Founder and Executive Director
Laura Herzog is the former Public Affairs Officer for the Joint Forces Training Base, Los Alamitos, Calif. She served as the lead for Hero Missions (fallen soldiers returning from Afghanistan & Iraq), coordinated public appearances for the JFTB base commander, disseminated information for JFTB to the public, and was the base spokeswoman who acted as the primary liaison with media.
Her prior occupation was as a General Manager for The News Enterprise, servicing the greater Orange County region. She also worked as a freelance reporter on various local assignments.
Laura was awarded the California Medal of Merit in 2009, which is one of the highest decorations in the State of California, awarded by the State to National Guard service members and civilians for exceptionally meritorious conduct.
After learning first hand through watching Honoring Our Fallen support a family of our nation’s fallen Amy wanted to learn more about how she could get involved and make a difference. In 2011, Amy began volunteering and spent some time with our Founder Laura Herzog asking questions about the organization which really helped her to understand the mission and vision behind Honoring Our Fallen.
It was then that Amy knew she wanted to be part of this amazing organization. The time she has spent at events, the families she had seen Honoring Our Fallen touch and more has had a major impact on her life and in 2014 she joined the Board of Directors.
Since June of 2013, Amy has been employed at Amgen, Inc. as a Quality Systems Specialist within the Quality Organization.
Amy is also a mentor to young professionals who are new to the pharmaceutical/ biotechnology area or who are looking for opportunities within this area. Prior volunteer experience includes work with the Ventura County Fire Department, Fire Safety House Program and the Emergency Incident Support Team.
She holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management and a MBA in Organizational Behavior and Management from California Lutheran University. In her spare time, Amy enjoys spending time with her family (Husband Scott and Daughter Scottlyn), camping trips, traveling, playing golf and spending time with family and friends.
Didi MacPherson is a Gold Star mom, whose son Army Ranger Tommy MacPherson was KIA in 2012.
The MacPherson family has been supported by Honoring our family since that time.
In 2017, Didi joined the HOF board and is currently serving as secretary and liaison between the board and Gold Star Families.
Didi is a mother to 3 grown children and grandmother to 4.
She has owned her own business, Alliance Printing Associates in Los Alamitos since 1997.
Didi enjoys spending time with her family, movies, her work and is involved with her church.
“I am thankful to Honoring Our Fallen for the support our family has received since Tommy’s death.
My reason for serving on the board and working alongside of Laura is to give hope to the families and especially the moms that there is hope and life after the tragedy of losing a child”
My first experience with Honoring Our Fallen was in 2011 when I volunteered to cook a meal for a newly widowed Gold Star Wife. After that experience and hearing more stories about the organization from my long-time friend and Founder, Laura Herzog, I knew I wanted to get more involved. I began as the Board Secretary and by volunteering at Operation Hope Events. Through attending different HOF events it has been so moving to see these families who do not know each other but share a common experience that come together and act as a support system for each other. The most touching part of
spending time with these families is seeing the bonds the children make with each other.
I am employed as a Corporate Safety Director for a construction company that performs work on military bases throughout California. I also serve on other industry boards to assist with issues facing the construction industry.
Immediate Past President/Board Member
Rick Martinez is a life-long resident of Orange County and has served on the Board of Directors for Honoring Our Fallen, Inc. since its inception. Rick is presently serving as the President of the board of directors of Honoring Our Fallen.
Rick is a retired Sergeant of the Anaheim Police Department. He retired in 2011 after having served the Anaheim community for 39 years. As a member of the Anaheim PD, Rick served in a variety of assignments, including police cadet, patrol officer, helicopter observer, accident investigator, motorcycle officer, school resource officer, tactical negotiator, and background investigator. As a Police Sergeant, he served as patrol field supervisor and Public Information Officer (PIO)- Media Relations Officer. Rick also served as the lead Advisor to the Anaheim Police Explorer Post for 25 years.
For the final 11 years of service at Anaheim PD, Sgt. Martinez had served as the
department’s PIO (Public Information Officer) and was the primary department spokesperson. In this position, he interacted regularly with media organizations on a variety of situations and cases. Working in California’s 10th largest city, with a dynamic resort destination, he dealt with countless local, national and international news stories.
In retirement, he now serves on the board of directors for RTNA – (Radio & Television News Association). Along with serving on the board of Honoring our Fallen, Rick had served on numerous boards and associations, including the California Attorney Generals School/Law Enforcement Partnership Cadre, Mater Dei High School Alumni Advisory Council, Orange County Law Enforcement Explorer Advisors Association, Anaheim Police Association Board, Anaheim School Attendance Review Board, Salvation Army Advisory Board, ITT Technical Institute Advisory Board, President of the Southern California Emergency Public Information Officers Association, and President of the Orange County Police & Fire Public Information Officers Association.
