Kenneth S. Dowd

Kenneth S. Dowd

PRESIDENT & CEO

Kenneth S. Dowd is President and Chief Executive Officer of VMF, a 501(c)(3) public charity, nonprofit organization with a mission of providing assistance/service dogs to veterans with physical and mental health challenges. He is also actively supporting veterans through other non-profits, including Pizza 4 Patriots.

Ken retired from the U.S. Army in 2014 after over 30 years of service where he held command positions in the United States, overseas, and in deployed operations in Europe and the Middle East, and senior staff positions on the U.S. Army Staff, Defense Agencies, and Joint positions in three Combatant Commands.

Prior to his retirement, General Dowd served as Director of Logistics Operations for the Defense Logistics Agency and Commanding General, 1st Theater Sustainment Command at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He has served in transportation, supply, and support positions in Korea, Germany, and the United States, as Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, G-4, Washington, and in Joint positions in the J-4 for U.S. Atlantic Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. Central Command. In 1994, General Dowd deployed in command positions to Bosnia in support of Operation Decisive Edge, and in 2001, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Since retirement, Ken has served with Tilwell Petroleum LLC, a Veteran-Owned Small Business, supplying fuels, standards, and solvents to the aerospace and defense industries, and SOS International LLC, providing logistics, construction, training, intelligence and information technology solutions to the defense, diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement communities.

Ken is a native of Abington, Pennsylvania, graduated from Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky and received his commission through the ROTC program. He holds a Master’s Degree in Logistics Management from the Florida Institute of Technology and is a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.

Blake Myers

Blake Myers

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO)

Blake is an Army Veteran, retiring in 1999 upon serving 25 years on active duty as a Field Artillery Officer. Upon his retirement for active military service, Blake embarked on a 15-year, 2nd career as a federal government contractor and small business owner until retiring in December 2014. A life-long dog lover and owner, he has been associated with VMF since its founding, first as a donor and supporter from the business side and more recently as VMF’s Volunteer Coordinator.

Beyond his work with VMF, Blake’s passions include history (particularly colonial American and civil war history) and family genealogy. He is a member of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table and its Executive Committee, and is the Round Table’s Preservation Chair. He conducts tours of civil war sites in the Virginia, Maryland and DC areas, and is actively involved in local preservations efforts.

Blake is a long-time, active volunteer in his Burke Centre community, including serving as the Architectural Review Board Chairman and serving previously as a Board Trustee. As VMF’s first COO, our goal is to leverage Blake’s organizational skills and business expertise to enhance the growth, effectiveness and efficiency of VMF’s operations, programs and services. In addition to being our COO, Blake is also serving as the facility manager for VMF’s Canine Training and Veteran Support Center in Dulles.

Blake and his wife Connie live in Burke Virginia – they have extended family throughout Virginia, and in Texas and Colorado Springs. Welcome Blake to our great VMF team!

Rebecca Renner

Rebecca Renner

EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR

Rebecca Renner is the Executive Coordinator for Veterans Moving Forward Inc., a 501 (c)(3) public charity, a nonprofit organization with a mission of providing service dogs and canine therapy to veterans with physical and mental health challenges.

Rebecca raised a puppy for another service dog organization while a full-time college student, and discovered a love for service dogs that brought her to VMF. This dedication, along with her drive to make a difference, inspired her to get involved in the administrative side of a service dog organization. At VMF, she oversees daily correspondence, finances, and other logistics essential to VMF’s smooth operations.

She attended Bob Jones University in South Carolina where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Counseling. While there, she held several leadership positions, including President of Theta Mu Theta Society where she coordinated regular activities, events, and meetings. Rebecca grew up in the suburbs of northern Virginia and moved back to her hometown after college.

Jeanette Townsend

Jeanette Townsend

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Meet Jeanette Townsend, VMF’s Director of Development.  Jeanette first joined VMF in 2013 as a volunteer puppy sitter and soon became a puppy raiser.  Along with her husband, Michael, and their three sons, she raised service dogs in training Storm, Cobey, and Mac and assisted in raising and training several others.  Jeanette’s lifelong love of dogs, her on-going support of the U.S. armed forces through her work at the USO, and her admiration for her father’s service in the U.S. Army and her father-in-law’s career as a U.S. Marine provide a strong connection to VMF and its mission of providing service dogs to veterans.

Jeanette brings to bear more than 30 years professional project management and sales experience in the mortgage banking, software development, and telecommunications industries; and more than 12 years volunteer experience in various roles with the National Park Service, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and USO Dulles.

Michele Khol

Michele Khol

Director of Canine Operation

Michele Khol is the Director of Canine Operations for Veterans Moving Forward (VMF), a non-profit charity dedicated to providing service dogs to military veterans with physical and mental health challenges, at no cost to the veteran.  Her role includes puppy evaluator, lead trainer for raiser teams and maintaining frequent contact with the veterans who have been matched with one of VMF’s service dogs.  Prior to coming to VMF, Michele developed her dog training skills as a volunteer raiser of 15 puppies over 11 years for one of the world’s most respected guide dog schools. She also volunteered her time as the Region Coordinator for their largest training region, training over 25 puppy raising teams at a time.  Michele has performed all these services strictly as a volunteer while working as a Pediatric Staff Nurse at Reston Hospital and raising two children.

Suzanne Ager

Suzanne Ager

Assistant Trainer

Suzanne joined VMF in 2012 as a puppy sitter, but her role quickly expanded to include puppy starter, raiser and assistant trainer. Suzanne has been a life-long dog owner, training her personal dogs in obedience, therapy work and trick training. Prior to joining VMF, Suzanne fostered and trained rescue dogs. Her desire to honor and give back to those who serve in America’s Armed Forces motivated her to put her love of dog training to use in providing service dogs to disabled veterans.

In her role as Assistant Trainer, Suzanne’s duties include litter testing and puppy evaluation, assisting with weekly group classes, advanced training of SDiTs, puppy raising and sitting, and transition training of our veteran-service dog teams. In addition to volunteering with VMF, Suzanne is a Stephen Minister with her church, a full-time real estate agent, wife, and mother of two.

Michael Turner

Michael Turner

Veteran Coordinator

Mike is a twenty-two year Navy veteran and a Vietnam veteran, who has been with VMF since it’s founding – known as VMF’s “1st Volunteer.”  As Veteran Coordinator, Mike manages VMF’s veteran client process from initial contact thru application, face-to-face-meetings and interviews, managing, with the Director of Canine Operations, the service dog – veteran matching process, assisting the Canine Training Team with one-on-one service dog-veteran training, and maintaining communications with veterans after service dog placement.  Mike has his own VMF service dog, Josh – they are very active participants in the training for new canines entering VMF’s program and in representing VMF at outreach events.