Richard Casper | Executive Director
Richard co-founded CreatiVets and currently serves as the Director of Programming. Richard served four years as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, with a combat deployment in Fallujah, Iraq. During his deployment, he was hit by four IEDs in just four short months, causing him to suffer from a traumatic brain injury. Upon returning home, Richard found it hard to adjust and suffered from PTS until he discovered the healing power of music and art. After experiencing firsthand the impact music and art had on his own recovery, Richard co-founded CreatiVets to help other veterans who are suffering.
Jeremy Durbin | Director of Communications
Jeremy served four years as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, with a combat deployment to Fallujah, Iraq. He also served in the prestigious Marine Corps Security Forces Yankee White Program at Camp David. Following his time in the military, Jeremy worked as a videographer producing promotional videos for non-profit organizations, and after two years of serving on the Board of Directors of CreatiVets, he now serves as the organization's Executive Director.
During Jeremy’s years of service, he witnessed first-hand the selflessness and sacrifices made by veterans, often at great personal cost, to protect others and our country. It is the impact of this example that inspired Jeremy’s work with CreatiVets, as he wants to help fellow veterans that are suffering as a result of their sacrifice. Jeremy’s goal is to completely eliminate veteran suicide and suffering from PTS through the healing power of art.
Brett Gillan | Director of Programming
Brett Gillan was born and raised in Normal, Illinois and has been fully immersed in the music industry for the past 8 years as a founding member and the front-man for Midwest country band, Brushville. Brushville's debut album, released in 2014, went to #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Brushville also won multiple regional and national awards including the Battle for the Saddle, a battle of the bands style competition, at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee.
Kyle Yepsen | Financial Director
Kyle is the brother of LCPL Luke Yepsen and has founded many businesses over the last 15 years. His most recent company, Texas Track Works, is based in Fort Worth and specializes in building custom BMW and Porsche race cars. After building that organization and winning numerous club racing titles over the last 11 years, he decided to step away in order to take time to make a difference in the lives of veterans. Kyle is a recent participant of the CreatiVets songwriting program and seeks to bring the same appreciation and creativity to veterans across the country.
Board of Directors
LINDA TARRSON | Board Chair
Linda Tarrson is a co-founder of CreatiVets. Residing in Chicago, IL, she has extensive philanthropic and volunteer experience including serving on the University of Southern California (USC) Presidential Ambassador Board and the UCLA Foundation Board of Governors, as well as serving with USC's Presidential Associates. Linda is also the former Chairman of the Board of Visitors and the Dental Foundation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her passion in support of our veterans is deep and unwavering, stemming from her father, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in the Pacific during WWII, and her brother, who served honorably for 26 years as a U.S. Naval Aviation Officer.
SHARON MELLOR, PhD, CAE | Vice Chair
Sharon Mellor resides in the Chicago, IL area and has held many executive positions in national medical and dental foundations for over 30 years. Sharon currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation. Previously, she provided staff leadership to the College of DuPage, the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation and the American Osteopathic Association. In addition to a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola University of Chicago, she has a PhD from Union Institute & University and also received a certification from Cornell University through their Health Executives Development Program. In addition to her service with CreatiVets, Sharon has served as President of The American Society of Dental Foundation Executives and President of The Chicago Association of Healthcare Executives. She has also served on The National Public Relations Advisory Board for MENSA. Sharon is proud to work with veterans in memory of her late father, who served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and later succumbed to asbestos-related cancer from his service. Through CreatiVets, Sharon continues to positively impact the lives of veterans who have served our country.
RICHARD STEWARD | Treasurer / Board Member
Dick Steward has resided on the outskirts of Chicago, IL for the past 50 years. He was born and raised in a small rural town in southwest Iowa, and as he went through the college job interview process, he was sure of one thing: he did not want to live in Chicago! At the conclusion of interview season, with his accounting degree in hand from the University of Iowa, he began his career with Arthur Andersen & Co. in Chicago, but true to his wishes, he did not live in downtown Chicago, preferring instead to commute in to the city. As a CPA, Dick worked with Arthur Andersen for 11 years, and since then has held a number of executive financial positions with wealthy family offices and privately-owned corporate entities. Currently "semi-retired," he splits his time between a small group of tax and accounting clients, a small CPA firm, and now as the Treasurer of CreatiVets. Dick's father served during WWII in the U.S. Army and his brother also served during the Korean War. This opportunity to assist and support veterans through CreatiVets' mission is truly special to him.
