Thank you to all of those who have served or are serving our country!
Class of 46
Juan "Lou" Lewis
Juan “Lou” Lewis aka The Fired Up Chief is a 28 years veteran of the United States Air Force. Growing up in a small Arkansas town and graduating high school from Brookshire, Texas, he enlisted in 1984 and rapidly rose through the ranks to reach the pinnacle as Command Chief at overseas installation, Air Force Flight Test Center, Basic Military Training, and Joint Base San Antonio. He considered Basic Training, where his team transformed over 100,000 recruits into Airmen and the pioneer for creation of JBSA as his highlight assignments. After retiring in 2012, he immediately joined the Department of Defense as a Federal employee.
Although Lou is a recipient of numerous military and civilian awards, he considers his biggest accomplishment as winning a tough fight against a severe case of COVID-19 in April 2020. As a COVID Long Hauler, Lou now faces a battle with quality of life issues. Lou is super excited to tackle these daily challenges by applying his “Pride, Enthusiasm, and Passion” mantra.
Major General Ayala
Mr. Ayala retired as a Major General in the United States Marine Corps after 36 years of service. He has a proven record of success leading large, complex organizations. He is currently the Director, Military and Veteran Affairs Department for the City of San Antonio. In this capacity, he serves as the city’s liaison to the military supporting the Mayor, City Council and city departments. He works closely with military and civilian partners to ensure military missions and installations continue to thrive and grow in the region. From March to August 2020 he was assigned as an Executive Temporary Loan to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he concurrently served as the Chamber’s Interim President and CEO. Successfully completing the Chamber assignment, he was temporarily assigned from August 2020 to September 2021 as the City of San Antonio’s Operations Lead for the COVID – 19 Response Team.
Prior to his retirement, Major General Ayala commanded all 24 Marine Corps installations worldwide and was selected to lead the Department of Defense’s 2015 Warrior Games assisting the nation’s wounded, ill and injured warriors in their recuperative efforts. He is the former Inspector General of the Marine Corps, and his service includes 4 combat tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, to include a year as the Senior Advisor of a Military Transition Team, embedded with the 1st Iraqi Army Division.
Past assignments include: Coordinated humanitarian assistance programs in 50 countries throughout Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Baltic’s, and the former Soviet Union, served as the Chief of Staff at United States Southern Command leading a staff in the implementation of U.S. national security objectives in 31 countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, to include coordinating detainee operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, led a Marine Logistics Group that supported combat operations throughout Iraq, supported humanitarian relief operations after the Haiti Earthquake of 2010, supported Haitian/Cuban refugee operations in Cuba, and coordinated civilian law enforcement counterdrug efforts along the U.S. Southwest Border.
Mr. Ayala received an MBA from Campbell University, a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at El Paso.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Major General Ayala’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with “V” Combat Distinguishing Device, the Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal (4 stars), and the Combat Action Ribbon. He is the recipient of the 2007 Excellence in Military Service Award from the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Mr. Ayala currently serves on the Governor of Texas’ Advisory Council on Cultural Affairs and is a board member of Visit San Antonio and the National Veterans Outreach (GI Forum). He is the President of the Texas Mayors of Military Communities representing the 15 communities that host military installations in the state of Texas. Since 2016 he has taught Leadership and Ethics as a Visiting Instructor at the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
An avid cyclist, hiker and reader, Mr. Ayala is married to the former Diane K. Reyes of El Paso, Texas. They have 3 daughters, a son, and 3 grandchildren.
Dr. Alison Wiesenthal
Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
Dr. Alison Wiesenthal is the Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center. Dr. Wiesenthal is the first civilian, first female and youngest chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center, the military’s largest and only level one trauma hospital. She is a double-board certified internal medicine and palliative medicine physician, fellowship trained at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She brought palliative care to the military in 2017, starting the Department of Defense’s first interdisciplinary Palliative Care Service. She oversees the Center for the Intrepid, rehabilitating wounded warriors and special operators. She is a proud member of LSA 300, served as a mentor for LSA 45 (longest class ever) and was just recognized as San Antonio Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40.
