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Meet Our Partners

Vine & Branch

Our partnered organizations and individuals represent critical areas of interest for Veterans and their Families. Their representatives are leaders within business, health care, volunteer service, real estate, education, and the Church (all denominations).

These partners have agreed to assist the V&B Family in our efforts to connect Veterans and their Families with local communities and employment all over the United States. The V&B Family could not accomplish its mission without dedicated partnership support.

 

 

 

Lastly, our partners see how they can both learn from and impart knowledge to the Veteran and Family community.

 

Below is our new and growing list of Partners and Best Practice Groups organized by State.

Map of the United States Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

 

Board Members

Our incredible Board Members are chosen to serve because they have a passion for Veterans, Veteran Families, and their communities, while also agreeing to invest their time and energy into a fledgling concept and organization that is the V&B Family. Our Board members are highly respected within their fields of expertise, and we greatly value their time, energy, new ideas, and networking capabilities.
Chris Allen

Board Title: Founder and Executive Director

V&B Contact E-mail: Chris@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me: I’m Chris Allen, and I want to thank you for visiting our web page . I am the father of 3 beautiful girls and husband to Jennifer, an amazing military wife. I have a Masters in Counseling from Covenant Theological. Most importantly, I am a Christian who is blessed with the mission of starting Vine and Branch Family.

John Chapter 15 in the Bible underpins the Vine and Branch Family approach to both work and culture. I make no apologies for our approach, while at the same time desire to help Veterans, their Families , and Americans of all faiths and career fields. Note: I always capitalize “Family.”

My time as an Army Officer, numerous deployments while serving on both Active and Reserve Duty, led me to recognize first hand that Veteran and Family concerns move beyond PTSD, injury, homelessness, and the ever present need for meaningful employment. Those are all very real and important issues. The hidden yet larger issue compounding the problems I just mentioned is cultural. Simply put, there is a disconnect between military and civilian cultures.

There is no “magic bullet” solution or program that will “fix” all Veteran and Family issues. What we can do is harness existing institutions that traditionally benefit both Military and Civilian Cultures. We will work through a network of Churches, employers, volunteer service organizations, Counselors, health care professionals, Real Estate Agents, and other Veterans to strengthen military and civilian cultural connections. Vine and Branch Career Solutions (LLC) and Vine and Branch Ranch (NFP) will help bring military and civilian cultures together.

Lyz Pickette

Board Title: To Be Determined

V&B Contact E-mail: Lyz@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me: Hi, I'm Lyz Pickette. I'm the proud spouse of a retired Air Force veteran and mother of two energetic boys, ages four and seven. I'm a home school mom to my oldest son, a volunteer, sports-mobile chauffeur, and self-employed entrepreneur in the skincare industry. 

In 1996, I earned my undergraduate degree in Studio Art from Florida Southern College with minors in Spanish and Secondary Education. After teaching ESL for a summer in Central America, I discovered I had a deeper passion for linguistics and decided to pursue the subject area further. In 2008, I completed my MA from Western Governors University in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). 

Somewhere in the middle of all that, I was swept off of my feet by a handsome man in uniform who promised me the world. And boy, did he deliver! Before we retired from the military and settled here in the Tampa Bay Area, my husband's military career took us to many spectacular places all over the world. 

While our active duty military life was exciting, adventurous, and full of endless surprises, it was difficult for me to hold down a career in my field. I soon left my own career as a professional development trainer for the school district where we were stationed to become a stay at home mom. My story mirrors that of thousands of spouses who spend years supporting their partner's military careers. Frequent moves make it difficult to obtain work licenses, leaving trailing spouses without work, underemployed, and often losing valuable job skills. This is why I support the mission of Vine and Branch Ranch. Active duty members moving from duty station to duty station, their families and those retiring need services such as those offered by V&B to assist them in obtaining and maintaining work. We thank YOU for supporting our mission. 

Mike DiBenedetto

Board Title: To Be Determined

V&B Contact E-mail: Mike@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me: My name is Mike DiBenedetto. I am a Product Manager at Milliken and Company in Spartanburg, SC. We specialize in textiles, chemical additives, and performance products such as wind blade core solutions, military apparel, and air bags.

