Joan Nold – Co-founder / President
Labs for Liberty co-founder, Dr. Joan Nold, was raised serving her community. One of eight children, her family was comprised of first responders. As a neonatologist, she cares for the sickest and smallest of newborns. As an Honorary Commander with the 388th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, she supports the individuals of the US Air Force and their efforts to protect our nation. When Joan’s older son, Zach, joined the military, Joan was compelled to serve our nation’s military and first responders. Choosing to exploit her gift with animals and interpersonal skills, Joan established a revolutionary service dog program; hand selecting, custom training, and personally gifting each dog to Veterans and first responders. While the custom training of each dog is integral to the success of the Veteran/dog team, the personal relationships formed between the dog recipients and Labs for Liberty volunteers result in the quintessential family. Just as their service dog is their battle buddy and best friend, Labs for Liberty becomes their extended family. Not only is Joan the mother to two accomplished sons, one of whom is the CEO for Labs for Liberty, the other a police officer and reservist, she is also considered by many to be “Mamma #2”. As a Mamma to so many, Joan believes in commitment, trust, empowerment, love and respect – attributes found in our extended Labs for Liberty family.
Anthony Norris – Vice President / First Service Dog Recipient
Anthony joined the Army in 2006 during his senior year at Drury University. Following basic training and special warfare school Anthony was assigned to a special operations unit conducting psychological operations. Anthony served as a Psychological Operation Sergeant with the US Army for 7 years.
He was assigned to a Tactical PSYOP Team (TPT) and deployed to Iraq September 2007. Anthony’s role was vital to Navy Special Warfare and Marine Corps operations during the Battle for Al Anbar. Outside his duties of Psychological Operation team member, he assisted with counter intelligence and counter insurgency operations. While stationed stateside in 2008, Anthony graduated from Drury University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Chemistry and a minor in Global Studies. Though intending to enter Pharmacy school, Anthony instead deployed to Afghanistan in January of 2010. He served as the Assistant Team Leader in Helmand Province, again supporting the Marine Corps, conducting psychological operations. Having learned the local language, Anthony worked to persuade, change and influence the local population.
On July 23, 2010, Anthony’s life took a drastic change. He was wounded by an IED, while on a foot patrol resulting in a blast injury to include carrying shrapnel throughout his right side. Anthony remained in county, overcoming the pain and shrapnel in his body through dedication and love for his teammates.
As a result of the IED blast, Anthony suffers from PTSD, TBI and some chronic physical injuries/pain. He was honorably discharged and medically retired for his injuries in 2014. Anthony is currently working towards a master’s degree in Social Work and spends a good deal of his time serving other warriors through organizations such as Foundation for Exceptional Warriors (FEW) and Peterson Outdoor Ministries (POM) where he leads other veterans in hunting and outdoor activities. Anthony was the first Warrior to receive a service dog from Labs for Liberty. Penny, a registered pointing lab pup, was given to Anthony July 5, 2014. Since that time, Penny and Anthony have become an inseparable pair. While Penny’s primary job is to serve Anthony’s needs in regard to his IED related injuries, she has also become his tireless hunting companion. Penny, as an extension of Anthony, also serves those veterans with whom he interacts through FEW and POM. Anthony and Penny are truly the epitome of what we wish to be able to achieve with each of our pups.
Roger Nold – Co-founder / Treasurer
As a co-founder of Labs for Liberty, Roger Nold shared the vision of helping Veterans heal and find a new healthy normal. With several family members serving in the US military, Roger saw firsthand the impact of war on both the individuals and their families. Consequently, he used his expertise in home remodeling to refurbish the Labs for Liberty facility, the home that has become Liberty Outpost. Through his efforts, Liberty Outpost has become the retreat where Veterans train with their service dogs, reconnect with their families, and find renewed energy and purpose. Having grown up in a family of seven siblings, Roger understands the need to have a cohesive family unit. His efforts have been an integral part of shaping the culture of Labs for Liberty since its inception.
Jacob Nold – Executive Director
Jacob Nold is a social entrepreneur, businessman, and Veteran/first responder activist. As a member of the millennial generation, at just 23 years old, Jacob has emerged as a leader in these areas. Throughout his college career, Jacob interned at Veterans’ nonprofits across the country and has spent time working in Washington D.C. alongside diplomats, businesspeople, and political leaders for an international publication. Through these experiences, Jacob has acquired the necessary skills in order to be a successful leader and effective learner. Having surrounded himself with mentors in various sectors across the country, it is safe to say, Jacob has aligned himself with the right people in order to ensure a bright future for himself and those with whom he associates.
