Clear Path for Veterans was established, and will continue to thrive, through the efforts of dedicated people who are passionate about the plight of service men and women suffering from the invisible wounds of war.
|(left to right) Melinda Sorrentino, Steve Kinne, Melissa Spicer
Melinda is a 1987 graduate of Colgate University. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Melinda changed direction and joined her sister Melissa in creating the most successful off-campus student housing development in Syracuse. In 2007, the family sold the business and Melinda continues to successfully manage commercial properties, including the VA Community Care Center located in Syracuse. While she and her husband Greg raised their three children, Melinda supervised many construction projects from beginning to end. She has also been very active with the youth in her community and hopes to bring her love of family and kids to the development of Clear Path’s programs. She and her family are continually inspired by having a close, personal connection with a military family.
Melinda has brought her talents in design and construction to Clear Path by creating the beautiful facility we call the Clear Path Lodge or "home."
Steve Kinne, MD (ret), MPH Col. (ret) USAF, MC, CFS
Steve Kinne is a retired US Air Force Chief Physician/Flight Surgeon, Commander, and Medical Residency Director. He has deployed to many areas of the world, including to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Steve retired after 23 years of service and realizing the healing power that dogs can have and longing to re-connect with comrades returning from ongoing conflicts, he set out to develop a program to train veterans with PTSD to train their own psychiatric service dogs. This program, Dogs2Vets, is Clear Path’s inaugural program and Steve serves as its Director. He sees his work at Clear Path as a perfect way to meld his past careers in military medicine and education with his skill as a dog trainer and healing facilitator.
Melissa is a 1985 graduate of Ithaca College and a lifetime resident of Central New York. After college, Melissa and her sister successfully ran their family business until it was sold in 2007. In 2003, Melissa decided to combine her business experience with her desire to work with animals. She created the first doggie daycare and positive training center in Syracuse. In 2006, Melissa sold her business, but continued training and educating the community about the benefits of positive
reinforcement training methods. Six years ago, she and her husband David moved back to the family homestead, where they now live and actively work the farm.
Melissa is very proud of her community and what it has to offer. She believes that Clear Path will become a "compassionate landing pad" that veterans need for successful reintegration into this community. It is her hope that Clear Path will become a national model for other communities to follow and benefit from a healthy veteran population.
Earl Fontenot – Operations Manager
Earl Fontenot joins Clear Path as Operations Manager with additional duties as Veteran Outreach and Activities Coordinator. Earl is an Army Veteran and worked for the House of Representatives through the Wounded Warrior program as their Veteran Liaison, most specifically during Ann Marie Buerkle’s term. With a change in the congressional seat, Earl made the decision to enter the private sector and will begin working at Clear Path in January 2013 continuing as an advocate for veterans. He also sits on the Clear Path steering committee for our "Wingman" program, a vet to vet support network that will assist veterans with an "individualized" approach to services, benefits, healing and reconciling after service. He is also the Chairman of our Veteran Advisory Board. Earl brings experience to an often times overwhelming process of navigating the number of support groups and services available to veterans and their families. He joins us at Clear Path well equipped to help veterans and their families and we are happy to have him as part of our team.
Veteran Advisory Board
We have established a diverse veteran advisory board to ensure that all activities at Clear Path are designed to meet the needs and interests of our veterans. Post 911 and Vietnam Veterans are represented and include all branches of the military. Their role will be to advise Clear Path on priorities and programs.
Board of Directors
Our Board members come from various backgrounds and areas of expertise, all relevant to our work at Clear Path and the healing that will result.
- Ann Harris, DVM. Owner of the Rockacres Veterinary Hospital.
- Oren Lyons. Faith Keeper of the Onondaga Nation.
- John Mays. USMC (ret), educator & business consultant.
- Maryann Piazza, LCSW-R. Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Center Coordinator at the VA Community Care Center
- Paul M. Regan, Esq. Attorney/Law Office of Paul M. Regan, PC.
- James Schmeling Managing Director, Co-Founder of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
- Dr. Gene Tinelli, MD, PhD. Former Naval Commander and Psychiatrist specializing in PTSD.
- Ray Toenniessen. Director of Operations and Development for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
- Steve Kinne. MD (ret), MPH Col. (ret), USAF, MC, CFS – cofounder.
- Melinda Sorrentino. Cofounder
- Melissa Spicer. Cofounder
This future board will include individuals from the medical, business, psychosocial, and education fields.
Volunteers from the community
- Culinary program advisors
- Agricultural program advisors
- Dogs2Vets trainers/foster volunteers
- Creative workshop leaders
- Healing Arts Practitioners