Warriors Serving Warriors
Warriors' Ascent was created in 2014 by two Iraq combat veterans who returned home and realized they needed additional resources to cope with the moral injuries they suffered on the battlefield. Unable to find a solution that provided long-term results, they set about to create their own. Seeking cutting edge holistic medical practices based on scientific research, they developed the Warriors' Ascent Program and began inviting other Warriors to join them on the journey to recovery.
"I was getting ready to call my dad to tell him i was ending my life. But then i found Warriors' Ascent. Thank yoU. I have my life back. i have hope.
Josh - Warriors' Ascent graduate
Our Continued Mission
Now in its sixth year of operations, Warriors' Ascent has served over 400 Veterans and First Responders who have graduated from the program. Our alumni are comprised of Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as well as active-duty members from all branches of the armed services. They are joined by their brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services representing over 15 departments from throughout the nation.
Together, we have formed a community to support one another as we all navigate the healing process. Unlike other programs, we encourage our alumni to return and support future classes. With opportunities to volunteer, become peer mentors, sit in on classes and join us for monthly alumni dinners and gatherings. Warriors' Ascent is not a fire-and-forget organization. It is a tribe committed to supporting one another so each reaches their long-term healing goals.
With less than 1% serving today, modern society is ill-prepared to assist Veterans and First Responders cope with the traumas they have experienced on their behalf. Warriors’ Ascent has created a holistic evidence-based healing program rooted in centuries of tradition used by ancient warrior cultures. Our FREE five-day program provides an environment dedicated to healing, using proven techniques and practices to create habits for long-term healing. Additionally, Warriors' Ascent has collaborated with the University of Kansas Cofrin-Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment in order to provide the most clinically rigorous program available backed by research, data, and evidence-based practices.
Meet The Team
(LTC - RETIRED) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Mike is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point (YG 1993) and retired from the US Army in 2015 as a special forces lieutenant colonel with over 22 years of service to the nation. He’s served in with 3-187th IN (Iron Rakkasans) in the 101st ABN DIV (AASLT) and with 1st Special Forces Group out of Fort Lewis, WA. He’s held a variety of positions from platoon leader, SFODA commander, SFODB Commander, Task Force Commander, and the Special Operations Liaison to numerous US Embassies throughout the Pacific Command. As a graduate of the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), he was a lead planner for Special Operations Command, Pacific and an instructor at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
MINDFULNESS & YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Kerry spent eight years in the Air Force and is a Gulf War Veteran. Kerry has a BS in Business Management and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance. Kerry came to yoga on the recommendation of his daughter as a measure to reduce chronic pain and to channel his mind to focus on relaxation techniques. He has seen the benefits of yoga both on and off the mat, including a reduction in stress and anxiety and a gain in physical and mental strength. Kerry knows from first-hand experience the multitude of benefits yoga can produce and would love to share those with you.
ARTISTIC EXPRESSIONS HEALING ARTS
John Sebelius is an interdisciplinary artist who holds a MFA from the University of Kansas and BFA with honors from Rhode Island School of Design. Sebelius’s work has been featured in: Harper’s, Express, DETAILS, Review, CNN, Aspen Daily News, The Washington Post, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. John has shown work in Gallery Two (Sydney, Australia), Woods-Gerry Gallery (Providence, RI), Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), Kansas City Artists Coalition, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and had a solo exhibition at the Gonzo Museum (Aspen, CO). Sebelius’s short documentaries have screened at Austin Film Festival, Tallgrass Film Festival, Virginia Film Festival, Free State Film Festival, and The American School of Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Amy Zoe Schonhoff
MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS
Amy Zoe Schonhoff, founder of Mindfulness in the Heartland, is a qualified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, a certified practitioner of Advanced Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness, and a trained Mindfulness Educator for grades K-12.
Amy’s mindfulness practice spans over twenty-five years of personal exploration. Through her own life's journey, she has found the practices and principles of mindfulness to be the most instructive and transformative approach to embracing this experience of “being human.”
It is her intention to inspire you to walk through life with a sense of deep reverence, fully honoring your moment-to-moment experience, bravely leaning into life’s challenges, relinquishing attachments to what “should be” for the sake of what is, and ultimately, living with a greater sense of equanimity—filled with kindness, joy, and compassion for yourself and others.
