Our Founders

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Mike Viti, Co-Founder

“Legacies Alive has allowed me to passionately honor the sacrifice and service of my heroes.  The interactions I have had with their Gold Star Families are some of the most powerful and influential experiences I have had in my life.  It has inspired me to continue to connect our mission with more Americans so that our country’s sons and daughters forever connect the freedoms and liberties they are afforded, with the sacrifice and service our our fallen and their families.”

Mike is a co-founder of Legacies Alive, in charge of the strategic and executive direction of the organization. He plans Legacy Challenge initiatives, outreach events, and fosters relationships with supporters. Mike completed the first Legacy Challenge, “Mike’s Hiking For Heroes,” walking over 7,100 kilometers around the United States, honoring our nation’s heroes and meeting with their Gold Star Families, which helped shape the mission and objectives for the organization.

He earned a BS degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he also served as captain of the football team. Upon graduation, he commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and was stationed in Oklahoma and Colorado. He served with the 4th Infantry Division as well as the 214th Fires Brigade, in addition to serving in combat in Afghanistan. Mike is currently serving on the Army West Point football staff in West Point, NY.

Mark Faldowski, Co-Founder

“Legacies Alive is my passion.  Our mission to honor our Nation’s fallen heroes and support our Gold Star families is what gets me out of bed each morning.  I am honored and humbled to work with such a patriotic, passionate, and dedicated group of like-minded individuals who make up our organization, which is driven by morals and values.  We will NEVER forget.”

Mark is a co-founder of Legacies Alive, responsible for the executive functions and strategy of the organization. Mark leads the Legacies Alive effort in fundraising, fostering corporate and private partnerships, and managing Legacy Project nominations.

Mark earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he played football for the Black Knights. Upon graduation, he commissioned as an officer in the United States Army and was stationed in Oklahoma, Hawaii, and Washington. He had the privilege of serving in the 25th Infantry Division as well as the 75th Ranger Regiment. During his time on active duty, Mark served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving active duty, Mark earned his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Notre Dame and currently works for UBS in New York City.

 

Board of Directors

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Laura Viti

“The best part of serving the mission of Legacies Alive are the precious stories that Gold Star Families have shared with me about their beloved heroes.  I feel it is a little part of them that I carry with me.  I enjoy telling anyone who will listen about the amazing Americans they were, and help keep their legacies alive.”

Laura is the Finance Director for Legacies Alive, responsible for the financial management of the organization. Laura earned a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, and currently resides in Las Vegas, NV where she works for Parallon Business Solutions as the Division Director of Clinical Pharmacy – Hospital Corporation of America Far West Division.

DJ Faldowski

“Having served in the military and lost close friends, my greatest fear was that their sacrifice would be forgotten. Through Legacies Alive, I’ve gained a reinvigorated hope that the sacrifices of our fallen heroes and their families will not be forgotten.”

DJ is the Director of Operations and a Board Member for Legacies Alive. He develops, assesses, and manages the implementation of the organization’s strategy and operations. DJ earned a BS in Economics from the United States Naval Academy and served over nine years in the Navy. He is currently pursuing a joint MBA/MPA program at the Wharton School and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. DJ became involved with Legacies Alive because he has a passion to serve the families of our fallen heroes. He resides in Boston, MA with his wife and children.

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Matt Hernandez

Matt is the Director of Outreach for Legacies Alive, responsible for facilitating opportunities to partner with and participate in events with other organizations, develop media relations, and resource management. He earned a BS in Foreign Area Studies with a concentration in Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy where he then served as an Infantry Officer for the 82nd Airborne Division and the Old Guard. Matt was one of the original four who helped launch Mike’s Hiking for Heroes then eventually Legacies Alive. Legacies Alive is an organization very near and dear to his heart as he can directly relate to the mission. Matt currently resides with his wife Diana in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where he is the Director of Project Management for Hospital Corporation of America’s East Florida Division.

Clay Hendon

“Our organization should not have to exist – but it does. Unfortunately, many people who enjoy the freedoms of the United States do not understand the costs of that freedom.  Legacies Alive is working to change that – ensuring every person we meet leaves knowing what a Gold Star Family is and how they can help them.  The families we get to support are the absolute treasure of this Nation.”

Clay serves as Board Secretary and Project Coordinator for Legacies Alive.  Clay graduated from the United States Military Academy with a BS in Unconventional Warfare and holds an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.  He served as an Infantry Officer with combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan (where he served with co-founder Mike Viti), before leaving the military.  Today, Clay serves as the Vice President of Global Security for Groundwork, a global provider of security and protective services.  He lives in Dallas, TX with his wife, Rachael, and their son, Hudson.