SHEILA YEPSEN | Board Member
Sheila Yepsen is a Gold Star Mother of the fallen hero, U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Luke Yepsen (December 2006, Fallujah). Luke served as a .50 Caliber machine gunner with Richard Casper, co-founder of CreatiVets. Residing in Houston, TX, Sheila is a retired Cardiovascular Nursing Specialist with over 30 years of experience, primarily working at the Texas Medical Center at the cutting edge of cardiac care. She now volunteers extensively in Pastoral Care at hospitals in her community. Since 2006, Sheila has maintained friendships with the men who served with Luke. After watching them struggle and grow after their time on active duty, Sheila continues her commitment to helping veterans on their journey to recovery and wholeness.
JOHN ARTHUR | Board Member
John Arthur is a 22-year U.S. Army veteran with a service-connected disability, serving as an engineer and attack helicopter aviator from 1979-2001. Residing in Chesapeake, VA, John is the President/owner of a consulting firm (Centurion Development Group, LLC) that supports a multitude of joint and special operations clients. He also serves on the Board of Governors for his alma maters alumni Athletic Association: The Virginia Military Insitute (VMI). John is the son of a 27-year WWII U.S. Army veteran, and he also has a son who was badly injured in combat in Afghanistan in 2009, and continues to honorably serve his country today with the U.S. Army. John's leadership is crucial to our mission and he is deeply committed to helping veterans heal.
ADAM TAYLOR | Board Member
Adam Taylor resides in Los Angeles, CA and for over three decades, he has been helping intellectual property companies manage and extract value from their copyrights, trademarks and patents. Adam is currently the President of APM Music, the largest production music library in the world and the leading provider of music to the business community and entertainment industry. As President for the past 14 years, Adam has made APM into a production powerhouse, leading innovative production music library and creative music house as any in the industry. Prior to taking the helm at APM Music, Adam was president of Taylor/Fox Enterprises, helping doctors and scientists commercialize and monetize their patent-protected inventions. Before that, as a founding partner of Goldman/Taylor Entertainment, he developed numerous properties including the television series "Confessions of Crime" for Lifetime Network, the CBS TB Movie, "Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean" which was nominated for both and Emmy and a Golden Globe Award, and the PBS series "Joseph Campbell - Mythos" hosted by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, in partnership with the Joseph Campbell Foundation. In addition to being a Board Member of CreatiVets, Adam sits on the Board of Advisors of the Academy of Entertainment and Technology at Santa Monica College and is the Vice-Chairman of the Production Music Association, the leading production music trade organization in the United States. Adam's father, Milton Taylor, was an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII. Milton was an expert in the Japanese language and after Pearl Harbor, and at the request of the Army, played an important role in teaching Japanese culture to American officers and soldiers to prepare them for war with Japan. With his broad experience and connection within the Los Angeles music and entertainment industries, Adam brings his expertise in the various industries to find the best ways to serve veterans through the CreatiVets programs.
JORDAN PETTIT | Board Member
Jordan Pettit moved to Nashville, TN in 1999 and attended Vanderbilt University (B.A. 2003, M. Ed. 2005) where he played & coached varsity football before pursuing a music business career. Jordan brings a wealth of music management knowledge and experience to CreatiVets. Prior to advancing to his current role as Vice President at Warner Music, he served as National Director of Promotion at Warner, National Director of Midwest/Northeast Promotion for Universal South/Show Dog-Universal, Manager of Southwest Promotion for Columbia Records, and Manager of Secondary Promotion fro Mercury Records. He has worked with artists such as Toby Keith, Brett Eldredge, Trace Adkins, Sugarland, Miranda Lambert, Joe Nichols, Billy Currington, Randy Houser, Frankie Ballard, Dan + Shay, Jana Kramer, Charlie Worsham, and Michael Ray. Both of Jordan's grandfathers served in the military (one in WWI with the U.S. Army) and his brother-in-law served in the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in Sangrin, Afghanistan from 2010-2011. That unit experienced the highest amount of casualties in the entire Middle Eastern conflict. Jordan's appreciation for those who serve and his belief that music can help achieve healing, expression and comfort those who need it, are the reasons he chooses to be involved with CreatiVets.
Bryce Jenney | Board Member
Brandon Deatherage | Board Member
Having grown up in a small town where nearly everyone was either military, going away to college, or working in a factory, Brandon considers himself lucky enough to have had uncles and grandparents who served in the Air Force and several close friends in the Marines. Though he never served in the military himself, he strives to help those who have served in any way possible. His charitable roots go all the way back to the weeks after 9/11 when he and a few classmates raised $800 for the Red Cross. Currently volunteering as an admin for The Chive Illinois and as an IT Engineer for Country Financial, he has directly or indirectly raised almost $100,000 for CreatiVets through various events, letters to The Chive, and networking. His best friend in the world is his Australian Shepherd mix, Wrigley, properly named after the best ballpark on the planet. He bleeds Cubbie Blue, and is an avid golfer. Not good, avid.