Lauren Berkson, President

Lauren Berkson grew up in South Florida and has lived in Palm Beach County for more than twenty five years, where she has had the opportunity to serve the community through various organizations and activities.  She previously worked at the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches and is now an active member of the Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, West Palm Beach Center for Arts and Technology, Mission United Advisory Council and the Junior Achievement Committees. She proudly serves as President for Friends of Fisher House, Inc., Director for Wounded Veterans Relief Fund, Director for Sons and Daughters In Touch and Director for Friends of Veterans, Inc.

Lauren has made it her mission to educate our community about Gold Star Families whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice defending the United States of America in the armed forces.

Lauren is the Gold Star daughter of Captain Joseph M. Berkson, a United States Army Ranger who was killed-in-action in Vietnam in 1972.  With the support of the City of West Palm Beach and the community, Lauren led the project to build the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Trinity Park along Flagler Drive.  She worked with the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation to realize the Foundation’s mission of erecting these monuments in all fifty states.  She is currently working toward placing Gold Star Memorial Markers in 15 locations throughout Palm Beach County.

Donna Katen-Bahensky, Vice President

Donna Katen-Bahensky was appointed as the Medical Center Director of the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center in February 2017 and served until her recent retirement in August 2019. In that role she oversaw the healthcare delivery to a seven-county area of South Florida Veterans and managed more than 2,600 staff members at the main facility in West Palm Beach and six Community based Outpatient Clinics.

Prior to this appointment Donna spent more than 35 years in the private and university health care sectors where she held progressive leadership positions at the University of Iowa Hospital and clinics, Virginia Commonwealth University Health system and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Prior to beginning her position at the Veteran’s Health Administration, she served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin.  UW Health is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers consisting of the 680-bed University Hospital, a Children’s Hospital, an NCI designated cancer center, Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma and burn centers and a 220,000-member insurance plan.  Throughout her career, Donna has served as an Adjunct/Clinical Faculty member for Schools of Nursing; Public Health and Health Administration.

Under her leadership, UW Health was selected as the Best Hospital in Wisconsin by US News and World Report three years in a row from 2012 to 2014. The facility was recognized as one of the Top 10 Places to Work by Working Mother magazine for seven years in a row from 2007-2013.  Donna delivered presentations for multiple influential organizations to audiences across the nation and has held prominent positions on community boards and councils.

Donna received numerous awards and recognition of excellence achievements including Becker Hospital’s One of the 24 Leading Women to Know in Healthcare; the Becker’s Top 30 Healthcare Leadership Award; Arthritis Foundation’s Community Impact Leadership Award and Brava Magazine’s Women to Watch.  Additionally, she was named a Lifetime Girl Scout and was a recipient of the Juliette Gordon Law Award by the Girls Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

Donna has served as a Director on several nonprofit Boards including: Ronald McDonald House; Lions Eye Bank; Red Cross Association; United Way of Dane County; American Hospital Association; Overture Center Foundation; Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce; American Heart Association; University Health system Consortium; Association of American Medical Colleges and the Henry B Tippie College of Business.

Ms. Katen-Bahensky received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and her Master of Science in Public Health Administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri.

Alfred P. "Skip" Aldridge, Secretary

Skip is the founder, President & CEO of Head of Sales Consulting which provides strategic insights to a small and selective group of CPG companies and retailers. 

Prior to forming HSC, Skip served as the Executive Vice President, Sales, and Chief Customer Officer at Pharmavite, LLC, where he served on the Pharmavite Executive Management Team. As of May 2011, Skip retired from Pharmavite and transitioned to an Executive Advisor to the company.

Before joining Pharmavite, Skip was Executive Vice President, Sales, Grocery Foods Products Group, at ConAgra. Prior to ConAgra, he was Vice President of Sales and National Sales Manager for Del Monte Foods, San Francisco, CA,. He also held senior sales management positions with Pet Inc. and The Clorox Company.

