Melanie Market

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Melanie was born and raised in a small town in Indiana. Though from a small town, she comes with a big city attitude. You will always hear her before you see her. Melanie dawdled around after graduation before making a giant leap into the Navy, stunning her friends and family. She served four beautiful years as an aircraft mechanic and flight deck hustler out of California, where she also met her stunning wife. After leaving the Navy in the fall of 2007, she began her decent back into education at the University of Texas Arlington in the spring of 2008. While living in Texas she began volunteering with Team Rubicon, a disaster relief service organization and found a new passion. In 2013, she ran away to Salem, MA where she married the love of her life. After graduation with her bachelor’s degree Mel moved to Washington where she miraculously landed her first teaching job as a fourth grade teacher. She is now currently herding fifth grade students to a brighter future and deploying with Team Rubicon whenever she possibly can.


 

Sean Silvera

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I am a Bay area native and spent my early years playing Football and riding mountain bikes in the hills of Marin County.  

After high school I joined the Marine Corp in 1987.  Everything clicked for me while serving in the Corp.  I was promoted out of Bootcamp and was honor grade out of my specialty school.  During the Gulf War I was the Machine gun section leader for weapons Platoon stationed in Okinawa Japan.  Later I became Platoon Sergeant and consider it the best job I have ever had.

I have spent the last 20 plus years as a contractor in the bay area. Roughly ten years ago I found yoga. 

I am a 500 hour Baptiste yoga teacher and owner of Baptiste Yoga San Francisco with my wife Jen. I started practicing Yoga to balance my body from a lifetime of competitive sports. I found that yoga restored and lengthened my tight muscles, cured years of pain from injuries and also changed the way I dealt with stress and challenges of everyday life. Yoga crept into my body, soul and mind and transformed a reactive personality I developed from my early career in the Marine Corp.

I am a member of the Baptiste Core Team and stay immersed in the Baptiste methodology by assisting Baptiste trainings and programs. My Seva or “give Back” projects are; being on the Board of Directors for “Veterans Yoga Project”, providing mindful yoga therapy to Veterans struggling with PTSD, and teaching a weekly class to incarcerated Veterans inside San Quentin Penitentiary for “Prison Yoga Project.”


Michael Castelblanco

Avid learner and and adventurer

A believer in learning as much as one can in life, using that knowledge to leave the world better than you entered it, and then imparting your knowledge and wisdom to others before you’re gone, he has spent his entire adult life striving to meet these ends. Michael currently works at the New York City Department of Education as their Accessibility Coordinator and Emergency Planner, he also actively mentors for the John D. Solomon Fellowship in Emergency Management for NYC. Additionally, Michael runs the nonprofit organization, Society of Artistic Veterans, whose mission is to promote, present, and produce veteran-created and veteran-inspired arts. Himself an artist, Michael performs both on stage and television, occasionally plays tuba with the NYC Big Apple Corps, and occasionally sings with the NYC Collegiate Chorale internationally. An Air Force military brat and 9-year United States Marine veteran, Michael has spent a lot of time in or around the military, which has lent itself to an intensely packed, crazy, adventurous life. This may also have been a contributing factor to the rumor that he may be…just a little bit…O.C.D. Michael is the proud uncle of one awesome niece and three of the cutest nephews ever, the proud son of one mom and three dads (yep), proud brother of three eccentric siblings, and proud husband of the amazing James. Michael would like to have a puppy, but his landlord won’t allow it. Still, he has been able to create a happy and fulfilling life in New York City, making the most of his time there. 

According to his husband, James: “Michael ‘the machine’ Castelblanco, a 9-year veteran of the Marine Corps, goes a mile a minute from before sun-up, and doesn’t stop until he hits ‘the wall’, skids into bed, and becomes comatose and completely useless. He ‘knows everything,’ which can be really annoying, and he’s good at…….mostly everything, which is also annoying.” *This message is approved by James Stress.


