2019 Board Candidates

Board Candidates
Jessie Medvan Daniel Craig
Marti Guy Downing Gary Butterfield
Michael Dempsey Willie Hager
John Spitzberg George Johnson
Dave Logsdon  

Jessie Medvan

Jessie Medvan joined the PA Army National Guard in 2000 at the age of 17. Growing up with a nostalgic and romanticized view of America, she joined the military to fulfill a sense of duty to country. After training for 5 months in the states and Kuwait, her communications company deployed to Iraq in April 2004. Seeing war first hand made her question everything she thought she knew about America and their relations with the rest of the world. It was clear to her even in the beginning of deployment that Americans were doing much more harm than good in Iraq. While on deployment, she took opportunities to leave her station in Taji to see more of Iraq and develop a clearer picture of the American occupation. On her way back to the states at the end of deployment in February 2005, she took a detail at the wash rack in Kuwait. Jessie sustained injuries to her right foot and ankle, having been dragged under a semi-trailer while assisting with moving trucks in the yard.

Upon return from deployment she faced an uphill battle of coming to grips with the war that she'd participated in, severe mental and health issues and family problems. As she struggled to put her life back together, family became supportive and her mental and physical problems were being cared for. She suffered chronic migraines for years after returning from deployment but managed to hold down a job and attend college in 2007 at Laroche. Due to her injuries sustained in Kuwait, she went to college under the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

After graduating college in 2011 with a bachelors degree in Sociology, she married her husband Joe. The two have a 5 year old son- Joey, and a 3 year old daughter-Charlotte. Being a stay at home mom has been a trying yet joyous adventure for Jessie. Her kids are a daily reminder of why she is working to make the world a war free place. She joined Veterans for Peace in 2013 and has been the Lead Organizer of the chapter for the past 2 years.

Jessie's Questionnaire


 

Daniel Craig

My name is Daniel Craig. I am Chicano, and a mix of Mexican American & Scottish descent. I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico and am a native New Mexican. I served in the U.S. Army, New Mexico Army National Guard and U.S. Army ROTC Training Program from July 1981 to May 1993. I deployed to Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1991. I have a B.A. of Psychology and a minor degree in Spanish and I do speak Spanish. I have worked as a counselor with both adults and teenagers focusing on addiction recovery. I am currently a Case Manager with Healthcare For The Homeless here in Santa Fe.

I joined Veterans For Peace in October 2002 and have been a member since then. I have served as the chapter president twice, I am currently serving in my second iteration as such. I have been deeply involved in almost every endeavor of our chapter. What I bring to the VFP National Board is a strong commitment to our organization's mission. This includes: effective communication skills, a great degree of open-mindedness in inter-personal communications as well as firm in my beliefs and able to articulate them, and an excellent ability to work as a team member.

I am intimately familiar with my strengths and weaknesses as both an individual and as a member of an organization. An example of a weakness is that I am very opinionated and have very strong feelings about certain subjects; my strength is that I am able to refrain from verbalizing said opinions when necessary, and not letting feelings get in the way of achieving our goals.
Gratefully, I believe I will be a great asset to our organization as a member of the VFP National Board. I am excited about his opportunity.

Daniel's Questionnaire


 

Marti GuyDowning

I am the daughter of an immigrant scholar and of a U.S. soldier. With a degree in Political Science and Spanish, I enlisted in the Army. During the Reagan administrations, I was an Intelligence Analyst practicing desert warfare in a Combat Electronic Warfare Intelligence (CEWI) unit. I call myself a bridge veteran because I served between hot wars. There is no peace time inside the military because it is the war business. Later, on Wall Street, I witnessed the end of the Cold War, the short-lived "Peace Dividend" and the maneuvering to profit from war when I worked for an international economic advisor to investment banks.

I joined VFP in January 2003. I have also been involved with Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Crosses of Lafayette, Monsanto protests (focusing on Agent Orange), Take Back The Night, Sankofa Sunday and Urban Shield protests.

My best peacemaking skills are quiet ones: deep listening, nonviolent communication, inclusion and actual support of others. I just got bystander training that dissolved a conflict! I am grateful for the peace musicians, artists, poets, writers, documentarians, photographers of conscience, signs- banners-and t-shirt makers, and the do-what's-needed crew that help with this work and sustain my spirit.

Honor the dead, Heal the wounded, Stop the wars.

Marti's Questionnaire


 

Gary Butterfield

I believe I can successfully use my organizational and interpersonal skills to contribute in a meaningful way as a member of the National Board of Directors. I am a Lifetime member of the San Diego Chapter, which has been recognized as "Chapter of the Year", and its membership continues to grow while members are becoming more active. As President, I encourage our members to "get out of our individual silos and get involved with other groups". As a result, we have significantly increased our Speaker's Program outreach opportunities and have impacted local gun-control, climate, and Democratic groups. I want to have an immediate impact at the National level.

