This is the final part of ThinkAdvisor’s ninth annual Advisors Who Serve(d) compilation, in which we highlight stories of veterans in the advisory world, told in their own words.

So what is Advisors Who Serve(d)? Well, it’s just what it says: Financial advisors who have served or are serving in the military. Each year’s initial compilation has debuted over Memorial Day weekend.

This year was unusual, not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because we received more than 120 submissions from advisors. We suspect many of those who participated were working from home and had a little extra time, or desire, to dig into some of their memories in these unprecedented times.

So we decided to spread out new advisor profiles across our bigger patriotic holidays. This year’s first part was on Memorial Day, which had 37 profiles — double what we published in prior years. We rolled out 40 more profiles on the Fourth of July.

This group of 20  is arranged in alphabetical order so you can keep track of advisors as you scroll through their stories, and maybe even recognize a few faces along the way.

Jim Bell


Name: James R (Jim) Bell

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / SagePoint Financial

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  E1 – Cpl

Service Dates:  January 1963 – December 1965

Work you did: Fire Direction Controller for 108mm self-propelled howitzer battery

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Served in Berlin, Germany during the Cold War and at the time President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX

 

Holly Crystal Brauer US Air Force


Name: Holly Crystal Brauer

Title/Company: Wealth Manager/ Financial Advisor / DM Brown Financial Services

Branch: US Air Force

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  PFC in Army/ Maj in Air Force

Service Dates:  May 2004 – Present

Work you did: Public Affairs Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I’ve always looked up to my brother who joined the Army at age 17 because my mom was dating a recruiter at the time (how convenient), and they “happened to have a slot open for pilot training.” Famous last words. So four years later I decide to join the Army, and my brother & I commission on the same day from ROTC. He gets sworn in as an officer, and then immediately swears me in as an officer. Well, he always said he outranked me by four minutes…however, 17 years later, I now outrank him. ;) My sister must have felt left out because she ended up joining seven years later, and I was then able to swear her into the military. I’ll never be more proud than to serve along side my siblings, as well as all my other brothers and sisters-in-arms.

 

Joe Campano US Army


Name: Joe Campano

Title/Company: Branch Manager / Morgan Stanley

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Second Lieutenant – Captain (P)

Service Dates:  May 1983 – July 1993

Work you did: Tactical & Strategic Intelligence

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Working at Field Station Berlin in November of 1989, I was standing at the Berlin Wall when the announcement was made that the Wall was coming down. My family has pieces of the Wall that I brought home with my own hands.

 

Tom Cowan US Air Force


Name: Thomas (Tom) L. Cowan

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Air Force

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Began as a 2nd LT; Retired as a Major

Service Dates:  September 1984 – September 2005

Work you did: Security Forces (Police)

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The highlight of my career was standing with my son and my nephew, while we were all still on active duty and all in uniform, presenting a wreath on behalf of our family at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery!

 

Arnold Csan US Army


Name: Arnold Csan

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  2LT / LTC

Service Dates:  November 1989 – December 2013

Work you did: Field Artillery and Joint Fires

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I save my “there I was” for in-person “talking story” – or for the people looking at things I have done on the “I love me” wall.

But would like to thank all my Brothers and Sisters in arms for being men and women of action and integrity. I will always remember you and the things you achieved.

All of our endeavors, both in uniform and as a veteran; have made America safe and the world a better place!

 

Brent Eaton US Army


Name: Brent Eaton

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Specialist E-4

Service Dates:  September 2009 – December 2013

Work you did: Sniper

Brief story that stands out from your service time: One of my closest friends during my service told me after we completed a satellite communications course that “I was too darn smart to be a dumb grunt with a rifle that I should be changing the peoples live or the world.” That conversation is partially what inspired me to use my GI Bill to get my degree and become an advisor for First Command. 

 


Name: Ray Elderd

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Army and Army Reserve

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Cadet /  Colonel

Service Dates:  July 1984 – June 2018

Work you did: Communications Officer, Brigade Commander

Brief story that stands out from your service time: As a Battalion Commander in 2010, I had the privilege of presenting an overdue Bronze Star Medal to one of my senior personnel, who had earned the award during a deployment to Iraq a couple of years previous. When researching some family history, they also realized his grandfather was also not awarded a Bronze Star Medal on time…from World War II. The family arranged for the grandfather to help me present the Bonze Star to his grandson without knowing he would also be getting an award. It all went perfectly: the grandfather helped present his grandson’s Bronze Star, and just as he was about to walk off, I announced “Publish the Order.” The grandfather stood fast and listened. When he heard his name announced, despite the surprise you could see him stand just a bit taller, with a little more pep in his step. Definitely one of the most meaningful moments of my career.

 

Joe Gallego US Navy


Name: Joe Gallego

Title/Company: President / A G M Investment Group

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  E1 – HM2

Service Dates:  August 1978 – January 1983

Work you did: Hospital Corpsman

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Served as Navy Medic with 1st Marine. Taught by the finest Soldiers, who suffer more than most can imagine. One of the best lessons learned. “You have a choice to make the best of it or the worst of it!” 

 

Ray Gandolfi US Navy


Name: Ray Gandolfi

Title/Company: IAR / FSC Securities Corp.

Branch: US Navy Reserve

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Lieutenant

Service Dates:  June 1970 – November 1974

Work you did: Bombardier/Navigator on an A6

Brief story that stands out from your service time: ALPHA Strike bombing run over North Vietnam.

