Board of Directors

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Paul Baffico, Founder and President, Army, 1LT1969-1971, served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne in 1970-1971as a combat communications platoon leader.  He is a monthly docent for the National Park Service at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC since 2006; a certified Veteran Peer Support Specialist, the 2012 Chicago Red Cross Military Hero of the Year, Chairman of the Governing Council of the Lake-McHenry Veterans and Family Services Federal Grant and founder of the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation.  His book Last Mission for a Reluctant Patriot was published in 2014. Mr. Baffico spent 34 years at Sears Roebuck where he was the President of the Automotive Group and CEO of Western Auto. He holds a B.A. from the University of San Francisco.

Judge John T. Phillips, Vice President,  Air Force, Staff Judge Advocate, is a retired Circuit Judge of the state of Illinois who served in the 19th Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois for over 23 years. He retired from the bench at the end of January, 2016 after having served two terms as Chief Circuit Judge. He continues to serve on the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning of the Illinois Supreme Court. He is also a member of the governing Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, a fraternal Masonic organization. He serves as its Grand Chancellor, representing the fraternity throughout the world in its relations with other Scottish Rite and related jurisdictions. Judge Phillips remains involved in community service with the Antioch Rotary Club where he is serving as its president-elect. He is also engaged in the activities and charities of several fraternal organizations, including the Scottish Rite that sponsors and operates Dyslexic Learning Centers for Children in Illinois and throughout the United States. He is member of the VFW, the American Legion and the Reserve Officers Association (ROA).

Steven Z. Ballen, C.P.A., Treasurer is the principal of Ballen & Company, Inc., located in Lake Forest, Illinois.  The firm’s five employees are engaged in assisting clients in tax compliance, tax controversies and consulting.  In addition, the firm offers assistance in bookkeeping and accounting and provides personal administrative services.  Mr. Ballen is a CPA.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Lake Forest College, a Master in Business Administration from the University of Chicago and a Master of Science In Taxation from DePaul University.  He is involved at the board level in a number of civic and charitable organizations, including the Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation.

M.J. Hodgins, Secretary, Director of Community Development is the retired Project Coordinator for the Lake-McHenry Veterans and Family Services SAMHSA grant at the Lake County Health Department. She was a LCHD Assistant Clinical Coordinator for substance abuse, a counselor with Alexian Brothers and Rush Behavioral Health Programs. She also developed and coordinated a satellite DUI treatment and services program in Lake Villa for The Counseling Center of Crystal Lake. Ms. Hodgins holds an Associate’s Degree in substance abuse counseling from College of Lake County, a Bachelors’ Degree in Counseling from DePaul University, and is a registered CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor). Her dedication comes from being a former Vietnam-era Navy wife and daughter of a WWII Army veteran.

LaKrisha Lindo, Board Member, Marketing Committee Is a Serco Inc. Contractor and the Army School-Age Programs in Your Neighborhood (ASPYN) Specialist. Ms. Lindo joined Serco Inc. in 2007. She has also worked as state employee and as an Army and Navy civilian with the federal government and currently provides outreach and assists the Army, Boys & Girls Club, YMCA, and Parks & Recreation organizations with their military after-school programming, resources, information and services. She has served as a peer mentor to new team members and has received the Serco “On the Spot Award” in 2010 and 2013.  Ms. Lindo is the spouse of a retired Army Veteran of 31 years, mother of an Active Duty Navy Sailor and is also is active in Blue Star Mothers, Autism Speaks, Susan G. Komen and the March of Dimes. She earned a B.S. in Workforce Education and Development from Southern IL University.

Rev. Fred Rajan, Strategy and Planning Committee, is currently Vice President of Mission and Spiritual Care at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. Rev. Rajan has over 20 years experience in the field of ministry. Prior to joining the staff at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Rev. Rajan served as Executive Director of the Commission for Multicultural Ministries, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Under his leadership he developed and implemented multicultural ministry strategies for the ELCA. He also worked in hospital ministry at St. Joseph Hospital and Hermann Hospital, both in Houston, Texas. Rev. Rajan received his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity from Faith Evangelical Lutheran Seminary in Tacoma, Washington. He also has a B.A. in Economics from Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India and a M.A. in Economics from Madras University, Tamil Nadu, India.

Stanley G. McCracken, Ph.D., LCSW, RDDP, Ex-Officio Board Member, Army, Interpreter and Legal Clerk, is Lecturer in the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. He has written about psychiatric rehabilitation, addiction, behavioral pharmacology, behavioral medicine, aging, motivational interviewing, and staff training. He is co-author of Interactive Staff Training and Practice Guidelines for Extended Psychiatric Residential Care and co-editor of From Task-Centered Social Work to Evidence-Based and Integrative Practice: Reflections on History and Implementation. He has forty years’ experience as a clinician, educator, and consultant. His practice interests include mental health, drug, and medical problems; aging; addressing cross-cultural and spirituality in direct practice; and veterans’ issues. He served as a linguist in the US Army in Vietnam.