Board of Directors

Bill Rickert

Bill Rickert

Executive Director

Operation Support Our Troops–America Board of Directors is proud to announce the appointment of Co-Founder Bill Rickert as Interim Executive Director, effective immediately. Bill joins us from Goal Line Strategies, a financial services organization. Mr. Rickert has held multiple senior executive leadership positions, has a deep understanding of the organization, and holds a BA degree from Baldwin-Wallace College. Bill’s extensive experience with organizational leadership and change, as well as the development and growth of customer relationships will greatly benefit the work of OSOT-America. We welcome Bill Rickert and look forward to our partnership.

Justin Smitherman

Justin Smitherman

Chairman of the Board

Justin Smitherman is the President of Smitherman & Associates Inc. located in Elburn and St. Charles. He served in the Air Force for 8 years including a tour in Iraq. He is married to Carly, also an Air Force Veteran, whom they have one daughter named Lillian. Justin has been involved with Operation Support Our Troops-America for 6 years, and a board member for 5 years.

Deb Rickert

Deborah Rickert

President

Deb started Operation Support our Troops-America in 2003 after her son joined the military in the wake of the attacks of September 11. She served as President and CEO for 13 years creating additional programs for veterans and Families of Fallen service members. She also oversaw the integration of the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Program into OSOT-America. In 2015 Deb stepped down from her duties as CEO but remains in her role of guiding and overseeing the fulfillment of the mission. She currently serves as the CEO for Sharing Connections furniture bank in Downers Grove, IL.

 

William Strening

Recording Secretary

Bill Strening has been a member of the Board of Directors of OSOT since 2008 and is currently the Secretary of OSOT. Bill is an attorney, has been in private practice since August 2016, as well as operating a surety bond agency with his brother in Chicago. Bill was previously Assistant General Counsel with True Value Company from 2001 – 2016 and prior to 2001 served in various positions with Chicago Bridge & Iron Company between 1975 and 2000 including Assistant General Counsel from 1986 to 2000.

In addition to his work with OSOT, Bill is currently President of the Parish Pastoral Council of Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills as well as a Board Member of the Graue Mill Condominium I Association.

Dan Dexter

Dan Dexter

Treasurer

Dan Dexter is the Chief Financial Officer of NVISIA, a software architecture and consulting company based in Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan in 1985. With over 30 years of professional experience in accounting and finance, Dan has held positions as auditor and senior auditor for Coopers and Lybrand and various managerial positions at Circle Fine Art, JMB Realty, and Johnson Controls prior to joining NVISIA in 1995.

In addition to currently serving on the OSOT-America Board of Directors as Treasurer, Dan has also served on the board as its Not-For-Profit advisor for over ten years. His previous Not-for-Profit experience includes having served as Treasure and President for over five years on the Board of Directors of the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation based in Chicago and as Treasure for several informal organizations.

Bruce Kannry

Bruce Kannry

Board Member

Bruce is the Founding Board Member and first Board Chairman of Operation Support our Troops-America. Bruce joined the Marines at 17 and went into the service a couple of weeks after his 18th birthday in 1969. His time in the military included service in Viet Nam in 1970 which has been the bases for his ongoing support for both those in the services and veterans as well.

 

In March of 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq war, Bruce brought his military experiences, background, and personal commitment to the cause of supporting military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bruce dedicated his own personal resources as well as his business and leadership expertise to guide OSOT-America from a project in a garage to a full scale non-profit organization having shipped over a million pounds of support items to active military personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition OSOT-America provided services and support to not only active duty military members but veterans and Families of Fallen as well. Bruce’s company, NVISIA was one of the first sponsors of Rockin’ for the Troops in 2006, an annual event featuring actor and musician, Gary Sinise, that has raised over four million dollars over the past ten years.

Allen J. Lynch

Allen J. Lynch

Board Member

Allen Lynch first served with the Department of Veteran Affairs as a Veterans Benefits Counselor and then as Chief Ambulatory Care at the then VA Medical Center North Chicago, now the Lovell FMC. He then served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program and as the Chief Veterans Rights Bureau, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, he served under four Illinois Attorney Generals. Since retiring from the Illinois Attorney General’s office in 2005 Allen served as a volunteer service officer with Vietnam Veterans of America until November 2104 and as the Assistant Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County Illinois until he retired in June of 2017.

