Augusta Warrior Project advances in national initiative, names new leaders

In its first major order of business since being selected to lead a national initiative that will help hundreds of thousands of veterans transition into civilian life, the Augusta Warrior Project announced this week it is making changes to its board of directors and executive leadership.

At its November meeting, the nonprofit organization’s board of directors elected W. Thomas Matthews as it new chairman. Matthews, the former co-chairman of the Medal of Honor Foundation, replaces former president Jim Hull, who will continue on the board as treasurer.

“Jim Hull, the spark and life of our board since 2007 stepped down as president of the Augusta Warrior Project in order to focus on his new position on the Georgia Board of Regents,” said Jim Lorraine, the former executive director of the Augusta Warrior Project.

Lorraine was selected by the board to be president and chief executive officer. Kim Elle, an Air Force Reserve lieutenant colonel, was named as his replacement as executive director.

Other changes to the leadership team include the election of original board member, Clay Boardman, to secretary and the addition of three new members. They include: Col. Leo Thorsness, a Medal of Honor recipient; Jay Town, a former Marine who is assistant district attorney in Huntsville, Ala. and a member on the Medal of Honor Foundation’s executive council; and Paul Hatch, a Naval Academy graduate who is the CEO of KNUU Investment Solutions, and former vice chairman of Morgan Stanley wealth management division.

In late October, the national Wounded Warrior Project announced that the Augusta Warrior Project would lead its multimillion-dollar Community Integration initiative, which is designed to bring services and support directly to veterans most in need, first in Augusta, then nationwide.

According to details of the agreement, the national Wounded Warrior Project will provide mentorship and funding, while the Augusta organization will help injured service members access the programs and services available in their region through strengthening local veteran organizations and empowering communities to build support networks.

Lorraine said the initiative has targeted areas to start: Boston, St. Louis, Charleston, S.C., Tacoma, Wash. and six counties between Pensacola and Panama City, Fla.

Lorraine said the AWP Board of Directors will focus on the fiduciary and national expansion mission, while a local advisory board will address furthering efforts within the Central Savannah River Area, including Augusta and Aiken.

“I am honored by the trust and confidence the board has put in me, but I still see myself as a worker and leader within one of the greatest non-profits in this area or even the nation,” Lorraine said, regarding his new responsibilities. “It’s important for our local supporters to know that Kim Elle and her team will be 100 percent focused on the CSRA. My national team, in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project, will be working to introduce the AWP model to cities all over America.”

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