Our Organizational Leadership
Meet Our Staff
Karen Boyce, Managing Director
Educated at Montpelier High School and VTC, Karen was a woodworker with Wall Goldfinger for 20 years. She joined the Veterans’ Place staff when it opened its doors in 2009, serving as an administrative manager and dinner cook. In 2020 she was promoted from finance and administrative manager to managing director. As the mother of two sons, both of whom served in the Global War on Terrorism, Karen is passionate about serving the veteran community.
Lisa Luciano, Housing Case Manager
A lifelong Northfield resident who grew up in the Vine Street neighborhood, Lisa Luciano joined The Veterans' Place staff in February 2022. She works with various housing agencies throughout Vermont to place our residents in safe, affordable living situations. She holds a nursing degree from Norwich University and a Bachelor's in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She says she is "very excited to work with our Veterans."
Matt Dezan, Facility Manager
In January 2021, The Veterans’ Place hired Matt Dezan as its new Facility Manager. An Army enlisted combat veteran, Matt served several tours in Afghanistan, where he was in charge of a unit responsible for explosive ordnance disposal. Trained and certified in crisis management, Matt has been a wonderful addition to our staff. Matt hails from Brookfield, where he lives with his wife, Becca, their two sons, and their chocolate lab.
Pete Clark, Chef / Assistant Facility Manager
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Pete was educated at Seekonk High School and Wentworth Institute in Boston. He joined the Veterans' Place staff as a dinner chef in 2018, bringing a wealth of experience to the job. In 2021, Pete took on additional responsibilities assisting Matt with projects related to maintaining and improving the physical plant. Having embraced these new tasks with skill and gusto, Pete continues to be a tremendous asset to the Veterans' Place.
Becca Dezan, Assistant Case Manager
Educated at Randolph Union High School, Becca started working at The Veterans' Place in 2021 as a part-time case manager. She says, "I believe that people with mental health problems, especially veterans, are completely misunderstood. I am passionate about helping Veterans and that’s why the Veterans' Place means so much to me. A resident of Brookfield, Becca is married to Army combat veteran Matt Dezan, our facility manager.
Crystal Peterson, Resident RN
Crystal joined the Veterans’ Place team in 2021 as the nonprofit's first in-house nurse shortly after receiving her LNP license. She now holds an associate degree in Nursing and her RN license from Vermont Technical College. In addition, Crystal is a certified yoga instructor with a focus on 12-step recovery, and a Level III Master Reiki Practitioner. Crystal, her husband Andrew, and their two children fell in love with Vermont 14 years ago while Andrew completed his final assignment with Air Force ROTC at Norwich University. In addition to travel, Crystal enjoys hiking, gardening, and spending time with family, friends, and pets.
Meet Our Board of Directors
The Veterans’ Place is governed by a volunteer board of directors that meets regularly throughout the year. In addition to serving in an advisory capacity to TVPI's managing director, the board is responsible for long-range planning, financial oversight, human resources, communications, public relations, and fundraising.
Diana Weggler, President
A wife and the mother of four grown children, Diana has been a professional writer and editor since the early 1990s, most recently at Norwich University, where she served for 17 years in Development, Alumni Engagement, and Communications, edited the University alumni magazine, and wrote speeches for the president. She joined TVPI’s board in 2018 so as to make a difference. “My only goal in life is to leverage my skills, knowledge, creativity, resources, and compassion to try and make the world a better place.” When not serving the Veterans' Place she can often be found knitting, writing, cooking, or walking her dogs. She heads up the Development Committee.
Lucas Herring, Vice President
A lifelong Vermonter, Lucas has worked for the State of Vermont for the past 22 years. He also spent more than a decade on Barre City school boards and on the Barre City Council. Committed to growing and sustaining local nonprofits, he has volunteered with the American Red Cross, Barre Partnership, Barre Youth Sports, Everybody Wins Reading Program, Penguin Plunge, Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, USS Vermont Commissioning Committee, and many other organizations. He currently serves with the Barre Lions Club, Corrections Technology Association Board, Green Mountain Council, GreenUp Vermont, and Northfield's VOREC Committee. For the past nine years, he has served in different roles for the Sons of the American Legion, including organizing the Granite City 5K Run/Walk for Veterans. As Vice President of the Veterans Place, Lucas hopes to update strategic planning initiatives to improve the outcomes for the residents being served."
