About Us

Embrace a Vet’s mission is to provide direct and supportive services to Maine Veterans(and their families) living with symptoms of PTS(d) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury and their families. We are an all volunteer, working board with a passion for serving our Maine veterans.

 

President: Diane Hender

A human resources professional, Diane relocated to Maine from Andover, MA with her husband in 2006. 21 years earlier she had “retired” to community service after the birth of their son. As he grew, so did her commitments on the boards of various community groups serving education, high-risk adults and youth, and cultural endeavors. Among the most rewarding was five years volunteering on a suicide crisis hotline for the Samaritans of Merrimack Valley. Locally she has served on the boards of American Red Cross, the Topsham Historical Society, and others.

 

Vice President: Deborah Farnham

Deborah Farnham is a retired business executive who spent the past 20 years helping families buy and sell real estate. She has also been owner and manager of a bed and breakfast in Maine and served on the board for The American Red Cross, chairing the Human Resource Committee.

Since retiring, Deborah had been searching for a worthwhile volunteer opportunity.  She had become increasingly aware of the personal struggle and hardship our military veterans  encounter  as a result of PTSD and TBI,  and how overwhelmed our government is in  trying to care for  them.   Enthusiastically, she welcomed the opportunity to become a member of the board, bringing her people skills  and energy to our efforts.

Deborah  is married to Navy Commander (Ret) John Farnham and together they have 4 sons and 7 grandchildren.

 

Treasurer: Beverly Brown

Bev Brown spent over 40 years in the marine industry as a Regional Sales Manager for Grumman Boats and the OMC Boat Group. In 1991 she and her late husband, Captain Paul Hureau, USCGR (Ret.), founded Maritime Skiff, a manufacturer of family/fishing boats. After retiring to Topsham, Bev has been an active volunteer at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, and became interested in Embrace A Vet because of her husband’s military background, and because she could also lend her expertise in bookkeeping to the organization that she learned from her business experience.

 

Directors:

Beverly Paige, PhD: 

Dr. Paige is a Psychologist and retired Navy Captain.  She received her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology and completed a Fellowship in Health Psychology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  Her expertise is in combat stress control and preventive mental health.  She served in settings including: the National Naval Medical Center, the U.S. Naval Academy, Headquarters Marine Corps, and SERE School.  She deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  While in Iraq, she led a Combat Stress Team, providing health service support to the First Marine Expeditionary Force.

Dean Paterson, RN:   

Dean Paterson, another Mainer, from Aroostook County, is a resident of Freeport. Her dad was a pediatrician and she likes to think she followed in his footsteps. Professional accomplishments include progressive responsibilities in nursing, directing an outpatient clinic for children with special needs, managing employee health programs, and designing statewide health promotion programs. Community involvement includes serving on various community boards including the Mid Coast-Parkview Health Services, Pine Tree Society, and Embrace A Vet.

Dean initiated and manages the Caregiver Programs offered by Embrace A Vet, along with another Board Member, Bev Paige. She also serves as a Wellness Coach at the organizations 5-day Residential Retreats.

Larry Fitch:

An independent strategic advisor focusing on workforce innovation and leadership, and with nearly 40 years’ experience in the workforce development field, Larry moved to Maine from San Diego with his wife in 2013. Since then, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Topsham Public Library and now serves as the Board president, was appointed to the Board of Directors of Topsham Development, Inc. and also serves on the Town of Topsham’s Comprehensive Plan Commission. Larry is a US Army Combat Infantry veteran, and Purple Heart recipient, of the Viet Nam conflict.

Richard Corbin, MD:

Robert E. Healing:

Elizabeth Humphrey:

Advisors to the board:

Roy Driver, MS, LCPC

Roy Driver has been a treatment provider and advocate for veterans for over forty years. In 1980 was hired as Team Leader and opened the first Vet Center in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1985 he established a satellite Vet Center in Norwich, Connecticut.  Additionally, Roy was given the responsibility to oversee the New Haven Vet Center for two years. He remained in that position until 1991, when he moved to Maine to work at the Portland Vet Center. While there he actively advocated for programs focused on homeless veterans, and from 2003 to 2012 he was the Regional Vet Center representative on a National Homeless Working Group. In 2004, he became the Team Leader of the Lewiston Vet Center where he remained until he retired in 2013.

Roy served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1966 to 1970 as a Sonar/Oceanographic Technician. Upon his discharge he returned to college and eventually earned a MS in Counseling from Southern Connecticut State College and is currently a Licensed Clinical Professional Counsel.

ADM Gregory Johnson

Peter McGuire, MD

Karin McIlvaine, RN

Founder:

Joy Johnson (1946 – 2016):

Joy Johnson, a “Mainer” from Bucksport who graduated from the University of Maine, and worked in the social services field most of her adult life. Her affinity for our military veterans grew from being the daughter of a Navy pilot with PTS(d) and the spouse of a career Naval Officer, who was on active duty for 36 years.

In 2012, she founded Embrace A Vet to address the unmet needs of Maine Veterans living with PTS(d) or Traumatic Brain Injury. With a veteran committing suicide every 65 minutes somewhere in our country and Maine having one of the highest per capita number of veterans, she knew there was work to be done and embraced it with a passion.