Board of Trustees
Members of the Soldiers' Angels Board of Trustees serve in a volunteer capacity, bringing a wide range of skills, knowledge and experiences to the table as they guide Soldiers' Angels in working to ensure "No Soldier Go Unloved."Patti Patton-Bader, Chairman
The grand-niece of General George S. Patton, Patti has spent her life around the military. She remembers spending summers on the Patton estate as a child, and it was her Vietnam veteran father she turned to for advice when her eldest son deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Army in 2003. Her efforts to support her son's fellow soldiers who didn't receive care packages from home led to the formation of Soldiers' Angels.
For her work in the development and leadership of Soldiers' Angels, Patti has received hundreds of awards and citations from deployed military units, military leaders, and civic organizations. She received the Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service from the Department of the Army in 2006, the George Washington Spirit Award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Microsoft Above and Beyond Extra Effort Award in 2007, and the James C. Van Zandt Citizenship Award from the VFW in 2008. In May 2008 she was also voted "America's Favorite Mom" in an event nationally-televised by NBC and sponsored by Teleflora.
Patti lives in Bastrop, Texas with her husband Jeff Bader and a houseful of little dogs. She describes herself as "just an ordinary mom" proud to have a granddaughter and three adult children: two sons (both veterans of the Iraq war) and a daughter.
Ricky is a lifelong resident of Shreveport, Louisiana. He received a BA in History from The Tulane University of Louisiana in New Orleans in 1990 and attended law school at Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, graduating in 1993. He is a partner in the law firm of Smith & John, licensed with the Louisiana State Bar, and admitted to practice in the Federal Court for the Western District of Louisiana and the Federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ricky is a member of the Louisiana Bar Association, Shreveport Bar Association, and the Federal Fifth Circuit Bar Association, and currently serves on the Louisiana State Bar Association House of Delegates (2002-2010). He is Soldiers' Angels National Guard Liaison, for which he received the Louisiana National Guard Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. He has served Rotary International as a Paul Harris Fellow and has been listed as one of the best lawyers in the Shreveport-Bossier area in SB Magazine's "Top Lawyers" issue (2004-2008). Ricky is very active in a wide variety of local law and civic organizations, and has made numerous appearances as a subject-matter expert on local TV and national radio shows.
Ricky has three children with his wife, Angela Cush John, a pediatrician.Matthew Currier Burden, Member at Large
Matt Burden founded the influential and award-winning military blog Blackfive in 2003, after learning that the valorous sacrifice of a friend was unreported by the journalist whose life he saved. In 2006 he edited Blog of War, a collection of essays from Blackfive and other blogs focusing on the experiences of deployed personnel and their families in wartime.
Since leaving the Army, Matt has continually advocated for America's service members and their families, maintaining close contacts with active duty personnel, military leaders and policy makers. He is a regular panelist and moderator for military and new media conferences, and a pundit and consultant on national TV and radio news programs. Matt co-founded the Warrior Legacy Foundation and is president of independent reporting and advertising production company SOG Media. He holds an MBA in Business Strategy from the University of Illinois and Masters Degree in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. Matt is currently employed as an IT executive.
A strong advocate for veterans, Mark has worked with The American Legion since 1997 as an Appeals Representative, Assistant Director/Grassroots Coordinator for the National Legislative Commission, and New Media Manager. Prior to and during his Legion employment, Mark served in the Active Duty Army, the US Army Reserve, and the Virginia Army National Guard. He deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1997, then led an infantry squad in Afghanistan from 2004-2005, including providing security for Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Following his return from Afghanistan, Mark co-founded Vets for Freedom, a nonpartisan organization focused on educating Americans about the importance of success War on Terrorism and today serves on the Board of Boys State Virginia, which teaches rising high school seniors about state government.
In addition to blogging for The Legion, Mark runs a personal milblog specializing in covering anti-war activities and debunking fraudulent military service claims. Born and raised in New England and currently living in Indianapolis, Mark is a graduate of The Citadel and holds a Juris Doctorate from George Mason University School of Law. He is awaiting his results from the Indiana Bar Exam and is married to Caroline, a fellow military blogger.Ana-Marie Smith, Member at Large
Ana-Marie is the daughter of a career naval officer and was the first person who stepped up to assist Patti Patton Bader in the earliest days of what would become the Soldiers' Angels organization when Patti was nearly bed-bound with chronic illness. Recognizing the need, she offered to be "Patti's legs," visiting hospitalized military personnel, meeting donors, and facilitating the distribution of items donated and purchased for care packages and other troop support projects.
A Board of Trustees member since the founding of Soldiers' Angels, Ana-Marie was instrumental in developing and guiding initial relationships between Soldiers' Angels and the U.S. Navy, advising on the needs of deployed naval personnel and developing Operation Phone Home. Over the years she has "adopted" dozens of deployed service members and donated thousands of hours of volunteer time. More recently, her fulltime volunteer activities have focused on visiting military hospitals and medical facilities across the U.S. as an ambassador and liaison for Soldiers' Angels.
At home, Ana-Marie is devoted to her husband Robert, who served in the U.S Navy for 10 years, and their daughter Alaina. In her spare time she enjoys visiting museums and attending cultural events.