Bill Witthar has been practicing Aikido since 1990 and is currently a 4th degree black belt. Residing just outside Kansas City in Blue Springs, Missouri, he’s the Chief Instructor of Zanshin Aikido School. His diverse background in competitive athletics, long term wellness, martial arts and business ownership prompted him to integrate and combine all those influences into Shodan Solutions. Shodan offers Aikido & self-defense, peak performance skills for professional athletes, increased workplace productivity and creative solutions for veterans and first responders experiencing PTSD. Bill has also conducted large group leadership, wellness and team building trainings with numerous corporations and businesses around the Kansas City Metro area.
Christy is a third generation graduate of the University of Florida. She has traveled the country working in a variety of nonprofit management roles as her husband, LTC Jim Cook, has progressed through his military career as an Army Logistics Officer. Prior to coming to Kansas City, Christy worked as the Service to the Armed Forces Manager for the American Red Cross of Alaska. She managed a team of employees and volunteers to support the active duty service members, veterans and their families across the 49th State. The Cook family is excited to be in Kansas City and they are looking forward to this being "home" for the foreseeable future as Jim transitions from active duty to retirement.
ROSTERING & OUTREACH
Tammy Brown is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. She has worked in several organizations supporting the military community to include School Age Services Director, Military Child Education Coalition Parent Trainer, and Education Development Intervention Services Coordinator all while supporting her husband’s active duty military career. Tammy is looking forward to settling down from the busy military life and establishing a solid life foundation in the Kansas City area. She is ready to serve as the initial point of contact that will answer questions and help prepare you for your journey through the
Warriors’ Ascent program.
LPC, M. ED
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, Miner has made the pursuit of excellence in sports a focal point of his career. He played competitive sports up to the collegiate level and has been involved as a coach for athletes of all ages. As a professional, he worked for the United States Olympic Committee and as the Director of Research for the National Institute of Child Centered Coaching. With more than 30 years of experience in psychology and athletics, Miner has always worked to make sure that athletes get the most enjoyment out of their sport and their abilities. Miner helps those he works with set personal goals and develop a concrete plan towards achieving those goals. His determination and enthusiasm have helped athletes change old patterns of thinking and gain control over the emotional and stressful aspects of their sport.
LPC, DBT, EMDR
Anna is a Licensed Professional Counselor trained in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization). With a wide range of professional experience, Anna has been an adjunct professor at UMKC and in practice for over ten years. Her therapeutic practice focuses on resolving past issues that continue to interfere with current life and assisting as clients build the life they envision.
Steve Tanner serves as the Global Security Director of Programs for Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies. In his role, he is responsible for leading the strategy and coordination of one of the two portfolios that encompass Global Security’s business. An industry veteran with nearly 25 years of experience in national security, Tanner joined Global Security in 2015.
Major General (ret) Stephen L. (Steve) Danner served as Adjutant General of the State of Missouri from 2009-2019. He retired from military service after more than 44 years in the United States Army, Missouri National Guard and Army Reserve. Major General (ret) Danner served in both command and senior staff positions. Danner has been a practicing attorney in Missouri since 1980 with an emphasis on military, federal, state and local regulatory law and regulations. As a civilian attorney and businessman his emphasis has been in corporate and business law with a concentration in the areas of real estate development, construction law, and finances. He has also served as an Administrative Law Judge and early in his career served as City Attorney for the City of Chillicothe.
Senior Vice President, Market Executive, BOK. Current Member of the Kansas City CFA Society; Former Treasurer and Current Board Member of the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired; Member of UMKC Alumni Governing Board; Member of the Kansas City Ballet Business Council; Past Board Member of the Kansas City American Heart Association; Past President of the Kansas City Society of Financial Analysts.
Mr. Forney is a shareholder with Shaffer, Lombardo, Shurin. His law practice is focused upon representation of health care professionals and healthcare related business transactions and lawsuits.
Phil is an experienced professional with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Strong in helping companies discover their core brand essence and then creating ideas and solutions to help them consistently bring their brand to life.
Board of Directors
(COLONEL, RETIRED) ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER
Tony enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1984, completing a 26-year military career in the Kansas City area as the Commander of the Kansas City District, US Army Corps of Engineers in 2013. He is a graduate of West Point, decorated combat veteran, Ranger, engineer, and leader. Tony currently serves as the Director of Public Works for the City of Overland Park, Kansas. He holds Master's Degrees from Colorado State University (Construction Management) and the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy (National Resource Strategy). Tony combines two passions - endurance running and promoting the mission of Warrior's Ascent - to make a meaningful difference while assisting others.