Rick Theken, Treasurer
A 37-year Human Resource Professional and business owner, Rick retired in 2006 as a vice president at CVMC. Since then he has served on several non-profit boards, and is currently the secretary of the Barre Lions Club. A part-time high school football coach and referee, Rick is also the former owner and coach of the semi-pro Vermont Ravens football team. From 1966-72, Rick was a Marine Corps reservist, and says he joined the Veterans Place Board to “help continue their efforts towards maintaining the dignity and pride of our Veterans.”
Candi Smith, Secretary
Candi is a native Vermonter from a long line of military family—purple hearts, KIA, served and came home—since WWII. She has a passion and goal to help create an environment where our veterans, our heroes, have continued awareness and support from our surrounding communities to ensure they have a bright and sustainable future. Having seen the dilemmas, the stalling, and the hardships put upon our veterans, she feels strongly that we as a community, as a country, can do more. She’s committed to using her marketing, PR, training and outreach background to play an active role in achieving a “better place” for our veterans.
From Supervisor of the Northfield Ambulance Service to Nursing Lead at Mayo Healthcare and The Center for Breastfeeding at Central Vermont Medical Center, advocacy has been at the heart of Stevie’s 40 years in healthcare. “In retirement, I look very much forward to continuing advocacy, education, and program development work, and welcome the opportunity to join with the Board in service to the TVPI residents.” Stevie serves on the Development Committee, helping to plan and execute events and fundraisers throughout the year.
Currently the clinical director at Collaborative Solutions in Montpelier, Paul has spent his career working with disadvantaged populations. A former Peace Corps volunteer with degrees in both nursing and public health, he volunteers at the People’s Health and Wellness Clinic in Barre and on the board of SafeArt. “I am passionate about working with people who have experienced trauma, mental health challenges, or who are suffering.” Paul heads up the Strategic Partnerships Committee.
An Army combat veteran, Morgana knows all too well what it is like to be one of the 40,000 veterans who are homeless and battle readjustment issues—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Since 2018, she has served as Veterans Outreach Program Specialist, Mobile Vet Center (in which covers all of New England), Female Veteran Coordinator, as well as the Veterans Homeless Coordinator at the White River Junction Vet Center. "I have dedicated my life to continue to serve my brothers and sisters in arms even though I do not wear the uniform anymore.”
A 1972 graduate of Norwich University and a longtime resident of Northfield, Steve entered public education as a Secondary Math teacher. He retired in 2012 after teaching in the Northfield School system for 35 years. Steve says, “I joined the Veterans’ Place Board of Directors in hopes of sharing my teaching skills in organization and management.” He currently serves on the Construction, Energy, and Renovations Committee.
Kevin is a proud Norwich alumnus, father, U.S. Marine, and public servant. A Vermont State employee, he sits on Governor Scott’s Modernization and Efficiency Team. In addition, he co-represents the State in the New England Regional Lean efforts, and serves on the Agency of Human Services Continuous Improvement Team, as well as the Statewide Green Belt Network. Kevin serves with Rick on the finance committee, maintaining oversight of the nonprofit organization’s finances.
An associate professor of construction management at Norwich University, Jack earned his doctorate from The School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is the former owner of a South Carolina construction company, building commercial and custom residential structures. In 2021-22, Jack’s students used the Veterans’ Place as a practicum, teaming up with Norwich architecture, engineering, and business majors to create plans for a series of much-needed upgrades and renovations to the 1850s structure.
Raised in Virginia, Gordon served in the Coast Guard before attending college in Texas. Following a period of addiction and homelessness, he became a certified Drug & Alcohol Abuse Counselor. Sober for more than 40 years, he and his certified therapy Goldendoodle rescue, Sophie, visit the VA Hospital and the Veterans’ Place regularly. Says Gordon, “We speak to our veterans with the voice of experience, compassion and love.”
Allison joined the board in 2021 and leads the Energy Committee. She is an Army veteran, having graduated from West Point in 2001. A well-traveled Air Force brat, her family settled in Vermont following her dad's retirement. Currently, she is an energy consultant and works as an engineering manager at VEIC. A resident of Richmond, Vt., Allison says she "is honored to continue to support veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our great country." Allison heads up the Energy Committee.
We're looking for volunteers!
If you would like to make a difference in the lives of Central Vermont’s unhoused veterans, please consider joining our team. In addition to board membership, there are many ways to volunteer. For more information, check out our "Volunteer with Us" page or contact Managing Director Karen Boyce at email@example.com. Our residents thank you!