After getting my BS degree from Oregon State University (using the GI Bill) I had a successful career in business with a surgical company where I gained valuable experience in HR, training and motivating employees, building consensus, raising funds and balancing budgets. These areas are also extremely important in building a successful non-profit organization.

In 1967 the Army drafted me and I declared as a conscientious objector while at Non-Commissioned Officer's Training School in Ft. Benning, GA. After numerous interviews and some stockade time, the Army determined that my beliefs, though sincere, were based upon moral grounds and not religious beliefs- therefore no "official" CO status.

Although I opposed all subsequent US military excursions, I did not reawaken my activism until I retired. Jack Doxey introduced me to the San Diego Chapter of Veterans For Peace and I joined five years ago and have since served as Treasurer of the San Diego Chapter for 3 years and local Chairman of the VFP National Convention in 2015. I am currently finishing my second year as President.

Gary's Questionnaire


 

Michael Dempsey

I am Michael Dempsey, I became a member of Veterans For Peace 10 years ago upon learning of the organization at a friend's home in Watsonville, CA. where I now live with my wife of 28 years. I became a lifetime member of VFP CH 46 Monterey, CA. two years ago I've served as our chapter's Recording Secretary for the last six years, and also the manager and creator of our social media pages.

I moved to San Francisco in 1971 and in 1972 enrolled in San Francisco City College earning a AA degree in General Education three years later. I worked for a wholesale electrical parts distributor, that led to a position with a Electrical Contractor as a parts manager.

I moved to Santa Cruz County where I lived in an isolated setting with other vets, all of us battling PTSD, but none of us aware of the ailment. I worked a number of part time meaningless jobs until being hired by a electrical contractor to manage his warehouse. That led to me enrolling in the apprenticeship program of The IBEW, upon completion of that program and receiving my journeyman electrician certificate, I volunteered for numerous committees and boards of the IBEW LU234 Castroville, CA.

I served as temporary recording secretary for two years filling a vacancy before being elected to that position, I was on three different contract negotiating committees, I was hired by the local as Lead Organizer, than promoted to Assistant Business Manager, which required computer skills and knowledge I did not have, I enrolled in Watsonville Adult Education class to learn basic computer and office skills. and later enrolling in more advanced adult ed classes, "windows office step program" where learned windows full office suite, and computer repair. I was elected President of LU 234, in 2004, as President, my duties included appointing members to various committees and boards of the local, and monitoring the same. I retired after thirteen years of service as a journeyman electrician and officer of the local union after being diagnosed with with severe untreated prolonged ptsd, with strong recommendation of retirement, from The VA, if financially possible.

Michael's Questionnaire


 

Willie Hager

My name is Willie Hager. My home Chapter is Veterans For Peace Jacksonville Fl Jacob George Memorial Chapter 174, of which I am a Charter Member. I am a Life Member of VFP and I am running again for the board, having served 2013-2016. I am a USMC Veteran 1959-1969. I served two tours in Vietnam I Corps as a 1371 Combat Engineer 1965-66 & 1968. I have been a member of VFP since 2012 and in that time have chartered my home chapter as well as being a co-founder of the Veterans For Peace Sgt Barrios Memorial Chapter 184 in Tijuana, BC and it's staffed and operating intake and triage office; the Unified U.S Deported Veterans Information & Resource Center, located on the border in Tijuana. I am currently Project Coordinator for the Veterans For Peace National Deported Veterans Issues and Advocacy Project.

In addition to a long history of Veterans' anti-war activism, beginning with Vietnam Veterans Against The War in 1971 where I served as California/Nevada Regional Coordinator 1972-1974. I also share some common extracurricular skill sets and certifications with current board member Maurice Martin, to quote: "I'm also a certified mediator; Restorative Justice Mediator, Alternative to Violence Project Facilitator, and Conference Meeting facilitator." I also still serve as an Coordinating Trustee with the VVAW Legacy Trust.

During my time since joining VFP in 2012; I have organized and Moderated workshops relating to Deported Veterans for six consecutive National Conventions. I have served on several Board committees over the years; Bylaws, Resolutions, Development, Media and Communications, and was appointed by then President Barry Ladendorf to be Coordinator for the Border Immigrations and Issues Ad Hoc Committee, which has subsequently evolved into the VFP National Deported Veterans Issues & Advocacy Project.

I am running for the board again because I have seen the positive changes within VFP of the past six years and I have grown as a person from having been a part of it. I believe that we need to continue to nurture that change. This is the 21st century and things are moving fast and we need to continually be in tune with events rather than playing catch up. I believe the way to do that is for the chapters to step up for local peace and social justice actions and campaigns that are a cost of war, and for the National Board to consider avenues to provide direct communications, support, and resources for them to do so. I believe the real work/revolution begins at home.

