The Phoenix Family

He was born in a small town in Massachusetts. Raised by a Marine father and a Portuguese immigrant mother. Taught valuable life disciplines and early age. Among those were respect, honor, and courage.

His father trained him to live like a Marine. Training him to know all the disciplines and strategies needed to survive in this world. His mother taught him how to be a gentleman, to stand tall and to live a life worth writing about.

Of all the things his parents taught him in life, the greatest was learning how to love like Christ. To show compassion. To Sacrifice it all for the sake of another.

He now leads a mission of hope. Reaching into the lives of the men and women who have been willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. As president and founder of Mission Phoenix he is leading the course of action in the endeavor to reverse the number of lives lost due to complications of veteran PTS.
For the past 7 years, Josh has worked closely with veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS), providing counseling and support services. His commitment to mental health advocacy stems from personal experience, as his father was tragically involved in a suicide by cop incident. This event has fueled his passion for addressing mental health challenges and fostering better understanding and collaboration between mental health professionals and law enforcement.

Working through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) program has equipped him with specialized training in trauma counseling and intervention strategies. His work has involved developing and implementing programs aimed at reducing the number of Veterans taking their life, including suicide by cop incidents, in our community.
In his role, he have collaborated closely with local law enforcement agencies to enhance their understanding of mental health issues and provide resources and tools needed for improving crisis intervention techniques. By working side by side with law enforcement leaders, he is contributing to legislative discussions and community initiatives focused on mental health awareness and prevention.
His mission is to bridge the gap between mental health support, law enforcement and our Veteran communities, fostering a culture of compassion and proactive intervention to prevent tragedies related to PTSD and crisis situations. Through education, advocacy, and collaboration, he committed to promoting HOPE to mental wellness in our communities.
 

“Greater Love has no man than this, that he would give up his life for his friend.” 

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Regan


Semper Resurgens – Always Rising

Josh Gagnier |
President
Executive Board Memeber

Rob Rathbun |
Vice Chair
Executive Board Memeber

Raymond R. Rathbun (Rob) 

Much of who I am finds its roots in my upbringing. I was raised in a Christian home in a small agricultural community in upstate NY. The core values that were instilled in me are a love of God, Family, and Country. These values are the moral compass that guide me to this day. 

Community service was always a big part of my family life. I served as a volunteer Fire Fighter, EMT, and Red Cross Instructor, and I was also very active in my church, working with the youth.  

I was 27, married, and had my first of six children when I  joined the Army Reserve. Having a child caused me to consider God’s goodness in allowing me to live in a free country and the sacrifice of men and women that fought for my freedom. How could I ask others to do something I was unwilling to do myself? I didn’t want to be a career Soldier but wanted to be willing to fight if needed, and the Army Reserve was the perfect answer to my moral dilemma.  


I joined the Army in 2000 and did my Basic Combat Training at FT Knox, KY, and Advanced Individual Training at FT Lenordwood, MO. My duty assignments included the C-368th Engineer Company, 844th Engineer Battalion, 316th Mobile Augmentation Company, and the 1-100th Engineer Instructors Battalion. I did missions in South Korea, Romania, and Guatemala, along with stateside community projects. 

I also served two Combat tours with a combined total of two and a half years in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. 

As I worked my way through the ranks, I served as Team Leader, Squad Leader, Counter Mobility Platoon Sargent, Taskforce  Battle Staff, and 12-B (Combat Engineer) Instructor.  

I retired in 2021 as an E-7 (Sargeant First Class) with 21 years of military service.   


I considered it an honor when asked to be a part of Mission Phoenix. 

In the last few years, I have lost four Battle Buddies to the silent killer known as PTSD. I was forced to ask myself what the difference between them and me was. 

I had hard times in my service; probably the hardest was coming home from combat. The Army has structure and order; Soldiers do what they are supposed to do when they are supposed to do it. You have gone from an environment where people are actively trying to kill you to an environment where people get upset over cold coffee. Every piece of trash on the side of the road causes your heart rate to climb, and every firework or backfiring car causes you to jump. You may appear calm and cool on the outside, but you are raging on the inside, and you often snap at the people that love you the most as a form of venting. 

I am so blessed to have a loving, godly wife and church family. Neither of us walked through the adjustment perfectly, but by God’s grace, we walked through it. She, too, had to work through a lot. I was not the only one wrestling, and I was not the only one making a sacrifice. She filled both roles in our home and raising our children alone, watching the news about the war, not hearing from me for months, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. This trial before us could either tear us apart or draw us closer, but the days of suppressing emotion and feelings needed to be gone. There is a time for every Soldier to get over the “suck it up and drive on” mentality and say, I need help.

That is why I am a part of Mission Phoenix. I don’t have all the answers, but I am willing to walk through this valley with anyone willing to accept help. PTSD is my new battlefield; if you let me, I’ve got your six. 