Skip currently serves as a Director of the Civic Association for of Palm Beach, serving on the Public Safety Committee and Strategic Planning Forum; serves as a director and Co-Chairman of the Citizens’ Association of Palm Beach; serves as a Trustee of the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce and serves as Vice President and Director of Harbour House Co-Operative. He was recently appointed one of eight citizens to serve on the Town of Palm Beach Strategic Planning Board who has been charged with developing a five-year strategy for the town. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Overseas Service Corporation, West Palm Beach. He also currently serves as a pro bono strategic advisor to several startup companies in in the USA. 

Mr. Aldridge has served as an advisor in many non-profit and service-oriented organizations. Skip is former member of the US Advisory Board for Enactus (Formerly SIFE) where he has been recognized as “Champion of SIFE” on two separate occasions, holding the “Double Eagle “award.  Skip is the past Vice Chairman, NACDS Retail Advisory Board; the past Chairman GMDC HBW Advisory Board and a past member of the GMDC Board of Directors. Skip was recognized with the GMDC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Skip also serves as a legal expert witness in matters related to sales execution and sales leadership practices.

Skip grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1974 where he was President of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and participated in many UNC leadership activities.

Jerold A. Klein, Treasurer

Jerold A. “Jerry” Klein serves as National Chair of the Veterans Benefits Committee for Vietnam Veterans of America.

I was born in the Bronx New York but grew up on Long Island. I entered the Army on March 8,1967 and served with A Company 2nd Battalion 8th Cavalry 1st Division from August 8,1967 to August 8,1968. I was awarded the Silver Star, the Air Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge during his service in Vietnam.

I am a graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Long Island University C.W. Post College.

I am a charter member of VVA Chapter # 11 in Suffolk County New York. I have held elective positions on the chapter level as President, Vice President, and Treasurer. I have held elective Office with the New York State Council as Treasurer and was appointed as State Council Legislative Coordinator serving in that position for ten years. I retired from employment with Suffolk County New York as a Veterans Service Officer in August 2002.

In June 2004 I was elected as 1st Vice President of the Florida State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America and chaired the State Council Veterans Benefits Committee from 2003 to 2011. On June 10,2006 I was elected as President of the Florida State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America at the State Council meeting in Tallahassee Florida and served in that position until June 2012.

I belong to the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Jewish War Veterans and the 1st Cavalry Division Association.

In 2002 I received an award as the American Legion Department of New York Service Officer of the Year at the American Legion State Convention in Albany New York. I was awarded the Vietnam Veterans of America service officer of the year in 1995.

I have held National Office in Vietnam Veterans of America for 5 terms as a Director at Large. Currently, and I hold elective office as Vice President of VVA Chapter # 25 Palm Beach County Florida.

I have  served on the Board of Directors of the Fisher House in West Palm Beach Florida since 2005 and currently serve in the position of  Treasurer.  I currently serve as the Service Officer for the 11th District and Southern Area for the American Legion in Florida.

I reside in Wellington Florida with my wife Joy.

Rebecca Spurlin, Board Member

Rebecca is a detail-oriented senior level executive with over 26 years’ hands-on experience in finance, management, and business leadership.  She is skilled in strategic leadership with owners, organizational officers, CPA and legal. Her creative out-of-the box thinking demonstrates the ability to streamline business operations that drive growth and increase efficiency.

Rebecca has managed payroll and benefits for more than 400 employees in 35 states across three companies. She oversees government contracts and major consumer product manufacturers’ contracts. She is responsible for management of capital strategies, currency exchanges, financial modeling and budgeting. She was instrumental in a recent acquisition doubling revenues in the past 3 years.

Rebecca earned her Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Florida Atlantic University. She is proficient in cross-functional leadership with IT, HR, Customer Service, Sales, and Marketing and responsible for the annual budget for organizational targets.