If you choose to elect me once again to the Board; I pledge that I will work to help shape a model that will keep us effectively in the game as we build for an uncertain future. For me the ticket is more local peace and social justice issue campaigns and projects, less mass organizing, and increasing our international profile, i.e., Golden Rule Project and Deported Veterans Project, new chapters in new places doing new things.

Unity-Struggle-Victory!

Willie's Questionnaire


 

John Spitzberg

My name is John Spitzberg and I live in Willow, Alaska with my four dogs. I served in the United States Army and then the Air Force from 1958-1972 and am a Viet Nam Era veteran. I am 80 years and have traveled in over 75 countries.

Joining VFP was one of the best moves I ever made, but this is the first time I have run for the Board. I served as the president of Chapter 099 in Asheville, NC and host Chair of the 2014 convention. For four years I put on the Poetry Soiree and published a booklet of the poems by poets who sent me their art form and recite at the conventions.

I joined the Peace Action Team and participated in VFP actions in Washington, New York, Chicago, SOA, Nogales and have conducted workshops at conventions in Veteran homelessness and ways to conduct educational programs using the Socratic Method. Presently, I serve as secretary of the work group concerned with Privatization of the Veterans Administration.

I am running for a Board position because I believe that we must strive for inclusivity and mutual respect for all members and associates of our organization. Each person should be treated with dignity and fairness. It is not enough that the Board of Directors have a Code of Conduct for themselves only, but their goals must be for everyone in VFP. I believe that VFP policies need to be tweaked, and the leadership needs to provide mediation efforts when differences cannot be resolved on a lower level. I am committed to peace and social justice and they begin with ourselves and our treatment of each other.

If you agree with these sentiments above, I ask for your vote. If elected, I will work hard. Lastly, I live in Alaska. I will pay my own way to Seattle and not cause a drain on the treasury. Thanks for reading my biography and desires for VFP.

John's Questionnaire


 

Dave Logsdon

I am a USN combat veteran (Destroyer duty, Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club). I am from the much coveted "Old White Guy" group in VFP.

My education is limited to two undistinguished years of community college in Chicago. I am not an IT savant by any definition, but I have found my voice late in life.

I grew up in a working class family and drove a produce truck (Teamster retired) for 26 years. I hope to bring a working class perspective to the board. I felt helping organize the VFP National convention was my coming of age moment on the national stage in VFP. It empowered me to take the next step in my involvement by running for the National Board. I am humbled to be on this ballot with friends and colleagues, but I wouldn't have run if I didn't think I could contribute.

I decided to run for the board to make sure that the middle part of the USA is well represented, so that our voice can be heard in the greater vision of VFP. Education, Arts, and Action is what we emphasize at our Twin Cities chapter that I have successfully led for the last four years. It takes imagination to inspire and lead and I have a boatload of ideas in my satchel.

I hope to bring this imagination and energy and to help us grow now and in the future. I always capitalize the FOR in Veterans For Peace!

As we say in Chicago, vote early and vote often.

Dave's questionnaire


 

George Johnson

My name is George Johnson a US Navy veteran 1962 to 1966. A radarman Vietnam Veteran. I joined VVAW in 1968 and have been active in working for peace and justice for 50 years. I joined VFP during the first Gulf War, I have served in many capacities in VFP, as chapter president, vice president, outreach coordinator, speaker at a number of conferences, conventions, schools, community organizations and media Outlets. 

I  serve as a referral to Veterans in accessing  veterans services and programs and contact for support services for veterans seeking rightfully earned and deserved benefits.

I designed t-shirts , and banners. I designed Veterans for peace first tie-dyed t-shirts.

I was a member of the musical group "ANNIE AND THE VETS", who donated over $20,000 to VFP and other organizations through musical performances, and CD's.

I served on the Board of Directors of Veterans For Peace in the late 90s and early 2000's. I currently live and work in the deported veterans community in Baja California. I helped co-found and open the first sustained deported veteran office in Tijuana ,Mexico. Providing services and programs and referral for benefits through the Veterans Administration health care programs.

I was co-founding member of chapter 101, also the San Jose California chapter 176 , Tijuana Baja  Mexico chapter 182.

I feel my lifelong experience and commitment to peace and Justice will be very useful on the VFP board. I feel that one of the goals should be reaching out  to former members who no longer participate and bring them back to the fold at the same time reaching out  to Veterans of all generations  that work for  peace and Justice.

Understanding our history through long experience can be an asset as we continue to move forward a in ending war, promoting peace, and providing services and support for those who are struggling with the  consequences of War. Dis experience working collaboratively with hor younger generation veterans can be vital in helping us move forward as we look at new visions and opportunities in bringing peace Injustice around the world.

I believe our three main tasks for this era are, 

1) organize !, 

                     2) organize !, 

                                        3) organize !

George's Questionnaire


 

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