MEET OUR TEAM
Crystal Wenum is the surviving spouse of SSGT James O Wenum. She has been active in the Veteran community since 1984. This has included Gold Star Wives of America and as a VA Volunteer. Before retiring, Crystal was a Principal Auditor for the State of Minnesota for 23 years and served in a variety of departments. She raised 2 children after her spouse died in 1982. Crystal has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Mankato University in Minnesota.
“I am very interested in the success of this 501(c)3 and being able to do good works for the surviving spouses who need help with the process of grieving and getting on with their lives and the lives of their families”.
Deborah Skeldon resides in Northern Virginia. Her husband of 30 years, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick H. Skeldon, passed away in August of 2014 after a twelve-year battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). Lt. Col. Skeldon served over 23 years in the United States Marine Corps, including two tours in Vietnam. Deborah worked as a Contracting Officer and later a Project Manager for the Department of Justice, U.S. Marshal Service in the Court Security Division for 23 years. Today she spends her time volunteering with the Gold Star Wives of America, Wreaths Across America, and enjoying their three children and six grandchildren.
Nancy Menagh lives in the Portland, Oregon area, where she raised her five children after her husband was killed in a training exercise at Fort Bragg in 1984. Captain Philip Menagh served with the US Marine Corps in Vietnam; and was serving in the Virginia National Guard at the time of his death. Nancy spent nearly 30 years in the benefits and insurance industry and is now semi-retired. Just like her husband spent his life in service to his country, Nancy has devoted much of her time to serving through Gold Star Wives of America, St. Vincent De Paul, Wreaths Across America, and numerous other organizations.
“Only a Surviving Spouse can understand the challenges faced by Surviving Spouses of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice”.
Olive Bouault is currently retired and lives in Las Vegas, NV with her two dogs. She is the widow of, Lieutenant Colonel Louis L. Bouault, US Army Retired, whom she was married to for 23 years. Louis died in 2009 from his service-connected disability, and Olive began volunteering with service organizations such as Gold Star Wives of America, Inc. After working for many years in administrative capacities and was a small-business owner, Olive volunteers with a local dog rescue and is active in local and national charities.
Sheli Lawson lives in Texas. While she was an Army spouse, Sheli sought opportunities to support service members and their families. She has since dedicated her time and talents to many wonderful Veteran Service Organizations. Sheli currently holds several leadership roles and advocates for Vet Triip, the USO Pathfinder Transition Program, and Project Welcome Home Troops. Sheli serves as 4th Region Vice President for the Association of the United States Army (AUSA); and has been recognized as a Distinguished Quartermaster for Joint Base San Antonio.
Donna Eldridge lives in the Northern Virginia area. Donna is the surviving spouse of Colonel Gary (Bo) Eldridge, United States Army, who died of service-connected causes in 2001. Bo served his country with honor for over 26 years, with commands in Europe and the United States. Donna is proud of their son, and feels blessed with a grandson that brings much joy and happiness to all her family. Donna retired from Fairfax County Public Schools as a high school administrator. As a member of Gold Star Wives of America, Inc., Donna serves as Chair of the Government Relations Committee and represents GSW on The Military Coalition and numerous subcommittees. Donna feels honored to serve as an Arlington Lady at Arlington National Cemetery.
“Volunteer work is now my way of giving back to all those who helped me along the way to become the person I am today”.
Jeremy Haldeman resides in Northern Virginia. Jeremy comes from a family rich in military service, including his father who served in the Army and wrote for Stars and Stripes in Vietnam, as well as both of his grandfathers who served in the Navy in WWII. Currently Jeremy is the Director of Government Affairs for Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee), an international humanitarian assistance non-profit, where he leads Alight and its partner organizations’ external advocacy and communications initiatives to Congress, U.S. agencies, and international organizations. Before his current non-profit work, he held several positions at the Peace Corps, including as the agency’s Associate Director for External Affairs where he led the agency’s communications, congressional, intergovernmental affairs, and private sector engagement efforts. Complementing his governmental and NGO sector experience, Jeremy has eight years of experience in Congress where he served as the staff director for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight and held several positions in the office of former Congressman Russ Carnahan. Jeremy holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a JD from St. Louis University School of Law.
Sarah Sweeney is an Army wife and serves as the Executive Director of the Boston-based Military Friends Foundation, a statewide non-profit whose mission is to assist warriors, empower military families, and honor fallen comrades. Sarah has worked to deliver innovative programs that focus on the emergent needs of both Servicemembers and Families of Fallen. Sarah has also focused on developing a collaborative model of care that brings together public and private resources to provide Families of the Fallen with immediate access to critical local support services. MFF hosts the Tough Ruck Marathon to honor Fallen Military and First Responders in conjunction with the Boston Marathon. Prior to MFF, Sarah worked on the United States House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs. She served as the Staff Director for the Massachusetts General Court’s Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. In her role with the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee, Sarah was the lead author of the state’s first Commission to study the Hidden Wounds of War on Servicemembers and Military Families. Sarah has received Army Commanders Award for Civilian Service from the Department of the Army; and the Molly Pitcher Award for her contributions to the Field Artillery Community. Sarah holds a degree in Communication from The George Washington University.