I earned my MBA through North Greenville University, my undergraduate degree in Business Administration-Finance through Southern Wesleyan University, and an AS in Supply Chain Management.

I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1998-2001. After that I worked for GE Energy in both Wind and Thermal businesses in various supply chain management roles for over twelve years. In 2013, I decided to make a move that eventually led me to Milliken where I serve as  the liaison between sales and manufacturing.

I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the Board of the Vine & Branch Family and look forward to helping Veterans and their Families in any way possible. 

Doc Warren

Board Title: To Be Determined

V&B Contact E-mail: DocWarren@vineandbranchfamily.com DocWarren@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me: Doc Warren (as he is known) has been in the Human Service field since 1990, and he has experience in the following clinical settings: Inpatient, Partial Hospital, Intensive Inpatient, Locked Wards, Intensive Outpatient, Home Based, Outreach, Substance Abuse, Criminal Justice, Half Way, and Transitional Living Centers. Doc Warren has worked with all ages on an individual, group, and family basis.

Doc is the founder of Community Counseling Centers of Central CT. Inc. and Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm. He serves as Clinical and Executive Director of both programs. Doc also writes a monthly column titled Nonprofit News, for Counseling Today Online- the magazine of the American Counseling Association (ACA). He also writes a widely read blog for the American Counseling Association (ACA) as well.

Doc Warren is not a Veteran; however, he comes from a family that has served in all the armed forces. He studied at Norwich University (the Military College of Vermont) and graduated from their Vermont College programs, earning a BA, MA and CAGS). He holds the following degrees related to the counseling field: certificate, AS, BA, MA, CAGS (*2), Ph.D. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and Certified School Counselor. At the time of this writing he is in the process of applying for certification in Canada.

Although not medically qualified to serve in the military, Doc’s family history, education, and both personal and professional experiences instilled in him a passion for helping Veterans and their family members. Doc Warren is a steadfast supporter of the V&B Family mission.

Colin Cremin

Board Title: To Be Determined

V&B Contact E-mail: Colin@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me:  Colin Cremin brings decades of leadership and operational expertise from both the United States Army and the private sector. Colin’s unique background includes highly decorated combat experience, coordinating multi-national exercises in Europe and the Middle East, leader development consulting in academic and business environments, as well as managing a multi-million dollar mortgage portfolio.

 

He graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and earned his M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. Colin currently resides in Wiesbaden, Germany, with his wife Niina and his two daughters, and is an integral part of the Army Europe Headquarters staff.

Colin is involved with numerous charitable organizations and has a passion for Veterans and their Families.

John Sheets

Board Title: To Be Determined

V&B Contact E-mail: John@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me:  My name is John Sheets, and I am currently Pastor of New Hope Bible Church, Kissimmee, Florida. I am married with three sons, and eight grandchildren. I served in the US Army as a Helicopter pilot from May 1969 to May 1974, one tour as a Gun Ship and Chinook pilot in Vietnam from 1970-1971. After Vietnam, I lived in Alaska and worked as a helicopter and fixed wing pilot for twelve and a half years. Afterwards, I operated as Captain of an Airbus 320 for Spirit Airlines for sixteen years and retired in October of 2013. From 1986 to 1998, I was Chief Pilot of a Flight School where I trained many International students and missionary bush pilots.

Education: Miami-Dade Community College, from 1967-1969. Florida Bible College 1984-1986. Degree in Biblical Education. Helped start New Hope Bible Church in 1986. Ordained in 1988 and became Assistant Pastor. I am now Senior Pastor.

I am led to help Veterans and Families in dealing with re-entry back into the civilian world, offering help that was not available when I left the military.

Adam Spafford

Board Title: To Be Determined

V&B Contact E-mail: Adam@vineandbranchfamily.com

About Me:  Adam Spafford has a broad range of professional experience from writing to finance and option trading. He's known Chris Allen and his family for many years, even before Chris's military career began. But when the opportunity arose to assist the fledgling Vine & Branch, he jumped at the chance. Although he did not serve in the military, Adam's sister is a highly-experienced Army officer who travels extensively in support of the military and its partners. He is happy to be able to help support those who've served even with his small contributions to Vine & Branch.

 

Click HERE for Vine and Branch Ranch (NFP) Draft Bylaws