COLONEL RICHARD W. FOGG

Richard Wayne Fogg, Colonel, USAF (Ret.)  was born 25 July, 1961 in Keesler AFB Biloxi, Mississippi. He has spent a lifetime in the military first as a dependent and then serving on active duty.  He was born in a military hospital, attended Department of Defense Schools, met his wife on a military base, received all of his education while in the military, God saved him in a military chapel; every significant event in his life happened while in the military. 

Colonel Fogg loves God, his family, and the United States of America.  He was a graduate from the Florida State University, where he earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Operations Management in 1988.   Colonel Fogg enlisted in the Air Force in 1982 and served in the Accounting and Finance career field. He commissioned through the Air Force Officer Training School in 1990, and has served in comptroller positions at all management levels—wing, major command and Air Force headquarters and has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels and has served as the Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Financial Management.  He earned an MBA from Webster University in 2001, and a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in 2009.


Colonel Fogg held a variety of significant command and staff positions, with his final assignment as Director, CJ8, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, Headquarters, Resolute Support, Kabul, Afghanistan.  Colonel Fogg retired from active duty on 1 January, 2018 culminating 35 years of active-duty service.

His special actions and deployments include:  As the contingency budget analyst in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 he was responsible for planning, programming, and budgeting Defense Emergency Relief Funds, Overseas Contingency Operations Funds, and Global War on Terrorism Funds working in the Air Force and OSD Crisis Action Team for recovery and response.  As the Comptroller Squadron Commander at Keesler AFB, Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina he was responsible for preparing supplemental appropriations and overseeing financial management support for recovery and reconstitution.  Assigned to Incirlik AB, Turkey in support of Operations Northern Watch and Provide Comfort.  Deployed to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force and Joint Task Force Headquarters in Jordan with forward deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Deployed to Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command in Qatar with forward deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  Deployed to NATO Training Mission/Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support. 

His military education included Basic Military Training, Officer Training School, Financial Management Staff Officer Course, Professional Military Comptroller School, Squadron Officer School, Army Command and General Staff College, and the National War College.

His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters); Meritorious Service Medal (with six Oak Leaf Clusters); Joint Service Commendation Medal; Air Force Commendation Medal (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster) Air Force Achievement Medal; Air Force Recognition Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal (with bronze service star); Southwest Asia Service Medal (with bronze service star); Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with bronze service star); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with (bronze service star); Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Humanitarian Service Medal; Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal; NATO Medal – Afghanistan; German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency in Gold.

Richard Fogg |
Executive Board Memeber

Zebulon Golder |
Executive Board Member

Growing up in South Dakota farm country to Christian parents was a blessing from God. We were the Cornbelt Conference and hot rod dreamers until the realization of adulthood struck like a tornado on the great plains.  I grew up with a wild streak, one that seemed to keep me just on the edge however the Spirit seemed to always pull me back to centerline. What opportunities awaited me in farm country USA without an impressive GPA and no family farmland to work? The military son! So, with my bag packed with work ethic instilled by my parents I took my first real significant trip out of my home state and moved in with the USAF in San Antonio Texas at Lackland Air Force Base.  

