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Melisa Hartsell  (President)

Melisa Hartsell is the mother of three sons Alex (wife, Lindsey), Evin & Nate and the Gigi of three grandchildren (Logan & Titus & Aerith).

Currently, Melisa is focusing on expanding the Foundation in an effort to maximize the impact of Evin's Life and Legacy. She has a passion to serve families struggling with caregiver support and other issues that affect families of persons with disabilities. 
She worked in the Commercial Real Estate Industry for 25 years and is currently a real estate broker. Melisa previously was owner & managing broker for Apex Real Estate Company and employed by Signal Source Telecommunications as a project site development manager and leasing broker.


For 28 years Melisa was a continuous advocate for Evin by educating and fighting for Evin’s independence everyday. She was a tireless and unwavering advocate in her understanding the struggles of raising a son with a neuromuscular disease and living the struggle day after day dealing with insurance companies, nursing agencies, nurses, doctors, schools and the emotional and physical struggles of Evin and the family. After Evin Passed away in April 2018 and Evin’s book (Abled In A Disabled World was published, Melisa with Evin’s father Scott, pursued creating the Evin B. Hartsell Foundation in hopes of creating a circle of giving and to carry on Evin’s legacy. Melisa continues using the passion she had for the care of Evin to carry on his vision of inspiring the world to understand and appreciate the true value of people who are differently abled through education, increased awareness and charitable support.

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James Scott "Hammer" Hartsell (Vice President)

James Scott “Hammer” Hartsell is the Vice President of the Evin B. Hartsell Foundation.  Evin’s Dad retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2018 after serving 37 years of faithful service to our Nation.   

He began his military career as an Enlisted Marine from 1981-1983 and was then commissioned as an Officer serving on Active Duty from 1983-1994. In 1994 he transitioned to the Reserves and after 9/11 was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom I in 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom II in 2004, and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan from 2009-2010. 

As a General Officer he served as the Deputy Commanding General (Mobilization) 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and 1st Marine Brigade from 2010-2012, then as the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division from 2012-2014, and then was assigned from 2014-2018 as the Mobilization Assistant to the Commander of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) where he served as the J5 Strategic Planning & Policy Director, and also as the Chief of Staff. From 2016-2018 he served in a senior leader Department of Defense role as the Director of the Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies. 

His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Combat Action Ribbons for actions in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a Marine Corps Distinguished Pistol Shooter.  

While serving in the Reserves, his civilian career was focused on the health care industry with U.S. and Global business responsibilities in the orthopedic implant business, and then in hospital administration and health care leadership. 

In 2018-2019 he served as the Director of Future Operations for Florida’s Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and he is currently serving as the Executive Director of the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs.  FDVA operates a network of seven state veterans’ homes and provides statewide outreach to connect Florida’s 1.5 million veterans with their earned services, benefits and support.

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Courtney Burgess

Courtney Burgess is an eighth-generation Floridian. She graduated from the University of South Florida in 2010 and immediately began working for the United States House of Representatives. During her tenure, she had the opportunity to live and work in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill.

She married Danny Burgess, Jr., in 2012, which brought her back home to her Florida roots. In 2014, Courtney became a stay-at-home mom when they welcomed their first baby into the world. Since then their family has grown, making them proud parents of three active kids. They stay busy in the community with Danny’s role as the State Senator for District 23, where they campaign and travel to Tallahassee as a family. Courtney currently homeschools their three children and teaches at Darby Christian Academy.

Courtney previously served on the Foundation Board for Baycare Community Hospital in Dade City, Florida, and served on the Community Advisory Board during the hospital’s acquisition and transition to Advent Health.

Courtney remains active in her church as a Sunday school teacher, local civic organizations, and is heavily involved in all her children’s activities. Courtney loves history, politics, exercising, traveling, and spending quality time with her family and friends. 

In her spare time, you can find Courtney with her two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Avid adventurers, one might just drive by the Burgess Bunch on their many travels in the family RV.


Dr. Gerald D. Curry

Dr. Gerald D. Curry is a successful entrepreneur and serves as Chief Operating Officer for Curry Brothers Publishing, LLC, and Director for the Air Force Review Boards Agency.  Dr. Curry has more than 40 years of executive leadership experience in private industry, federal government, colleges, and universities, as well as a senior retired officer in the United States Air Force.  He teaches as an Adjunct Professor at Colorado Technical University and Doctoral Chair at Grand Canyon University. 


He has a PhD in Management with a focus in global leadership, Masters Degree in Public Administration, Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security, and Graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) National Academy.  He and his wife live in Northern Virginia.  


Thomas G. Bowman

Thomas G. Bowman was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as The Deputy Secretary of The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on August 3, 2017.  He retired from the VA on June 15, 2018.

Prior to being sworn in as Deputy Secretary, Mr. Bowman served as Majority Staff Director of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. From 2012 to 2014, he served as Special Assistant for Veterans Research at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and from 2009 to 2012 he served as Senior Advisor to the Director of VA’s Sunshine Healthcare Network serving Veterans in Florida, Southeastern Georgia, and the Caribbean. 

Mr. Bowman’s previous appointments within VA were Chief of Staff of VA, Deputy Chief of Staff of VA, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, and Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Before joining VA in 2002, Mr. Bowman served as Senior Counsel to the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.  

Mr. Bowman was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps through the NROTC Program at the University of Texas in 1969.  From 1970 through 1975, he served as a platoon commander, company commander, and battalion, regimental, and division staff officer with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Marine Divisions in Southeast Asia, Okinawa, and the U.S. After law school, he was assigned to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., where he served as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and Law Center Director. He then served as the Marine Corps Representative and Instructor of Law at the Naval Justice School and a guest lecturer at the Naval War College, Newport, R.I., from 1983 to 1988.  

Mr. Bowman left active duty in 1988 to become an assistant district attorney in southeastern Massachusetts but was recalled to active duty during the Gulf War. Released in May 1991, he practiced law concentrating in military and Veterans issues before returning again to active duty in 1994. He retired from the Marine Corps as a colonel in October 1999, after serving as Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs and to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.  

Secretary Bowman is a member of the Board of Directors for The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV).

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