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Advisory Board

Dr. Jeffrey Arden


A psychologist is an individual who is licensed to practice psychology which is defined as the observation, description, evaluation, interpretation, and modification of human behavior by the application of psychological principles, methods, and procedures, for the purpose of preventing or eliminating symptomatic, maladaptive, or undesired behavior and of enhancing interpersonal relationships, work and life adjustment, personal effectiveness, behavioral health, and mental health.

The practice of psychology includes, but is not limited to, psychological testing and the evaluation or assessment of personal characteristics, such as intelligence, personality, abilities, interests, aptitudes, and neuropsychological functioning; counseling, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, hypnosis, biofeedback, and behavior analysis and therapy; diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorder or disability, alcoholism and substance abuse, disorders of habit or conduct, as well as of the psychological aspects of physical illness, accident, injury, or disability; and psych-educational evaluation, therapy, remediation, and consultation. Psychological services may be rendered to individuals, families, groups, and the public.

Dr. Arden is a proud Veteran, who served as a combat medic in the Air Force.

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Bill Russell Edmonds

Leader | Author | Speaker | MS, MA, ORD, M. | Mindfulness & Irest/Yoga Nidra Teacher | Entheogen Integration Specialist

Bill is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel, a veteran of our wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Kosovo, and East, Central and North African, and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star with Valor Device recipient. He is also an internationally recognized expert on the emotional, psychological, and spiritual impacts of military service: how overwhelming subjective experiences change the body, which includes the brain, often impairing our innate capacity for enjoyment, engagement, self-control, and trust.

He has authored multiple books and essays on these and related topics, to include the critically acclaimed memoir God Is Not Here, the anthology War and Moral Injury: A Reader, essays The Ugly American in Iraq and After Moral Injury, and the Apple+ TV audio docuseries The Line.


Mr. Edmonds energy and focus are on many and varied practices and pursuits that train attentional agency as pathways to emotional balance, mental harmony, and lasting happiness. Bill is also an ordained minister in the non-denomination Unity Life Church, a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, a Yoga Nidra/iREST instructor, and a psychedelic integration specialist. He facilitates Legacy Wellness Center’s Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Nidra instruction while also pursuing his licensure as a Clinical Social Worker at the University of Southern California. Mr. Edmonds lives in Cambria, California with his wife, Cheryl, and their two daughters, Natalie, and Ava.


Select Publications/Events:
2006: Essay: 0e Ugly American in Iraq
2011: Memoir: God Is Not Here
2015: Anthology: War and Moral Injury: A Reader
2015: Essay: God Is Not Here
2018: Dissertation: A Compassionate Nudge
2019: Essay: After Moral Injury
2021: TheLine. Apple TV+

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Justen Wiggins, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker

Justen Wiggins is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as a psychotherapist. He obtained his Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in 2018 and his BS in liberal studies from Excelsior University, NY.

Justen has worked and volunteered in many clinical settings, including substance use and MAT facilities, at risk housing and support, and multiple Veteran centered services. He is now providing support for first responders and their families through partnering with local NPOs 911 At Ease International and One805. He interned for a year with Peoples Self Help Housing, creating, and actioning a Veterans support group for identified Veteran tenants. He is also a long-time volunteer with Operation Surf, since 2016. As an alumnus of the program, he now assists as Veteran support for participants and advises the organization on best practices concerning mental health and wellbeing incorporated in staff training and program operations. He additionally volunteers as a mentor for the San Luis Obispo Veterans Treatment Court, providing support for Veterans being afforded the opportunity to participate in the program.


Justen is a 20-year retired military veteran. He served 4 years in the Marine Corps (1987-1991) then later the remaining service was in the Nevada and retiring from the California Army National Guard as a Logistics Officer. He served in Iraq 2004-05 as a convoy escort team leader providing security for convoys for over 20,000 miles. Other positions held included Training NCO, Recruiter, Field Executive Officer 2010 border mission, State Excess Property Manager, and Company Commander. Justen continues to serve past his 2017 retirement volunteering in the California State Guard as a Behavioral Health Officer.


Justen enjoys keeping track of his 4 children and 7 grandchildren. His passions are riding and working on Harley Davidsons and surfing. Justen is a California native growing up in the San Gabriel Valley. Life travels and the military have taken him many places across the globe. Home port is now Morro Bay, CA for Justen, his 9-year-old son and Archibald their 2-year-old Queensland heeler.

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N. Thomas McCartney


Thomas (“Tom”) McCartney graduated magna cum laude from Saint Mary’s College in 1972. He graduated with honors from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1975 where he was awarded the American Jurisprudence award in Property. Tom McCartney was also a member of the McAuliffe Honor Society and the Law Review. He served as an honors law clerk for the Hon. Ira A. Brown Jr.

Tom McCartney has successfully tried over seventy cases. Recently, a juror wrote an unsolicited letter to Mr. McCartney. It reads: Although Mr. McCartney continues to be primarily involved in litigation and trials, his practice has evolved to include litigation avoidance, business planning and development, and related business transactional work.


Mr. McCartney also serves as corporate counsel for Legacy Village, LLC. Tom is a San Francisco native, who has resided in Bakersfield, CA for the past 40 years. He is married, and the father of three grown children.


