Mt. Carmel Family
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!
Cheryl Christie – Director of Operations
Cheryl is a graduate of Capella University with Masters in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Her clinical experience includes work at an in-patient psychiatric hospital, consultation, and owner of a private practice. As a spouse of a retired veteran and Mom of a son who is in the Air Force, Cheryl is devoted to supporting our military community which makes her position at Mt. Carmel, managing the Veteran and Family Resource Center, Greet & Connect and our Volunteer Programs, an ideal fit.
Kirsten Belaire, MA LPC – Behavioral Health Program Manager
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.
Amber Hargrave – Supportive Services Program Manager
Amber is an active duty military spouse with exceptional knowledge of veteran specific organizations in our local community that assist our warriors of any era. As the Peer Navigator Generalist, Amber not only builds relationships with our community partners, but also understands the struggles of active duty, veterans and their families. Amber conducts non-clinical case management of various challenges, and partners with both the client and community partners to find a resolution. Educationally, Amber holds a Master’s in Health Administration from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Art in Sociology from Ashford University. Amber is a mother of four amazing children and has been married to the love of her life for ten years. Amber is a Texas girl by heart, but has called Fort Bragg, South Korea and Fort Carson home.
Daniel F. Martinez – Director of Employment and Transition
A retired First Sergeant from the U.S. Army, Daniel is originally from Southern California. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Army as an Armor Crewman. After 20 years of service, he retired out of Fort Carson and has settled in Colorado Springs. Daniel is currently pursuing a Master’s of Arts in Counseling, and intends to keep his focus on the Veteran community. When he is not volunteering by coaching youth sports, he can be found on the highways of the Front Range on his motorcycle.
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.
Nicole Holling – Peer Navigator – Veteran Integration Program
Nicole is a U.S. Air Force Veteran and spouse of an active duty airman. She was born and raised in Ohio and joined the Air Force after graduating high school. Nicole was stationed and lived throughout the United States and Europe before moving to Colorado where she and her husband now call home. Her husband is stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Nicole loves Colorado and enjoys the outdoors. She recently graduated from The University of Kentucky with her Master’s in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling.
Adam Baker – Peer Navigator – Veteran Integration Program
Adam joined the Army at the age of 17 and served in the Iowa National Guard while still in High School until deciding he wanted more. After spending 13 years on active duty as a Combat Engineer with multiple combat deployments, Adam was retired from the Army as a Sergeant First Class. Adam has plans on attending Colorado Technical University to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. When not working with veterans, volunteering with Victory Service Dogs, Adam enjoys hiking in the mountains with his wife and dogs.
Paul M. Arends – Peer Navigator – Veteran Integration Program
Paul is a retired Sergeant First Class from the U.S. Army, Paul is originally from Northern California. Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Army as an Aircraft Structural Repairer. After 24 years and 19 days of service, he retired out of Fort Carson and has settled in Colorado Springs. Paul is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration, and intends to keep his focus on the Veteran community. When he is not volunteering with ESGR, he can be found on the road every morning getting his miles in.
Chip Underwood – Job Coach – Colorado Veteran’s Service to Career Pilot Program
A Retired Master Sergeant from the U.S. Airforce, Chip was born and raised in Flint, Michigan and after a short time in college, realized he needed something different in his life. Chip decided to enlist in the Air Force and enjoyed a rewarding 20 year career in the Aviation Maintenance & Safety fields. For 18 of his 20 years, Chip was stationed overseas including two tours in Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Korea. Chip earned a Bachelor’s in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle University and will be pursuing his Master’s degree in the human services field. Chip is a restless soul who spends his free time discovering new places and learning new things.
Christina Martinez – Intern Facilitator – Colorado Veteran’s Service to Career Pilot Program
Christina is an overachiever with service to both the US Army (Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army) and the US Air Force (Technical Sergeant, U.S. Air Force Reserve). She is originally from Alamogordo, New Mexico. Upon graduation of high school, she completed two years of college before joining the Army as a Combat/Flight Medic. After almost 16 years of service, she transitioned from the Army to the Air Force Reserve, where she is currently training out of Schriever AFB, CO. Christina is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Sociology so that she can ultimately complete a Master of Social Work. She intends to give back to the Veteran community upon completion of her MSW. When she is not at work, Christina is in the stands cheering on her son in basketball and wrestling.
Paul Price – Workshop Facilitator – Colorado Veteran’s Service to Career Pilot Program
Paul is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel hailing from New Hampshire with 25 years serving in Force Support working on numerous human capital development programs. Paul served at locations throughout the U.S. and also in Germany, Japan, and the Middle East. After retiring out of the Pentagon, he transitioned into the private sector where he was the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for a technology firm in Washington, DC and then as a 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.
Nick Palarino – Director of Partner Development
Nick, a U.S. Army retiree, was raised an Army brat and his family settled in Bowie, Maryland. After graduating from The Citadel, he served 22 years as an artilleryman. His last eight years were assigned at Fort Carson serving in different positions that included Rear Detachment for three separate brigades, division level staff and two separate deployments. He holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Webster University. Nick married the girl next door while stationed at Fort Sill and they have a daughter who graduated from University of Colorado Boulder and a son in the Marines. During the summer months, you will find Nick hiking the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.
Melodie Owens – Development Director
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. Her parents instilled patriotism and giving back to our community. Her life- long contribution and volunteerism to military organizations is in honor of her Father. Melodie 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.
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.
Keisha Lancaster – Facility, Resource & Event Coordinator
Raised in sunny California, Keisha was the fifth in a household of seven children. Keisha joined the Army right out of high school and worked as a Transportation Management Coordinator on Fort Carson. The variety of outdoor activities and the weather convinced Keisha to remain in Colorado, her home now for over 18 years. Keisha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Accounting from DeVry University. Aside from education and family being among her biggest accomplishments, Keisha strives to make Veterans and Soldiers feel like family everywhere she goes.
Hilary Bryant – Program and Volunteer Coordinator
Hilary is a Colorado Springs native and daughter of an Air Force Veteran. Growing up surrounded by 5 military installations, she witnessed the demands of military life first hand. Her desire to work with military personnel stems from this, and Mt Carmel provides the perfect opportunity to do so. She is a graduate of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs with a Bachelor of Health Care Science, with an emphasis in Health and Wellness Promotion. Outside of Mt Carmel, Hilary enjoys spending an ample amount of time in the mountains backpacking, camping, and off-roading.
Juanita Reedy – Greet and Connect – Receptionist
Juanita is originally from central California and has been married for 14 years, 7 which have been as a military spouse. She and her family have been stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and currently at Fort Carson, Colorado. She has been a volunteer with the readiness group (FRG) at each of these duty stations and has served positions in the FRG such as Key Caller, Fundraising Coordinator, and is currently the Alpha Battery 2nd Battalion 12th Field Artillery Regiment FRG Co-Leader. Juanita has dedicated the last 7 years to help military families which aided her transition to Mt. Carmel as a Receptionist. Juanita is happy to greet you every day and will work hard to put a smile on your face!
Katie Travis – Resource Navigator
Katie is a proud Army Brat of 27 years. Although she spent her childhood traveling the greater Army bases, she has called Colorado her home for 14 years. She is an advocate for military veterans and their families. She spent 10 years teaching and coaching military children on Fort Carson. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Social Work in an effort to further her career working alongside the military. Katie began at Mt. Carmel as a volunteer in the beginning of 2017 and is thrilled to be an official member of the team.