Meet Our Team
Ed LeTourneau was raised in Burr Ridge, IL. His family have always been firm supporters of our Armed Forces. Although unable to serve, due to health issues, he strongly supported his veteran family members. The events of 9/11 became a turning point in his life. He vowed to do more for the brave defenders of our freedom. He began volunteering his time to support several local veteran causes. During this time he encountered many returning veterans struggling to resume the life they left. He observed our veterans suffering from many visible and invisible injuries and became even more determined to help. Over the years he became frustrated with the shortcomings and failures of the existing programs he was familiar with. Believing there had to be a better way he began to develop ideas and techniques. Finally, these concepts became the foundation for his unique Veteran University for healing and transitioning our returning veterans. He went on to found Salute the Armed Forces®, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, dedicated to the concept of “veterans helping veterans”. He continues to lead Salute the Armed Forces as a volunteer. Access Ed’s resume by clicking here.
Joe Cima, Director, US Navy Veteran
Joe served in the US. Navy from 2001-2005. Born and raised in Willowbrook, IL he graduated from Hinsdale South High School. He attended Western Illinois University and College of DuPage. Following college, he joined the military and was stationed onboard the USS. Anchorage and decommissioned the ship in 2003. He then went on to ACU-1 Cornando, CA. where he was promoted to 2nd engineer on LCU 1633. He was honorably discharged in 2005. Joe then resumed his college education, and earned his real estate broker’s license. He went on to pursue a real estate career with Re/Max in 2006. In 2008 he furthered his career, joining the real estate investment firm of Marcus and Millichap. He also has been an active member of Toastmasters International since 2008. Joe is a Master Mason where he continues to give of his time. In addition he also is a Medinah Shriner, an organization dedicated to helping with various charitable undertakings. Joe firmly believes in being of service wherever he can, and volunteers coordinating a variety of activities at Salute the Armed Forces.
Auxiliary Board Members
Dr. Robert Kauffman
Robert Kauffman started his career as a psychotherapist trained in individual, marital, family and group psychotherapy. He also had training in the treatment of substance abuse. However, thirty five years ago his career took a big turn when he started working for a large pharmaceutical company as the Director of Employee Counseling. As he solved personal and family problems for employees, he was soon asked to begin to solve business problems for the company and his career as a business coach began. In 1980 Bob founded along with a partner Human Effectiveness, Inc. which provided employee assistance services nationally and business consulting. They sold that business in 1995 and Bob founded the American Institute of Learning and Cognitive Development, Inc. which later became Critical Thinking For Success, LLC.
In the early 1990’s Bob had become interested in what cognitive science was learning about the brain and how it functioned. He got trained in how the brain works, particularly in the basic critical thinking skills through which all of our thinking is processed. These skills have been neglected by education as educators believed these skills couldn’t be improved once they were established by the age of seven or eight. This is far from the truth and these skills can be improved with dramatic results occurring for students, business people, athletes, the military and brain injured. Because of our lifestyle change since World War II, these basic critical thinking skills have been on a decline.
Because of Bob’s interest in business, he has along with his staff applied this knowledge about these basic skills to business and the military with great results. Companies increase revenues and profits, decrease costs, improve leadership, decrease stress, become more innovative and have more fun. The training he and his company provides starts with an assessment of 14 basic thinking skills and then goes on to improve these skills in either individual or group training. The training usually takes about 10 to 12 weeks with the weekly session lasting around 2 hours. Participants are expected to practice brain exercises for at least a half hour a day while in the training.
Bob and his staff also provide neurofeedback services which actually helps the brain balance itself. The services help people thinking more efficiently, sleep better and stay focused longer. Neurofeedback is especially useful for ADD/ADHD, head injuries such as concussions, PTSD, learning problems, headaches, depression and anxiety.
Bob is a co-founder of SportsBrain LLC which provides baseline testing for athletes before getting a head injury and if a head injury occurs provides return-to-play testing so that an athlete can return to his or her sport safely. SportsBrain LLC is about to embark on research with veterans with PTSD in conjunction with VA to demonstrate the effectiveness of neurofeedback in the treatment of PTSD.
Duane was born and raised on a farm just outside Maquoketa, Iowa until he was 18. After graduation from high school he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. Upon completion he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Duane was on active duty for 11 years and in the USAR for two years ultimately achieving the rank of Major. During that time he was stationed at numerous posts in the combat engineers and also earned a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.
Duane is currently the Roadway Group Manager at Ciorba Group, Inc. managing design and construction engineering services on infrastructure improvement projects. These projects have included the reconstruction or rehabilitation of expressways, arterial streets, county highways and local streets as well as the installation of new drainage systems, water mains, traffic signals and lighting.