Published appellate decisions: Am. Nat. Bank v. Stanfill, 205 Cal. App. 3d 1089, (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 1988); Davis v. Superior Court, 62 Cal. App. 3d 484, Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1976); Clark Equipment Co. v. Mastelotto, Inc., 87 Cal. App. 3d 88, (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 1978); Lapidus v. City of Wasco, 114 Cal. App. 4th 1361, Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2004); Legacy Group v. City of Wasco, 106 Cal. App. 4th 1305, 1307, (Cal. App. 5th Dist. 2003)

N. Thomas McCartney

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Jason Geis


Jason Geis, originally from Seymour, Indiana, became a resident of Bakersfield after retiring from the Army as a Sergeant Major in 2012. He has over 20-years of active-duty service. Jason has five overseas deployments and was awarded a Bronze Star for actions during operations taken place in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served 21-years as an Airborne Combat Medic and has served in the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 101st Airborne Division – Air Assault, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, and the 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Jason met his wife, Jamie, in Bakersfield and they have 3 children, Payton – 19, Clay – 17, and Madison – 9. Jamie is also an RN for the Rosedale Union School District.

Jason has a master’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s in leadership and management from Webster University. Mr. Geis works for Chevron’s Environmental Management & Real Estate Company as a Facilities Engineer/Facilities Site Representative and has done so since he retired from the Army in 2012. He also serves as a leadership team member of the Global Chevron Veterans Employee Network.

Jason was a founding member of the Board of Directors for Wounded Heroes Fund Kern County as well as its President for 10 years. Mr. Geis is an active Team Leader for the National Non-Profit organization, Mighty Oaks Warrior Program, which assists Veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. He is the founder and lead instructor of the local Outpost at Valley Baptist Church, Bakersfield for the Mighty Oaks Warrior Program. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Honor Flight Kern County and has been on over 11 flights, many of which he was the trip lead.

He is a founding member of the Board of Directors for Operation Hunt 4 Heroes, a 501c3 in San Miguel, CA which provides adventure therapy for disabled Veterans to hunt in a controlled environment. Jason is also a certified instructor for ReBoot Combat Recovery which is a 13-week course that focuses on helping servicemembers and their families heal from service-related trauma.

Jason actively serves on the Synergy Wellness Rise Up Recovery Board of Directors as well as Cole’s Comrades. Coles Comrades is a non-profit organization aimed at helping families of Veterans who died from suicide, as well as other non-combat or non-service-related incidents. Jason also co-founded and established, alongside his wife and Lili Marsh, the gem of the community, the Portrait of a Warrior Gallery (POWG). The POWG is a 501c3 veteran’s non-profit art gallery located in downtown Bakersfield. The gallery honors all the fallen Veterans from Kern County and highlights the 27 Post 9/11 servicemembers who died in service to our country.

Jason has worked tirelessly to serve God, his country, and his fellow comrades. He continues to do so for his community, and his veteran comrades.

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Reba Grissom

Chief Deputy Warden, Ret.

Reba Grissom was born and raised in a large family, residing in the rural foothills of New Mexico. The humble upbringing would give Ms. Grissom an appreciation for hard work and dedication. As a young adult, she moved to California’s Central Valley and raised her daughter Rebecca. She began her professional career as an Administrative & Clinical Medical Assistant, working predominately in private practice. Ms. Grissom would further her career goals in multiple positions with the Porterville Developmental Center.

In 1996, Ms. Grissom began working for the California Department of Corrections. She would enjoy numerous promotional opportunities throughout her career and was part of the state workforce fostering massive change within the organization, including a focus on rehabilitation. In addition to the shift in philosophy, the name also changed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Ms. Grissom held positions such as Associate Governmental Program Analyst, and various roles in accounting which allowed her to refine skills in auditing, state finance and budgetary policy. Her ability to solve complex issues and a compassion for the population she served, allowed her to raise through the ranks to Associate Warden, then Chief Deputy Warden, a position she retired from in 2013. The positions in the executive management would allow Ms. Grissom to exhibit a vast skill set on a daily basis, managing one of the most complex governmental systems in existence.


Ms. Grissom’s career advancements and skills took her to a number of facilities, including the California State Prison – Corcoran, Wasco State Prison, Valley State Prison for Women – Chowchilla, Kern Valley State Prison, and the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. Following retirement, Ms. Grissom served two terms on the Tulare County Grand Jury, serving her final term as Foreperson.


A distinguished Peace Officer, Ms. Grissom has earned the respect of her colleagues, and is a respected member of her community. She is held in high regard by those who have worked with her and is pleased to call many former co-workers, superiors and subordinates, friends.


Today, Ms. Grissom lives in the Manhattan borough of New York City, a move allowing her to be closer to family; including her daughter, granddaughters Neah and Haley, and now, great-granddaughter, Cali. In addition to spending time with family, she enjoys taking leisurely walks along the amazing New York City rivers, finding the best caramel latte in the city and vacationing. Ms. Grissom also enjoys returning to California when possible, reconnecting to several of her favorite places, Morro Bay, and Disneyland!

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Morgan Boyd

Veterans Services Officer

Mr. Boyd is a native of the Central Coast where he grew up working on his family’s sustainable farm in Arroyo Grande. Throughout his 12-year military career he obtained the rank of Captain, served as Platoon Leader, Company Commander, and Regimental Assistant Intelligence Officer. He was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a Cavalry Trooper conducting reconnaissance operations.

Mr. Boyd is a Cal Poly graduate with a master’s degree in Public Policy where his primary research focused on the causality of Veteran unemployment and underemployment. Mr. Boyd has experience serving as a Criminal Justice Business Analyst for the County of San Luis Obispo’s Adult Drug Court.

Mr. Boyd currently serves his community as the County of San Luis Obispo’s Veteran Services Officer.

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