Gary LaGrange, Colonel US Army (Ret)
Gary is the founder of Service member Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) Corp. He is a 28 year veteran of the US Army. He retired in 1991 as a Colonel. During his career he served three tours in Viet Nam during the war there including 18 months in Laos in Special Ops. He is a recipient of the Purple Heart.After his retirement he served as a senior civilian at Fort Riley, Kansas, retiring a second time during 2002. He served as a consultant with the Defense Department for 5 years before forming and acting as CEO of a not-for-profit Corporation engaged in providing 2 million books and 400 tons of school supplies to children in Iraq and Afghanistan.Over the past 5 years, he has trained 228 soldiers and veterans wishing to farm.
He is a Master Beekeeper having completed the University of Montana’s rigorous course. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree from the University of Iowa and a Master’s Degree from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is a graduate of the US Army War College.
He was born on a farm in Iowa and raised in rural Minnesota. He and his wife Jan are parents of three daughters. They currently reside in Manhattan, Kansas.
Lieutenant General Mike Dodson (Ret)
Mike currently serves as Mayor for the city of Manhattan, Kansas after previously serving as a City Commissioner. He is past National Board Chairman of the Armed Service YMCA, and currently serves as committee chair for the compensation committee. He is board chairman for SAVE, an organization to help service members and Veterans move to careers in agriculture.He also serves on numerous civic groups in the city. He worked for the Bechtel Corporation for 12 years, having served with them in Iraq, and on projects in Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kwajalein, Fort Greely, Alaska, Fredrick Maryland, and Houston Texas. Among the projects were the Chernobyl reactor and the Ground Based Missile Defense System. Mike served in the US Army for 37 years and had numerous tours in the US and overseas. In the latter part of his career in the Army he served as Commander of III Corps Artillery, Commander of Fort Riley Kansas, Deputy Commander in Chief US Central Command, Commander of NATO Forces in Bosnia, and Deputy Commander US Army Europe. He served two tours in Vietnam and was in Kuwait and Iraq for Desert Storm.
Mike has a MS Degree in Engineering from Kansas State University.
He is married to Diane, and they have three adult children; Lisa, Leslie, and Mary.
Dr. Craig Bower CEO.
Craig served 24 years in the U.S. Army reserve and Army national guard where he held a variety of positions including battalion commander. He has done multiple combat deployments and received two bronze stars and the meritorious honor award from the U.S. Department of State. Dr Bowser has not only served as a leader in the Army but has also held leadership positions in a variety of companies and industries such as transportation, utilities, nuclear, and agriculture. Dr Bowser brings 30 years of executive leadership and business experience to the SAVE organization.
He and his wife own and operate a small farm in Kansas.
Joel D. Anderson, Colonel USMC (Ret)
Joel Anderson has more than 30 years experience in military, industry and academia. He currently serves as Development Director for Kansas State University within the Office of Research Development (ORD). Prior to joining KSU, he served as a Technical Director, Innovation Evangelist, and Senior Subject Matter Expert for ManTech International in support of HQMC Intelligence Department and its Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) office and Technology and Innovation Directorate; and as the Director for Mosaic ATM, Inc.’s Autonomous Systems Group. Between 1984-2010, he served in the United States Marine Corps where he rose in rank from Private to Colonel. During his career, he served as an (0231) intelligence analyst while enlisted where he was meritoriously promoted to Corporal, and as an officer he held military occupational designations as a (0202) Marine Air Ground Task Force Intelligence Officer, (0240) Imagery Officer, (0540) Space Operations Officer, and (8058) Acquisition Professional earning DAIWIA Level III Certification as Program Manager and member of the acquisition community while PM-Marine Intelligence Systems for the Marine Corps Systems Command. He held command positions as a Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon Commander, Commander of the 2nd Force Imagery Interpretation Unit (FIIU), and was Commanding Officer Company E. Marine Security Guard Battalion (Department of State). He served as the Marine Corps Senior Departmental Requirements Officer (DRO) and as the Imagery and Collections Section Head while serving with the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity; as the Branch Head for HQMC Intelligence Departments Imagery and Geospatial Plans and Policy Branch, and concluded his career as a Strategic Intelligence Planner for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence (OUSD-I) and as the Chief of Staff for Secretary Gates Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force (ISRTF). He has served at every operational level of the Marine Corps from Battalion, Regiment, Division, Wing, MEU and MEF; within the Marine Corps supporting establishment, HQMC and on the OUSD-I staff. Mr. Anderson has spent a career supporting efforts to address the complexities of the intelligence community and inter-agency information management, decision making, talent acquisition, educational and operational environments.