COL Joseph F Alderete Jr MD
Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine
COL Joseph F Alderete Jr MD is a father of 2 wonderful children, Kaden and Jack, and married to Mrs Sunnie Alderete for 24 years. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1997. He then attended medical school at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine and received his MD in 2001. Internship and Residency in Orthopaedic Surgery were both completed at Eisenhower Army Medical Center from 2001 to 2006. Following residency he was a staff orthopaedic surgeon at Reynolds Army Community Hospital from 2006 to 2008. He then attended the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN for a fellowship in Musculoskeletal Oncology in 2009. He has been faculty at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio since 2009 where he is currently the Director for the RESTOR FUSE Limb Optimization Sub-Directorate for USAISR and 59th MDW and the Director of the SAMMC Osseointegration Program. He has held recent leadership positions as Chief of Orthopaedic Oncology (2011 to 2019) and the Medical Director for the Center for the Intrepid, Advanced Amputee and Limb Salvage Rehabilitation 2016-2021). He has had 4 combat deployments to Afghanistan serving in positions from staff orthopaedic surgeon to Deputy Commander for Clinical Services and Task Force Chief of Surgery, Iraq. In his role as educator he has served as Associate Program Director for the SAUSHEC Orthopaedic Surgery Residency and Medical Board of Trustees for the Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. He has received many awards, military and academic, including the Warren R Kadramas Memorial Educator’s Award for best teaching staff in 2013, AOA, and the Order of Military Medical Merit in 2020.
Omar “Crispy” Avila
Liaison for Sons Of The Flag
Sgt. Avila joined the U.S. Army in 2004 as an Infantryman, deploying to Iraq in 2007. On May 14, 2007, his vehicle was struck with a 200 lb IED, resulting in burns to 75% of his body and amputation below the knee of his right leg.Upon retiring from the U.S. Army in 2010, Sgt. Avila never allowed his injuries to slow his success.
Powering through his injuries, he became the current world record holder for the World Association of Bench and Deadlift in the Paralympics category. He also started his own consulting firm, 5 Toes, and dedicated his life to serving his fellow veterans. Sgt. Avila now serves as a liaison for Sons Of The Flag, helping other wounded warriors through their recovery process as well. He continues to motivate wounded veterans and seeks to educate the public about veteran issues through numerous public speaking events and is a sought after motivational speaker.
Dr. Jill E. Palmer
Chief of Behavioral Health
Dr. Jill E. Palmer, a Navy Veteran, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and 2019 graduate of the Doctor of Social Work program at the University of Tennessee, serves as Endeavors’ first Chief of Behavioral Health. With her research focus on Veterans, suicide prevention, and quality of life, Dr. Palmer has spearheaded the implementation of the Endeavors Veteran Wellness Center. A state of the art facility in San Antonio, Texas, the Veteran Wellness Center utilizes Dr. Palmer’s expertise by focusing on the integration of mental health, physical health, and recovery services built upon a foundation of wellness principles.
Dr. Palmer has over a decade of leadership experience through both the Navy and the private sector. Passionate about leading healthy, productive, and innovative teams, she has led teams of social workers, psychiatrists, and other medical and mental health personnel, provided program oversight for multiple programs, developed policies and procedures to implement evidence-based practices, and has managed program budgets.
Dr. Palmer’s background in mental health delivery, along with her experience with diverse teams and virtual work environments, allowed for a 100% transition to remote work and telehealth services to over 400 active clients at the Cohen Clinics in March, 2020. She also provided the research and the structure to the implementation of the Virtual Employee Wellness program at Endeavors, an initiative that provided daily wellness activities to over 350 employees for 13 months during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With over 18 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker, Dr. Palmer is experienced in treating trauma, depression, and anxiety in children, families, Veterans, and active-duty populations.
