Who We Are

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

The Growing Veterans’ Board of Directors are a working board and have begun to focus on strengthening fundraising channels, board structure, and long-term governance strategies. If you have a passion for Growing Veterans’ vision and possess the professional skills that would enhance our board, please contact our President.

  • Christopher Brown, MSW.
    Christopher Brown, MSW.

    President. Co-Founder of Growing Veterans. PTSD counselor for combat veterans. Purple Heart recipient, Marine Corps veteran. Whatcom County Veteran’s Advisory Board Member. Member of WWU’s Human Services Advisory Committee. The Mission Continues Alum. AmeriCorps Alum. brown@growingveterans.org.

  • Bill Smith, Ph.D..
    Bill Smith, Ph.D..

    Vice President. Professor Emeritus of WWU. Taught English and Technical Writing for 35 years. Edited the national journal Writing Program Administration. Serves on various boards and committees that pertain to technical writing. Past Chair of the Speakers Committee for WWU Retirement Association. Son of WWII Veteran who fought in 12 battles with the 1st Marine Division. wsmith1545@gmail.com.

  • Richard Forsell.
    Richard Forsell.

    Secretary. Attorney at Law. Practices business law in Kirkland, WA. Does various pro bono work for non-profits that he is passionate about, richard@ktbllaw.com.

  • Arie Greenleaf, Ph.D.
    Arie Greenleaf, Ph.D.

    Board member. Marine Corps veteran. Researcher and Professor at Seattle University. greenleaf@seattleu.edu.

  • Tony Cafferelli
    Tony Cafferelli

    Marine Corps Veteran turned accountant with 3 years of auditing experience. Tony served 8 years in the Marine Corps, 3 of which were serving alongside Christopher Brown. Upon transitioning to civilian life, he studied at The George Washington University & earned his Bachelors Degree in Accountancy. Tony is currently studying to be a CPA.


  • Michael Frazier
    Michael Frazier

    Executive Director
    Michael is a Marine Corps veteran with 20 years of organizational leadership and development experience in the public and private sectors.

  • Dannie Hopkins
    Dannie Hopkins

    Office Manager
    Dannie comes to Growing Veterans from the civilian world of business management and emergency services. A native Washingtonian growing up in a back to the land lifestyle on their small family farm in Eastern Washington instilled a deep love of faith, farm, and family. Dannie has a background in successful small business ownership, business management, farming, teaching, trauma, and work in veteran groups around the country. She loves music, family, and kindness.

  • Joel Swenson
    Joel Swenson

    Farm Manager
    Joel was an Airborne Combat Medic in the US Army. He served active duty from 2007-2011. Deployed to Afghanistan 2009-2010. After getting out in 2011 he used his GI Bill at Western Washington University and received a Bachelors in Outdoor Recreation. He started part time at Growing Veterans, with little to no experience, and now manages 40 acres of Organically Certified land at the Starbird Road Farm in Mount Vernon. Joel wants to pass on the knowledge he gains to other veterans and to reconnect them with nature as a source of healing.

  • Programs Director
    Scotty Irwin served in the Army as a medic and after getting out in 2014 started volunteering at Growing Veterans. Scotty's civilian background is in Public Safety and Administration, and has a degree in Criminal Justice. She is a jack of all trades and helps keep the gears turning smoothly for ongoing programs and development. She believes in agricultural and recreational therapy as a way to help veterans reconnect and heal during their journey with PTSD.