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 Founders: The Chaplain & The Veteran 

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Sharon Schlerf (Newcomb)

Sharon was one of the co-founders of a community church and school in Berlin-Ocean City, MD, in 1982. She became a Chaplain by earning a B.A. in Counseling & Theology (Biblical Studies) at Trinity Seminary & Theological College. The Chaplain has also been active since 1985 in community development, emergency response, and achieving her M.A. in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) in 2002, after serving on President George Bush’s Citizens Response Team with Pastoral Crisis Intervention services during 9/11 in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, PA. 

Eight months before 9/11, her own experience of being struck by a car during a storm emergency response that caused severe injury and permanent physical disabilities along with a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) first-hand. As so, she became a ‘Peer’ with a comprehensive knowledge of both personal and clinical approaches of care. 

 

She has served at the Eustis-Langley Joint Command as a Chaplain and War trauma-care specialist, beginning 2008-2011 (Fort Eustis, VA) and again 2015-2018 (Eustis-Langley Joint Command) pre & post-deployment whole health management care: Body, Soul, Spirit.

The Chaplain is widely known for insight into the body, mind, spirit needs of our Service Members, Veterans & Families, as well as her service with US DHHS SAMHSA Faith-Based & Community Organizations (FCBO) adjunct faculty and technical assistance for them nationwide, from 2012-2015. Since 2012, her husband Michael, has been a co-founder of the non-profit organization partnering in the US DHHS SAMHSA Service Member, Veteran, & Families (SMVF)) purpose & mission, 'active duty' until retirement in January 2021.

Sharon is transitioning to semi-retirement January 2024, now role as Mentor, Advocate, Advisor so that the Post-9/11 & and Generation Z can lead the way to the next horizon of 'Peer' behavioral health care administration, training and services.

Michael 'Mike' Newcomb

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US Army Veteran, Veteran-Certified Support Specialist (V-CSS)

Michael ‘Mike’ Newcomb, US Army Veteran, one of Virginia’s pioneers advocating for ‘Peer to Peer’ mental health professional recognition, evidence-based best practices and credentialing (2006). A Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) and Peer Bridger in the civilian community until 2012, as a military member with his own ‘body, mind, spirit’ wounds recognized the serious lack of military holistic health support services. 
    
He became the first Peer Specialist hired by US Department of Veterans Affairs for Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA, in June 2013. Mike introduced US DHHS SAMHSA Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery (APPR) program for both in-patient and out-patient veteran care until June 2018.
    
As a State of Virginia Office of Recovery Services (ORS) listed as VA Certified Peer Recovery Specialist curriculum trainer, and was the Master Trainer and co-creator for all of the US DHHS SAMHSA Peer Workforce Curriculums certifications until January 2021. Retired, he is still an advocate and wise advisor.

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Sharon's Service Dog

Compass

Compass was initially bred and trained by US Army Veterans for Military K-9 & Law Enforcement duties. When Sharon's beloved service-dog, golden retriever 'Thor' died, she was asked to visit them. The eight-week-old German Shepherd climbed into Sharon's lap, enlisted herself, and trained for service-dog duties and faithful friend. She is 10 years old now, and 'retired'.

                           Photo: 'Parade Rest'

Michael's Comfort Cat

Magnet

Magnet aka Maggie is a Scottish Fold breed kitten 2020 only a few months old and is now four years old. Adopted to be his 'emotional support' cat', guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

         Photo: 'Sentinel Watch'

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