Sharon was one of the co-founders of a community church and school in Berlin-Ocean City, MD, in 1982. She became a Chaplain by earning a B.A. in Counseling & Theology (Biblical Studies) at Trinity Seminary & Theological College. Sharon has also been active since 1985 in community development, emergency response, and achieving her M.A. in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) in 2002, after serving on President George Bush’s Citizens Response Team with Pastoral Crisis Intervention services during 9/11 in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, PA.
Eight months before 9/11, her own experience of being struck by a car during a storm emergency response caused severe injury and permanent physical disabilities along with a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) first-hand. As so, she became a ‘Peer’ with a comprehensive knowledge of both personal and clinical approaches of care. Sharon is the daughter of U.S. Army Lt Colonel Robert Lyons, retired 3-war veteran (World War I, Korea, Vietnam), and died in 2010. He is honored in a small Maryland Veteran Cemetery. Sharon also has two veteran brothers (Vietnam), a son (U.S. Air Force OIF, OIEF), two nephews active-duty (Navy/Army OIF/OEF), and a grandson active-duty (Army OEF).
Serving veterans since 1993 as the architect for ‘Replicare’ a homeless Comprehensive-of Care (CoC) for HUD and Mayor Kurt Schmoke’s Office of Homeless Services. She provided a program to implement funding for the Maryland Center for Veteran Education & Training (1994), a best-practices practice delivery system recognized nationwide. The Chaplain is widely known for insight into the body, mind, spirit needs of our Service Members, Veterans & Families, as well as her service with US DHHS SAMHSA Faith-Based & Community Organizations (FCBO) adjunct faculty and technical assistance for them nationwide, from 2012-2015.
Michael ‘Mike’ Newcomb, US Army Veteran, one of Virginia’s pioneers advocating for ‘Peer to Peer’ mental health professional recognition, evidence-based best practices and credentialing (2006). A Certified Peer Support Specialist (CPSS) and Peer Bridger in the civilian community until 2012, as a military member with his own ‘body, mind, spirit’ wounds recognized the serious lack of military holistic health support services.
He became the first Peer Specialist hired by US Department of Veterans Affairs for Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA, in June 2013. Mike introduced US DHHS SAMHSA Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery (APPR) program for both in-patient and out-patient veteran care until June 2018.
As a State of Virginia Office of Recovery Services (ORS) listed as VA Certified Peer Recovery Specialist curriculum trainer, Mike is the Master Trainer for APPR & CPRS training programs for Beacon Institute and provides workforce development training at Warrior Way Wellness Center, and off-site by contractual agreement for government agencies, veteran services organizations, colleges & university campus, and for such as faith-based and community services nationwide.
My name is Tiffany Hockaday, and I am living proof that the Courage to Change program at Beacon Institute: Veteran Pathways Home works. I have been in recovery from Opioid Use Disorder since 2017 but I suffered a mental health episode in 2019 and my life went into a tailspin. I had lost all meaning and purpose, then I met Sharon Schlerf at the Warrior Way Wellness Center and suddenly my life changed. Sharon offered me the opportunity to take the C2C APPR levels 1 & 2. She truly was offering me a second chance at life. Since being here, I have realized that recovery does not just mean from drugs or alcohol, that's sobriety, recovery is so much more than that. It is the not only survival but the ability to THRIVE in your life. I recently passed the testing for the State of Virginia and am now a full Certified Peer Support Specialist. I just want to spend the rest of my life showing other people that it is not about how we fall down- it is about how we get back up.
My name is Mary Ann Littell and I moved from Ohio to Virginia in 2020 to be near my son, his wife and my toddler grand-daughter. Moving into my new home and meeting neighbors, my husband found out about Beacon Institute. The atmosphere is welcoming and inclusive as well as fun and is open to anyone! It’s a comfortable ‘clubhouse’ environment, where we share the journey of body, soul, and spirit holistic wellness together, “Peer to Peer”. Intrigued by the workforce program here, I attended and completed two levels of the US DHHHS SAMSHA Action Planning for Prevention and Recovery (APPR) certified facilitator.
My name is Melissa Fuhrman and through my life journey I've had many personal losses. My first husband was a Navy Aviator whose plane went down not long after our child was born. The experience of being a new mother and a widow has connected me with all of our military families understanding the costs of freedom. Since then, I have been a training facilitator coordinator case manager within the Department of Navy and the Department of Army and seven years as the Installation Gold Star Coordinator Program/ Case Manager for the Department of Navy. Simply put, my mission at Beacon Institute is making sure we meet the goals of body, soul, spirit holistic health services.
My name is Nikki Corbett, I'm a transitioning military service member, soon to be veteran, with 20 years of service. My military duty as a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate did not provide a specific whole health management program to assist my clients. So, I signed up for Beacon Institute: US Department of Health & Human Services SAMHSA Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery Facilitator training, achieving a 40-hour certificate as a Peer Support Specialist. I'm Excited to be a Peer Support Specialist; a companion sharing the journey of life's challenges by providing wellness, resiliency, hope & healing based on equal partnership.
My name is Dawn Waible. I was an elementary school teacher in Williamsburg, James City County public schools for six years and three years at the Kensington School in childhood development. While I really enjoyed teaching, however, I was a Veteran spouse and understand a lot about the need for support services for them. So, I have also been trained for Veteran Advocacy by National Veterans Legal Services as well as employment with the Virginia Department of Veteran Services as an Accredited Veteran Service Representative. My purpose and passion lead me to join Beacon Institute to be their project manager for this important new mission preventing Military Suicide.
My name is David Littell. I have recently moved to Williamsburg from Ohio. I am married and have one son and a granddaughter named Emily who is 2 years old. I discovered the Warrior Way Wellness Center through a music jam that was held there the last Friday of every month. I was told that they needed some volunteers so started sorting through documents and organizing some files. I received APPR training and am now going to be a Peer Coach.
My name is Khaki Warford, and I recently started a position with Beacon Institute: Veteran Pathways Home (BI: VPH); as a Peer Intern, so that my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology credits can be completed, at Hollins University. My assignment with BI: VPH is to provide the US DHHS SAMHSA Courage to Change Action Planning for Prevention & Recovery wellness and resiliency peer support, and resources for victims of domestic violence.
Learning more about the many different support systems that BI: VPH offers, I decided that domestic violence is my mission. At the Warrior Way Wellness Center, for compassion, support, and resources, with all of the additional amazing peers and staff here, we provide body, soul, spirit whole health management.
My name is Bree Keena and I am a Senior at Virginia Tech, I recently started an Internship at Beacon Institute: Veteran Pathways Home under Research and Development. One of my assignments is for one of our newest projects: Reveille; One More Day a Suicide Prevention and Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care working with data input and statistical analysis. I also came onboard as a social media programmer helping spread the word on all that Warrior Way Wellness Center has to offer helping manage all platforms including web design.
My name is Jahbre Wilson. I am a U.S. Army Veteran whose family history includes my father also a U.S. Army Veteran. As everyone knows, we move a lot. in the military so my life's journey have provided me with a lot of complicated situations. Becoming a Peer Navigator with Beacon Institute assigned to Reveille; One More Day Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention is important to me because I know of so many members that we have lost to suicide. This is my chance to make a difference.
My name is Monica Stokely and I have been a Certified Nursing Assistant for 28 years, Clinical experience in the care of acutely ill and terminally ill patients. Providing care for patients was something I truly loved to do circumstances changed for me and I found that I could provide support for peer coach support at Beacon Institute. I have also been a military spouse, so well equipped to be a community wellness specialist peer coach. You might meet me if you attend Anthem Health Keepers Community events.