Purple Star Board Members
John Henry Parker
Co-Founder & Board Chair
John Henry created Purple Star Veterans and Families (PSVF) in 2010 in memory of his son Danny Facto who was killed in an excessive speed related motorcycle accident after completing his military service. Danny was a Purple Heart Recipient and Combat Veteran of two tours in Afghanistan with the Army 10th Mountain Division. PSVF was also launched on behalf of countless families of struggling Veterans and for the families of Veterans who are not surviving homecoming. John Henry is a former peacetime Marine and his father was a former Marine, Korean War Combat Veteran and Air Force Vietnam Reconnaissance photographer. John Henry has been in the field of behavioral assessment analysis since 1991. He has worked in the field of personal, professional, transformational and leadership development since 1986 with an emphasis in team analysis and performance management with business owners and leaders.
Danny Facto 1979 – 2009
Co-Founder in Memoriam
Recognizing the Contributions of Danny Facto Purple Heart Recipient and Combat Veteran of two tours in Afghanistan with the Army 10th Mountain Division. Until his passing, Danny was pursuing a Masters in Clinical Social Work from Syracuse University with a vision of working directly with Veterans and their families both inside and outside the VA. Many of the concepts and programs Purple Star has been developing since 2004 are a result of Danny’s ideas and insights from his personal and family’s homecoming and transition experiences.
Cindy Baldwin has made it her mission in life to advocate for those in need. In 2006 her husband died from suicide. Cindy, having first-hand experience of the aftermath of such a loss has found meaning and purpose in advocating for and assisting those in similar circumstances. For the past six years Cindy has been a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer in which she advocates for foster youth – children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned and are living in out-of-home placements. She acts as the “eyes and ears of the judge and the voice of the child.” She is also a Family Mentor with CASA of Placer County she mentors to parents who have had children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Cindy has been employed with the California State Senate on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for the past fifteen years. Cindy initially reached out to Purple Star for assistance with a few veterans that needed help. After working with Purple Star, she found herself drawn to get involved as a volunteer. Cindy is also proud to say her father was a WWII veteran in the Navy. She is a mother of two adult children. When Cindy is not working to help others you will find her on a yoga mat teaching and promoting health and wellness.
Blue Star Mother
Melanie Reagan has served as volunteer liaison for Purple Star Veterans & Families for more than a decade. She is employed by the California State Senate as Consultant to the Joint Legislative Committee on Fairs Allocation & Classification. She is also an award-winning media marketing professional with more than 20 years career experience including on-air radio and television broadcasting. She developed successful promotion teams, executed major media events, leads marketing and writing workshops and just completed her first book, a memoir dedicated to her late husband. Melanie is also a certified instructor and fifth degree black in Taekwondo. Melanie’s father was a WWII Navy doctor and her twins and their spouses graduated fromWest PointArmy and United States Air Force military academiesand are actively serving.
Dr. Mark C. Russell, PhD, ABPP
Dr. Russell is a recently retired U.S. Navy Commander and military clinical psychologist with over 26 years of military service. He is an Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom veteran with numerous awards, including the Navy’s Meritorious Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf clusters), Navy Achievement Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf clusters), and the 2006 “Distinguished Psychologist Award” from the Washington State Psychological Association for his persistent efforts to improve military mental healthcare.
As a top recognized military expert on war stress injuries, Dr. Russell was called upon to testify before the congressionally-mandated 2007 Department of Defense (DoD) Task Force of Mental Health regarding his efforts to prevent a military mental health crisis, as chronicled by USA Today. His views proved prescient, as evidenced by ongoing news reports of problems encountered by veterans seeking help, and how their unhealed trauma may also be responsible for acts of violence. Dr. Russell was the first EMDR trainer in the Department of Defense (DoD), conducting consultation for DoD practitioners and EMDR therapy trainings, including one for the U.S. Army’s 113th Combat Stress Control Unit deployed to Afghanistan last year.
Dr. Russell’s publications include articles on a variety of therapies and healing modalities with battlefield evacuees at a field hospital for combat-related acute stress disorder and PTSD, and the treatment of military outpatient clients. Outcomes included clinically significant changes of PTSD and depression symptoms after four to eight sessions, even if wounded in action. Dr. Russell currently chairs the PsyD program at Antioch University Seattle, where he is researching war stress injuries and compassion fatigue in collaboration with several military agencies.