Mt. Carmel Family

Gerald D. (Jay) Cimino – Chairman of the Board and Trustee
Mr. Jay Cimino’s story began in 1936. Born and raised in Trinidad, Colorado, he spent his high school years at Holy Trinity Parochial School. After graduating in 1954, Mr. Cimino joined the Marine Corps. Upon completion of his tour of duty, he attended Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado, transferring to the University of Denver and graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 1960. Immediately after graduation he married Emily Roitz at Holy Trinity Church in Trinidad. After serving in various positions at various dealerships in Pueblo and Santa Fe, Jay joined Phil Long in 1975 as the General Manager. Many years and multiple promotions later, he entered into his current role as President and CEO of the Phil Long Family of Dealerships. Over the decades Jay’s philanthropic nature fostered a multitude of community partnerships, sponsorships and campaigns which ultimately led to a greater sense of need for the underserved populations. Always pushing to do more, Jay implemented his idea to help our military community by creating the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center in Colorado Springs and the Mt. Carmel Health, Wellness, and Community Center in Trinidad, Colorado.

Gina M. Cimino – Vice Chairman of the Board & Trustee
Gina M. Cimino is President and Broker of Kip Hampden Properties. She also serves as President of Mt. Carmel of Colorado as well as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees for the non-profit, which has two distinct centers. Being part of a philanthropic family has always inspired Gina to give back to her community. She has participated and volunteered in various activities including those by the National Charity League, Newborn Hope, Boys and Girls Club, Care and Share, and the National Cancer Society. She currently serves on El Pomar’s Southeast Regional Council. Gina is a Colorado native who attended Cheyenne Mountain High School and is a graduate of the University of Colorado.

Bob McLaughlin – Chief Operating Officer
Bob is a 29 year U.S. Army veteran who deployed several times in service to our nation to Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan during his tenure in the army. A husband and father of five children, he knows first-hand the challenges often created by military service and is using his passion and knowledge of our community to lead the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center, ensuring that we are a Beacon of Support for military, veterans and their families. His appointment to the Colorado Department of Veteran Affairs in 2016 provides him with great insight into the needs of veterans throughout our state and not only in the Pikes Peak Region. Originally from Massachusetts, he is a passionate New England sports fan and is often found sparring with our own Randy Gradishar over which color is best… Bronco Orange or Patriot Blue!

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Paul Price – Director of Operations

Paul retired from the U.S. Air Force after 25 years of service on human capital development programs. Paul served throughout the U.S., Germany, Japan, and the Middle East.  Following his Air Force service, he transitioned into the private sector where he was the Chief Administrative Officer for a technology firm in Washington, DC and then Senior Recruiter for an executive search agency in Colorado. Paul holds a Bachelor’s in Communications from the University of New Hampshire, a Master’s in Personnel Administration from Buffalo State College, NY, and was a National Defense Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies. Paul is active in his church and enjoys skiing, hiking, and volunteering at the Air Force Academy Equestrian Center supporting the Warrior Wellness Equine Therapy Program.

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Leslie A. Abrams – Administrative Assistant

Leslie, a native of Northern California, has spent the last 32 years in Colorado, primarily as administrative support in the legal field. Leslie serves as the Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and Director of Operations of Mt. Carmel… and you know what that means… Leslie keeps the ship afloat! Leslie’s enthusiasm, charm and confident demeanor enables her to keep our leaders on track with ease! Leslie is also behind the scenes working on our Social Solutions ETO case management system to ensure we deliver the best support possible to the veterans and families that use our services.

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Marcia Mitchell – Controller

Marcia joined the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center family in April 2019. She has a M.S. degree in accounting and over 15 years’ experience working with non-profit organizations in the Colorado Springs area including health care and science education organizations.  Having recently completed the AICPA’s Not-for-Profit certificate program, she is excited about working with the team to strengthen systems and processes and develop a financial model for organizational sustainability. The daughter of a career Marine and Vietnam veteran, Marcia has lived on both coasts but decided to settle in beautiful Colorado 25 years ago after visiting it in a cross-country motorcycle trek. She loves to walk her dachshund dogs, go on road trips, and tries to do something creative every day with paper and paint.

 

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Kirsten Belaire, MA LPC – Director of Behavioral Health

Kirsten is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is employed as the Behavioral Health Program Manager at Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center. She graduated from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and, after working in the community as a clinician, she decided to join Mt. Carmel’s mission to help our military community. Kirsten’s role at Mt. Carmel is to ensure that the Behavioral Health Services offered are culturally competent, military specific, and accessible to our clients. Outside of her role at Mt. Carmel, Kirsten enjoys riding her motorcycle all over beautiful Colorado and travelling abroad.

