Seminar Special Guests
Seminar Special Guests
During the seminar, you will have the opportunity to hear from national experts in grief, trauma, health and wellness and more. Below is a list of the speakers and presenters who will be in attendance.
Make sure to also download the TAPS Events app. Recommended session schedules for different grief programming and speaker information are all built into the easy-to-navigate app.
General Martin E. Dempsey, US Army (Ret)
General Dempsey retired as the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 2015, after previously serving as the Army’s 37th Chief of Staff. Past assignments have taken him and his family across the globe during both peace and war from platoon leader to combatant commander. He is a 1974 graduate of the United States Military Academy and a career armor officer. General Dempsey’s awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. In addition to his Master's degree in English, he holds Masters' degrees in Military Arts and National Security Studies. Dempsey now brings his extensive leadership qualities to the Chairmanship of USA Basketball. Elected to the post by the board of directors, Dempsey will lead USA Basketball through the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. General Dempsey and his high school sweetheart, Deanie, have three children who each have served in the U.S. Army. They have nine wonderful grandchildren. General Dempsey is a member of the TAPS Board of Directors.
Chef Robert Irvine
Robert Irvine is a 16 year Navy veteran, world-class chef, fitness authority, and philanthropist. He seeks to inspire people to live better through all his endeavors. A tireless supporter of our veterans, he gives back to those who defend our freedoms. Robert pioneered a new genre of programming for Food Network with his extreme cooking challenge show, Dinner: Impossible, which ran for 7 seasons and over 100 episodes. He parlayed that success into the even more popular Restaurant: Impossible, which ran for 13 seasons and 160 episodes. Robert didn’t just renovate restaurants and retrain staff in record time, he counseled owners through personal problems that were destroying their businesses. At its peak, 1.2 million viewers tuned in on a weekly basis. Robert has also hosted or appeared on Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, Next Iron Chef, Restaurant Express, Chopped: Impossible, Guy’s Grocery Games: Impossible, A Hero’s Welcome, Food Network Star, ABC’s Body of Proof, ABC Family’s Melissa and Joey among others.
Brett Jones, Singer Songwriter
Brett is also a captivating stage performer who started a 501c3 in 2017 for children and relatives whose family members were killed in the line of duty, including serving overseas and suicide. Having witnessed family tragedy himself, Jones is hoping to share the healing power of music thru Gold Star Mentors. The charity works independently and with TAPS to provide children with guitars and teaching lessons from Jones and other hit writers.
Secretary Denis R. McDonough
Denis R. McDonough serves as the 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Secretary McDonough served in the Obama Administration as the 26th White House Chief of Staff from February 2013 to January 2017. Mr. McDonough was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from October 2010 to January 2013. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the National Security Staff and as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading the multiagency team to address complex challenges including crisis management and national security policymaking. And throughout his service in the White House, Secretary McDonough helped lead the Obama-Biden administration’s work on behalf of military families and Veterans. Before his eight-year tenure in the White House, Secretary McDonough served in senior leadership and policymaking positions in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Professional Staff Member on the International Relations Committee and in the U.S. Senate for Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Ken Salazar. Since his White House tenure, Secretary McDonough was Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, Senior Advisor and Senior Principal at the Markle Foundation, and on the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, and the SAFE Project, a national nonprofit working to end the nation’s catastrophic addiction epidemic. Secretary McDonough grew up in Minnesota in a family of 11 children, graduated from St. Johns University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and earned his master's degree from Georgetown University.
General Mark A. Milley
General Mark A. Milley is the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council. Prior to becoming Chairman on October 1, 2019, General Milley served as the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. A native of Massachusetts, General Milley graduated from Princeton University in 1980, where he received his commission from Army ROTC. General Milley has had multiple command and staff positions in eight divisions and Special Forces throughout the last 39 years to include command of the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division; the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division; Deputy Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Commanding General, 10th Mountain Division; Commanding General, III Corps; and Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command. While serving as the Commanding General, III Corps, General Milley deployed as the Commanding General, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. General Milley’s joint assignments also include the Joint Staff operations directorate and as a Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. General Milley’s operational deployments include the Multi-National Force and Observers, Sinai, Egypt; Operation Just Cause, Panama; Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti; Operation Joint Endeavor, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq; and three tours during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. He also deployed to Somalia and Colombia. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in political science from Princeton University, General Milley has a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University and one from the U.S. Naval War College in national security and strategic studies. He is also a graduate of the MIT Seminar XXI National Security Studies Program.
Robert Patrick, Actor
Robert Patrick has worked with the top actors and directors in his field for the last 20 years. His breakthrough role came as the legendary T-1000 in Terminator 2. He was the first actor in the history of motion capture and since then, he has worked on iconic films and television shows including Die Hard 2, Wayne's World, Last Action Hero, Fire in the Sky, Cop Land, The Faculty, Walk the Line, Bridge to Terabithia, Spy Kids, Flags of Our Fathers, The Sopranos, The Outer Limits, Elvis, The Unit, The X-Files, Sons of Anarchy and True Blood. He starred as Agent Cabe Gallow in Scorpion for CBS for four seasons and most recently was seen in The Laundromat and Perry Mason. He is currently co-starring in the new series Peacemaker.
Patrick is a lifelong supporter of the military and the USO. The grandson of an Army veteran, who served during World Wars I and II and the Korean War, Patrick grew up with a profound respect for troops. He regularly goes on USO hospital visits and has participated in four USO tours to seven countries since 2008, visiting more than 8,100 service members and military families. As a longtime motorcycle enthusiast and Boozefighter, Patrick served for years as an Honorary Grand Marshall for the famed Love Ride which benefited veterans. He became the proud co-owner of Harley-Davidson Santa Clarita.
The U.S. Army Band Downrange
Downrange supports the men and women of the Armed Services through popular music while reaching all audiences, young and old, with their continuously up-to-date repertoire of rock, pop, country, R & B, and inspirational signature patriotic arrangements that are popular with all listeners.
The U.S. Marine Drum and Bugle Corps
"The Commandant's Own," the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps' mission is to provide music and drill ceremony to the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Commanding Officer of Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. founded in 1934 as an augmentation to the United States Marine Band, "The Commandant's Own" is the only active duty drum and bugle corps currently serving in our Armed Forces.
Tony David & WildeFire (Pamela Hughes & Kerry Edwards)
Tony David is an active Board Member for The Colorado TAPS Celebrity Classic. Tony has supported TAPS not only locally in Colorado but now on a National level. Tony has been an active Board Member for 15 years and he as well as his singing partners have personally raised over $400K donating their time performing and assistance in fund raisers across the Denver Metro area.