Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, ND, Executive Director, is an Army wife of twenty years and mother to an Army veteran. She taught in the overseas Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Caribbean and retired from federal government after twenty years. In 2002, she compiled the stories of over 150 University of Maryland, Munich, Germany alumni, resulting in two books documenting the history of that campus’ 40-year history. She has been featured in the Army Times and has been quoted in scholarly books about growing up on military bases overseas. She has conceptualized and created multiple exhibits for the museum and has facilitated numerous discussion groups and workshops. In 2016, she coedited a third book of stories about the University of Maryland, Munich Campus, and in 2017, coedited Shout: Sharing Our Truth: Writings of LGBT veterans and family members of the US Military Services as well as The Home Front Hearth: Memories & Recipes from Military Families Around the World. In 2020, she compiled stories for On Freedom’s Frontier: Life on the Fulda Gap.
Dr. Allen Dale “Ole” Olson, Secretary/Public Affairs, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education, and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and doctorate in General Administration from the George Washington University. Ole is a World War II-era veteran and spent most of his civilian career with the United States Defense Department assigned to the Headquarters of the U.S. Army in Europe. Following his retirement, Dr. Olson served as Dean of the Graduate School of Schiller International University and as the Executive Director of the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. Ole served as the President of the Museum Collaborative Council of Albuquerque and remains as a member of the council.
Sue Pearson, Treasurer, served 30 years with the federal government as an administrative and financial employee; 18 years in the medical auditing arena. She is a military brat and the spouse of a retired 24-year active duty US Air Force veteran. During Sue’s affiliation with the military, she has had the opportunity to travel the world, engaging with other cultures. She holds a degree in Finance from Liberty University; and two associates degrees in Computer Information Systems Management from Central New Mexico Community College and a General Curriculum Liberal Arts from the University of Maryland. First and foremost in her life, is Sue’s relationship with Jesus Christ. Sue’s spouse is a 100% disabled veteran, which has given her a deep compassion for helping people. This moved Sue to serve as the People with Disabilities Special Emphasis Program Manager at Kirtland AFB for over 15 years and also as the Kirtland AFB Blood Program Manager.
Art Harris, Director of Operations, is a recently retired Air Force veteran. He deployed six times in support of Operation Southern Watch and in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Between deployments, he traveled the world, conducting training exercises with other countries as well as with the US Air National Guard. His primary job was an aircraft electronics technician for combat rescue helicopters and close support aircraft. He was also a squadron building custodian, safety officer, and maintenance operations supervisor. He was stationed at Kirtland AFB for five years and retired out of Cannon AFB. As an Air Force brat, he grew up all over the states and Europe. He attended 4 different elementary schools, a junior high school in Belgium, high school in England and did some college in Germany. He earned his Associate’s Degree with the Community College of the Air Force in Electronics. His hobbies include building computers and gaming. He has been a Big Brother in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for 8 years. Art is delighted to be a part of MAMF.
SHOUT! Program Manager Lora Beldon is an American artist, art educator, curator, and military brat, whose entire life’s work involves documenting the military child experience. She is the founder of Military Kid Art Project. She earned a BFA in Painting and Printmaking and Art Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her art has been exhibited across the United States and Europe, with many pieces in private and corporate collections. Everywhere and Nowhere, is her recent conceptual series based on growing up within a war-deployed military household. Beldon served as Assistant Director, and later, Director of 1708 Gallery, from 1989-1996, and remains an emeritus member of the gallery. She is also on the board of Richmond’s Iridian Gallery, a new LGBTQ+ non-profit art space. In 2011, Beldon teamed up with Donna Musil of Brats Without Borders, to co-curate the traveling art show “UNCLASSIFIED: The Military Kid Art Show” Subject of a documentary film: Lora and Tom Beldon – The father/daughter team are the subjects of Donna Musil’s new documentary “OUR OWN PRIVATE BATTLEFIELD. She coedited the Museum of the American Military Family’s 2017 anthology: Shout: Sharing Our Truth: Writings of LGBT veterans and family members of the US Military Services. In 2018-2019 Lora spearheaded the development and production of SHOUT! The Play for the museum and is the POC for the SHOUT! script and curriculum package.
Dr. Cheryl Avila, Special Projects, was raised in an American military family. Her father retired from the Army after 32 years of service. Her two brothers are also retired Army officers and have raised American military families of their own. After college, Cheryl served in the Army for four years, her daughter is in ROTC at Emory University, and her son attends the United States Military Academy at West Point. While serving as an MI officer during the day, Cheryl tutored soldiers wanting their GED in the evening. After leaving the Army Cheryl pursued a Master’s and PhD in Education and founded Math Doctor, a learning center in Palm Bay, Florida.
