BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Andrew J Manzi
President and Executive Director
Andrew was born and raised in Southeastern Connecticut. As a result of the events of 9/11, he enlisted in the US Marine Corps Infantry in 2003. Andrew deployed multiple times to Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was honorably discharged in 2007 as a Sergeant. Turbulent years followed discharge, but the pivotal moment came with his introduction to surfing on the Rhode Island coast. This new form of therapy has changed his life forever, and it is the mission of the Warrior Surf Foundation to bring this change to other veterans and their families.
Vice Chairman and Co-Founder
Tyler grew up surfing in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. A US Army Veteran, he worked as a medic for over 10 years and completed multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq. Tyler became a Diplomatic Security medic in Iraq, and is currently pursuing his love of medicine as an instructor. Whether working on or off the battlefield, he remains on the frontline of helping those in need. Struggling with post-war injuries, Tyler has utilized surfing as a tool for personal solace between deployments. Once Tyler and Andrew joined ideas, talents, and experiences, the Warrior Surf Foundation was born.
Director of Wellness
Erin Mckittrick Jones is a psychotherapist, a Licensed Independent Social Worker, with an emphasis in treating anxiety and mood disorders. She received her Bachelors of Social Work degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies. In 2003, she obtained her masters of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina with an emphasis in Individuals and Families. She has extensive experience providing individual and group therapy services to adults with anxiety and mood disorders, with an emphasis on trauma-based therapies. In her previous position as a clinical social worker and therapist at the Charleston VA Medical center, Erin worked and obtained clinical training through the Post-traumatic Stress Disorders clinic, the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy clinic, and the Primary Care-Mental Health Integration Clinic. Prior to this, worked in psychiatric research at the Medical University of South Carolina with the Anxiety Disorders Program where she received extensive training in the assessment of anxiety and mood disorders.
Through her work with the Warrior Surf Foundation, she has had the opportunity to work with veterans (their families) combining both counseling and physical exercise with the natural environment of the ocean.
Director of Development and Secretary
Chris Dixon is an author and journalist based in Charleston, SC. A native of the area, he is the founding online editor of Surfer magazine. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Garden & Gun, Outside, Men's Journal, Surfer, and Surfer's Journal. His most recent works include Ghost Wave, a book that chronicles the history and lore of a dangerous deep-water wave off the coast of California known as Cortes Bank, and Surfing 1778-Today, from Taschen Books. His upcoming project is “The Ocean Handbook,” due in 2018 from Chronicle Books. An avid surfer himself, Chris has spent the better part of his career documenting surfing and surf culture.
CHAPLAIN (LIEUTENANT COLONEL) MICHAEL J. LOVETT(Retired)
Treasurer and Equipment Chief
Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, Michael J. Lovett currently serves as the Wing Chaplain at Charleston Air Force Base, Washington. He is responsible for the leadership and oversight of the chaplain service function, providing for the free exercise of religion for more than 4,600 active duty and civilian personnel. As a member of the wing commander’s staff, he advises the commander on religious issues, as well as the spiritual health and morale of the base community. He supervises a staff of 4 active duty chaplains and 4 active duty chaplain assistants along with 2 reserve chaplains and 1 reserve chaplain assistant.
Chaplain Lovett was commissioned in the Chaplain Candidate program in 1979 and served in the Air Force Reserves beginning in 1984 while pastoring parishes located in North Carolina. He was commissioned as an active-duty chaplain in 1988. He is endorsed by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.
Jesse was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. He enlisted in the navy in 2009 as a Hospital Corpsman. His first tour of duty was with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton, California. While with 3/5, Jesse deployed with both India and H&S companies on combat as well as expeditionary tours. In 2013, he was relocated to Naval Health Clinic Charleston, where he finished his career in May of 2017. He linked up with Warrior Surf in May of 2016 and discovered the healing powers of surf therapy. As a member of the Board of Directors, Jesse continues to utilize surfing to heal himself, as well as a way to connect and give back to Veterans and their families.
Dave grew up in Northern California, not far from Santa Cruz. His board of choice then was a skateboard, but after relocating to Charleston in 2015, he finally checked his bucket list box and got up on a surfboard. Dave works as Marketing Consultant for Apex Media here in Charleston, and brings with him 25+years of media and marketing experience. He can tell you anything you need to know about the 1981 San Francisco 49ers and he loves listening to loud, classic rock music. Dave is a devoted family with his wife Katherine and their 12 year old son Dylan. He is a Navy veteran and is thrilled to be working with fellow veterans and their families through the Warrior Surf Foundation.
Surf Lead & Advisor
Isla Surf's founder, Peter Melhado, has traveled the world in search of waves and fascinating cultures. His travels have taken him everywhere from Portugal, Costa Rica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Montauk to California. Peter has been a senior instructor at surf schools on Nantucket Island and at Rockaway Beach for the past eight years. Even as Peter explored remote locations thousands of miles away from Charleston and Folly Beach, he always found his way back to the Holy City. As long as there's a breaking wave, from six inches to six feet, you will find Peter in the water. His love of meeting new people, sharing the surfing experience, of Charleston, and Folly Beach led to the creation of Isla Surf. Since the Spring of 2017 Peter and his team have been dedicated to helping out WSF with their mission and enhancing the surfing aspect of the program.
Robert J. Whaley
North Carolina Advisor
Rob was born and raised in Indiana. In 2012 he joined the Navy to become a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman. He deployed twice in a Marine Corps Infantry Battalion. To cope with the ongoing battle once he returned home, he turned to surfing as a form of therapy. He had never felt more at peace than when he was in the water. Many visits were made to Folly Beach, SC once he found out about the Warrior Surf Foundation. He dedicated a lot of time to the foundation before the launch of the North Carolina Chapter in Emerald Isle. He was medically retired from the Navy in 2017, and now focuses all of his time on family, the foundation, and being a surfing instructor.
Christian Blumetti is a Senior Loan Officer at Starkey Mortgage and specializes in VA financing. During has time as a lender, he has assisted hundreds of military families achieve their dream of home ownership. His love for the ocean and passion for helping others has evolved into a partnership with Warrior Surf Foundation. Christian lives on James Island with his wife, Julie, and their two daughters, Gabriella and Katie as well as their dog, two cats, and turtle. When he is not spending time near the ocean he enjoys playing and listening to music.