March 20, 2022

Host, Dale Throneberry, CW2 Helicopter Pilot in Vietnam in 1969, broadcasts LIVE from USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. His guests:

  • Robert Near – Deputy Director, Michigan Veteran Affairs
  • Melissa Engle – Therapeia Counseling with ART Therapy
  • Dr. Eric Fretz – Region 9 VCAT
  • Kate Melcher – Director, Fisher House Michigan
  • John Ryder – Michigan Heroes Museum, Frankenmuth, MI
  • Sgt Kris Kalbfleisch – Heavy Machine Operator, National Guard
Robert Near

Robert Near

Deputy Director, Michigan Veterans Affairs

Robert is an Army veteran, serving as an Airborne Artillerymen in the 2/377th Parachutist Field Artillery Regiment, 4/25 Infantry Division. He served in Iraq from 2006 to 2008. His awards and decorations include: Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, National Defense Service Ribbon, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal with Campaign Star, Operation Enduring Freedom Medal with Campaign Star and NATO Medal. 

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency provides centralized support for each county within Michigan. They are responsible for overseeing the funding that is mandated by the state congressional legislature to support:

  1. VSO initiatives
  2. American Legion, VFW, VVA and DAV
  3. Veterans and their families and caregivers in time of need. The number to call is 800-MICHVET or 800-642-4838.

For more information: www.michigan.gov/mvaa

Kate Melcher

Kate Melcher

Director, Fisher House Michigan in Ann Arbor

Dale Throneberry and Kate Melcher are pictured here discussing the USA Hockey event schedule along with Cat, Kate’s service dog.

Kate is the Director of Fisher House Michigan, located next to the Ann Arbor VA Hospital. They provide a full complement of services to the family and caregivers of veterans who are receiving care at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital. The House opened in June of 2020, and over the last 18 months they have served 2,500 families. There is a fundraising drive for another Fisher House near the Dingel VA Hospital in Detroit.

If you would like to support Fisher House you can connect through their website or call directly to their administrative office at 313-483-6543. They accept cash or in-kind gifts and are often looking for supplies to restock the pantry and day-to-day personal care items. You will find many ways to support the Fisher House legacy. As founder Zack Fisher said, the veteran is “our greatest national treasure.”

Kate Melcher began her career in a research and speechwriting position with the Supreme Court of the United States. She went on to serve in senior staff positions in the US Senate, as an AH-64D Apache Longbow pilot in the Army, and as an Army Legislative Liaison Officer for the US Army National Guard. Ms. Melcher is a seasoned military, non-profit, and private sector professional, with a passion for public service.

Kate is also a board member of Veterans Radio America, our 501c3 non-profit organization that funds the programming for Veterans Radio.

For more information: www.fisherhousemichigan.org

Dr. Eric Fretz

Dr. Eric Fretz

Region 9 VCAT and University of Michigan Professor

Eric Fretz is a graduate of the University of Michigan and a faculty lecturer who creates and delivers classes across campus (Psychology, Innovate Blue Entrepreneurship, School of Education, College of Engineering Center for Entrepreneurship). In addition to classes from the 100 to 600 level, he also delivers academic readiness classes for Student Veterans at U-M.

Eric is a Navy man, retired after 20 years. Three deployments to the Persian Gulf combat zone (from Gulf War 1 in the early 90’s to Baghdad in 2008 assigned to the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps) provide a rich source of lessons and stories about teamwork, management, and leadership. 

The Region 9 Veterans Community Action Team (R9VCAT) connects area support, services, resources and programs to veterans and their families. Region 9 includes; Hillsdale, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties. They are making plans for two large scale events in Livingston County and Washtenaw County known as VetFest. Josh Parrish is the lead coordinator for the Livingston County event. Eric is working with Washtenaw Community College to hold the first like event in Washtenaw in July or August of this year. An additional program that Eric is developing is related to entrepreneurship, an area where he has found personal success.

Thank you Eric and your R9VCAT team for putting the USA Hockey event together for veterans and veteran resources to come together. This is a 5 STAR event!

Melissa Engle, ART Therapy

Melissa Engle, ART Therapy

Counselor at Therapeia Counseling

Melissa Engle is a licensed professional mental health counselor for nearly 20 years. She began her career in behavioral health in 1998 and has extensive experience providing counseling services to teens and adults. She is a member of the American Counseling Association, Michigan Counseling Association, and the Michigan Mental Health Counselors Association.

Melissa is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, a Master-Certified Accelerated Resolution Therapist (ART), and is fully licensed in Michigan to provide counseling and clinical supervision. She is currently enrolled at Oakland University in the Ph.D. in Counseling program and is studying moral injury, Accelerated Resolution Therapy, and PTSD in military populations.

Melissa has been providing supervision to new counselors for 15 years and is sought after for her expertise on PTSD, posttraumatic growth, moral injury, and veterans issues.

If you are an Oakland County (Michigan) resident, call Melissa for a one-session appointment to experience ART therapy. Call Melissa at 586-222-3391 to schedule your session. She is certain you will experience the difference of ART Therapy for anxiety and

John Ryder

John Ryder

Michigan Heroes Museum in Frankenmuth, MI

Honor. Respect. Remember.

Every day The Michigan Heroes Museum shares the personal stories of heroism, leadership, and sacrifice – sometimes the ultimate sacrifice – of ordinary Michigan men and women thrust into extraordinary circumstances. The museum believes that sharing this heritage is vital to understanding our past and preserving our future. For more information: www.miheroes.org

Please Give Us Your Feedback

Below is an area where you can rate this program on a 5-star rating system. You can also leave more detail in a comment section below the "Related Posts" section.

Sharing this post with your friends through social media is a way of sending "kudos" to the Veterans Radio team and their guests. Please use the icons below.

All feedback is appreciated as you, the audience, help us determine the programs we present.

All Gave Some. Some Gave All. Always Remember