Panel Session: The Recovery Needs of Veterans
Colonel Kevin Brown (US Army Retired)
Norwich Community Development Corporation
Cinthia Johnson, JD
Connecticut Veterans' Legal Project
Brigadier General John Quintas (USAF-Retired)
Managing Director, Global Military Affairs
Vincent Santilli, MBA
Homes for the Brave/ABRI
Jana Wu, LCSW (Moderator)
Outpatient Treatment Manager
Mountainside (Chappaqua, NY)
Amazon Global Military Affairs
Proudly serving as one of the nation's largest employers of military veterans.
About Our Panelists
Colonel Kevin Brown (US Army, Retired)
Colonel (Retired) Kevin “Red Eagle” Brown served 25 years as an Infantry leader in the United States Army, and recently retired as the Chairman of the Mohegan Tribe and Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority. His father Michael Brown was a veteran of WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. His mother, Tribal Nonner Pauline “Red Feather” Brown, was born on Mohegan Hill, just a few feet from the Tantaquidgeon Indian Museum on Mohegan Tribal Territory. After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1987, Kevin led our nation's men and women in deployed environments at all levels : as a Platoon Leader with the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; as a Company Commander in the 1st Cavalry Division along the Iraqi border during Operation Southern Watch & Intrinsic Action, as a Battalion Executive Officer in the northern jungles of Thailand during Operation Cobra Gold, as a Battalion Commander in the 10th Mountain Division in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and again as a Deputy Brigade Commander in the 10th Mountain Division in Kirkuk, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He culminated his career as a Colonel commanding the Garrison at Fort Riley, Kansas, where he led holistic health efforts to sustain the resilience of highly-deployed Soldiers and their family members before retiring in 2011. He was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (with 3 oak leaf clusters), the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (with Star for second Award), multiple other commendations, and is Airborne, Air Assault, Ranger and Senior Parachutist qualified. In 2013, Kevin was elected to the Mohegan Tribal Council and returned home to Uncasville and the Chairmanship of his tribe. In that role he was responsible for the well-being of the 2000 member Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut, and their commercial business arms: Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment and Mohegan Holdings. During his tenure, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment expanded internationally, adding gaming licenses in Canada and South Korea. Kevin has a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering from West Point, a Master of Science in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School, a Master of Arts in Public Diplomacy from Norwich University and is currently a PhD candidate in Security Studies from Kansas State University. He currently serves on the board of the National Archives Foundation in Washington DC, serves as a Strategic Advisor to Veterans and First Responders Healthcare, and is currently the President of the Norwich Community Development Corporation.
Cinthia Johnson, JD
Cindy is currently the Deputy Director of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Project and has been employed there since 2011. Prior to pursuing her dream to become a public interest lawyer, she had a 25 year career in software development. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. While finishing her law degree, she interned at CVLP and could not bear to work anywhere else. She is admitted to the Connecticut State Bar and Court of Veteran Appeal Claims. She is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) and a member of the Veterans and Military Affairs Section. Cindy also teaches a veterans benefit clinic at UConn Law.
Brigadier General John Quintas (USAF - Retired)
John is Managing Director for Amazon’s Global Military Affairs. His team’s mission is to drive Amazon’s customer obsession with military service members, veterans, military spouses and their families. John is committed to addressing the unique challenges facing the military community. His Amazon strategy focuses on 1) providing rewarding, flexible careers; 2) supporting the acculturation, development, promotion and retention of military talent; 3) helping Veterans and military families live a better life by addressing mental wellbeing, suicide, homelessness and hunger. John began his career with Amazon in 2017 as Regional Director of Reliability & Maintenance Engineering, where he delivered mechanical and robotic equipment uptime and performance for more than 50 Fulfillment Centers across North America. John served 29 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Brigadier General. In his final assignment, John was the senior advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Asia military policy and strategy, where he participated in Secretary-level dialogues with key nations, such as Japan, Republic of Korea, India and China. He is a graduate of the Joint Military Attaché School and accredited diplomat, having served as the Defense Attaché in the American Embassy in London, UK. John also served as the Military Aide to President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2006 where he directed the entire military support to the President and was responsible for the President’s emergency satchel or “the nuclear football.” Operationally, he has over 3,000 flight hours as a Weapon Systems Officer in the F-111 and F-15E aircraft, including 800 hours of combat time over Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. John commanded the Air Expeditionary Wing during the Counter-ISIL campaign where he led the execution of over 16,000 combat sorties, including the return of combat air operations over Iraq and the first-ever combat strikes in Syria. He also commanded the Air Expeditionary Group at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan in 2007, and led Europe’s largest fighter wing, the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, UK. John serves as a member of the Fisher House Foundation Board of Trustees. He is also currently serving on the Veteran Administration’s Advisory Committee on Education, providing recommendations to the Secretary of the VA on education benefits. John is a member of the Veteran Employment Advisory Council for the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program and the McCrystal Group’s Veteran Roundtable. He is a sought-after contributor on supporting Veteran transition and their families with the Bush Institute and JP Morgan Chase’s Veteran Jobs Mission and has been featured on Fox Business news. John earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy and masters degrees in Aviation Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Military Operational Art from the Air University and in Strategic Studies from the Army War College. He also completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. John is a 2-time Ironman finisher and active runner, cyclist and mountain biker. He is a mentor on the Veterati USAF Academy Alumni Mentorship platform and a volunteer lacrosse coach. He resides in northern Virginia with his wife, Susan, and their three daughters.
