Tom is a United States Marine from the Viet Nam Era. After leaving the Marine Corps he met and married Pat, his wife of 52 years. They have two sons and two grandsons. After completing his undergraduate and graduate work, Tom was employed by two multi-national companies spending most of career as the head of the administrative group which included real estate, human resources, labor relations, purchasing and security. He has been a volunteer with Warriors & Quiet Waters for 8 years serving as a Volunteer Companion, Assistant Team Leader and Team Leader. He enjoys watching and assisting our current generation of warriors learn about fly-fishing and incorporating the Warriors and Quiet Waters experience into their lives.
The Senior Director of Organizational Development & Community Relations for Simms Fishing Products, Diane Bristol has been with Simms for over twenty years, and previously worked with the former parent company, Life-Link International. During her tenure at Simms, Diane has managed Marketing & Brand Management, Product Development, and Customer Service, which included the Call & Repair Centers, Shipping Department, and Warranty Resolution. While Diane has served in these positions, Simms has achieved numerous product and advertising awards in national branding magazines. She has a BA in Psychology from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, Colorado and has served on the board for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association and the International Women Fly Fishers. She is a frequent guest speaker for marketing classes at Montana State University, is an avid fly fisher and enjoys outdoor activities and Montana State University football. Diane and her husband, Bruce, have lived in Belgrade/Bozeman for twenty-three years, and have one son who is currently a sophomore at Montana State University.
Through her role at Simms, Diane has had the honor of coordinating & distributing Simms gear to the Warriors that participate in the FX events. In 2014, Diane joined the board of WQW and looks forward to expanding her ability to assist and promote this great organization.
Gregory recently transitioned to the private sector after nine years of active duty service as a U.S. Navy SEAL. His service to our nation includes multiple military qualifications and overseas deployments. Greg is the Business Manager at Ascent Vision in Bozeman, a company specializing in precision technologies for the manned and unmanned aerospace industry. Greg continues to be an avid fly fisherman and prior to his military service worked as a guide in Idaho and Montana. He is excited to call Montana home and spend time outside and on the water with his wife and three children. Greg joined the board in 2017 and looks forward to contributing to the continued success of the organization.
Eugen Graf, IV
Eugene Graf is a native to Bozeman and comes from a long tradition of community involvement. He owns E.G. Construction, building homes and developing communities in Bozeman. Eugene Learned to fly fish from his father and uncle (both veterans) at a very early age. Montana is home and enjoys sharing the mountain, lakes, and streams with everyone, including his wife and two children. He has organized national fundraising efforts for various causes and supported various veteran causes. Before WQW, Eugene Graduated from Montana State University where he competed in Track and Field for the Bobcats, has served on several local government committees and is a previous board member of Eagle Mount. Eugene has been honored to be named Builder of the year for Southwest Montana 3 times as well as the Montana Builder of the year.
Jim Collins, Col, USMC (Ret.)
Jim Collins, Colonel, USMC (retired) served for 34 years in a career spanning the ranks from Private to Colonel. Initially a reconnaissance team leader in Viet Nam he subsequently became a Naval Aviator and fighter pilot flying F-4 Phantoms and F/A-18 Hornets. He commanded a squadron during Desert Storm and a Marine Aircraft Group before retiring in 2002. His wife Cherie is a retired USN Commander and Intelligence Officer. Their son Matt is currently a USN Reserve Seabee. After retirement from the Corps, Jim consulted for Booz Allen Hamilton and was a Professor with the University of San Diego School of Business graduate program. Jim has been fly fishing since he was 8 and was privileged to have been invited to the Slough Creek FX in 2013. He’s remained engaged as a volunteer companion and a FX leader for the last two years. In 2018 he was joined by his wife Cherie as a volunteer “Mom” and son Matt as a volunteer “Companion” on the same FX.
Aaron is a Solutions Manager at commonFont, a boutique professional services consultancy that provides Customer Experience (CX) technology solutions. Aaron is a recent veteran of active duty service from the U.S. Army, where he served as an Infantry Officer. In five years of active duty service, his assignments included positions in Airborne Infantry Units and the 75th Ranger Regiment. Aaron and his wife relocated to Montana after departing Active Duty Service in the fall of 2016. He enjoys all types of fishing, cross country skiing, and running. Aaron joined the board in late 2017 and is excited to give back to other veterans and contribute to the organization.
Chris Oliver is a former Major in the Marine Corps and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He was designated as a Naval Aviator flying the CH-53e Super Stallion helicopter and served three tours in Iraq accumulating nearly 1000 combat hours. Chris returned to flight school as an instructor pilot before leaving active duty after twelve years of service. He joined a reserve unit and was later reactivated and deployed to Okinawa as part of the reconstitution of the UDP. He currently serves as the principal of a private holding company, where he actively invests and mentors as an Angel in start-up companies, as well as partners and invests in various other commercial real estate and business ventures. He resides in Austin, TX, and Big Sky, MT. Chris has volunteered as a Companion on both Fishing and Skiing Experiences and now serves on both the Warriors and Quiet Waters’ National Advisory Board and Board of Directors.
