Thomas M. Oakley, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Originally from Pennsylvania, currently a resident of Nelson County, now retired owner of T.M.Turf. He has an Associate degree in Fire Technology from Delaware Technical College. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1965, Tom served in the Vietnam War as a door gunner and crewman in an aircraft recovery unit known as Pipesmoke. With over 50 hours of combat flight hours, Tom was awarded the Air Medal with 20 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army commendation Medal for Valor, and the Aircraft Crewman’s Badge.
Tom learned that the Vietnam War Museum in Ruckersville, VA was closing and gathered a group of Veterans and volunteers to form this foundation and relocate the museum to Nelson County.
Bobby Cabbell, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors
A lifetime resident of Nelson County, graduated from Nelson county high School. A U. S. Army Veteran, Bobby served as a flight engineer and helicopter crew chief from 1968 to 1971. After being hoonorably discharged, having the rank of Specialist 5th Class, bobby continued his education at Central Virginia Community College. Selected as the second black Virginia State Trooper, he began his law enforcement as a career patrolman, ultimately becoming a Narcotics agent. Upon retirement, he worked in the food brokerage industry and a sales representative, representing major companies like Borden, Duracell, Dannon, Pillsbury, and Green Giant for over 35 years. Bobby’s territory included Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Now retired, Bobby spends time with his wife and family, tending to his small farm in Piney river, Virginia.
Judy Smythers, Treasurer
Judy is a life-long resident of Nelson County. She graduated from Nelson CountyHigh School, Smithdeal-Massey Business College, and Central Virginia Community College She was an administrative secretary at the Department of Surgery, U Va Medical Center; McGuire, Woods & Battle Law Firm; Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Paralegal for the City Attorney of Lynchburg. Subsequently, Judy was Clerk of Lynchburg Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (9 years); Clerk, Lynchburg General District Court (9 years) and Clerk, Nelson County Circuit Court (17 years) and retired in August, 2016.Judy is an active member of Nelson County Rotary Club, having served as President 2018-19, and Rockfish Presbyterian ChurJudy and her husband, Mike, live in Fortunes Cove, Lovingston, with several critters. She has one son, Chris (Patti), a Grandson, Andrew, and a Granddaughter, Catie.
Susan Wood, Secretary
Originally from Niagara Falls, NY, Sue received her undergraduate BSN from Niagara Univeristy and moved to Charlotesville in 1977 after graduation to begin her nursing career at the University of Virginia. She returned to graduate school at UVA, received her Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certificate in 1983 and completed her Masters in Critical Care Nursing in 1993.
Sue joined the U.S.Navy Reserve Nurse Corp in 1986, mobilized to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center Emergency Department during Desert Storm, retired as a Nurse Corp Commander in 2006. She retired from UVA Health System in 2016 and moved to Nelson County.
Larry Saunders, Board of Directors
Larry is a lifelong resident of Nelson county. Graduating from Nelson County High School in 1964 and spending more that two years in the construction business, Larry was drafted and then voluntarily joined the U. S. Marines Corps. a Vietnam Veteran, Larry served a full tour in counrty in 1967 as a heavy equipment operator with the 3rd Engineer Battalion. Married in 1968 to his wifr Carol, Larry went back to working construction and in 1972 began his own pipeline construction company located in Collen, Virginia. After 40 years, Larry is now retired, and was elected to the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in 2011. Larry’s public service career continues while he fits in time for family, his Arrington, Virginia farm, and his classic car rebuilding.
Jeffrey Boecker, Board Member, Liaison to the Vietnam War Foundation
Jeff is a retired attorney and a resident of Albemarle County. He graduated from the University of Kentucky and Harvard Law School. The primary focus of his legal work was in corporate civil litigation. He practiced law with law firms in Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington before joining the Law Department of Marriott International, Inc. Jeff's volunteer work has included conducting over 50 on camera interviews of veterans of World War II and Vietnam for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.
Alan Shotwell, Director, Former member of the Vietnam War Foundation
Alan created the beautiful murals that pull together and truly paint the picture of the Vietnam experience. Alan has created our Facebook page and will guide in reassembly of the murals in the new museum