Kate Melcher, BA
Kate Melcher is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program Manager. In this capacity, she oversees all aspects of the program, including building and maintaining relationships with National Guard and military leadership, working with community and private sector partners, and supporting the volunteer corps. Ms. Melcher served in both the Pennsylvania and Mississippi Army National Guard and attained the rank of Captain. She is a rated Apache helicopter pilot. She has spent her career in service, from a research position with the Supreme Court of the United States, to senior staff positions in the US Senate, to line company leadership and a tour as a Legislative Liaison Officer for the US Army National Guard. Ms. Melcher is a seasoned military, non-profit, and private sector professional with experience in program management. She was most recently the Executive Director of Fisher House Michigan where she served as the face and voice of the organization, responsible for raising funds to bring the first Fisher House to Michigan.
Nathan Cross served in the U.S. Army Infantry as a Rifleman, Machine Gunner, Grenadier, and Team Leader in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning the Combat Infantryman Badge and two Army Commendation Medals for Leadership. He served five years active duty and then another two years in the Army Reserves. Prior to joining the Buddy-to-Buddy staff, Mr. Cross worked for the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency’s Veterans Resource Service Center and then as a VA work-study program Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialist. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in business from Siena Heights University. He was formerly a Buddy-to-Buddy volunteer and trained into the program in September 2016. In this position, Mr. Cross is responsible for implementing a volunteer recruitment plan, identifying and staffing veteran-related events, and reaching out to volunteers to ensure they have the support they need.
Cassandra Parks served ten years in the United States Air Force working in Information Management/Administration. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Humanities and Social Sciences and has extensive administrative and research experience from her time serving and her sixteen years working for the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Ms. Parks is responsible for answering the program’s 1-800 call-in line and working with other staff to coordinate the referrals to volunteers.
Jamie Majer is the Buddy-to-Buddy Program Administrative Assistant. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Eastern Michigan University in Health Administration and is pursuing an MBA and Master’s in Management from Walsh College. She previously worked as a medical receptionist and medical record keeper at military hospitals throughout the Southern U.S. and at Integrated Health Associates (IHA) in Ann Arbor. Many in her family have served in the military, including her Army veteran husband and Marine veteran mother. Ms. Majer is responsible for answering the program’s 1-800 call-in line and working with other staff to coordinate the referrals to volunteers.
Stephanie Zarb, MA
Stephanie Zarb is the Trainer for the Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program. She is a native of Redford, Michigan and joined the United States Air Force in 2006. Ms. Zarb deployed twice in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and for Counter-Narcotics Missions in South America. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Oklahoma with a focus in Human Relations. Ms. Zarb’s interests include veteran outreach, volunteer training and development, improving veterans’ awareness and access to resources, and community outreach. Ms. Zarb previously served as the Buddy-to-Buddy Program Manager for four and a half years. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science at Wayne State University.
Beau Nelson, PhD
Dr. Nelson serves as the Program Psychologist for M-SPAN’s Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program. He facilitates weekly volunteer support calls and provides guidance on mental health issues and emergencies that may occur. He currently holds positions as the Local Recovery Coordinator at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1993 through 1997, and participating in Operation Southern Watch. He received a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and completed his clinical internship at the Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Nelson has advanced clinical training in psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery approaches to care for individuals with serious mental health diagnoses, and has expertise in peer-led initiatives and services.
Jamie Wright, LMSW
Program Social Worker
Jamie Wright serves as the social worker for M-SPAN’s Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program providing guidance on mental health issues and emergencies. Mr. Wright currently works as a clinical social worker in the Veteran’s Employment and Recovery Center at the Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. He is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran of the U.S. Army field artillery, serving from 2002 through 2006 on active duty and 2007-2009 in the U.S Army reserves. Mr. Wright received his MSW from the Smith College School of Social Work in Northampton, Massachusetts, and completed his clinical internship at the Seattle Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD evaluation unit. Mr. Wright has advanced clinical training in psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery approaches to care for individuals with serious mental health diagnoses, and has expertise in peer-led initiatives and services.