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Thomas Morgan

Thomas Morgan leads the Legacies Alive effort for fundraising. Tommy Graduated from the United States Military Academy Class of 1983, with a BS in Aerospace Engineering. He then went on to earn his MBA Degree from Harvard University in 1993. Tommy resides in Westlake Texas where he is the Managing Director of Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. Tommy became involved with Legacies Alive after meeting Mark at a West Point event.

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Sally Zoll

“Serving military families through my work at United Through Reading is my passion and my privilege. Serving Gold Star families is my greatest honor.”

Sally is Legacies Alive’s Director of Strategic Relations and Strategy Consultant. She cultivates strong relationships with outside organizations, both public and private, that add strategic value to the Team. Additionally, she leverages her vast managerial experience to provide expert oversight on LA’s operations. Sally has a doctorate in educational leadership and management and a master’s degree in special education from the University of San Diego, and a BA in elementary education from Purdue University. She currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of United Through Reading, is a member of the Coronado Library’s Board of Trustees, and a board member of the United States Academic Decathlon. Sally is also a recipient of the United Through Reading Congressional Medal of Honor Community Service Hero Award. She resides in Coronado, CA with her husband Jim and their family.

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Shawn Gatto

Shawn is member of our Board of Directors bringing a strong record of volunteer service. He began his career at KidsVoice serving as a legal advocate for abused and neglected children. Shawn is the owner of an oil and gas brokerage firm focused in the Marcellus and Utica shale gas plays across Appalachia. Shawn received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Point Park University, where he played Division I Basketball. He received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law and has completed course work in the MBA program at Duquesne University. Shawn is actively involved in his community in Mt. Lebanon, in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, where he resides.

Team Members

Chris Ring, Legacies Alive

Chris Ring, 2015 Legacy Challenger | Swim for Their Sacrifice

“Being a part of Legacies Alive has been, and continues to be, one of the most impactful and rewarding experiences of my life. It is truly an honor to be able to connect, support, and honor such incredible families.”

Chris is the 2015 Legacy Challenger. Chris was recently honorably discharged from the Navy after 10 years of service to his country. He served deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Before embarking on Swim For Their Sacrifice, Chris spent four months training to prepare for the 6 to 10 hours a day he spends swimming the Mississippi River. As a good friend of Mark Faldowski, Chris was well aware of what Mike was looking to accomplish during the 2014 Legacy Challenge “Mike’s Hiking For Heroes.” To continue connecting with as many Gold Star Families as possible, Chris volunteered to carry the torch in this year’s challenge. Although Swim For Their Sacrifice has proven to be both physically and mentally trying, the focus for him everyday is making sure our Fallen Heroes and their Gold Star Families are properly honored and remembered. Chris lives in San Diego with his wife Becca and their dog Macie.

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Kevin Miranda

“My favorite part of my involvement at Legacies Alive is the amazing families I have been able to meet and interact with throughout each challenge. These families have transitioned into lifelong friends.”

Kevin became involved in Legacies Alive during the first Legacy Challenge when he took the initiative to raise awareness and funds for Legacies Alive in the greater Pittsburgh area. He is responsible for fundraising and social awareness projects for the organization. Kevin earned a BS from Geneva College and an MBA from Cornell Johnson School of Management. He currently serves as the Director of Operations at MAC Safety in Pittsburgh, PA where he resides.

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Frank Palermo

Frank is Legacies Alive Certified Public Accountant. He attended Allegheny College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Managerial Economics and works for Palermo/Kissinger & Associates in Washington, PA.  Frank works closely with our Director of Finance, Laura, and is responsible for all financial governance.  He currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Amanda, daughter Eleanor and golden doodle Birdie.

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John Dudo

“The most rewarding part of working with Legacies Alive has been seeing my wife and boys volunteer their time and seeing them meet, interact, and maintain friendships and communications with the Gold Star Families. Legacies Alive has also helped me to heal from the loss of a very dear friend through helping others and bringing us all together to openly talk about our loved ones and celebrate their lives.”

John earned a BS Degree in Marine Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy, where he played football and baseball.  After graduation, he served as a Chief Engineer in the Merchant Marines and also a Lieutenant in the US Navy Ready Reserve Unit. John became involved with Legacies Alive through his deep passion to support our mission and has years of experience running his own non-profit organization, BCCI. John resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife Patrice and sons Matt and Mick, where he works as a Senior Project Manager for MarkWest Energy Resources.  John’s son Matt currently attends USMMA, class of 2018.