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Cherish St. Denis – Director of Development and Fundraising

Cherish joined the Mt. Carmel team as the Director of Development and Fundraising in February 2020. She brings over 20 years of experience on a national, state, and local level developing and implementing fundraising campaigns, programs, and events for a wide array of causes, think tanks, organizations, private companies, and political candidates. Cherish spent 18 years as an Army Special Forces spouse and served on both the Care Team and Family Readiness Group (FRG). She serves as a Board Member for Supporting Courts by Creating Opportunities for Recovery (SCCOR), member of the Junior League, as well as an active member for many community groups. In her free time Cherish and her children serve as a foster home for kittens and large dogs.

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Missy Ward – Director of Communications and Marketing

Missy  joins us with a robust and diverse history of management, communications and community engagement.   

After moving from Texas to Colorado in 2008, Missy dedicated herself to raising her special needs children, being a military spouse and volunteer work.   She also launched a successful consulting firm, Flutterby LLC, that offers brand management and marketing to nonprofit, business, community and political organizations.  Missy attended Texas Tech University where she studied Mass Communications and Marketing.

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Shawna E. Dusharm – Greet and Connect Receptionist

Shawna is a retired U.S. Army Operations NCO with 22 years of service. Originally from Alamogordo, N.M., she joined the Army to serve as her father before her. She has served in North Carolina, Korea, Texas, and Germany with deployments to Kosovo, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Her husband is also a retired Soldier and they are proud of their two girls, two boys and twin granddaughters. Today, she holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Columbia College. Away from work she enjoys exploring Colorado. She is proud to continue serving veterans, service members and their families.

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Melodie Owens – Resource Development and Events Manager 

Melodie brings with her a background of working in the Resort/Hospitality business for the last 25 years. She has been involved in fundraising, sales and planning events in Breckenridge, Vail and in Colorado Springs. Most recently she was the Regional Director of Catering and Convention Services for the 365 Grand Properties, the Antlers and the Mining Exchange Hotels, previously she spent 8 years at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort.  Melodie is the daughter of a Korea/Vietnam veteran.  Her Father served in the Army for 23 years, living in the Azores and Colorado. She has served as the Honorary Commander for the 302nd Airlift Wing, 2007-2015, Board of Directors for One Nation Walking Together, volunteered and served on committees and boards for the WTU, USO, The Home Front Cares and First United Methodist Church.

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Savannah Cunning, MA LPCC – Organizational Development and Process Coordinator

Savannah is a graduate of the Counseling and Human Services master’s program at UCCS. She began her time at Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center as a counseling intern and then became the Intake Specialist for the Behavioral Health Program. While serving in the mental health field, she recognized her passion for organizational and people development within the overall structure of an organization. She continues to volunteer for the Behavioral Health program while focusing on improving Mt. Carmel efficiency and operations in her current role. Savannah is the granddaughter of a Korean War veteran, her uncle is a disabled U.S. Navy veteran, and she has cousins who served in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. She was raised with a deep found respect for our military community and desires to give back.

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Alicia Grantham – Development and Fundraising Coordinator

Alicia Grantham joined Mt. Carmel in May 2020 as the Development and Fundraising Coordinator following three years as the Director of Donor Services at the Community Foundation in Augusta, Georgia.   While in Augusta, she served as a Board Member for Leadership Augusta, Augusta Chamber of Commerce Business Education Advisory Committee, and the Augusta Estate Planning Council.

She has lead efforts in developing and cultivating relationships with donors and grantors, and has had a significant impact on increasing organization asset size.  She has participated in numerous community collaborations and has a strong track record of building relationships with others for a positive impact.

She holds a degree in economics and finance from Southern Methodist University, received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Arkansas, and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia.

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Alisha Hall – Grants Manager

Alisha, MEd has been the Grants Manager with Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center since its inception in 2016. Alisha began her career as a public school teacher in rural southeast Colorado. Her transition into the nonprofit world has been very rewarding. She has 15 years of grant writing experience and has worked with many nonprofits whose mission is to “serve others.” Mt. Carmel has become her primary focus as she quietly works behind the scenes to secure resources for Mt. Carmel to have a positive impact on veteran and military families in Colorado. 

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Liz Foster – Case Manager

As a Case Manager on our Supportive Services team, Liz navigates various resources and community partners to find the help our clients need. Additionally, Liz is a certified Financial Fitness Coach and Accredited Financial Counselor, supporting and teaching her clients to develop the strategies and find the tools they need to build a solid financial foundation. Liz also heads up our Financial Wellness Program, working with community partners developing financial workshops geared toward teaching our Mt Carmel community ‘how to do money’.

Raised in a military family, married to a Veteran and a Veteran herself, Liz has a passion for teaching the basics of sound money management principals and has an understanding of the unique situations faced by many (military and non-military) every day. Liz gets great satisfaction in helping her clients learn to finesse managing their finances, resolve financial problems and reach their long-term goals.