His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal; Bronze Star; Meritorious Service Medal with four gold stars in lieu of 5th award; Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal; Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Citation; Meritorious Unit Citation; Navy Unit Citation; Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal; National Defense Medal with one device in lieu of second award; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Southwest Asia Service Medal with three stars in lieu of additional awards; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with three stars in lieu of additional awards; Overseas Deployment Ribbon with one device; Marine Security Guard Ribbon; Kuwaiti Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia); Kuwaiti Liberation Medal (Kuwait).
Susan joined Kansas State University in March 2018 and serves as the Senior Executive Administrator to the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of K-State Research and Extension. Prior to joining K-State, Susan served as Deputy Secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture where she led the agency's policy efforts related to water and natural resources and oversaw the agency’s legal and human resources departments. Prior to joining KDA, she served as the Chief of Planning and Policy for the Kansas Water Office for eleven years. She also serves as the team leader for the development of the Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas. Before moving to Kansas in 2003, Mrs. Metzger served as the manager of the environmental section of a land development and engineering firm in Chantilly, Virginia.
Mrs. Metzger has a B.S. in Biological Sciences/Botany from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia and a M.S. in Biological Sciences from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Leadership Communication from Kansas State University.
James P. (Pat) Murphy. Professor Emeritus, Kansas State University
Pat is a registered Professional Engineer PE KS 11585 with an MS Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and a BS Business Administration,1968-1970. He was employed at Kansas State University from 1968- 2016.
Pat Murphy’s professional accomplishments have improved the design of livestock production facilities and improved watershed water quality. Improvements were researched, developed, and farm tested. Resulting designs were demonstrated and transferred to livestock producers for beef cattle, swine and dairy production facilities and related functions (feedlots, corral and handling facilities, feed storage, feed mills, pollution control facilities, livestock buildings, environmental control systems, energy consumption, manure systems-collection, storage, treatment, and land application).
Greg is a retired US Army Field Artillery Officer. He served nearly 37 military years, including Active Federal Service, and approx.12 years as a traditional Kansas National Guardsman. Greg served during his career as an enlisted Infantryman, Tactical Nuclear Weapons Technician, and Cavalry Scout Drill Sergeant. He received his commission through the KS Nat Gd Officer Candidate School in 1991 and subsequently served as an. Artillery and Nuclear/Biological/Chemical officer in both Reserve/NG and Active Duty capacities. He was the honor graduate for his Tactical Nuclear Weapons Course, his Drill Sergeant School, both honor and distinguished graduate of his OCS class, as well as being honor graduate of Field Artillery Officer Basic Course. Greg does extensive work with veterans and the VA and served as President of the Veteran Mental Health Advocacy Council to the VA from November 2017 until October 2018. He continues to serve in an advisory capacity with the VA’s National Longbeach Telemental Health program. He is part of the Flint Hills Area Veterans, a volunteer group of veterans seeking to assist active service-members and new veterans with their civilian
transition. He has operational deployments to Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Afghanistan.
He has undergraduate degrees in Education and Management, as well as extensive graduate work in Military Arts and Sciences, and Middle Eastern Strategic Studies.
Greg feels a natural calling to assist veterans at every level, and to give back as much effort to the veteran community as he is able. He became involved in SAVE during 2015, when a longtime friend, SAVE President Gary LaGrange, introduced him to the program.
He spent 5 years as a “Big,” with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and considers that to be one of the most rewarding endeavors he has undertaken. He and his wife Brett breed and raise Black Russian Terriers in their retirement.
Candice Shoemaker, Professor and Department Head, Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources, Kansas State University.