Dan Dalton, Board Member

Daniel Dalton has been with Ecolab 31 years; his current role is Business Development Manager and an Associate Certified Entomologist since 2006. Before Ecolab he enlisted in the USAF in 1983-1989 and was stationed in RAF Lakenheath in England and Minot AFB in North Dakota.  Married to Tracy, together we have 8 children and 7 grandchildren. We enjoy volunteering, kayaking, fishing, farming, living in Florida, and our grandchildren.

 Volunteer Accomplishments

2019-Present American Legion Post 268 – Commander

2021-Present American Legion 11th District – Vice Commander

2020-2021 American Legion District 11 – Service Officer

2020-Present 40 & 8 Voiture Locale #290 – Commissaire Intendant

2020 – 2021 NPMA PestVets Council Member

2018-2019 American Legion Post 268 – Sergeant at Arms

2018 American Legion Post 268 – Executive Board Member

2012-2014 40 & 8 Voiture Locale #750 – Youth Sports Officer – Jefferson County WI

2011-2014 American Legion Post 67 Lake Mills, WI – 2nd Vice Commander

2010-2011 DAV Jefferson County Chapter #18, WI – Junior Vice Commander

2009-2015 Heroes On The Water – Great Lakes Coordinator

Heroes on the Water, a 501(c)(3) veterans charity, creates alternative wellness programs to serve veterans, active-duty military personnel, first responders and their families. These experiential programs incorporate structured activities proven to improve the lives of these men and women. Each experience reduces the impact of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury while providing much-needed camaraderie and support.

2007- 2008 American Legion Post 84 Otsego, MI – 2nd Vice Commander

2006 – 2008 American Legion Post 84 Otsego, MI – Member of the Color Guard

1983-1989 United States Air Force Security Police E-4

Frank Fiore, Board Member

Coming Soon!

Susan C. Elhilow, Board Member

Originally from North Carolina and daughter of a United States Air Force Officer and an entrepreneur, Susan Clark Elhilow has resided in five Southern states, with West Palm Beach being home the majority of her life. She has traveled extensively, experiencing the cultural and ecological heartbeat of forty-five states, twelve countries and multiple island communities. She holds a Master of Accounting degree from Florida State University with Summa Cum Laude distinction and has a diverse background in the South Florida business community.

Prior to practicing public accounting for the national firm Ernst & Young, Susan worked in the interior design, hospitality and retail industries. Combining these career experiences with her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, she co-founded a thriving full service design studio and retail boutique, Gracie Street Interior Design, Inc., in downtown West Palm Beach, serving as the Managing Director for 23 years.

As an independent advisor, Susan has conceived and overseen multiple commercial and residential interior projects, each bringing smiles and blissful satisfaction to all those enjoying the results. Susan has been married to her husband Mark for 30 years and raised their two daughters as a dedicated, hands-on mother while balancing her business and community responsibilities. She continues to immerse herself in efforts impacting the wellbeing and lives of others with a desire to use her skills and talents in the most beneficial and impactful way.

Community Involvement and Leadership

World Leaders Conference, Palm Beach Leadership Council (3 years)

Tony Robbins Mastery University (2 years)

Downtown West Palm Beach Merchants Association (10 years)

West Palm Beach Mayor's Waterfront Committee (2 years)

West Palm Beach Mayor's Wayfinding Steering Committee (1 year)

West Palm Beach Mayor's Merchant Advisory Committee (2 years)

Palm Beach Day Academy Parent Leadership Roles (11 years)

• Parent School Council, Vice President

• Auction & Capital Campaign Committees

• Auction Class Project Coordinator

• Annual Fund Class Representative

• Facilities Improvement Coordinator

• Bus Transportation Route Originator

• Classroom Parent Leader

Girl Scouts of America Troop Leader (7 years)

• Junior Garden Club Affiliation Originator

• Blue Star Memorial Marker Dedication on Veteran's Day, Youth Coordinator

Junior League of the Palm Beaches (7 years)

Christmas in April Home Improvement for Underserved Residents, Donations Coordinator

Historical Society of PB County, Development Committees (8 years)