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Tandi D. Zerfoss – Peer Navigator and Job Coach

Tandi is a U.S. Army Veteran retiring as a Reservist after 21 years of service.  She served 8 years on active duty and 13 in the reserves. Tandi earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Computer Information Systems and combined the experienced gained in Military Intelligence Electronic Warfare to build a successful career as a C-Level Executive serving in Information Technology. Tandi then returned to school and earned a Master’s of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology to pursue her true passion and calling to serve Veterans. Originally from Louisiana, Tandi claims to be as, “southern as a biscuit”. Tandi is the proud “Mama” of a daughter and a son; and “Mimi” to her four granddaughters. She loves to cook, fish, travel, and volunteer when she’s not visiting her granddaughters.

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Abbey Westphal, LCSW – Intern Program Lead

Abbey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and leads Mt. Carmel’s Veteran and Family Resources Department. Prior to joining Mt. Carmel, she served in private practice and as a behavioral health clinician helping at-risk youth and their families. Inspired by her family’s values and their example – a father who served as a volunteer EMT, and a grandfather and uncle who served in WWII and Vietnam, respectively, Abbey has a passion for serving veterans and their families. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of Denver and has a passion for Colorado’s outdoors to include hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing and nearly anything outdoors.

 

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Richard A Gagne – Peer Navigator – Veteran Integration Program

Richard is a retired U.S. Army First Sergeant with 21 years of service. Originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire he grew up in Aurora, Colo. He joined the Army as a Track Vehicle Repairer, eventually retiring out of Fort Carson. He enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House, Care and Share Food Bank, Toys for Tots, and ESGR. Richard is married and has two daughters and is a proud grandfather. He enjoys helping and giving back to Veterans and their families.

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Amy Demenge – Peer Navigator and Job Coach

Amy is a Veteran of the United States Air Force. She grew up in Cloquet, MN and to date is the only woman in her family to serve in the military.  In the Air Force she worked in logistics and was responsible for all the equipment and supplies to include the armory for the 60th Security Forces Squadron.  Amy is a Colorado Ambassador for the Women’s Memorial in Arlington, VA and volunteers at Safe Place for Pets in Colorado Springs.  Amy earned her B.S/B.A in Management from Missouri Western State University and her M.A. in Management and Leadership from Webster University. She is passionate about helping her fellow Veterans professionally and as a volunteer.

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Bob Ehrhart – Licensed Professional Counselor – Candidate

Bob is a 30-year Air Force veteran, having retired as a Chief Master Sergeant (E-9). After his military career he felt led to continue taking care of people and pursued a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Denver Seminary. Bob completed his counseling internship a Mt. Carmel, became a volunteer counselor after he graduated, and is now a part-time counselor with our Behavioral Health Office. Bob is passionate about meeting diverse people where they are and helping them to find restored mental health and a flourishing life. He enjoys cycling, strength training, hunting, and fishing. 

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Mark A. Smith  –  Peer Navigator – Veteran Integration Program

A retired Sergeant First Class from the U.S. Army, Mark is originally from Dexter, Missouri and resided there until his enlistment into the Army. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Army as a Motor Transport Operator. After 20 years of service, he retired out of the Nashville US Army Recruiting Battalion and has settled in Colorado Springs. When he is not at work he enjoys volunteering with The Veterans for Veterans Non-Profit organization and the El Paso County Homeless Coalition. Mark has two daughters and a son. He enjoys helping and giving back to Veterans and their families.

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Kayla Prior – Behavioral Health Administrative Assistan

Kayla is the daughter of an Army Veteran. She is coming to us with a Bachelor’s degree in both Psychology and Criminal Justice and over 2 years of experience as a Community Corrections Case Manager. She has an extensive background in volunteering, and she plans on pursuing her Masters in Social Work in the next year and continuing to grow her knowledge and ability to help people. 
She was raised in a military community and has always had a heart for helping those who need it, especially those who have served our country. At Mt. Carmel, Kayla is the first person that people come in contact with when seeking Behavioral Health services. When she is not at Mt. Carmel, Kayla enjoys hunting, hiking, and spending time with her fiancé, family, friends and animals. 

 

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Randy Gradishar – Outreach Coordinator
Randy, a former professional athlete, was raised in Champion, OH, a small northeast Ohio community. Randy credits his father, a WWII veteran and grocery store owner, for teaching him a strong work ethic and the importance of customer satisfaction. In 1974, after playing football for Legendary Coach Woody Hayes at The Ohio State University and earning a BA degree in Distributive Education, Randy was drafted by the Denver Broncos…enjoying a 10-year career, with the “Orange Crush” defense and a trip to Super Bowl XII. Following his NFL career, Randy proudly participated in 3 USO tours; visiting our troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia. He also frequents Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. Apart from working alongside Jay Cimino, President & CEO of Phil Long Dealerships, Randy and his wife enjoy bicycling, bible study, and serving non-profits.