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Allen served on active duty with the US Army in Germany and Vietnam. While in Vietnam Allen served with Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) from 31 May 1967 until 1 June 1968. He was “in-country” for six months when the action took place that would result in his receiving the Medal of Honor. The recognition of his conspicuous gallantry and selfless service to others on that day would be the catalyst for a life of service to others. Allen completed his 21 years of service in both the Army reserve program and the Illinois National Guard where he retired in 1994.

Allen is one of the founding members of the Allen J. Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Foundation now the Allen Lynch Medal of Honor Veterans Assistance Program under Operation Support Our Troops America. a 501c3 organization with a 5 star rating by Charity Navigator.

Allen and his wife, Susan, have three children and are now blessed with 5 grandchildren.

 

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. SGT Lynch (then Sp4) distinguished himself while serving as a radiotelephone operator with Company D. While serving in the forward element on an operation near the village of My An, his unit became heavily engaged with a numerically superior enemy force. Quickly and accurately assessing the situation, SGT Lynch provided his commander with information which subsequently proved essential to the unit’s successful actions. Observing three wounded comrades Lying exposed to enemy fire, SGT Lynch dashed across 50 meters of open ground through a withering hail of enemy fire to administer aid. Reconnoitering a nearby trench for a covered position to protect the wounded from intense hostile fire, he killed two enemy soldiers at point blank range. With the trench cleared, he unhesitatingly returned to the fire-swept area three times to carry the wounded men to safety. When his company was forced to withdraw by the superior firepower of the enemy, SGT Lynch remained to aid his comrades at the risk of his life rather than abandon them. Alone, he defended his isolated position for two hours against the advancing enemy. Using only his rifle and a grenade, he stopped them just short of his trench, killing five. Again, disregarding his safety in the face of withering hostile fire, he crossed 70 meters of exposed terrain five times to carry his wounded comrades to a more secure area. Once he had assured their comfort and safety, SGT Lynch located the counterattacking friendly company to assist in directing the attack and evacuating the three casualties. His gallantry at the risk of his life is in the highest traditions of the military service. SGT Lynch has reflected great credit on himself, the 12th Cavalry and the U.S. Army.
Near My An (2), Binh Dinh province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 December 1967.

Wayne Marshall

Board Member

Wayne Marshall is an executive with over 20 years in the healthcare and consulting industries. Currently Mr. Marshall leads Health Care Service Corporations Group Markets Customer Operations area, and has provided leadership in numerous Health Plan front office organizations. His experience also includes executive positions with P&L responsibility in consulting, technology, and outsourcing. Wayne also served as an infantryman / sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1992-1999. In addition to supporting OSOT, Wayne is active as a volunteer youth football coach.

Scott Maxson

Scott Maxson

Board Member

Scott Maxson is the Manager, Security & Intelligence for Takeda Pharmaceuticals, U.S.A., Inc., the largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and Asia and a top 15 global pharmaceutical company with its regional location in Deerfield, IL. Previously, Scott has held positions as Vice President – Security Risk Management and Vice President – Corporate Security and Safety for Aon Corporation, Director – Corporate/Physical Security and Safety for Hewitt Associates and as Director of Protective Services for Arthur Andersen.

 

Scott has been a presenter at the ASIS International Annual Seminar & Exhibits, the Annual Corporate Contingency Planning Seminar and Exhibition, the National Business Travel Association International Convention, at various webinars and has been highlighted in Security Magazine.

Maxson is a member of ASIS International and is Board Certified as a Protection Professional (CPP); the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE); earned a MBA from the University of Illinois-Chicago, a Bachelor in Commerce from DePaul University and an AA from Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills.

 

Scott is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army having served in various roles including recruiter’s aid, armor crewman and company armorer. He is an honor graduate of the Army’s Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense School and has been awarded the Army Achievement Medal for Meritorious Service along with letters and certificates of commendation.

Matt Metzger

Matt Metzger

Board Member

Matt Metzger, originally from Big Rock, Illinois, enlisted in the United States Marine Corps shortly after graduating high school. He was assigned to Marine Tactical Air Command Squadron 48 as an A/C mechanic. He deployed in 2007 with the 6th Provisional Security Company as a machine gunner, to Djibouti, Africa to support Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon his return, he attended Western Illinois University and completed his bachelor’s degree with a double major in Law Enforcement and Justice Administration, and Political Science. He remains active in the veteran community with his work at Grunt Style, a veteran owned and operated apparel company in Carol Stream, IL. His current position is the Director of Custom Sales. He spends his free time with his wife Lauren and two children Knox and Kennedy. He is also an accomplished competitive three-gun shooter, and travels the country competing.