Deno Mickle 

Personal trainer & college student

DeNoris (Deno) Mickle is a 42 years old freelance Personal Trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).  Deno retired from 20 years of military service as an Air Force Combat Photographer in 2014. His tours of duty took him to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Deno's military certifications include Battlefield Forensics {DOD}, Aerial qualified, Land Survival School {S.E.R.E}, Water Survival, and Combat Life Saver {First Responder/Under Fire}. He has 15+ years of training all levels of military members for the physical demands of combat, including Weapons/Tactics training, Modern Army Combative Program and Krav Maga.  He currently resides in Goose Creek SC with his amazing wife Nicole, and their five beautiful children. Darian (19), Jaden (16), Jasmine (10), Brianna (8), and Marley (5). The entire family is athletic, and maintains an overall healthy lifestyle.  Deno currently coaches his daughter’s soccer and football team, as well as Goose Creek High School’s entire athletic program in strength & conditioning.  He's mentored 120+ Citadel cadets in preparation for Field Training exercises.  Deno’s philosophies on fitness include “We all have the ability to be as we wish with a little help.” and “If you look in the mirror with dislike, then you need to change what you’ve done to get there.”


Dottie Guy

Veteran advocate & adventurer

Dottie Guy currently serves at the Secretary of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission. She was in the Army National Guard and served in Iraq in 2003. She is passionate about veterans issues; she wants to ensure that they get the benefits and care that they have earned.


Luke Heikkila

television producer

Luke has been producing content for Twin Cities PBS since 2004. In that time he's received three Upper Midwest Emmy Awards, including one for a multi-year body of work featuring Minnesota's veteran and military communities. During his 12-year stay at Twin Cities PBS Luke has produced three documentaries requiring overseas travel. Iraq & Back: Minnesotans' Stories brought him to Basra, Iraq in 2009. In 2012 he spent two-weeks in Afghanistan to interview and film soldiers for Bridging War & Hope. In 2013 Through a Soldier's Eyes brought him to Italy to witness one currently serving member of the Army experience the battle sites his great grandfather fought for during World War II. Though he does not solely focus on military and veterans' stories these experiences, and the people he's met, have helped define who Luke has become at work and at home.

When not at work he finds himself enjoying his children and their activities. His 12 year old daughter is an aspiring opera singer and has a passion for community theater. His 8 year old son is busy with martial arts, soccer, and basketball. Luke and his wife, Sarah, reside in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


Michele Griffin

G-5, Combat Flip Flops

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A 2001 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Michele earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  Commissioned into the Army Military Intelligence Corps, she served with the the 201st Military Intelligence Brigade as Battalion Logistics Officer.  Michele holds a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Martin’s University.

After departing the military as a Captain in 2006, Michele moved to the private sector Outdoor Industry, serving as the Program Manager at Seattle based Outdoor Research.

In 2009, Michele was invited to join Vancouver based Arc’teryx Equipment as the Commercial Director for the Law Enforcement and Armed Forces (LEAF) team.  Over the next 6 years, Michele implemented a global strategy for Special Operations contracts in key coalition countries including the United States, Canada, UK, France and Australia among others.

In 2015,  Michele took two year career pause to shift focus to her daughters Estella (12) and Mia (11) and her entrepreneur/Army Ranger husband of 13 years, Matthew.  In February 2016, their small business, Combat Flip Flops, aired on ABCs Shark Tank and is currently keeping them very busy. 

Michele currently serves on advisory board for the Outdoor Industry Veteran’s Coalition and is an active member of the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition (now Camber Outdoors). 

In her free-time she enjoys mentoring and adventure travel.


Matthew griffin

CEO, Combat flip flops

Matthew “Griff” Griffin is a 2001 United States Military Academy graduate commissioned into the Field Artillery. Between 2003-2005, Griff deployed four times to Iraq and Afghanistan with 2d Ranger Battalion as a Company Fire Support Officer. He planned and participated in over 100 special operations direct action missions.  After departing the military in 2006 as a captain, Griff worked in