Dear Friends of our Military,
Thanks for taking a moment to learn more about me and Operation120. My name is Renette Verhaeghe (Ver-hey-ge) and I am the proud founder of Operation120, striving to help female military veterans in Palm Beach County with the unique challenges they face and the support they desperately need. I hope the following will give you an idea of who I am, what I am trying to achieve and why.
I wish I could meet and introduce myself to everyone who decides to read about Operation120. I am hoping that the following will help you understand how I have centered my life around charitable pursuits and a glimpse into what compels me to do so without compromise. For me, “giving is receiving”, I go with what catches my heart. Often with tears in my eyes, the limitless joy I feel from giving so little, is beyond words.
I have read that there are three main things that are key to living a happy life. The bonding we feel from our close relationships, a career or life-pursuit that we enjoy, and … giving-back by helping others. I was lucky enough to grasp that last concept from an early age. For me, like a knock at the door I feel compelled to answer, I have been drawn to philanthropy in the form of helping children, families, and animals throughout my life, starting in my early twenties. When I learned of the desperate life many female military veterans face upon their return stateside, and returning to civilian life, I did not hesitate to start Operation120.
My research and work prioritizing the needs for female military veterans has determined a few main areas to address. First, and foremost, the need for supportive housing. In discussions with key veteran administrators of West Palm Beach, I learned that hundreds of female military veterans in Palm Beach County are sleeping in their cars and given a sleeping bag to go and sleep on the beach or under a bridge! Female military veterans return from active duty with Military Sexual Trauma/MST, Post-Traumatic Stress/PTS and substance abuse issues. Perhaps because of the much larger percentage of male veterans, to the relatively small and shorter length of active service of female military veterans, their unique challenges and needs are not being dealt with. Female Veteran Only housing is non-existent in Palm Beach County, one of the richest counties in Florida. Operation120 strives to evolve the Female Veteran Only housing into housing for mom’s and children. We will also help provide female military veterans with food, clothing, household goods and propel them toward sustained self-reliance through education, job-training and employment support. Therapy and medical intervention, to relieve symptoms of their PTSD and MST, will also have to be a key part of their rehabilitation.
Not one to mince words, our success is ONLY possible with the generous financial support and assistance of like-minded, charitable members of our community. I know I will not sleep well until all female military veterans in Palm Beach County, and their children, have a safe place to live and are on a path to living an independent life with confidence and pride. We can do this … the seeds are planted, we just need to help them grow into a beautiful garden!
JOIN US AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE YOU CAN BE PROUD OF….
Renette Verhaeghe, Founder & President
Our Founder and CEO
Originally a successful business owner from Chicago, Renette Verhaeghe has been a South Florida resident since 2003. Dedicating much of her time to community charitable causes, Renette was a member of Place of Hope’s Leadership Advisory Council and served and supported Achievement Center for Children & Families, Autism Soccer, Boca Raton Helping Hands, Boca Museum of Art, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the Shuzz organization. As a Board Member for Tri-County Animal Rescue, Renette collaborated and published the book “Rescuers Who Rescue”. She is the proud Rescue-Mom of Chloe and Ziggy.
Inspired by her involvement with non-profits, Renette, along with sons David and Richard, founded the Verhaeghe Family Foundation in 2010 to assist charities within the community. Her philanthropic nature expanded to include her desire to help our military, and earlier this year she became the Founder of OPERATION120. “I am a proud supporter of the US Military and with the financial support of the Verhaeghe Family Foundation and fundraising efforts, I have the ability to “Honor Those Who Have Served!” proudly states Verhaeghe.
Our Board of Directors
Dr. Martha Brown is president and founder of RJAE Consulting, a woman-owned small business that specializes in strategic planning, program design, and research/evaluation for non-profit, educational, arts, cultural, and correctional organizations and institutions. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida Atlantic University, and has lived in Palm Beach County with her partner since 2000. A fierce social and economic justice advocate, Dr. Brown also teaches online courses in restorative justice at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and is author of the book, Creating Restorative Schools: Setting Schools Up to Succeed. She is honored to bring her analytical and organizational skills, as well as her commitment to gender and racial equity, to Operation120 as its first Chair of the Board.
Senior Vice President
Torren has exclusively served ultra-high net worth families and individuals with the sophisticated guidance needed to address the full spectrum of today’s wealth management needs. Over his 23-year career, Torren has enjoyed developing the tailored investment solutions that address the highly personalized situations of his UHNW clients.
Torren’s mission is to help each client develop a plan that not only preserves the wealth they hope to share for generations to come, but also enhances the footprint they choose to leave on the world.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 2016, Torren was with UBS Private Wealth Management offices located in Palm Beach. Torren earned his B.S. from North Carolina State University and holds series 7, 63, 65, and 31 securities licenses.