Along with serving on the Board of Directors for Honoring Our Fallen, he is a
Commissioner for the Orange County Juvenile Justice Commission, serves on the
Board of Directors for the Orange Public Library Foundation, and is on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Anaheim Police K9 Association. He is the historian for the Anaheim Police Department and is an instructor on Media Relations & Crisis Communications for statewide governmental agencies.
Rick has been married to his wife Rebecca for 40 years, and they are the proud parents of 2 daughters and 2 son-in-laws, along with 4 grandchildren. They are the owners of BRICK Curriculum Design & Consulting LLC, which is presently serving the City of Anaheim and the Anaheim Union High School District.
A Flag For Every Hero
Brennan is the program director and visionary of our “Flag For Every Hero Program.” Due to the size of the cemetery and costs associated with it, Riverside National Cemetery could not fund a program like this. He wanted to ensure that every fallen hero is honored with a flag each Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Brennan’s passion stems from a lifetime dedicated to serving our country. He is veteran of the Anaheim Police Department since 2002 and served as a Security Forces Specialist in the United States Air Force. During his time in the Air Force he was accepted to work at the Pentagon where he provided security for Air Force personnel and offices there. During this time, he was chosen to provide personal security for the Secretary of the Air Force and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
After September 11, 2001, Brennan was asked by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force to become his full time personal security officer. During this time, Brennan had the opportunity to attend several memorials for the victims of 9/11. Seeing and feeling the anger and pain from so many affected by this tragedy has remained with him to this day.
Maj. Gen. John S. Harrel
USA Retired Military Advisor
Major General John S. Harrel’s active military service began in June of 1975 after receiving his commission as a second lieutenant through the United States Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course and attended The Basic School, Marine Infantry Officer Basic Course, from June to December of 1975. His first assignment was as an USMC Rifle Platoon Commander in Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, in Camp LeJune, North Carolina. He progressed through a variety of assignments, and completed his service in the USMC as a company commander at Marine Barracks, NAS Alameda.
Maj. Gen. Harrel transferred to the California Army National Guard in 1980, entering service as S-2, 1st Brigade, 40th Infantry Division, and held positions of progressing responsibility with commands including: Combat Support Company, 1-160th Infantry; Echo Company, 1-160th Infantry; Task Force 1-185 Armor (1992 Los Angeles Riots); 1st Battalion,185th Armor; 3rd Battalion,185th Armor; and 2nd Battalion, 160th Infantry.
Maj. Gen. Harrel’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (2 Oak Leaf Clusters); Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Clusters) and the Army Commendation Medal (2 Oak Leaf Clusters); the Kosovo Campaign Medal, and the Ukraine Order of Merit.
MG Harrel completed a United States Army War College Fellowship at Ohio State University and holds a Juris Doctorate Degree from Southwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from California State University, Northridge. He is retired California Deputy Attorney General.
Gold Star Advisory Member
Holly was born in August of 1976 on Camp Pendleton while her father, Chuck was still serving in the United States Marine Corps. She grew up in sunny Southern California in the city of Riverside with her parents and three sisters. Holly graduated from La Sierra High School in 1994. After completing a Medical Assisting program, Holly moved to Fresno, California to be closer to her older sister, Heather. It was there that she met her future husband, Justin. They got married on February 17, 2001.
Justin joined the Marine Corps, and left for boot camp on their one-year wedding anniversary. Justin was stationed at Camp Pendleton, and Holly and Justin bought their first home in Winchester, California. It was here that Holly and Justin started their life. They welcomed their first daughter, Avery on December 27, 2006 and their son, Jacob on September 1, 2009. During this time, Holly obtained her Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies, and was a surrogate for a deserving couple.
On February 22, 2012, the unthinkable happened. Three uniformed Marines, and a Navy Chaplin knocked on her door in the early morning. Justin, along with six other Marines, were killed in helicopter collision during a night-time training mission. It was the last training mission before his squadron was to deploy to Afghanistan. Holly became a widow at the age of 35, and was left to raise Avery and Jacob, who were 5 and 2 at the time, alone. During the course of Justin’s military career, he deployed to Okinawa, Japan, traveled the world with the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), and deployed twice to Iraq. His personal awards include the Air Medal Strike/Flight, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (second award), Good Conduct Medal (second award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Korean Defense Service Medal.
Holly is working to expand our support, programs and services.