solution to bridge that divide.
All members agreed. Newton then spoke to the continuing need to also encourage the military to
streamline their recordkeeping as it pertains to the veteran’s health care and mental healthcare needs
to help speed up and facilitate treatment. He followed that up by speaking about how just before he
left the army, he went through some counseling and a sleep study, the results of which the army
seems to have lost-again (all agreed this was a common complaint). This has led to a large obstacle to
his current lack of proper care as now, all of these study’s need to be scheduled and completed again
before new treatment can be prescribed and obtained. He followed by commenting on how important
peer support is, saying ‘looking back, after my unit dissolved and I was the only one who stayed in the
army. I suddenly lost contact with almost everyone that I deployed with, who knew what we went
through together. That turned out to be the loneliest time in my life and I struggled a lot’. Ottmer
agreed and added that the camaraderie between servicemembers and FR’s can’t be found in most
other professions. They have lived, trained, risked their lives and suffered together, like a family.
Nothing quite compares to the military culture where you get sent to places and you realize that ‘we
might all die together’. She added that she regularly witnesses social situations where veterans seem
to gravitate together since it can be harder to relate to those who have not served. Sometimes, in
social situations, she feels like a ‘fish out of water’ in the company of civilians. Collyer mentioned how
sad it was that VFW membership is slowly fading away, which led to a wider discussion as to why that
is and what, if anything can be done to reverse the trend. It was generally agreed that the traditional
VFW is limited to those who were deployed to a foreign war zone, not the military at-large and that

there is a generational divide partly attributable to modern technology as our meetings are conducted
via zoom. Whereas the previous generations had to physically gather to communicate effectively.


3) Advertising/Outreach. Is our Social Media Effective (Holmes): Holmes was absent. But all members
who participate agreed that the social media was abundant and effective.


4) First Responder Friday’s and Managing Director Update: Ottmer reported that she is still working with
the same number of clients. The combat veteran is currently on hold due to health reasons. She has
been talking to the Salida police Chief about the fact that the peer response leader is not very
effective, despite recent suicides in the ranks. She continued that it makes her more determined to
‘stay in their faces, keep calling and knocking on doors’. She continues suggesting to local First
Responders that they establish monthly meetings with all FR’s to discuss mental health, either all
together or by department. Discussion ensued with Newton speaking about how the VA is a
overwhelmed to the point that it is effectively a broken system that was never designed to handle 20+
years of war and the crush of veterans that they are tasked with caring for now. He added that the VA
needs to expand their number of liaisons that are subject matter experts to help on a deeper level.
Ottmer agreed and added that the continuity of care matters, such as Newton was referring to earlier
in the meeting as it pertains to simple recordkeeping by the military bureaucracies. If they need to
start completely over during every mental health/medical appointment, which can take months to
schedule, they are not effectively helping anybody. Patients end up seeing different providers with
every visit they end up ‘spinning their wheels’.


5) Task assignments/Action Items and Follow Through:
All members agreed to continue their current efforts.


Financial Update:
Checking Account Balance        $1,913.98
Savings Account Balance:        + 4,588.07
Monetary Assets:                         $6,502.05 (+.07 interest)


Cleared Checks: Check # 1102, Donation to Freedom Service Dogs, $500.00 (nice thank you letter received)

Check # 1103, Ship N Things, Color Copies, FRF and Bowling Fundraiser, $ 84.20

Anything Else/General Discussion: None

Next Meeting: Labor Day in two weeks. Left at TBD

Meeting Adjourned: 1455

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