Provide happier, healthier lives
for veterans living with trauma.
Ten years after serving in combat our founder returned to hope and happiness. Seeing many of his Marine Corps brothers continue that struggle, he vowed to grow an organization that could give them a chance to earn their happiness.
Personal trainers, positive psychologists, and military personnel collectively created the 23V Recon Playbook. A unique 14-week full-exposure and holistic approach to removing the negative effects of trauma. Based on self-reported data, this is one of the most effective programs developed for military and veterans who’ve experienced trauma.
100% of graduates have reported living a happier and higher quality of life. Many graduates have returned to the workforce, healthier family lives, and stronger contributors to their community.
Give U.S. veterans a future of hope,
opportunity, community, and inner peace.
Often voice something you are grateful for. Studies have proven that a focus on what we are grateful for leads to optimism and happiness. Talking about what we are grateful for is a simple lifestyle practice that allows us to enjoy all the moments in life. When exercising gratitude on a daily basis, those brain connections grow stronger allowing us to unwillingly find the positives in situations that used to draw only negatives.
Show others you care, especially those who need it most. Struggling veterans can be difficult work with. They are often frustrated with life and direct that anger to those trying to help. We remain compassionate to everyone, even in the face of cruelty. It’s only through your leadership by example that a frustrated veteran will learn 23rd Veteran is a place they are accepted, and place we welcome negative thoughts by truly listening to and understanding concerns with composure and compassion. Allowing that veteran to accept us is our only hope at giving them a life they want to live.
Be honest, even when it’s scary. Most military and veterans don’t trust people they didn’t serve with. Being less than authentic can permanently damage a veterans trust with our organization, preventing them from receiving the help we work so hard to provide. Here we welcome fears and failures and encourage you to share yours right along with sharing your successes.
MEET THE TEAM
Mike served in the Marine Corps infantry during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003. He spent the years following combat obtaining a business degree before managing US Courthouses and Federal Buildings in the Midwest. However, these years were plagued by a loss of emotions, nightmares, severe anxiety, and frequent panic attacks. Once he discovered his path to hope and happiness, Mike embarked on a transformative journey for himself and others.
With this new mental clarity, Mike turned his focus to understanding how combat had changed his brain, and why he was able to change it again in a positive direction. Leaving his federal career behind, he orchestrated collaborations among disciplines of mental and physical wellness. His goal was to intentionally and holistically reassociate negative memories and fear from traumatic situations with new positive memories.
Since 2015, Mike has led a team dedicated to piloting, studying, and improving this multidisciplinary approach from a not-for-profit perspective. Together, they strive to make a difference in helping others find their hope and happiness through positive trigger reassociation and training in a lifestyle that maintains a healthy level of baseline brain chemicals attributed to happiness.
Beyond impacting the lives of veterans and their families, one of Mike's proudest moments was being recognized by the Institute for Veteran and Military Families as the nation's "Best Venture Impacting Veterans."
Matthew D. Rosky
Matt comes to 23rd Veteran after 18 years with the North Carolina Outward Bound School. In his time at NCOBS Matt was a student, Logistics Coordinator, Warehouse Manager, Student Services Representative and Veterans Program Manager. During his 10 years managing this program he helped over 1500 veterans prepare for and complete veteran tailored outdoor expeditions in North Carolina and Florida.
Matt met Mike Waldron when Mike attended an NCOBS veterans course in 2015. He partnered with Mike utilizing NCOBS to provide outdoor wellness adventures that have been the first phase of the 23V RECON Program.
Matt’s passion for working with the veterans community is rooted in the experience of losing his brother Mike, a Marine, to suicide in 1998. He is committed to working to ensure that every veteran has a smooth transition and lives a happy and healthy life.
Matt attended the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. He holds degrees in Political Science (BA) and Multimedia Technology (MS). He lives in Hendersonville, NC with his wife Kelly, Great Pyrenees Pup Chief and Ninja Cat Tucker.
Lead Race Director
Ray Singson completed two combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during his service in the United States Marine Corps. After achieving the rank of Captain, he transitioned out of the military to pursue ambitions in health and fitness. Ray went on to coach more than 5,000 people around Philadelphia to dramatically improve their strength, energy, and confidence through CrossFit.
