Board of Directors

Brett Jones, Founder

“The only thing that got me through what I call the rough spots is my guitar. I would pick up the guitar and I would immerse myself in it. A song was my life vest.”

Bret Jones is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter with over one hundred songs recorded including fourteen top ten hits and five number ones. Brett is also the founder of Gold Star Mentors and a TAPS survivor.

Michael G. Shalosky, Chairman of the Board

“I want to give back to those who have given so much. The loss of a loved one is devastating, and if we can help a young adult come thru to the other side, it is the ultimate gift.

I’ve known Brett for 54 years and he has a giant heart just like his mom. What a wonderful gift to be able to help one of your best friends in his passion.”

A Chemical Engineer graduate from the University of South Carolina, Mike had a 27 year career with Abbott Laboratories as Plant Manager, Operations Director, Director of Pharmaceutical Engineering and Director of Global Engineering. In 2010, Mike established his own business as General Contractor and owner of Shalosky Engineering LLC.

In addition to serving as Chairman of the Board at Gold Star Mentors, Mike formerly served on the Board of Trustees of Kiawah Conservancy.

Ernest “Ern” L. Sherman, Vice Chair & Secretary

“Passionate about providing the best opportunity for others to succeed and follow their dreams.”

Secretary Ernest “Ern” Sherman spent over 40 years with The Coca-Cola CompanySince retirement, he has acted as consultant to a start-up tech company and is former co-owner of a live music venue that supported the local community & musicians.

Married 38 years to Michelle, together they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Ern & Michelle divide their time between Roswell, Georgia and Park City, Utah.

Clyde Bright, Treasurer

“While serving in Vietnam, I lost many friends who had brothers, sisters or children. When I was contacted by Brett Jones, I immediately thought about how great this organization would have been had it been around at that time.”

Treasurer Clyde Bright is a financial consultant and Partner with Collinsworth, Bright & Company, PC. 

Clyde served with the U. S. Army C/2/502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from 1967-1968. It is his hope that Gold Star Mentors will help fill the void for children whose parent or sibling paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

He holds a Bachelor of Science from Austin Peay State University where he majored in Accounting and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He continued his education at the University of Tennessee earning a Master of Business Administration. Hobbies include scuba diving, hunting and traveling in his RV.

Dr. John G. Kearns, Board Member

“The impact of war is not limited to our soldiers and sailors. Collateral damage is also felt by their families. Gold Star Mentors is a way I can say ‘Thank You!’ to those who have given so much to our country. I believe in Brett’s vision, and I have seen his integrity since we were in elementary school together.”

Dr. John G. Kearns is the Senior and Founding Pastor of Christ Harbor United Methodist Church in Northport, Alabama. After graduating from Furman University, John worked in the financial field in Atlanta before attending Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He has pastored in north Alabama since 1985. Following his doctoral work, Dr. Kearns planted his current congregation at Christ Harbor UMC in 1998.

Fred C. Goad, Board Member

“It has been a privilege to serve on the Gold Star Mentors board. The vision of providing support to young survivors through the gift of music is unique. It is my hope that in some small way our efforts assist in coping with their loss.”

Board Member Fred Goad graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree from University of Virginia. He is the cofounder and partner of Voyent Partners LLC. Fred served as Past President of Envoy Corp and Co-Chief Executive Officer of WebMD. He is the Past Chairman of the Board of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and previously served on the Board with Quintiles, Specialists on Call, Emagen, Luminex, and Informatics Corporation of America.

Katie Maness, Board Member

“The mission of Gold Star Mentors is to support children, who have lost a military loved one, by giving them the gift of music. Brett Jones and his team of amazing artists are providing an outlet for their grief and a lifetime skill that they can rely on in good times and bad. I am honored to help in this incredible journey.”

Building on over twenty-five years of experience in Washington, D.C., Katie Maness has a unique perspective on the interactions between the legislative and executive branches of government and corporate, non-profit and political entities. Katie brings extensive experience in planning and executing multifaceted development campaigns that are committee-driven and supported from the leadership of the organization. In addition, she is especially skilled at securing corporate support for non-profit organizations and building a team of advocates to market the message.  

The Maness Group opened its doors in 2008 with clients benefiting from Katie’s strong background in developing strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors, developing and managing public affairs and public relations activities with a significant background in project management, high net worth donor stewardship, consumer marketing, coalition building and event management.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Salisbury State University and her Juris Doctorate from George Mason University. Katie lives in McLean, Virginia, with her husband, Ted, and two adult children. 


Duane Lamb, Board Member

“As a combat decorated commander, I am vividly aware of the ugliness of war, and the overwhelming grief it can cause family members when a loved one does not return home. Having three children, and nine grandchildren myself, I cannot imagine what it would have been like for them had I not returned home from the combat zone. This amazing organization, Gold Star Mentors, helps those children of fallen veterans channel their grief in a positive direction by providing a beautiful gift of learning to play the guitar. I am honored to be associated with an organization that gives joy, life-purpose, and love without a desire for anything in return except to see a smile on a child’s face.”

Colonel Duane Lamb is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He has a BS in Music Education from the University of Alabama and a MPA in Organization & Management (with honors) from Golden Gate University, CA. He served 30 years in the United States Air Force (1977-2007), and held three commands, including one as a combat Group Commander where he led over 2000 troops in Iraq. For the past 15 years he has served as the Associate Vice President for Facilities & Grounds at the University of Alabama. He also serves at the pleasure of the Governor of the Great State of Alabama as a Commissioner for the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, AL.


Your support brings hope and healing … large or small your gift makes a difference!


Your gift of $250 provides a guitar and playing lessons with professional musicians.


We love building relationships with organizations that support our mission!


Host a private concert with Brett Jones and some of his songwriter pals.