Our Team

We are a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion. We look forward to working with you.


Sharon Schlerf (Newcomb)

President/Chaplain

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. 

Email me: sharon.schlerf.newcomb@bi-vph.org


Compass

Sharon’s Service Dog

Compass was initially bred and trained by US Army Veterans for Military K-9 & Law Enforcement duties. When Sharon’s beloved service-dog, golden retriever ‘Thor’ died, she was asked to visit them. The eight-week-old German Shepherd climbed into Sharon’s lap, enlisted and trained for service-dog duties and faithful companion (for Michael, too). She is six years old now, and this is her ‘parade rest’ position.

Email me: compass@bi-vph.org


Michael ‘Mike’ Newcomb

Vice-President, US Army Veteran, Veteran-Certified Support Specialist (V-CSS)

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.

Email me: michaelwnewcomb@veteranpathwayshome.org


Magnet

Michael’s Comfort Cat

Magnet aka Maggie is a Scottish Fold breed kitten (low allergy for Sharon’s benefit) only a few months old and recently adopted to be his ’emotional support’ cat’. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

She is in ‘watch’ position.

Email me: magnet@bi-vph.org


Milissa Mackem

Director of Community Health Services, Registered Nurse (RN)

Milissa attended the University of Kentucky, where she received her degrees in Nursing and Psychology. She has held the title of Registered Nurse since 1984. She has served as a spouse of a military veteran since 1986. She is proud to be the mother of two sons. Her travels both stateside and overseas allowed her to further develop her career in military and civilian settings within various cultures and age groups. Her emphasis has been on the health, wellness, and prevention of both physical and psychiatric conditions. 

Her first position as a registered nurse was on an inpatient psychiatric unit at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. The patient population consisted of those with many psychiatric needs to include an emphasis on Eating Disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia. As a Department of the Army Civilian, she worked as a Training Specialist and Director of the Civilian Program at the Alcohol and Drug Control Office in Baumholder, Germany. She taught classes and held groups on various health and holistic related subject matters to include tobacco smoking cessation and stress management. She volunteered as Nursing Director for the Red Cross and as an on-call support provider for domestic abuse cases. She also worked as a Training Specialist for Walter Reed Army Medical Center, teaching military and civilian healthcare providers the computerized Composite Health Care System. 

She then accepted a position as a Community Health Nurse at Fort Meade, Maryland, as the Health Risk Appraisal Program Coordinator. She worked with soldiers to create a health profile and an overall summary for their command unit on their troops’ health status. Her Program management continued with the position of Special Projects Officer for the US Department of Defense PHIDISA (HIV/AIDS) international research project in Pretoria, South Africa. She also was the Program Coordinator for the US Department of Defense, Prevention and Education Program for HIV/AIDs for the South African Army. 

Her next position was the Clinical Nursing Director for a private school. She developed the High School age nursing program and worked with elementary school-age children on treatment, health education, and screenings. She continued her psychiatric nursing as a Registered Nurse for The Pavillion at Williamsburg Place. She worked on units for Acute Psychiatric, Mood Disorder, and Geriatric nursing. 

Home Health nursing became her next accomplishment. She worked for Nurturing Hearts and Care as a Registered Nurse, where she obtained patient assessments, educated nursing aide staff, and provided patient care. She then worked as a Behavioral Health Nurse for Amedisys Brookside Home Health. There she made home visits to those in need of medical and psychiatric assistance, such as coordinating care with physicians, therapists, and family members. 

Email me: milissa.mackem@bi-vph.org


Michelle Poiter

Veteran Peer Support Specialist, US Navy

A United States Veteran of the Navy Intelligence Community with 13 years of honorable service, mother, grandmother, and leader; Michelle is a force of nature and mouthpiece for recovery and reconciliation to the communities she serves. 

A graduate of the University of Phoenix, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Management. CEO of “Michelle Speakz If You Hide It You Can’t Heal It”, a Coaching & Mentoring Organization; Founder of Healing Women Healing Nations NE Florida Inc, a Social Service Organization; Board Member of Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, an organization focused on ending infant mortality; Trainer and advocate for National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

Email me: veteranmichelle.poiter@veteranpathwayshome.org


Gail Taylor Black

US Army Veteran

Gail embarked upon her military career in February 1989 and served in the Texas National Guard for six years before joining the active component. Upon completion of her four-year tour to Germany and deployment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, she returned to the U.S. and served as a Personnel Sergeant at Ft. Lee Virginia.

Her career path soon led her to switch gears and join the Virginia Army National Guard soldiers’ ranks serving active duty as an (AGR) Active Guard Reserve at Fort Picket, Virginia. Gail completed her career after serving eight years with the Recruiting and Retention Battalion, at Ft. Pickett, Virginia, as a Senior Human Resource NCO and Battalion Equal Opportunity Representative. While serving, she completed her Baccalaureate of Science degree at Bluefield College in 2006 and her MBA in Business from the University of Phoenix in 2011. Here she was nominated and selected as Student of the Year.

After a combination of 25 years of service, she retired and continues to devote her time to the service-members, veterans, and their families. Gail was sought out to contract with the Virginia Army National Guard to work as a Citizen Soldier for Life, Career Readiness Counselor, and is now a Career Readiness Counselor and a Veteran Peer Recovery Specialist at the Warrior Way Wellness Center, located in Williamsburg, Virginia. She also serves on the Board of Directors at the Ft. Lee Women’s Museum and a host of other veteran organizations.

Email me: gail.taylor.black@veteranpathwayshome.org


Tiffany Hockaday

Warrior Way Wellness Center Receptionist

I have had the privilege of working alongside the staff at the Warrior Way Wellness Center for seven months & I can tell you FIRST HAND that this place truly saved my life. I had lost purpose in life & they helped me get it back. I’ve been clean from opioids since March 11th of 2017, but in 2019 my mental health plummeted, and my life went into a tailspin. They met me where I was at, worked with me, teaching me the different aspects of the wellness toolbox. Because of this, I have found a way to genuinely be happy and work through my trauma. I’ve learned that recovery doesn’t just mean from drugs or alcohol, THATS SOBRIETY. Recovery is so much more than that… It is not only survival but the ability to THRIVE in your life, moving past whatever it is that troubles you. Recovery can be from PTSD, mental health, physical health, even just being given a diagnosis of any kind of mental or physical condition by a doctor, therapist administrator, etc., ANY TRAUMATIC experience. Coming to Veteran Pathways Home at the Warrior Way Wellness Center truly has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.


By being a part of this “family” I’ve learned how to live and love my life again. I will forever be grateful because I love who I am, and I love my life even when it’s stressful or hard or just aggravating. My worst day now is still better than my best day used to be. SO COME BY AND SEE US, if you need help with anything, even just to talk, because that’s what it’s about people helping each other, peers who have “walked in your shoes” helping you figure out what you want and what’s going to work for you in every aspect of your life. Veteran Pathways Home specializes in working with military, veterans, law enforcement, first responders & their families, but please don’t let that stop you. If you don’t fall into any of those categories, but you need someone to talk to or somewhere to go, PLEASE COME SEE ME because I don’t fall into any of those categories either, but they made me feel at home, welcomed, and saved my life. I’ve learned how to LIVE LIFE AFTER THE MEETING, and that’s the best part!

Email me: tiffany.hockaday@veteranpathwayshome.org