After learning about 23rd Veteran’s mission in 2019, Ray immediately formed a fundraising team and participated in Philadelphia’s inaugural Ruck Life. Ray's team was featured on the local news and became the largest Philadelphia fundraising team for the cause. 23rd Veteran’s mission effectively combines Ray’s passion for health and fitness with his commitment to serving his community. In 2021, Ray joined the 23rd Veteran Team as the Lead Race Director and Philadelphia Program Coordinator.
Ray graduated from Temple University. He holds degrees in Broadcast Telecommunications and Mass Media (BA) and Secondary English Education (M. Ed). He holds a current CF-L2 Trainer certificate, and lives in Havertown, PA with his wife, Allison, their three kids, Adelle, Tristan, and Atticus, and adopted lab mix, Shyla.
Executive Assistant on Steroids
Brittney Becker came to 23rd Veteran in January of 2018 with seven years of non-profit event and development experience. Brittney grew up in Wichita, Kansas and recognized her love for details and events from an early age. She attended college at Texas A&M University and graduated with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Business. After graduation, she was an Event Planner at the Alamodome. Searching for a deeper sense of purpose in her work, she became a Development Manager for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) where she got to plan and execute galas and walks that raised millions of dollars for the organization.
Brittney married her husband Kyle in November 2013. Kyle is a Captain in the Army and has the privilege of being the official "high-five guy" at our Ruck Life finish lines.
Jess comes to 23rd Veteran with eight years of experience in public accounting, most recently as a Manager with a focus on non-profits. Jess attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth and graduated with a Bachelor of Accounting degree, a minor in Psychology and is a Certified Public Accountant.
In early 2018, Jess saw a group of people in long underwear and shorts carrying packs on the Lakewalk along Lake Superior. Intrigued, she discovered it was the Ruck Life put on by 23rd Veteran. Fast forward a few years she finds that same organization was looking for civilian volunteers for Group 8 of its 23V RECON Program and she signed up. Seeing the program first hand was so impactful it led to a career change! She looks forward to her career with 23rd Veteran.
Jess lives near 23rd Veteran’s headquarters in Duluth, MN with her husband TJ, and dog Winston.
Calla learned of 23rd Veteran through the Duluth Ruck Life (RL) in 2019 and has participated in every Duluth RL since. She has also rucked the Twin Cities RL, captained the Immortals team for 23rd Veteran’s #RunTheVirus, and graduated as a civilian with Group VIII of 23rd Veteran’s 23V RECON Program.
Calla attended the College of Saint Scholastica and University of Minnesota, Duluth. She holds a degree in Biology (BA) and Accounting (BAcc), and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). Aside from working as Volunteer Coordinator, she is also a Financial Analyst at ALLETE and President of the Board for the Humane Society of Douglas County, Inc.
In 2019 Calla married her husband, Kenny. They reside in Duluth, MN with their dogs, Arlo and Benny, and cats, Miller and Marshall.
Calla finds so much joy in helping others. For her, volunteering is about giving a part of yourself to make other people happy, while also taking that happiness of others to simply be happier. There truly isn’t a better feeling than that and she looks forward to sharing this passion and joy with you in her role as Volunteer Coordinator.
Chair, Board of Directors
Nathan Helder is the Manager of Operational Technology at ALLETE, where he is responsible for leading the teams that support the various operational and control networks across ALLETE's subsidiaries, including ALLETE Clean Energies, Minnesota Power, and Superior Water, Light & Power. Nathan joined ALLETE as an intern in 2001 and has a background in application programming, enterprise integration, systems administration, and compliance. He grew up in the small country town of Mantorville, MN and moved to Duluth in 1998 to attend the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where he received Bachelor's degrees in Computer Science and Psychology in 2003. Nathan later attended the College of St. Scholastica where he earned Master's degrees in Management and Business Administration in 2016. He has a wife, Joanna, and two children, Xaria and Torin.
Nathan was introduced to 23rd Veteran while participating in the Leadership Duluth class of 2016-2017, where Mike Waldron was also a participant and gave a presentation on the 23V Recon program. Compelled by the notion of helping veterans to lead more successful lives, Nathan participated on the planning committee for the 2nd annual Ruck Life and later joined 23rd Veteran's board of directors. Nathan believes strongly in the vision for 23rd Veteran and is honored to help contribute towards its continued success.