 

Bryan S. Haver US Army


Name: Bryan S. Haver

Title/Company: LTC USA RET / Woodbury Financial

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  2LT –  LTC(P)

Service Dates:  May 1991 – July 2016

Work you did: 3 deployments…25 years. Artillery for the most part

Brief story that stands out from your service time: Giving shoes to orphans in Afghanistan….kids were losing their feet to simple infections…heartbreaking.

 

Russell Jones US Army


Name: Russell Jones

Title/Company: Senior Partner / Russell Jones

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Private –  First Lieutenant

Service Dates:  1966 – 1968

Work you did: Infantry Platoon Leader – Vietnam

Brief story that stands out from your service time: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Two-thirds of my Infantry Platoon and two-thirds of my Infantry Company survived the Tet Offensive.

 

Will Kepley US Army


Name: Will Kepley

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  2LT – LTC

Service Dates:  October 1993 – January 2015

Work you did: Armor Officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I remember teaching: my platoon leaders; other units, etc & being taught. Notably my platoon sergeant, MSG(R) Bruce Andrews, was always dropping words of wisdom I still use today, “Sir, peeing is important.” “Sir, Arlington Cemetery is full of people who thought THEY were essential. (Go to sleep.)”

 

Amy Million US Marine Corps


Name: Amy Million

Title/Company: President/Financial Advisor / Million Wealth Management

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Private First Class, to Staff Sergeant

Service Dates:  August 1995 – June 2003

Work you did: Aviation Life Support Systems Quality Assurance Representative/Inspector

Brief story that stands out from your service time: One of my oldest and greatest friends, I met when we deployed to Okinawa twenty-one years ago. We didn’t know each other but decided we’d share a room together and had so much fun during our time. She is still a constant source of inspiration and is always helping me dial things in and continue to grow as a human.

 


Name: Brian Orr

Title/Company: VP Relationship Management / PFG Advisors

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  PFC (E3) – PFC (E3)

Service Dates:  February 1984 –  March 1986

Work you did: Driver, M2 Bradley IFV

Brief story that stands out from your service time: The first Saturday after we arrived at our infantry company in Germany, a couple of us new guys found one of our E5s moping around the day room, obviously sad. We asked what was up and he told us it was his birthday. So three or four of us began putting together an impromptu birthday party for that afternoon with plans to take him out that evening. He seemed surprised and we all had a great time with the cake and the little gifts and the German beer. Over the next couple of months we kind of forgot about the Sargent’s party, until another group of new guys showed up. That Saturday, one of the new guys ran into our room and told us it was the Sargent’s birthday! Turns out he was pulling this scam on new guys every couple of months!

 

Gordon Pantalone US Navy


Name: Gordon Pantalone

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Navy

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  E1 – E7

Service Dates:  January 1989 – January 2013

Work you did: Navy Musician

Brief story that stands out from your service time: One of the highlights of my career was meeting the U.S. Ambassador to then Czechoslovakia, the Honorable Shirley-Temple Black during the countries transition to the Czech Republic in 1992. 

 

Michael L Perdue US Army


Name: Michael L Perdue

Title/Company: Registered Rep / Cetera Investors

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Specialist

Service Dates:  1993 – 1997

Work you did: Tank Mechanic

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I have friends for life, some did a short time and some retired by now. Love them all.

 

Michael Sisco US Marine Corps


Name: Michael Sisco

Title/Company: Partner / Paradigm Wealth Partners

Branch: US Marine Corps

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Private – Sergeant

Service Dates:  December 1995 – December 1999

Work you did: Spanish Linguist

Brief story that stands out from your service time: My friends from those days will always stand out the most. When you live in the barracks with other Marines you develop close friendships and have some wild times. My last summer in Camp Lejeune (my only permanent duty station) was the same year that the Carolina coast got hit by Hurricane Floyd. The entire base was shut down and everyone that lived in the barracks hunkered down with some ice cold beers, great friends, and waited out the storm. American Pie-esque hilarity ensued through that whole period, but I will spare readers the gory details. The military is a brotherhood (or sisterhood) that breeds disciple and creates lasting bonds that most veterans will never forget, myself included.

 

Charles Stone


Name: Charles Stone

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / Charles Stone

Branch: US Maine Army National Guard

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Private, Specialist 5

Service Dates:  1971 – 1978

Work you did: Company Clerk

Brief story that stands out from your service time: During much of this service period I also served as a Deputy Sheriff in charge of the Juvenile Division. I enjoyed the fact that I never had to worry about what to wear…just which uniform.

 

Josiah Toepfer US Coast Guard


Name: Josiah Toepfer

Title/Company: Financial Advisor / First Command

Branch: US Coast Guard

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  ENS-LCDR (still serving)

Service Dates:  May 2007 – Present

Work you did: Incident Management and Vessel Inspections

Brief story that stands out from your service time: All of my tours were great, but the one that stands out was “Hurricane Tour 2017,” where I and a group of about 20 other reservists deployed to Houston to assist with Hurricane Harvey response, then shifted to Miami for Irma, and finally to Puerto Rico for the Maria. It was a grueling summer of 18-20 hour days, but just knowing how many people we were able to evacuate and how much food, fuel, and other supplies we were able to bring to help make every day worth it.

Daniel Tomlinson US Army


Name: Daniel Tomlinson

Title/Company: CFP / First Command Financial Services

Branch: US Army

Rank held at beginning of service and at end:  Second Lieutenant, Colonel

Service Dates:  1985 – 2011

Work you did: Special Forces officer

Brief story that stands out from your service time: I am most proud to have served alongside and as a fellow team member in elite Special Forces units, whether in the jungles of South America or Afghanistan. Being a member of a highly professional team and accomplishing a greater good is more rewarding than any individual achievement.