Ali Ramirez, PT, DPT
Ali is a physical therapist at APRS and a Bozeman native, enlisting in the Navy after High School. Prior to her current position, Ali served 20-years in a variety of assignments including the U.S. Navy as a Russian Intelligence Analyst and the U.S. State Department serving as a Diplomat at multiple Embassies around the globe. Ali is also a yoga and apparatus pilates instructor, triathlete, and ultra-marathoner and left her government career in 2011 to obtain a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. After serving half her former career overseas, Ali is excited to be home and giving back to her community. Ali holds a DPT from Dominican College and MA and BA from Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
Tim Richmond is Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer for AbbVie Inc. a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world’s most complex and critical conditions. Previously, Tim held various human resources management positions at Abbott Laboratories and 3M Company. Tim is pleased to combine his love of fly fishing and deep respect for veterans by serving on the WQW board, which he joined in 2017. He is also a member of the board of the Travis Manion Foundation, whose mission is to empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. At AbbVie, Tim is the executive chair of the Veterans Employee Resource Group, formed to leverage AbbVie’s veterans to increase the company’s remarkable impact. He and his wife Heather live in north suburban Chicago with their three children.
Phil was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and spent many summers in Montana’s Madison and Gallatin Valley’s, both working and with family.
He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he also had the opportunity to play on the UW hockey team. After graduation, Phil worked at his family business from 1973 until retirement in 2010.
In the late 1970’s Phil served on the Board of Managers for the Schroeder YMCA and in the early 1990’s as a Trustee for the University School of Milwaukee respectively.
Nearing the end of Phil’s business career, he purchased property in the Madison Valley and moved to Montana full time in 2010. He enjoys working with horses and taking long rides in the mountains. In 2019, Phil will mark six years as a volunteer in key roles with the organization. He is the current NAB Chair and has been a member of the NAB since 2015.
Sarah Kiser (Boardroom Bobcat)
WQW’s Boardroom Bobcat for 2020/21 is Sarah Kiser, from Sonoma, California where her family has been for 5 generations. She is in Montana going to Montana State University studying Agriculture Business with a minor in Political Science and has been involved in agriculture all of her life, from growing up a hay farm to showing and owning dairy cows to studying agriculture itself. She is planning on going to law school after she finishes her undergraduate degree to further her education in agriculture. She is honored to be able to have this opportunity to give back to those who have given so much to this country.
Two individuals shared a common vision of how fly fishing in Montana could provide therapeutic rehabilitation to post-9/11 combat veterans. Together they rallied support for an idea, inspired others, and forged the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation.
Eric Hastings, Col, USMC (Ret.)
Col Hastings is a Bozeman native who graduated from Bozeman Senior High School. Although he was offered a full scholarship for music to Missoula, he turned it down, knowing that the only place he truly wanted to go was Montana State College (now MSU). At the encouragement of his father, Hastings enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1960 at the age of 17. He wanted to be an aviator and knew that the Marine Corps was the connection he needed. Hastings graduated in 1964 with a degree in history, philosophy and English, also earning his officer’s commission and marrying his high school sweetheart in the same year. Subsequently, Hastings attended every level of military school imaginable and earned two masters degree along the way.
After attending the necessary military schools, Hastings moved to Hawaii where he learned to fly the F-8 Crusader, an airplane he “fell in love with.” He then learned to fly the A-4 Skyhawk, which he flew for the majority of his career, including the 168 combat missions he flew in Vietnam. After his tour in Vietnam, Hastings was sent to several places around the world, eventually reaching the rank of colonel. Remarkably, Hastings was the chief of staff for Marine forces during Operation Desert Storm, in 1990-91.
Volney W. Steele, M.D. (December 23, 1922 – December 23, 2015) was born in Decantur, Arkansas. Exposed to medicine at an early age by his father, Volney enrolled in the Navy V-1 program after high school and earned his degree in medicine in 1945. He then received an internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital in St. Albans, New York. As a navy Lieutenant, he served on a U.S. Navy destroyer in Turkey, Greece and the Adriatic region at the close of World War II.
Volney also was recalled during the Korean Conflict where he served at Great Lakes Naval Hospital near Chicago. Upon honorable discharge from the Navy in 1948, he completed residencies in both pathology and general surgery at University of Arkansas. After his second term with the Navy, he practiced general medicine in Meeker, Colorado. Volney then completed residencies in surgical pathology at Gorgas Hospital in the Panama Canal Zone, and at the Sloane Kettering Cancer Center at Memorial Hospital in New York City. In 1956, Volney became the assistant professor of pathology at the University of Arkansas Medical School and received board certification in surgical pathology.
In January 1959, he arrived in Bozeman with his wife and four small children. He never looked back. Volney put all his resources into the first medical pathology lab in Bozeman, staffed by himself, one lab tech and one secretary; the origins of what would become Physicians Laboratory Service at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. Volney retired from medicine in 1986 after practicing for more than forty years. He went on to publish historical articles and books. Volney’s commitment to wounded servicemen and women led to his involvement in the formation of Warriors & Quiet Waters.
The Founding Board
The early Warriors & Quiet Waters Board of Directors took the Founders vision and through resourcefulness and determined energy made that vision a reality. These individuals worked tirelessly, voluntarily, and without compensation for years to produce a Gold Standard experience for our post-9/11 combat veterans and their loved ones.
Founding Board Members
- John Baden
- Jim Borowski
- Ed Brandt
- Ted Campbell
- Elyse End
- Mark Fogelsong
- Bob Frey
- Tom Fulton
- Eric Hastings
- Eric “Rico” Jones
- Bob Julian
- Dave Kumlien
- Bud Lily
- Steve McGrath
- Cliff Myers
- Tom O’Connor
- Ryan Olson
- Dave Shepard
- Volney Steele
- Mike Stoner
National Advisory Board
Col Eric Hastings, USMC (Ret.)
Ann Marie Fox
Philip J. Uihlein, Sr.