Rick Edlin – Secretary
Rick Edelen is the youngest of 10 children from San Antonio, Texas. His father was a World War II Veteran who flew B25’s and C47’s. Rick has never served in the military however he is the youngest of eight boys many of whom served in the military. Having several of his siblings in the military allowed Rick to see the highs and lows of their time in service and post service. Due to his upbringing and close connections with military service members, Rick is inherently patriotic. Participating on the board of Labs for Liberty has given Rick an opportunity to give back in a way he never imagined. Rick currently resides with his wife and two children in Rapid City, South Dakota, the home of Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Will Hastings – Lieutenant Colonel (ret) / Advisor
Lieutenant Colonel (ret) William (Will) Hastings is a 20 year veteran of theUnited States Air Force. Will graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1993 and became a career intelligence officer for the US Air Force, with assignments in Texas, Korea, the United Kingdom, Alaska, Virginia, Nebraska, Alabama, and Florida. He deployed in support of Operation(s) PROVIDE COMFORT, NORTHERN WATCH, JOINT GUARDIAN/DELIBERATEFORGE, SOUTHERN
WATCH, ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and NOBLE EAGLE. Upon retirement, Will returned to school to begin a new career within the oil and gas industry. After graduation in June 2015, Will was hired as a Facility Operator for BP Exploration Alaska. He and his family currently live near Anchorage, Alaska with Will working two weeks each month on the North Slope of Alaska. William currently resides in Eagle River, Alaska with his wife (also an USAF Veteran) and his two sons.
Ted Garcia – Sergeant First Class / Advisor
Ted Garcia proudly served in the United States Army – 19th Special Forces Group for over eighteen (18) years as a reservist. His commitment to service and overall patriotism, combined with his innate ability to lead, eventually earned him the rank of Sergeant First Class. During his military career, he was trained as a Combat Medic. After his military career, he continued leveraging his combat medic training and became a volunteer EMT. Parallel, to his service, he performed journeyman carpentry for a small private company – this is what launched his love of construction management services.
In 1998, Mr. Garcia, a true entrepreneur, used the skills he acquired in the Army, as well as the skills he learned as a journeyman to build a small construction firm. He grew this business from the ground up to professionally form BeXar Advanced Solutions Group as we know it today; a company that employs and empowers over 32 full time employees to perform exceptional construction services. Because of his ability to develop relationships and effectively demonstrate his construction skills, he was able to get work with the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as earn other federal contracts.
Mr. Garcia’s passion and love for his fellow citizens helped him make a life changing decision to serve as a volunteer during the events of September 11, 2001. He worked for Utah Search and Rescue, Task Force 2, where he and his team mobilized to New York City to successfully and courageously assist FEMA in the rescue and recovery efforts.
In 2003, Mr. Garcia was re-called to duty by the United States Army, where he was assigned to a twenty (20) man Special Operations Team as a Medic in Iraq. Mr. Garcia applied the knowledge he gained as a business owner to negotiate equipment and supplies for his unit. In this capacity he was deemed a “hero among heroes”.
Like many of our military veterans, Mr. Garcia faced personal and professional adversity and misfortune, however, it only made him stronger. While serving in Iraq, Mr. Garcia was critically injured, however, he still managed to provide lifesaving care to a critically injured Iraqi child. Unable to walk and a new baby boy at home, his bills continued to pile up along with life’s daily pressure. Mr. Garcia decided to move his computer, fax machine and phone in his bedroom and do business from his bed.
Mr. Garcia put his business back on the map and five (5) months later he was awarded a large project from Buckley AFB and continued to bid competitively as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business and Minority Owned Small Business Owner. In his true spirit, Mr. Garcia needed to do more. He started to donate his time to the Veterans Administration Medical Center to help returning Combat Veterans with paperwork and recovery. He was invited to serve on the Board of Advisors with the Veterans Administration to help with issues with returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Garcia continues to improve the lives of his family and numerous others. He has also improved the lives of American Combat Veterans who needed a profound example that injuries can be overcome with determination and a drive to succeed. In July of 2005, Mr. Garcia was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Utah Cross and the Purple Heart for actions of heroism that took place in Iraq.