Fran DeAngelis is currently the Marathon Training Leader for the Long Island Team RWB chapter. She is a wife, mother, marathon runner, and triathlete continuously thriving on perpetual physical challenge. Having completed hundreds of races, including 37 full marathons to date, she is an official Marathon Maniac & Half Fanatic.
Coming from a family of veterans, she felt very passionate about the Team RWB mission. Upon meeting the Long Island Team RWB members, Fran instantly felt the camaraderie and the commitment to wellness among the organization. The feeling of pride that came with wearing the Eagle and uniting with Eagles across the country was extraordinary. She joined soon after, with the intent of sharing her personal knowledge and training expertise as the Marathon Leader for the Long Island RWB Team.
Lorenzo Valdivia served 9 and a half years in the USMC as a Military Police Officer. He started his journey with Team RWB in 2014 as the Veteran Engagement Director and has since become the Chapter Captain for Fort Leonard Wood. Prior to Team RWB you would have never found Lorenzo in a gym or running. Since joining Team RWB, Lorenzo cannot stay out of the gym, and has successfully completed both a half marathon and the Dog Wood 50K. “I have found something in RWB that I have not found anywhere else. Team RWB has not only helped me grow as a leader in my community but has drawn my family closer together. I have found a passion and fire to help other Veterans, something that would have not been possible had it not been for Team RWB. Seeing the impact Team RWB is having in Veterans lives and being able to help in ‘Enriching their lives’ is an experience I will never forget!”
Willie “Will” Wright, is a husband, father of two, and an “Army brat” turned Airman. Will enlisted into the U.S. Air Force in 2005, served overseas for 9 years, and deployed twice in 2007 OEF/OIF and in 2013 OEF/OND. Since joining Team RWB in October 2014, the biggest motivator and motto for Will is to “do the right thing; even when it’s not popular.” Will wanted to challenge himself to build a firm foundation of positivity for himself and those who interact with him. As the Social Director for the Minot, North Dakota chapter, Will has stretched past his own comfort zone, empowering others to say “I’ll try” instead of “I can’t”. Will was selected as a Northwest Eagle Leader Fellow for 2017. Having stepped out of his introverted shell, Will has inspired not only the local chapter, but the neighboring business to view Veterans in a better perspective and as leaders in their community. According to Will, “You WANT to be involved…why? Because your determination is motivation which is helping someone else overcome their own internal obstacles, and you know it will make them be better.” #EagleStrong
Lori has many friends and family members who have served or are currently serving in various branches of our military. Although she never served in the military herself, she has witnessed growth, challenges, hardships and successes all made possible through experiences in the armed forces. Lori was first introduced to the San Francisco Chapter of Team RWB in July 2016 when her sister and brother-in-law visited from Clarksville, TN., where they are very active members of the Fort Campbell chapter of Team RWB. It was a pleasure meeting and experiencing Team RWB in action. Lori joined the local Team RWB Facebook page and saw so many hikes, runs, bike rides, volunteer opportunities and social gatherings that she couldn’t help but join them on these excursions. In the past 6 months, she has been more physically and socially active than in the past ten to fifteen years. Lori has met amazing people and forged friendships that will last a lifetime.
Terrance Gant served all 12 years of his time in the Marine Corps in an Infantry Battalion. He conducted six combat deployments, four peacetime deployments, and was decorated with the Marine Corps Commendation for Valor and the Marine Corps Achievement Medal for Valor. On his final deployment, Terrance was injured when his vehicle was involved in an IED blast. He medically retired from the Marine Corps in 2010. Upon leaving active duty, he struggled with finding his new normal. Still recovering from his injuries, Terrance turned to alcohol as a way to cope with the challenges of no longer wearing the uniform. At his lowest point, Terrance reached out to the Save A Warrior program where he met other Veterans with similar stories. The support he received and the hope he gained encouraged him to reach out to other veteran organizations in an effort to help others like him. He joined Team RWB for the opportunity to be a part of a team again, to connect with people like himself, and return to his pre-injury physical activity level. Like most service members, Terrance was looking for that purpose again in life and he found it with Team RWB. Terrance currently volunteers as the Veterans Engagement Coordinator for the Phoenix Chapter and is also very active with Team Rubicon and The Mission Continues. Being a part of Team RWB has allowed Terrance to grow not only as a leader within his Chapter but within his community as well.
Andy & Neidra Sampson
Andy and Neidra Sampson are a husband/wife team of Marine Corps Veterans who found their way into Team RWB through a local running community. After separating from the military and finding themselves becoming further removed from the Veteran community, Team RWB was a way that both Andy and Neidra saw to re-engage and give of themselves. Not long after joining the team the Sampsons stepped up to be Chapter Captains in Fredericksburg, VA. In their time at the helm, they have been a catalyst for the growth of the chapter and for the strengthening of the community, but not without their own reward.
When asked what it is that drives them to take such an active role in their community Neidra responded, “It gives us a sense of purpose and enhances the positivity in our lives.” For Andy, he says that helping others is his WHY, and that he has “always felt compelled to help others in some way and prior to being an Eagle I didn’t really know how. This has given me a way to not only help others, but relate on many levels and actually make a change. It’s the difference from simply saying, ‘If you need anything, let me know’ to actually providing tangible help and making a difference in someone else’s life. It’s that satisfaction of helping others that keeps me going. Even more so, when those that once needed the help, are now stepping up to help others.”
Dennis Volpe was born in Long Island, New York and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1996 with a Bachelor’s of Science in History and was commissioned as a Naval Officer. Dennis has over twenty years of leadership and operational experience as a career Naval Officer to include Command at Sea; multiple overseas deployments to include operations in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM, OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, OPERATION OCEAN SHIELD and OPERATION ACTIVE ENDEAVOR; an operational planner tour in Afghanistan; several years as a Leadership instructor, Leadership Course Coordinator, and Ethics Facilitator at the United States Naval Academy; and was Director of Future Operations for naval activities in Central and South America.
Dennis retired from active duty in July 2016, has been a member of Team RWB Jacksonville, FL. since April 2014 and is currently the Jacksonville Chapter Captain and a Southeast Region Leadership Fellow. During his tenure as a Leadership fellow, he attained his professional certifications in the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI), Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (EQ-I 2.0), and Extended DISC assessments as well as competed in Ironman North Carolina.