Duane’s hobbies include cycling, organic gardening and woodworking. Duane and his wife share their love of cycling with their community by teaching proper riding in city streets to encourage safe and easy options for getting around. They organize events and rides throughout the year to demonstrate proper riding techniques, highlight neighborhood businesses, and to have fun.
Brian is a successful entrepreneur and business coach with three decades of experience producing dramatic business results for start-ups as well as small and mid-size companies in the manufacturing, professional services, high-technology and financial service industries. He founded TGP in 2014 based on his desire to help others experience life beyond business and financial success to achieve significance in their world. In 2011, Brian co-founded Chicago-based professional services and advanced planning firm Momentum Strategic Advisors, and in 2006, he and a partner started Alliance for Strategic Advantage, a sales training and management consultancy. Throughout his work in business, Brian has held leadership positions responsible for all aspects of business operations in roles ranging from CEO, CIO, VP of Operations, and Sales Leadership. He currently serves on several boards for companies in the Chicago area. As Chief Information Officer of a publicly traded company, Brian received an AITP Chicago “CIO of the Year” Award in 2000. Brian and Tawnya, his wife of 32 years, live on a private lake in a rural town, 70 miles southwest of Chicago where they spend time with their kids, grandkids, family and friends.
Howard Kotlicky, Lt. Col USAF Retired
Lt. Colonel Howard J. Kotlicky graduated from the University of Illinois in 1967 and was commissioned to 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF. Howard earned the Distinguished Graduate recognition from the USAF Navigator Training, and was assigned to the F-111 as a Navigator/Weapons System Operator. He also earned the Distinguished Graduate recognition from the German/USAF Pilot Training program. He went on to complete OV-10 training as a Forward Air Controller. Howard flew combat missions as a Pilot/Weapons System Operator, and earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. He was an F-111 Aircraft Commander and Instructor pilot in the European theatre until leaving active duty in 1978. He went on to become a C-130 Aircraft Commander in the USAF Reserves at O’Hare airport, until retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1989. He was also a member of the management team for the Royal International Air Tattoo for 20 years. This is England’s largest Air Show in support of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. Howard continues to actively support Salute the Armed Forces® projects as a volunteer.
Bill Breymeyer, USMC
Bill Breymeyer was born and raised in the Chicago area. He graduated from Southern Illinois University with a degree in Commercial Design. Bill joined the Marine Corps and served for 6 years, including the reserve, as a Fleet Accountant. Following his military service, Bill founded a successful ad agency in Hinsdale, IL. Six years later, his agency was bought out by a larger company. Bill then founded his own graphic design and photography company, Breymeyer Design Inc., which is still operating today in Burr Ridge, IL. Bill is married, and is the proud father of three great children. Bill is a very important volunteer member of the Salute the Armed Forces® team.
Matthew Berrafato, USMC
Matt was born and raised in Morton Grove, IL and graduated from Niles West high school. He went on to serve in the US. Marine Corps Infantry as a rifleman from 2006-2010. During his service he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, based out of Kaneohe Bay Hawaii. Matt was deployed to Iraq twice in support of operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning home he attended Oakton Community College where he studied law enforcement as well as fire science. Matt also completed a fellowship with The Mission Continues, a project at the Chicago Botanic Garden designed to enable those with disabilities to take part in gardening/horticulture therapy. Matt is dedicated to helping fellow veterans by performing volunteer work with several local charitable organizations including Salute the Armed Forces.
Melissa is a motivated leader with a passion for health and wellness. A Chicago native, with suburban roots, who is often looking for areas of improvement. As a result of her own near fatal accident, Melissa developed a series of behavioral exercises known as “Brain Training”, in which she teaches others how to improve their cognitive functioning. Melissa has been in professional roles in the mental health field as a therapist, a counselor for individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries, and most recently as a Director of Human Resources at a small financial firm. She is currently working with clients as a coach and Brain Trainer. Melissa has received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of St. Francis and has also received Master’s level education in Counseling from Lewis University and Human Resources from Keller Graduate School of Business. While in school at USF, Melissa received highest honors, was the President of the Psychology Club, the Founder and President of Psi Chi-the International Honors Society in Psychology, the English and Psychology center tutor, and also played on the University’s soccer team. With professional, educational, and personal life experience in these fields, Melissa looks forward to utilizing her talents voluntarily to help Salute The Armed Forces provide community re-entry and life skills to the veteran’s they service.