JOHNNYGRAVES VICE PRESIDENT
Johnny was born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, is married and has one daughter.
He served in the US Army as a Field Artilleryman and is a veteran of Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, then retired as a First Sergeant with 24 years of service.
BEVERLY A. GISCLAIR TREASURER
Beverly is the Mother of 3 children and Grand Mother of 5 and resides in Folsom, Louisiana. She was raised in a family that has proudly served in the Military as her Grand Father served in the Army in WWI, Father served in the Coast Guard in WWII, Uncle in the Navy in WWII, brother in the Seabees during Vietnam, and her youngest son, Michael Savoie, in the Marine Corps in Iraq.
The Military is close to her heart and she has been active in many organizations that have helped our Military and their families. Beverly wants to give back to those that have served and defended our freedom.
THE GOAL OF GULF COAST VETERANS, INC. IS TO MAKE THE U.S. VETERAN PART OF THE WORLD AGAIN.
Many of our Veterans feel isolated, out of place and undeserving to re-enter civilian life. We want them to know that they are not alone. It is our hope that by offering Veterans a sense of brotherhood, they will realize a new standing of value and self-worth. Through social gatherings, we want to show them that what happened in the battles was part of the fight for Freedom, and they are not to blame for anything that is haunting them. By sharing experiences with those that can understand without judging, we hope to boost morale.
CPL. MICHAEL P. SAVOIE CO-FOUNDER/ CHAIRMAN
Born in Westwego, La. In 1978.
Cpl. Savoie joined the Marine Corps 27 October, 2003 and became a Machine Gunner (0331) and retired 31 January 2009. Joined Weapons Platoon, A Co, 1st Bn. 2nd Marines, 2nd Marine Division, in Camp LeJeune North Carolina on March 23rd, 2004 and went with them to Al Iskandiryah, Iraq on July 4th 2004. Cpl. Savoie was on a 4 vehicle convoy on October 4th 2004 when it was hit by a complex combined arms attack that consisted of small arms fire, machines guns, RPG’s, and strategically placed IED’s (Improvised Explosive Device).
Cpl. Savoie was shot in the head, fracturing his skull and knocking him to the ground of his Humvee. Three of the four Marines in his vehicle were shot (they survived). After seeing one of his Marines go down, Cpl. Savoie pulled himself back into his turret and laid down a base of cover fire for the wounded Marine. Cpl. Savoie then dismounted his truck to get the Marine and put him back into the truck after the wounded Marine was unable to do so, on his own due to his injuries.
Cpl. Savoie continued to fire at the enemy position and used an AT-4 (Rocket Launcher), finally silencing the enemy’s machine gun. Cpl. Savoie after running out of machine gun ammo then exited the vehicle and joined another Marine who was pinned down to provide cover fire, then began house clearing operations until pulled out to evacuate with QRF. Cpl. Savoie was evacuated for treatment, taking RPG and smalls arms fire in a second ambush along the way back to Base. 19 hours after being shot and receiving treatment, Cpl. Savoie was back behind his machine gun and out on patrols. He was hit by 19 Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) during this tour.
Cpl. Savoie later returned to Iraq in November of 2005, with the same unit. They went to Hit, Iraq (in the Anbar Province) where he received his second Purple Heart when, in January 2006, he and his patrol were conducting mounted patrol operations. His vehicle was hit with an IED knocking him to the floor of his truck, inflicting 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face and burns to his trachea and lungs. Cpl. Savoie soon got back up on his weapon and located the trigger man running through a field behind a building. He began to engage the enemy and was successful and again found himself in a firefight with insurgents. After the firefight, once again he continued the mission for 3 hours to completion before receiving treatment for his wounds. Cpl. Savoie was hit by 5 IED’s this tour before returning home with his unit in June 2006.
Cpl. Savoie began having medical complications upon returning home and was removed from deployable duty to go to Wounded Warrior Bn. East for medical care. Cpl. Savoie had massive brain swelling and went blind off and on for 9 months. He began blacking out at slightest vibrations. He has developed more than 140 tumors (Non cancerous at this time) all over his body due to exposures to chemicals overseas. He suffers breathing restrictions, dizzy spells, and numbness in his limbs. He was later diagnosed with 22% brain damage in 2007 due to all his concussions.
After war Cpl. Savoie has had a lot of rough times dealing with the healing process both physical and emotional and not being able to deploy with his unit due to his injuries only made things harder to deal with. Cpl. Savoie has had many issues with feeling alone and depressed all the time and not knowing where life would take him in his future. Life seemed hopeless and meaningless and he was even considering ending it all so that he would not have to deal with all the pain anymore. It was at this low point in his life that he met the man that would change his life forever and give him the reason to go on surviving. This man Mr. Ed Mays (Founder of NC Handicapped Sportsmen) offered him an opportunity that he so desperately needed. It was the opportunity to get back to the great outdoors. Cpl. Savoie has always had the love for hunting and living free in the great outdoors. After the event was over and he saw how his life and the lives of 16 other veterans and civilians have changed for the better. His whole outlook on the reason he survived was becoming clear to him. He knew that day that he needed to be a part of this life saving organization. Cpl. Savoie never lost contact with this man that owes his life to him.
It was through this very same man that now I have the chance to give to others as he has given to me. It’s the gift of life and second chances. Cpl. Savoie now works with several organizations such as Wounded War Heroes Inc. and Support Our War Heroes. His goal is to assist these wonderful organizations to be successful in achieving the goal to offer all Veterans the very same opportunity that was given to him. He holds this honor very close to his heart. These Organizations are what inspired Cpl. Savoie to start Gulf Coast Veterans, Inc. He and Sgt. Danny Armand began discussing plans to start this Organization in January 2015. It has become a reality in September 2015.
Cpl. Savoie is also a NDE Technician working for Turner Specialty Services as an Inspector (Located at the DOW Chemical Plant). In his spare time he runs his own business as an NRA Firearms Instructor and self defense instructor at Louisiana Firearms Specialties, LLC which he established in 2012. He teaches concealed carry and self defense.
We want them to be able to look forward to living again. It is our hope to unite these heroes so that they can find their inner peace that will allow them to have a more fulfilling life. Being one with nature, feeling secure, and being among brothers and sisters can help these service members.
CLAIRE LEMOINE SECRETARY
Claire is a mother of four, and grandmother to 6. One son is a Purple Heart Marine Veteran and the other son is active Army. Claire's family has several members who are veterans and served our Country including her father and two of her brothers in Air Force and Marines. She has worked with multiple veteran support groups and package operations, and Toys for Tots.
100% OF ALL PROCEEDS GO TO OUR VETERAN PROGRAMS with a small portion going toward our Fundraising and Advertisement.
We are a certified 501(c)3 non profit organization.
All donations are tax deductible. We have no paid staff and are strictly run by volunteers. We are a group of combat wounded Veterans seeking to help other Veterans. With your contribution we can provide these opportunities for our Veteran Heroes and together we can enhance their lives.