Vincent Santilli is currently the CEO/Executive Director of ABRI/Homes for the Brave, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing safe housing, vocational services, mental health treatment and life skills coaching to homeless individuals, almost all of whom are Veterans. ABRI/Homes for the Brave’s Programs include a 42 bed men’s transitional house (Homes for the Brave), a 9 bed permanent house (Waldorf Permanent Supportive Housing), the drop-in/walk-in Tony Cinquanta Veterans Service Center, Homes for the Brave Clinical Program, and the Nicholas A. Madaras Home for Female Veterans, Connecticut’s first and only transitional living facility for female veterans experiencing homelessness and their young children (14 beds). Previously, he held multiple leadership roles in his 30+ years at People’s United Bank, including First Vice President of the Retail and Business Banking Division and Executive Director of the $51 million People’s United Community Foundation. Active in his community, Santilli is a Founding Member of Senator Chris Murphy’s Veterans Advisory Council, and a member of the Economics and Finance Advisory Committee for Sacred Heart University’s John F. Welch College of Business, after previously serving as Chairman of the Welch College’s Advisory Board. He also serves on the Board of the (Bridgeport) South End Neighborhood Revitalization Zone and Bridgeport Re-Entry Collaborative, coaches Special Olympics soccer for SOCT-Fairfield and was the Head Girls Basketball Coach at St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven from 2014-2020 before becoming an Assistant Coach on the staff of the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights Women’s Basketball Team under Head Coach Mike West in 2020. Santilli is active with the Knights of Columbus and was Connecticut’s Grand Knight of the Year in 1992 and 4th Degree Faithful Navigator of the Year in 1995. He is well-known from his 19 season run as co-host of College Hoops Talk on WICC radio in Bridgeport. In May, 2019, Santilli received the Distinguished Citizenship Award from the Bridgeport Elks Lodge No. 36 and in March, 2020 was made a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and the Rotary Club of Fairfield. Santilli holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and public policy from the University of Pennsylvania and also has a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources from Sacred Heart University.
Jana Wu brings insight to clinical social work with holistic approaches, evidence informed best practices and a commitment to social justice. Jana currently serves as a Co-Chair of the National Association of Social Workers-Connecticut (NASW/CT) Addictions Committee. Over the past two decades, she has focused on veterans’ mental health and previously served as a social worker at both the Frank M. Tejeda VA Outpatient Clinic in San Antonio and also the Denver VA Substance Use disorders program in Denver, CO. Jana has worked with substance use disorders treatment, end-of-life transitions, and generational trauma and resilience across the country. Her strong foundation in yoga, meditation and breathwork informs her practice. She has studied meditation at Thich Nat Hanh's Plum Village, in Southern France, Vipassana at Dhama Dharma in MA, and while living at an Ashram in Southern India. Through the global pandemic she has continued to provide telehealth groups and individual sessions. Jana conducts family support groups for those with a loved one struggling with addiction and support groups for healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients. Jana also continues to address various community organizations about the psychosocial impact of Covid-19 and strategies to take care during this time. She currently serves as Outpatient Treatment Manager for Mountainside Treatment Center at their Chappaqua, NY location.