Dwain James – Chairman
Mr. James is a native Texan and former student-athlete with the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. His professional career included 30 years with the U.S. Army and Army National Guard, retiring in the rank of Colonel. Upon leaving the military, he served as the Executive Director for the American Collectors Association of Texas for 10 years before assuming his current position as the Executive Director for the Texas Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency.
Tina Lee – Director of Administration / Secretary
Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Ms. Lee graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a degree in Health and received her commission into the Air Force. As an Air Force Veteran, she supports those who continue to serve in the military today and in the past. Ms. Lee moved to Austin in 2012 to work for the City of Austin Veterans program. Tina advocates, supports and assists Veterans employed by the City of Austin, those serving in the Guard and Reserves along with the community members who also served in the Military. Ms. Lee is committed to Honor Flight Austin’s mission to send and honor our most senior veterans to see their memorials in Washington D.C.
For questions concerning veteran and guardian applications email firstname.lastname@example.org
Claude Jones – Vice Chairman
Mr. Jones is a native Texan and a U.S. Marine veteran. He attended The University of Texas Pharmacy School, Southern Illinois University – Bachelor Degree in Healthcare Management, and the Naval War College – Masters in National Securitas Studies. He retired from federal service in June 2013 as the Director of Real Estate for Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Pacific. He started a business that teaches firearms, personal security, and self-defense training to individuals and corporations. He has one son Jeff Jones living in Los Angeles, CA. He is very passionate and committed to the Honor Flight Program because of many family members that served in WWII both in the Pacific and Europe theaters.
Kory L. Ryan – Attorney
Mr. Ryan is Honor Flight Austin’s legal counsel and a proud U.S. Marine veteran. Kory is also a co-founder and board member of 22KILL. 22KILL is a global movement to end the veteran suicide epidemic that is plaguing our country. In addition, he founded the law firm of Ryan Law Firm, LLP, a national firm headquartered in Austin. Kory received his law degree, with honors, from Southern Methodist University.
Michele Cuteri – Treasurer
Ms. Cuteri was born into and grew up in a career military household. Her father was in the Army for 23 years. This afforded her the opportunity to travel to and live on bases in Germany and throughout the U.S. Wanting to be involved in an organization that honors our military she discovered Honor Flight Austin. Michele has been volunteering as an Austin guardian for the past two years. When the position of Treasurer became available she saw a way to become more involved while at the same time using her degree in finance. Michele is looking forward to continuing her service with our organization.
Dr. Nancy Glass R.N., Ph.D. – Director of Medical
Dr. Glass grew up in a Gold Star family and learned at a very early age the meaning of patriotism, sacrifice, and courage. Her father served proudly in WWII in the Pacific and was fortunate to return home to his family. Her brother’s father, however, was killed in action in France in 1944. It was that loss plus the loss of many friends in Vietnam that would later influence her dedication to veterans and their families. She considers it a profound privilege and honor to serve on the Board of Honor Flight Austin. Flying WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. is the very least that she can do to honor their extraordinary contributions to our country. These men and women are our national treasures and should be cherished and honored while we still have time.
Ed Piker, Licensed Paramedic, – Director of Medical Support
Commander Piker has been serving the community in EMS since 1998. His medical education was conducted in cooperation with the military at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Currently, he serves as a Commander, educator, and Medical Officer for Austin-Travis County EMS. The EMS department has been extremely humbled and honored to provide medical support for the veterans who participate in the life-changing trips provided through the Honor Flight Program. Commander Piker was appointed by EMS as the liaison to Honor Flight to assure that each trip receives the attention to detail required to achieve the highest level of clinical safety and organization. He considers it the highest honor to serve Honor Flight in memory of his late grandfather, a WWII Purple Heart recipient.
Craig Krienke – Director of Operations and Logistics
Mr. Krienke was born and raised in Central Texas and after graduating from Round Rock High School, he attended the Fire Academy in College Station. Mr. Krienke started working for the Georgetown Fire Department in 1989 where he currently serves as a Battalion Chief in Operations. Craig oversees the technical rescue teams and is a founding member of the Georgetown Honor Guard. He currently serves on the Line of Duty Task Force which assists families of fallen first responders in Texas. He began volunteering as a Guardian with Honor Flight Austin to help give back to the men and women who bravely served our country.
John Spahr – Director of Outreach and Marketing
Mr. Spahr has been with the program since it began back in 2011. A native of Indiana and currently a Georgetown resident; John, a United States Air Force veteran and a retired Deputy Fire Chief, came to Texas in 2000 and quickly became involved in veterans’ causes. He has served as the State Commander of the Department of Texas of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and has won numerous awards in the VFW. He also works with Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, a group that gives flights in a 1940’s era biplane to veterans who live in nursing homes and retirement centers. One of his greatest loves, however, is Honor Flight Austin. An accomplished speaker, John is always willing to “spread the word” about Honor Flight and invite eligible veterans to apply for a flight. He greatly enjoys supervising the Austin Guardians, a group of wonderful volunteers who assist the veterans at the airport. In addition, John is responsible for arranging the Welcome Home ceremonies that follow each flight.
Honorary Board Members
Former City of Austin Mayor – Lee Leffingwell
As an honorary board member, Former Mayor Leffingwell was instrumental in the creation of Honor Flight Austin. Mayor Leffingwell, a veteran himself, served as an officer and a pilot in the United States Navy and served in the Vietnam War. After leaving active duty, he served in the Navy Reserves and retired at the rank of Commander. Mayor Leffingwell attended the second and Austin’s largest Honor Flight in October 2012. Mayor Leffingwell is committed to helping Honor Flight Austin serve all local WWII Veterans.
As Navy Veteran, a Council Member and Mayor, Mayor Leffingwell has been very passionate and focused on supporting Veterans; under his leadership and vision, the City of Austin has created an unequivocal Veterans program. The City of Austin has been recognized both locally and nationally for their unprecedented program; most notably is receiving the DOD, Secretary of Defense Freedom Award; one of only 15 employers nationally to receive this honor and of course the DAV’s state and national commanders large employer of the year award.
Allen Bergeron is a gratefully retired Marine; finishing his Marine Corps career from the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California; serving on active duty for 20 years in both the Air and Ground components of the Marine Corps. Allen currently serves as the City of Austin’s Veterans Program Administrator; he also serves as an Advanced Military Ombudsman for the Department of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR).
Allen manages one of the most aggressive Veterans programs in the country; the City of Austin was awarded the ESGR Secretary of Defense Freedom Award; being the first large City in the County to receive this prestigious honor; the City of Austin was recognized for going above and beyond federal requirements in supporting their Guard and Reserve members (and their families) before, during and after their military deployments; their program also focuses on support and awareness for all Veterans in the area of military transition, USERRA, PTSD, mTBI, Veterans Employment, and military benefits. Allen is a passionate supporter for approx 1800 City of Austin employees who are Veterans and those serving in the Guard and Reserves, as well as supports Veterans and Guard/Reserve members at the local, state and national level.
Along with former Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Allen was instrumental in creating Honor Flight Austin in 2011. Allen was one of the founding board members of Honor Flight Austin, serving as the Chairman of the Board from inception to December of 2017.