Dr. Shoemaker is a Professor of Horticulture and Human Health and Department Head in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources at Kansas State University. She developed and now oversees the online graduate certificate program in horticultural therapy and directs the Urban Food Systems specialization in the M.S. in horticulture program. Dr. Shoemaker’s research program investigates the physical and psychological health benefits of gardening, focusing on children and older adults, and the community benefits of urban agriculture. This research allows her to work with students and colleagues from across a wide range of disciplines, including kinesiology, food science and human nutrition. She has successfully obtained over $1,800,000 in grant funding to support her research programs. Dr. Shoemaker has more than 35 publications in scientific journals, proceedings, and books and has presented her work around the world. Dr. Shoemaker has received numerous awards throughout her career including the Charles A. Lewis Excellence in Research Award, the American Horticultural Therapy Association Publication Award, the American Horticultural Therapy Association Alice Burlingame Humanitarian Service Award and the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Excellence in College and University Teaching National Award.
Major General (retired) Tod M. Bunting
Tod served as the adjutant general of Kansas from January 5, 2004 until his retirement on 8 January, 2011. As the adjutant general, Major General Bunting oversaw the activities of the adjutant general’s department. This includes providing command and control and senior leadership for over 7,700 soldiers and airmen in the Kansas Army and Air National Guard. Major General Bunting served as Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Kansas, where he worked to ensure security in the state is a top priority. As the director of Kansas Emergency Management, he guided the states preparation for and response to disasters. Additionally, 105 county emergency managers and their staffs receive guidance and training through the Department.Prior to his appointment as adjutant general, Major General Bunting served in the Pentagon as Air National Guard director of diversity, personnel, and training. He directed all Air National Guard recruiting, training and personnel programs and was responsible for Air Force Personnel Mobilization Programs.Major General Bunting was commissioned as a distinguished graduate of the Air National Guard Academy of Military Science in 1979 and served in a variety of positions at all levels of the Air National Guard. His experience includes serving in fighter, bomber, and air refueling units and at the National Guard State Headquarters level. During his career, he served in Kansas Air National Guard units including the 190th Air Refueling Group, 184th Tactical Fighter Group, 184th Bomb Wing, and in the State Headquarters of the Kansas Air National Guard. Additional assignments included duty in Colorado and Texas.Major General Bunting’s highest military decoration is the AF Distinguished Service Medal.Major General (retired) Bunting served as Chairman of the Board of the National Guard Association of the United States from September 2008 -September 2010. He advises the board as a past chairman and is Vice Chairman of the National Guard Educational Foundation. He is active in nationwide efforts to solve veteran unemployment, working with Panther Racing's Operation Hire Our Guard - The Roadmap to Help.Com from 2011-2014, and serving since 2015 as Vice Chairman of SAVE (Service-member Agricultural Vocation Education). The SAVE farm is a teaching farm and healing center for transitioning veterans – A Pathway to Farming. General Bunting is also a Director of Heroes Among Us, a 501C3 organization that supports wounded warriors and their families with emergency financial assistance and specialized events such as Christmas programs for Children and Guided Hunting and fishing trips.
He lives on a ranch in Topeka Kansas with his wife Barbara, who is a retired high school chemistry and physics teacher. Their favorite activities are living history displays and cooking on their 1800s T bar B Chuckwagon, two teams of driving horses and a growing fleet of antique and modern motorcycles.
Shari LaGrange-Aulich, MA LMLP
Shari is a clinical psychologist and beekeeper who works with trauma, PTSD, depression and anxiety who is passionate about helping service members and veterans recover from combat related psychological and integration issues. She has trained at the Beck institute for suicidality and depression and presented on moral injury and posttraumatic growth in military populations at various national psychological conventions. She has a history with the military as an Army “brat”. She is dedicated to work to help reduce the 22 veterans and one active duty service member death by suicide that is occurring daily.
She is excited to serve those who have served our country to overcome obstacles to growth and find meaning through successful transitioning into agricultural careers. She is currently acting as a board member for the SAVE farm as a clinical advisor. She is currently developing a treatment manual to integrate Cognitive Behavioral techniques with Interpersonal skills to enhance healing and growth for students at the SAVE farm.
