Heather Sliwinski is a happily married mom of 6 amazing grown children, a Mimi to 3 grandchildren, and the owner of her amazing Chocolate Lab “Reckless” a Certified Therapy Dog. She is also the proud Mother of a United States Infantry Marine. Heather has been part of Operation Ward 57 since 2012 as the Honor & Courage Program Director and Operator of the Honor & Courage Crisis Line. Supporting and assisting our Veterans and Law Enforcement has been a passion of Heather’s her entire life. When a Veteran reaches out to Heather…they become part of her family. Heather has also been involved in the National Youth organization – “Young Marines” since 2008 and is now her local unit’s Executive Officer and Adjutant. Heather has been the recipient of many prestigious awards including the “Chapel of the Four Chaplains” Humanitarian Award given in recognition of a lifetime commitment to selfless service and soceital advancement that has demonstrably affected the quality of life in the community or region.
Assistant Executive Director
Yvette is a married mom of 3 grown boys. She is has been a real estate appraiser for over 30 years. Her husband is an Air Force veteran and retired police lieutenant. Yvette started volunteering with Operation Ward 57 in 2013 after her nephew, Sgt. Derek McConnell, US Army, died from his injuries sustained in Afghanistan. Yvette saw first hand the great things Operation Ward 57 was able to accomplish and wanted to continue to give back to those who have given so much for all of us.
Assistant Executive Director
Mandi Atkins is a prior Army active duty/combat veteran spouse, the daughter of a Navy veteran, and has 6 living family members who have selflessly served this country. In addition to being a mother of three children, she works as a sales manager and mortgage advisor in WA, OR, and CA. She brings her education experience with her and is also a licensed real estate instructor, teaching financial literacy to active duty service members, as well as educating real estate professionals on how to better serve their military clients. While also serving on multiple non profit boards, Mandi has helped fundraise and coordinate large events to provide funding for the overlooked needs our servicemembers face, including funding service animals, and has received numerous service awards for her contributions across multiple agencies. Mandi has been volunteering with Operation Ward 57 since 2015, and joined the board in 2017.
Siobhan Fuller-McConnell lives in NJ, is a single mother of five children, and is a practicing attorney. Her second child, Sgt Derek McConnell, US Army, was injured in Afghanistan on July 23, 2011, and died of his wounds on March 18, 2013. As a Gold Star Mother, Siobhan has stayed active in the caregiver community, and travels often between NJ and Bethesda, MD to visit Walter Reed.
Lisa Heeter lives in Maryland with her husband of 37 years. They have 4 children and 3 grandchildren that they love spending time with. Her father is an Army veteran as well as her husband. She started volunteering with Operation Ward 57 in 2009 when she was introduced to the organization by her friend Nelson Stewart. Over the years she has participated in the holiday cheer program as well as ice cream socials, nurse’s week, adopt a family and other events at the hospital. Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors and giving back to the community.
Laura has been with Operation Ward 57 as a volunteer since 2009. She stumbled upon a T-shirt booth for them at a concert in the DC area while living in Baltimore. From 09-2013 she visited the ward weekly and took patients to events once they were mobile. Laura moved to Nashville late 2013 and swapped her roll from inpatient visits to social media management. Now back in Maryland, she recently joined the board of directors and hold the Secretary position. Happy to be back in the area, her daytime job is the toll of store manager for Rack Room Shoes since 2011.
Nelson Stewart graduated from McMaster University on the Dean’s Honour List with a double major in English and History. He also received a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario, again on the Dean’s Honour List. He teaches in Canada where he also conducts a stage band, a funk band, and a concert band, and coaches soccer and football. Dubbed “Bon Scottsman” by fans Nelson has been a musician for 35 years in such diverse musical genres as rock, Celtic, funk, punk, blues, folk, jazz, pop, and classical. He is a singer/songwriter/producer who plays several instruments including piano, guitar, accordion, bass, mandolin, sax, harmonica, bodhran, and various other drums. When Nelson is not performing with the AMERICAN ROGUES he also appears with other groups. Nelson and The AMERICAN ROGUES have continuously shown their support of the military. The AMERICAN ROGUE family includes former members of the Army, the Marines, the Air Force, the Military Police, and the Navy. They have raised thousands of dollars for individual veterans, the U.S. Air Force Aid Society, and have been a close partner with Operation Ward 57 since 2009. They have performed for the troops in Guantanamo Bay, Japan, Italy, Spain and Guam and they regularly volunteer to perform for WWII Vets at Honor Flights in Washington, D.C.