John Schwan

John Schwan

Board Member

John Schwan is Chairman of CTI Industries and has overseen the development of this small Barrington, IL firm to a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock market. The company now has a presence in Europe and Latin America and has expanded from producing balloons for the novelty market to entry into the medical services and food packaging industries. Under his leadership sales have grown to $50 million annually.

John is an investor involved in a variety of business start-ups. His current investments include Old Smokehouse, Inc. a manufacturer of frozen foods; JHSWW LLC, a commercial real estate investment firm; USA Athletic Club, a sports and fitness facility; Everede Tool, a tool manufacture serving the transportation, aerospace and national defense industries and White Horse Productions, a graphics web design firm. In 2004 he sold an original business venture to DS Smith, a multi-national company focused on packaging and office products.

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John is an investor involved in a variety of business start-ups. His current investments include Old Smokehouse, Inc. a manufacturer of frozen foods; JHSWW LLC, a commercial real estate investment firm; USA Athletic Club, a sports and fitness facility; Everede Tool, a tool manufacture serving the transportation, aerospace and national defense industries and White Horse Productions, a graphics web design firm. In 2004 he sold an original business venture to DS Smith, a multi-national company focused on packaging and office products.

John is a graduate of Lane Tech High School and North Park University in Chicago. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Lane Tech Century Foundation, an organization focused on improving the building and grounds of Lane Tech High School in order to improve the educational experience for current and future Lane Tech students. The organization has exceeded their original goal of two million dollars and continues to raise funds and awareness for the Chicago north side high school. Mr. Schwan is the patron of the Schwan Lecture Series at North Park University. The series sponsors guest lecturers to encourage political dialogue of current events.

He is a principal benefactor of Operation Support our Troops USA and is an advisor to the board. He is an active sponsor of Chicago 502 through the Union League Club. He is the past Post Commander of the American Legion Post at the Union League Club of Chicago and still an active member. Mr. Schwan actively supports Chicagoland ROTC programs and supports both financially and with administrative support organizations that locally support families of veterans. He is a founding member of Chicagoland Veteran’s Exchange – a non-profit organization dedicated to the hiring of veterans. He is a contributor to the Pritzker Military Museum & Library.

John is a veteran of Vietnam (1966-1969), having enlisted out of college. He served with the First Air Cavalry and eventually attended OCS at Fort Benning. He is a service related disabled veteran; awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Air Medal, two Bronze Stars with V for Valor device, and a Purple Heart. Mr. Schwan is active in the Sheridan First Cavalry Chapter – a veteran’s organization of the First Air Cavalry. This unit is dedicated to improving the lives of soldiers currently serving in theatre and adding returning veterans in finding employment and services. He has served on the board as President and is involved in several other veteran related organizations in the Midwest. In addition, he actively recruits veterans for employment opportunities.

Joe Dalpino

Board Member

Born and raised in Chicago, IL. I spent eight years on active duty in the Marine Corps. Started working at Unicon International as Marine Surveyor until I started my own company Intermodal Midwest Surveyors in 2006. Married to Valerie with two sons Joseph Jr and John who is active duty Army. Currently reside in Lemont, IL and enjoy playing 16″ softball in Mt Greenwood in Chicago.

Marty Walker

Board Member

Born in Chicago and raised in Wheaton IL. Graduate of Wheaton North HS Class of 1970. I am the Father of 3 grown Sons and enjoy 7 Grandchildren. I am a retired Carol Stream Fire Fighter from a 40 year career. I have been actively involved with Naperville non-profits and enjoy volunteerism. In 2012 I chaired logistics for Ribfest and in 2013 I chaired Ribfest. In 2015 I chaired the Naperville “50 years of healing.” For the past 9 years I have chaired the annual Naperville 9/11 ceremony. I look forward to serving as a Board of Director of Operation Support our Troops – America.

Rick Smolke

Board Member

Rick Smolke Rick owns Quick Impressions Group, a full-service printer located in Addison. He is the President of the Hillside-Berkeley Chamber of Commerce and supports many local charities, including Ronald McDonald House, A Silver Lining Foundation, Bryan Bickell Foundation, Magnificent Mutts Pet Rescue, the National Veterans Museum, and Operation Support Our Troops. Rick currently serves on the Board of Sharing Connections, Thank You Veterans board and has served on the Board at Serenity House for several years.