Julie has more than 20 years experience in public accounting and has been with Varney & Associates since 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s in Accounting and Business Administration from the University of Kansas and is a Certified Public Accountant. Julie is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants (KSCPA).
She has extensive experience with the agricultural industry and provides tax planning, transition and succession planning, and consulting services for both individual and corporate agribusiness clients. She also has audit experience, primarily relating to non-profit and employee benefit plans, and is a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor.
In addition to her professional duties, Julie also helps her husband, Bill, manage their fourth-generation farm operation located in North Central Kansas.
Eric is board member of the Service member Agricultural Vocation Education (SAVE) Corp. He is the chair of the Programs Committee on the SAVE Board. He is a 40 year veteran of the US Army serving a majority of his time in the National Guard. He retired in 2014 as a Brigadier General. During his career he served at all levels of command from Detachment through Brigade and has been assigned to the Department of the Army and National Guard Bureau staffs. He had one tour in Afghanistan where he was an Agribusiness Development Team Commander in Laughman Province.After retirement he maintains his farm near Zeandale Kansas and has become a volunteer fire fighter for the Riley County Fire Department.
He continues to work with several national level organizations developing tools to assist in planning in the area of food security.Eric holds a Bachelor of Science from Kansas State University, a Masters Degree from Webster University and a Masters Degree in Strategic Planning from the US Army War College.
Kenneth E. Neils
Kenneth has worked since 1972 in agricultural development and agribusiness in the private sector. He has seven years of experience as Production and Marketing of a large private fish farm in Maryland. He has led eight, long-term, international overseas projects/programs as Chief-of-Party, Team Leader, Agribusiness Value Chain Specialist, or Director of Agricultural Technology and Market Development and 20 short-term projects as Team Leader and/or Technical Specialist. During this time, he has trained and mentored thousands of agribusinesses in 24 different countries in all aspects of value chain development, from production to postharvest processing, packaging, and marketing. He has recently finished the design of the Climate-Friendly Agribusiness Value Chain Sectors Project in Myanmar for the Asian Development Bank and is currently working on developing the business model for one million metric ton capacity bulk grain storage facilities in the Punjab Province in Pakistan.
He helps guide the SAVE Farm in agribusiness. Ken holds a PhD and MS in Agricultural Economics, MS in Aquaculture, and a BS in Biology.
Dr. Lucinda Hardesty Stuenkel, Ph.D.,
Lucinda has been owner/manager of Sunny Day Farms and Stuenkel Farms near Palmer, Kansas, since her husband and his brother/farm partner were killed in a vehicle accident in 2010. The farm is 1400 acres of rolling hills (a discontinuous portion of the Kansas Flint Hills). The native grassland is managed rotational grazing for cow/calf and grass-fed/grass-finished beef, lamb, goat, and pastured chicken for 8 livestock owners, and custom calving for 7 cow owners. Row crops on the flatter land and deeper top soil include wheat, corn, milo, soybeans, alfalfa, brome, and prairie hay. Cover crops are planted between and after each row crop to improve the soil health and fertility, encourage beneficial pollinator insects, and provide supplemental grazing for the livestock and flowers for honey bees. Several small fields are dedicated to a series of 3 or 4 consecutive cover crop mixes each year for grazing and flowers for honey bees. By-products from the grazing livestock return additional fertility to the soil. Two nephews and three neighbors plant and harvest the crops and cover crops, and regularly check and move the cattle.
Dr. Stuenkel has a B.S. and M.S. from The Ohio State University and Ph.D. from Kansas State University. Lucinda has taught at Bluffton University, Iowa State University, and the S.A.V.E. (Service member Agricultural Vocation Education) program, and has been an Extension Specialist at Kansas State University. She is a favorite speaker at No-Till on the Plains, Bottomline Conference, and Soil Health University on topics of improving soil health, utilizing weeds for grazing, cover crops for grazing and soil health, low-stress livestock care, and farming more efficiently and regeneratively. Her friends call her a “cow whisperer.”
Lucinda is married to her new husband, Dean Denner, has 8 adult children/step-children and 6 grandchildren/step-grandchildren.