Major General Angie Salinas
CEO, Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas
Angie Salinas, Major General U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) joined Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas as the Chief Executive Officer in July 2015. Prior to becoming the CEO, she served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 39 years. A woman of many firsts, she made history as the first Latina selected and promoted to the general officer ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the time of her retirement in September 2013, she was the senior ranking woman and the senior Hispanic in the Corps.
A Girl Scout alumna, Salinas is a role model to girls and women seeking to break through the glass ceiling. She commanded at every level from Lieutenant to General and is a trailblazer, serving as the first woman in multiple assignments that include Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San
Diego/Western Recruiting Region, Assistant Chief of Staff for plans and policy of a major combatant organization, and command of a recruiting district.
Salinas’ accolades extend past her military experience. She has been recognized with multiple awards to include the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Tribute to Women Business Leaders Hope Award, the San Antonio Business Journal Women’s Leadership Award, and American Latino Influencer Valor Award. In 2016, she was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, Hispanic Women in Leadership Hall of Fame and received the TAMACC Woman of Distinction. In 2021, she received the NCAA Legacy Award and the American Spirit Award Medallion from the National WWII Museum.
Later that year, she was also inducted into the U.S. Veterans Hall of Fame. She has been named one of 15 Phenomenal Women by Latina Magazine and one of six Power Latinas by Vivala.com.
A graduate of the Masters Leadership Program San Antonio, she is a member of Excel Beyond the Bell, the National Association of Women’s Business Owners; and The Non Profit Council. She serves on the Southwest Research Institute Advisory Trustees, the Advisory Council for the American Latino Veterans Association, as well as the Boards for GPM Life and the San Antonio Area Foundation-Women and Girls Development Fund.
A native of Alice, Texas, she holds a Master of Arts from the Naval War College and a bachelor’s degree from Dominican College of San Rafael, California. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Dominican University in 2015 and named a Distinguished Alumni in 2016.
MAJOR GENERAL LEONARD A. PATRICK
Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command
Maj. Gen. Leonard A. Patrick is Vice Commander, Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. AETC recruits, trains and educates Air Force people and the command includes the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces and Air University. The command operates nearly 1,370 trainer, fighter and mobility aircraft, 23 wings, 12 bases and five geographically separated groups. It trains more than 293,000 students per year with approximately 62,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian and contractor personnel.
General Patrick entered the Air Force in 1981 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served in various base-level and headquarters assignments, and he has commanded at wing, group and numbered air force levels. He has twice served as a major-command director, including the Director of Installations and Mission Support at Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and The Civil Engineer at Air Education and Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas.
The general served two years in Foreign Military Sales as a construction manager for the Royal Saudi Air Force. During that time, he supported operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm by coordinating host-nation support for deployed forces and performing contingency airfield analysis. He also served with the Illinois State Water Survey at Champaign in Education with Industry. Prior to this assignment he was Commander, Second Air Force, Keesler AFB, Mississippi.
1981 Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo.
1987 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
1988 Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Boston University
1994 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2002 Master of Strategic Studies Degree, Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
2005 The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Advanced Management Program
Top 10 Military Needs for Bexar County (April 2022)
Rent Payment Assistance 75
Electric Service Payment Assistance 41
Aging and Disability Services* 40
VITA Tax Preparation/Tax Preparation 22
Food Pantries 21
Government Benefits Application Assistance (e.g., Medicaid, SNAP) 18
Low Income Housing Assistance 13
Water Payment Assistance 13
Smoke Detectors 13
At Risk/Homeless Housing Related 9
Total Count 265
*Aging and disability Services are supportive services provided to seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals specifically and includes referrals for personal care, veteran benefits, home modifications, and ramp constructions.
There were 16 unaddressed requests for military callers in April 2022. 37.5% of the unaddressed needs were because caller was ineligible; another 37.5% because service did not exist and last, 25% clients refused referral.
Non-existent services included:
- Insulin injection supplies
- Automotive payment, repair, and maintenance
- Gas money
- Motel bill payment assistance