Joan Y. Olson, Artist Emeritus taught in the Defense Department Schools for 30 years. She is an artist, a chef and a writer. She is a laureate of La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in France and has taught classic French cooking for more than thirty years. Much of her training came from her association with some of the most renowned chefs in France — Emile Jung, Paul Haeberlin, Georges Blanc — to name a few. With her husband, she has produced seven guide books to restaurants in Europe. Mrs. Olson has prepared and hosted dinners for ambassadors, counts, generals, Michelin-starred chefs, and some of the most prestigious wine producers in France and Germany. She has taught cooking and done cooking demonstrations at Schiller International University in Strasbourg and at the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour, Indiana where she also taught art and served as the Artist-in-Residence for eight years. One of her paintings hangs in the Governor’s Residence in Indianapolis. She also managed an art gallery in the 19th century Story Inn in Brown County, Indiana. She is the grandmother of Army Veteran.
Writer-in-Residence Emeritus Paul Zolbrod says his military service made it possible for him to attend college, which is why he considers his induction the pivotal event in his adult life. Drafted into the army in early 1953 during the Korean War, he served in Tokyo following infantry basic training, then enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh on the Korean G.I. Bill after his discharge and went on to get a PhD. in English in 1967. By then he had already joined the faculty of Allegheny College where he remained as Professor of English for thirty years. Following his retirement to Albuquerque 1964, he taught writing at the Crownpoint, NM campus of the Navajo Nation’s Dine’ College. He is the author of a number of books and essays, most notably Dine’ bahane: The Navajo Creation Story, and especially, Battle Songs: A Story of the Korean War in Four Movements, which reflects his abiding interest in that conflict. In writing that novel, he credits the research skills he acquired during the early phase of his scholarly career for boosting that work’s authenticity. Ever since its publication Paul has maintained a deep interest in veterans affairs. Likewise, his Reservation experience has made him aware of the impact of PTSD among Navajo veterans on family life. His anthology projects for MAMF include: War Child: Lessons Learned from Growing Up in War, From the Frontlines to the Home Front, New Mexicans Reflect on War. He continues to lead MAMF book discussion groups, produce scholarly articles about the museum and collaborates with the rotating Writers-in-Residence authors.
2021-2023 Co-Writer-in-Residence Connie Kinsey is a former military brat who has put down deep roots in a converted barn on a dirt road at the top of a hill in West Virginia. As a Marine Corps brat during the Vietnam era, she was fortunate to live all over the United States. She returned to college in her late 30s and completed her degree with an emphasis on cultural anthropology and creative writing. Connie spent 12 years working for newspapers and another 14 years working in higher education most notably with the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia. Both her fiction and nonfiction have won awards. The memoir of her 4th grade year during the Vietnam War won the West Virginia Writer’s Annual Contest in 2015 and was later published in Longridge Review. Connie is also a spoken word artist and has been selected twice for the WomenSpeak project of the Women of Appalachia Production. She has published essays and short stories and is currently working on her first book. The book will be a hybrid of short stories and essays drawing on her experiences as a brat and her father’s four tours of Vietnam.
Valerie Bonham Moon, 2021-2023 Co-Writer-in-Residence is a lifelong military person from a military family. She is a Vietnam-era Army veteran, the mother of four children, two singles and twins. She homeschooled the younger three in Germany and Belgium for eight years. Her husband, a retired Army command sergeant major, is a Vietnam veteran who was drafted. Her eldest son served in Iraq during Desert Storm. She has a scattered career ranging from working as a personnel clerk in the Fulda military community along the East German border, to writing freelance articles for local military community newspapers, to superintending children as a DoDDS GS-2 playground monitor, to writing the News and Commentary column for Home Education Magazine. She is currently working on a series of Cold War-era mystery short stories set in Germany featuring as her protagonist, one of the first women counter-intelligence agents in the US Army.
Shanon Hyde, Student Liaison, is a Marine Corp brat and a student at Pennsylvania State University, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. From 2016-2019 he attended Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan and was the President of his Junior class. While living in Okinawa, he had the opportunity to travel to several different countries, learning about different cultures and worldviews. In May of 2020 he graduated from Mooresville High School in Mooresville, North Carolina. In August of 2020, he started The Shanon Show podcast, which allows him to connect with military brats and share their stories on the internet. Shanon is committed to shedding a light on the issues that student brats face when transitioning to college, career, and life. In his free time, Shanon loves to make homemade sausage and watch Adam Sandler movies.
Marc Curtis is a Military Brat who grew up in California, Texas and Japan. His Military Brats Registry™ at MilitaryBrat.com is the largest social networking website for people who grew up in military households.
Donna Musil is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and proud Army “brat.” She is also the Executive Director of Brats Without Borders, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1999 to honor the contributions and improve the welfare of current and former military children and other “Third Culture Kids” (www.USAbrat.org).
Mary Edwards Wertsch, a seasoned investigative reporter and writer, is the author of the non-fiction book Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood inside the Fortress, which broke new ground in its analysis of the military as a home culture for the children raised within it.
Joe Condrill is thefounder of OVERSEAS BRATS, a journalist, reunion planner, and marketing/public relations consultant. He attended the following overseas schools: Boeblingen Elementary School,Orleans Elementary School, Kaimuki Intermediate School, Maryknoll High School,The International School of Bangkok, Thailand, 1970-72 and Tehran American School. Joe’s Overseas Brats gatherings and reunions are legendary in the Brat community.