GOLD STAR MENTORS™
Changing Lives, One Guitar at a time.
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.”
Ernest “Ern” L. Sherman, Chairman of the Board
“Passionate about providing the best opportunity for others to succeed and follow their dreams.”
Chairman of the Board Ernest “Ern” L. Sherman spent over 40 years with The Coca-Cola Company. Since 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.
Michael G. Shalosky, Chairman Emeritus
“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, Michael G. Shalosky 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
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.
Duane Lamb, Secretary
“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.”
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.
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 the University of Virginia. He is the co-founder 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.
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.
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.
Brett Thayer Jones, Board Member
“Many years ago, my grandfathers and uncle stepped forward to serve in the Navy. My life took a different direction, but after seeing the awesome work being done by Gold Star Mentors, I see it as my privilege and duty to help advance the mission of this organization. Gold Star Mentors meets survivors in the wake of a painful loss of their loved one who served our country. The GSM guitar program gives these survivors a chance to feel the power of expressing thoughts and feelings through the creation of music, which can transcend words alone. I hope strumming a guitar helps these children and young adults to be more in tune with their souls as they process the past and grow into the future.”
Brett Thayer Jones graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2006 and married his high school sweetheart Christina shortly thereafter. They are raising their three children in Franklin, Tennessee. Brett is a co-founder of B.G. Jones & Company, a real estate appraisal firm, where he works with his three brothers, Ben, Thad, and Seth. He is also an affiliate broker and co-founder of OBR Real Estate, a real estate brokerage. He enjoys tennis, coaching, reading, playing guitar (poorly), and adventuring around this beautiful country in an RV. Brett also serves on committees for the University of Tennessee Men’s Rugby Club and the Tennessee Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.