Howard Somers, M.D., and Jean Somers, are the parents of CA Army National Guard SGT Daniel Somers. Daniel took his life in June, 2013, after suffering for nearly a decade with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and Gulf War Syndrome subsequent to serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Daniel’s condition was exacerbated by his experiences with the Phoenix VA Mental Health Department. He left an eloquent and heart breaking suicide note.
Since Daniel’s death, Jean and Howard have dedicated themselves to improving the care that the VA provides to our Veterans, especially in the area of Mental Health. They have developed initiatives to improve the transition process and increase general awareness among our service members “support network.” The idea for Operation Engage America is based on their own experiences with locating resources to help themselves and Daniel through the military-to-civilian transition experience and realizing that many other veterans and their families had similar problems. Howard and Jean have met with leaders in the VA, Executive Branch, Congress and the Department of Defense, and have testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Howard was born and raised in NYC, and practiced urology in Phoenix for 28 years. Jean who is from Canton, Ohio, is a paralegal and worked in the financial side of healthcare for 30 years. She was Howard’s practice manager for the last 12 years of their careers. They currently reside in the San Diego area.
Chief Financial Officer - William York
As the Executive Vice President of 2-1-1 San Diego, Mr. York brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise is instrumental in building and working with 2-1-1’s key community partners to design and build new programs within our service delivery structure to better serve the client and those entities that serve them. Mr. York restructured the Programs and Service Delivery Team in order to better meet 2-1-1’s mission, contract deliverables and standards, while building the infrastructure for future programs around issues impacting our community.
Mr. York joined 2-1-1 as a disaster volunteer during Firestorm 2007, helping 2-1-1 staff connect San Diegans to critical response and recovery information. In December following the disaster, he was brought on board as a Client Service Representative. Mr. York was quickly promoted to Service Design Manager, followed by promotion to Director of Programs, then COO, and today is 2-1-1’s Executive Vice President.
Secretary - William A. Bramley, Esq.
Mr. Bramley received his B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1969. He served in Japan, the Philippines and in and off the coast of Vietnam, eventually becoming fluent in Vietnamese through the Defense Language Institute in Washington, D.C.
After retiring from active duty, Mr. Bramley obtained his J.D. degree from the University of San Diego in 1976. His practice has focused primarily on real property finance, commercial and bankruptcy matters in particular. He has represented lenders, borrowers and guarantors over the years in state, federal and bankruptcy courts.
From 1985 to 2007, Mr. Bramley served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Via International, formerly known as Via International, formerly known as Los Ninos (www.viainternation.org), an international community development program, that focuses on (1) food security initiatives, (2) micro-finance programs, and (3) education for impoverished populations in Mexico, Guatemala, Canada and the United States. He currently serves as its Chairman Emeritus. Via/Los Ninos has garnered international recognition, and has received awards from the White House and the Mexican and Canadian governments on its innovative and self-reliant projects geared towards helping children and their families. He has also been involved in different nonprofit ventures geared at helping veterans with disabilities and PTSD.
He has served on panels over the years for the San Diego County Bar Association, the Judicial Administration Division of Appellate Judges, and has served on the Mediation Panel of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California for many years. He was selected as one of the ten best real estate attorneys in San Diego, and he received the San Diego County Bar Association Outstanding Community Service Award, as well as the State Bar of California Volunteers In Parole Award.
Bill and his wife Cheryl have lived in the Point Loma area of San Diego County for the past thirty years. Their daughter, Kendra, serves as a broker-dealer for Pacific Life in Newport Beach, California, and their son, Gavin, works in a new venture start up in Portland, Oregon.
Director - Lisa Naslund
Lisa Naslund is the mother to Iowa Army National Guard SGT Dillion Naslund. Sergeant Dillion D. Naslund is not only a son, a brother and an uncle. He was also a friend, a cousin, a nephew and a comrade in arms. A veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Dillion served our country well. On December 10, 2012, suffering from Post -Traumatic Stress (PTS), Dillion took his own life, leaving his family and friends stunned with grief. And, then, the Naslund family found purpose.
Lisa regularly travels the state of Iowa speaking at events including schools, churches, military events and Veteran Service Organizations conferences. These days, she is often asked, "Why do you continue to talk about this horrible and painful tragedy?" Her answer: "Because she wants Dillion's death to make a difference, to have meaning. Because she wants others to know about the resources that are available to help address the consequences of PTS. Because Dillion thought he was alone. He was not; he just didn't know it. Lisa wants others who are facing Dillion's challenges to know that they aren't alone. And she wants them and their families to know why and where to go for help. Co-Founding Operation Engage America is the perfect fit to do so.
Lisa is also certified as a peer mentor with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). She is certified in Mental Health First Aid and continues her education in suicide intervention and awareness. Lisa attends educational trainings and workshops regarding suicide prevention and grief counseling. She volunteers daily on a personal level to mentor those that are in need of resources or just need an understanding, listening ear.
Proudly, Lisa and her husband Jeff, who reside in Galva Iowa, have been married over 30 years. Besides their son Dillion, they also have two daughters and eight grandchildren whom are their pride and joys. Family is first and foremost to the Naslund’s. While the children were young Lisa spent most of her time at home as a mother, wife and homemaker. Later, Lisa worked mostly in sales which included for a time as assistant manager of a woman’s clothing store. She is a member of the Galva Iowa American Legion Auxiliary Unit 454 and has served on Galva United Methodist Church Missions Board.