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (present)

George Kinoshita, Board Member

George is the son of a career Army soldier. He sought to follow in his father’s footstep, and subsequently served on active duty in the Army for over 27 years. George is a disabled veteran who receives care from the West Palm Beach VA Hospital. He currently serves on the Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs Board, and is a board member of the Wellington Rotary Club. He is a member of the Back To Basics Program that provides school uniforms, toys and clothing to children in Palm Beach County. George spent much of his childhood years and military service in overseas locations, to include France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. He is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and MOAA

(Military Officer Association of America). George received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Pennsylvania Military College; Masters of Forensic Science, the George Washington University; Masters of National Security and Strategic Studies, the Naval War College. Additionally, George was a Fellow of Forensic Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Rick Salvadore, Board Member

Coming Soon!

Lifelong Board Member, In Memoriam for
Thomas H. Corey 12/24/1944 - 6/6/2022

In Memorium, Thomas H. Corey 12/24/1944 - 6/6/2022.

Tom Corey has served as President of the Vietnam Veterans Peace Initiative.

Corey served as President and CEO of Vietnam Veterans of America, the nation’s only congressionally chartered organization exclusively serving the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families, retiring from that position in 2005.

He worked at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center as an Ombudsman and Program Specialists with the Directors office.

A native of Detroit, Corey entered the U.S. Army and was sent to Vietnam in May 1967 where he served as a combat infantryman and squad leader with the 1st Air Cavalry Division, 1st Battalion, 12 Calvary. While engaged in an assault against enemy positions on January 31, 1968, Tet Offense, he received an enemy round in the neck, which hit his spinal cord and left him paralyzed and a quadriplegic. He was medically retired from the U.S. Army in May 1968. Corey was a decorated combat veteran receiving the Bronze Star Medal with V device, 2 Purple Hearts, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Citation, Republic Vietnam Gallantry Cross, Combat Infantry Badge along with other awards.

After an extended hospitalization, Corey returned to his family in Detroit where he spent his time in and out of the local VA hospital. He relocated to West Palm Beach, Florida, in 1972, where he has been involved in community affairs, a veterans leader and advocate and served on many advisory boards with local Government, and with the VA Medical Centers in Miami and West Palm Beach, the VA Research Foundation of Palm Beaches, VSIN 8 Management Assistance Council, Friends of Veterans Board, Friends of Fisher House Board, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 25, Board and Vietnam Veterans Peace Initiative, President. He has received numerous awards for speaking out on veterans’ and disabled persons’ rights since the mid seventies.

Corey has returned to Vietnam 16 times since 1994 representing Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans Initiative program regarding our POW/MIA’s and Agent Orange issues with successful results. He led delegations meeting with top Vietnamese and Laos leaders, Government Officials at every level, the Veterans Association of Viet Nam organization leaders and members throughout Vietnam, with Health Care leaders on Agent Orange effects and research from U.S. and Vietnam, U.S. Ambassador’s to Vietnam and Laos, the U.S. Joint Task Force-Full Accounting in Vietnam and Laos, who are responsible for recovery efforts of Americans still listed as POW/MIA. Corey was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in Vietnam.

Corey was the first recipient of the Vietnam Veterans of America’s Commendation Medal, VVA’s highest award for service to veterans, their families, and the community.

Corey was the founding President of VVA Palm Beach County Chapter 25 in 1981. In 1991, the chapter was named the Thomas H. Corey Chapter at its tenth anniversary celebration. In 1985, he was elected to VVA’s National Board of Directors. In 1987, he was elected VVA’s national Secretary and was re-elected in 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1995. In 1997, he was elected VVA’s national Vice President and re-elected in 1999; in 2001 he was elected VVA President and was re-elected in 2003 and served until 2005.

Corey was also a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart Association, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, 1st Cavalry Association, and the National Association of Uniformed Services.

Tom Corey resided in Jupiter, Florida. He had a son Brian, and a daughter, Trang.