     Respect for elders, reverence for our military, and don’t ask for things you’re not willing to work for, three principles that took deep root in my soul from the days of my youth. Others had to learn those from the United States military. For example, the young trainee who thought it a good idea to place his feet on the back of the bus seat on our first ride to the barracks in a show of his toughness and grit. The first lesson taught five minutes into my military training was no matter how bad you think you are; the United States military is Badder! The second lesson, God uses the United States military to advance His kingdom as he sees fit. That same young man who was disrespectful and ignorant advanced himself from that humbling beginning on that bus to a place of leadership within our Flight.
     My military service was more of a dream job than a sacrifice. Considering such men as my giant Uncle Jack from Texas who served on the ground in Vietnam, or my father who served in Korea, or my friend Lonnie who flew Cobra attack choppers in Nam, true sacrificial heros. There is no other country like ours, never has there been and never will there be again because of these men and others like them. The USAF paid for me to go to school which led me to meeting my Wife Jenelle of  years. Our marriage has been fruitful, and we have multiplied. Three sons, Ethan who is married to Natalie and expecting their first child in June 2023! Eli who is ready to graduate high school in 2023 and Cash who is currently in middle school. Two daughters, Gabrielle who is sophomore in highn school and Aubrey who is in elementary. We have been blessed and most thankful that everyone of them understands what Jesus Christ has sacrificed for them. They know He is the only way through this world that is darkened by sin and its effects.
     I’m not sure why the Lord has dealt me such a solid hand in life when others who have sacrificed so much more seem to struggle day to day. I do understand that without those others who have sacrificed, my life wouldn’t be as it is now. Men and Women offering up their lives, their physical and mental wellness, their families, sometimes everything, so we can live our lives in peace and freedom! What impresses me most about these types of individuals is without a second thought they would do it all over again knowing the outcome and expecting nothing in return. It is our civilian duty, rooted in thankfulness to do our best in honoring all those who have sacrificed for us and our future generations. Together we must educate the youth, listen to our elders, and honor our veterans!
I was raised in a small East Texas town with five pillars: God, country, church, family, and football (sports). Upon graduating high school in 1992, I entered college as a pre-med student. During the middle of the semester, an Army recruiter reached out and convinced me the Army could help pay for my college education while allowing me to currently serve in medicine (albeit a very small capacity). I officially join the Army in February of 1993 completing Basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston (Joint Base San Antonio). Upon completion of AIT, I was then assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Walter Reed National Medical Center) where I advanced as a Laboratory Technician / Medic (68K) servicing from 1993 – 1998. I completed two temporary assignments at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, where it was my privilege to provide specialized medical care and support to the troops injured while training to enhance their combat skills. On January 4, 1997, I sustained an injury to my lower back that would prevent me from advancing my military career (E4P – specialist promotable) and take me away from the study of medicine as I could no longer stand for prolonged hours. I left the Army, the study of medicine (cardiothoracic surgery or bust) and moved back to Northeast Texas upon receiving the honorable / medical discharge May 12, 1998. I never had the privilege of “serving” in combat, but I took great pride in serving those who did. I no longer had that opportunity as my limited education and training prevented me from serving in any clinics or hospitals. In leaving the study of medicine for business, I lost a year of school. As frustrating as that was, I pressed on (Army leads the way) pursuing a BBA in Management graduating December 2000 rolling right into a Master of Business Administration graduating December 2003. I am currently working to complete a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2026. I considered it an honor when I was asked to serve on the board of Mission Pheonix. I have the privilege of working with “distressed” veterans struggling with PTSD and PTSS. While there are many aids, organizations, professional services, and the VA, I have seen firsthand what it means to a fellow veteran to have another veteran come alongside them and walk with them through their struggles. If I may take a little liberty with Galatians 6:2 (it truly applies to the body of Christ) we are to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” As I tell my fellow veterans, I did not have the privilege of combat, but I have the privilege of continuing to help take care of those who did. I am currently employed at Western Governors University (started May 2016) as the Military and Veterans Benefits Client Relations Manager. One of my many responsibilities is to manage VITAL – Veterans Integrated to Academic Leadership, a partnership with higher education and the VA healthcare system that helps veterans obtain and receive the care they are entitled to receive. Mission Pheonix is designed to “come alongside” veterans in need and walk with them helping them understand there is hope. I have been blessed with a very loving wife who has helped me grow in understanding how to care for others and get past the “just suck it up and drive on” mentality that many of us have ingrained in our DNA. Through the grace of God, he has used her to demonstrate to me true unconditional love, as I watch her love others, our children and grandchildren, and the man she calls husband (who has tested that love more than he should). The grace she displays in her loving service to others is something I strive to bring to those I meet and to my fellow veterans who desire a hopeful hand. If you will allow me the privilege, let me walk alongside you as you grow through your experiences, joining you in the foxhole we call life. There is hope!

Ken Williams |
Executive Board Member
Director of Veteran Counseling

Amber Gagnier |
Secretary/ Events
Director of Female Counseling

Amber Gagnier has been an integral part of Mission Phoenix since its inception, driven by a deep passion ignited by her husband, Josh Gagnier, who serves as the organization’s president. Amber holds a degree in Law Enforcement, reflecting her commitment to serving and protecting communities. In 2000, she relocated with her family to Tennessee, where she has been actively involved in various community initiatives.


Amber dedicated herself to homeschooling their daughter and played a pivotal role in organizing and administering a homeschool co-op for five years. Her focus on innovative learning methodologies and personalized lesson plans underscored her lifelong passion for education, with the aim of fostering a love for learning in her students.


Amber’s devotion to community service extends beyond Mission Phoenix. She is a dedicated volunteer at her local church, contributing her time and skills to various initiatives. Currently, Amber is pursuing the completion of her ACBC (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) certification, reflecting her dedication to helping individuals navigate personal challenges and mental health issues.


Within Mission Phoenix, Amber serves as Secretary, Head of Events and Director of Female Counseling, spearheading the organization’s outreach and engagement efforts. Her role also involves coaching and developing programs specifically designed to support female spouses of veterans, recognizing the unique challenges they face.


Amber’s multifaceted contributions and unwavering commitment exemplify her leadership and dedication to empowering and supporting veterans and their families impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS). Her journey with Mission Phoenix reflects a profound dedication to service, education, and community.

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