Torren is an owner of PurLife Fitness Centers. Following his passion for health and fitness his team designed a club where that passion is at the forefront. He knew they needed to develop a culture that was not just fitness, but truly a lifestyle. Within their luxurious facilities are PurStrands Salon and PurGreens restaurants. Currently two locations, Delray Beach and Boca Raton.
Torren directly supports University of Miami, UHealth Champions Fund, Miller School of Medicine. He is involved in community organizations including, but not limited to: Boys and Girls Club Delray Beach, Delray Beach Police Athletic League, The Avenue Church, City House,
Lifesong Ministries, AWS Summer Camps, Atlantic High School Athletic Department and
Wisetribe. Torren is now committed to working with OPERATION120 as Treasurer of the Board.
Torren resides is Delray Beach with his two sons.
Retired Master Chief Navy SEAL Operations Officer- UDT-SEAL Association
Steve Gonzalez was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He graduated from Chalmette High School in 1982 and enlisted in the United States Navy. He served in Europe and was a member of the U.S. Navy Boxing team. In 1997 he entered and completed Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training Class 218. Master Chief Served at SEAL Team Two, SEAL Team Four, Navy Special Warfare Group Two as an instructor and Operations Chief.
His numerous deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Africa, Central and South America and Europe as a Sniper, Team Leader, Platoon Chief and Task Unit Senior Enlisted Advisor have established Master Chief Gonzalez as a mainstay within the SEAL Community.
His awards include 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, the Navy Commendation Medal for Valor, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, and numerous other medals and awards.
Master Chief Gonzalez is a proud graduate of Norwich University with a B.S. in Strategic Studies and Defense Analysis.
Dr. Terry Lyles holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is recognized as a national/international educator, author and speaker to universities, schools, Fortune 500 Companies, world-class athletes, and public audiences. He teaches groups of all ages how to Navigate Life Storms through life balance training.
Dr. Lyles has trained hundreds of individuals including Fire Rescue workers in and around Ground Zero, International Forensic Medical teams in the Asian torn Tsunami area and the United States Air Force Space Command, sharing his time-tested, scientifically measured approach to stress utilization.
Major corporations have also benefited from this training technology such as DaimlerChrysler, Banana Republic, Macy’s West, Pfizer, Universal Studios and Tommy Hilfiger, to name just a few. Dr. Lyles has appeared on NBC, ABC, USA Today, CNN, Headlines News, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and FOX NEWS, and in U.S. News & World Report as a Corporate Performance Enhancement and Life-Balance Specialist, and hosted a premiere talk show sponsored by Success Magazine, and was heard as the “Stress Doctor” in South Florida.
Kevin is a medically retired disabled veteran, who is currently the founding partner of Vet Power Industries, Global Logistics, President of Nationwide Staffing Training & Business Solutions and the Director of Patriot Village, a 501c3 non-profit organization. All companies were founded to support veterans in the areas of providing education, employment, access to quality health care and guidance in business and entrepreneurship.
During his 18 years of decorated service in the U.S. Army prior to his medical discharge, Kevin was responsible for in-service recruitment, retention, education, and service member training for a company unit size of 300 personnel. Additional duties included assisting service members in preparation for departure from military service by utilizing any and all resources available to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Kevin’s legislative endeavors to support and empower veterans throughout the past 20 years have put the American Legion Post #29, American Veterans Alliance and the American Alliance for Disabled Veterans front and center, advocating directly to the Secretary of Veteran Affairs, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, along with many of America’s largest veteran organizations. Kevin’s tireless efforts and leadership role in the support, retraining and successful transitioning of our veteran population continue to be recognized and lauded by all involved in the process.
Kevin is a seasoned business and marketing professional. He is a strategic thinker with the ability to see the big picture, partnered with the focus and skill to deliver. Kevin has a superior ability to identify needs and develop successful innovative, data-driven strategies, based on primary/secondary research. By using his analytical skills, he is able to develop high-impact strategies/tactics. His 20 years of experience encompasses several industries, audiences. His organization, project management skills as well as his attention to detail offers the knowledge and experience to deliver programs on time and on budget. He has expertise in identifying the problems area(s) and developing key objectives, strategy and tactics on a national/market-wide/trade area level: including budgeting, branding/creative, consumer/trade media (online and offline), sales projections, product mix analysis, promotion evaluations, competitive analysis and measurement.
Elida Barrios recognized her interest in the international genre while interning for the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. That internship sparked a 20-year tenure working for several distinguished international companies such as AIG/American International Group and SIEMENS Corporation.
Elida’s background runs the gamut from planning to investigative. She excels in connecting the right people at the right time. Authenticity is her key to professional and personal happiness. Her management portfolio is comprised of management planning, budget planning, and the administration of executive-level programs, while investigating international fraudulent claims and participation in self-directed special projects has helped to round out her experience base.
Currently, Elida is the Executive Director for Operation120, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Boca Raton. This organization is dedicated to helping veterans.