About Us

The National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire, Inc. (NVW&HC) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization incorporated as a result of a study conducted by the Village of Angel Fire and the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, alongside Angel Fire business and community partners. The mission of the NVW&HC is to establish an environment that is responsive to the needs of veterans and military families using creative therapies and processes that focus on emotional and physical healing. In 2009, NVW&HC began retreats for veteran families who had been diagnosed with PTS (Post Traumatic Stress). Eleven veterans and their spouses successfully completed the week-long retreat and have been celebrating their success since. We have continued to hold retreats every year since our inception some years being more successful with our fundraising than others allowing more couples to experience the healing methods. We continue to operate with private donations, grant funding and with the help of the State of New Mexico. Our focus is to provide tools for those couples that suffer with the Invisible Wounds of War and to assist with the reintegration into their families within their home communities.

National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire has teamed with the State of New Mexico, New Mexico Department of Veterans Services,  Angel Fire Resort, Cardinal Retreats, Balance-Out Mind Body Adventure Retreats, Roadrunner Tours, and the Native American community to create the programming included in our retreats. Such a team coupled with the “hands on” experience along with total community support are a unique and winning combination that guarantees successful accomplishment of the wellness retreats for veterans and active duty military families.

If you have experienced severe trauma or a life-threatening event, you may develop symptoms of posttraumatic stress, commonly known as posttraumatic stress disorder, shell shock, or combat stress. Maybe you felt like your life or the lives of others were in danger, or that you had no control over what was happening. Some of the most common symptoms of PTS include recurring memories or nightmares of the event(s), sleeplessness, loss of interest, or feeling numb, anger, and irritability, but there are many ways PTS can impact your everyday life. Sometimes these symptoms don’t surface for months or years after the event or returning from deployment. They may also come and go.

Aside from the clinical approaches used to help the veterans, complementary alternative medicine such as yoga, guided imagery, emotional freedom techniques, Reiki, massage therapy, acupuncture, art therapy, energy psychology, and Native American ceremonies are used. The wellness and healing retreats have successfully incorporated the use of equine reintegration training into the program and connecting through nature. We strive to offer a selection of modalities for the couples to experience and discover what works best for them.

NVW&HC works hand in hand with the David Westphall Veterans Foundation in Angel Fire, NM.

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Chuck Howe

NVWHC Board President

1964 – 1987. Served as U. S. Army Officer
1987 – 1997. Government Contractor
1997 – 2004. Vice President, Homeland Security Division, U S Investigations Services
2004 – Present. Served on Board and as President of David Westphall Veterans Foundation
2006 – Present. Served as Counselor and Mayor of Angel Fire Village Council
2009 – Present. Founder and Board President, National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center
in Angel Fire
BS in Business Administration, University of Missouri 1964
MBA, Texas Tech University 1971

Peter Alarid

NVWHC Board Vice President

Peter, a combat veteran, was born and raised in New Mexico and is married with 3 children. Peter served in the Navy as a Corpsman during the Iraqi war. Peter and his wife Andrea have been heavily involved in the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center (NVWHC) organization since 2011. His family was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network in a documentary by Lisa Ling that highlighted the NVHWC retreats and the Invisible Wounds of War. Since then, Peter and Andrea have volunteered their time with events, as well as, being a retreat sponsor couple on numerous occasions. Peter has a heart for his fellow veterans and is currently studying to become a licensed counselor through UNM Taos, so that he may further the help he provides to those in need. In his spare time, Peter creates beautiful pieces of woodwork art that he sells or donates to help veterans/organizations in need.

Lawrence Davis

NVWHC Board Treasurer

An Oklahoma City native, Lawrence graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the University of Oklahoma. Lawrence was in the US Air Force for over 21 years and flew the RF-4 and F-16 as a test pilot. He worked at NASA in Dryden, CA, as a Senior Executive, Director for Safety and Flight Operations on many X-planes. Lawrence is now working for L3Harris, TX, as an FAA ODA test pilot, having flown over 120 aircraft for 7700 hours. He directed an abused kids camp and built a large church. He is married to Judy and they currently live in Angel Fire, NM. Together, they have three children, and five grandsons.

Markus Podell

NVWHC Board Secretary, Co-Director/Facilitator

Markus was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas and upon graduating high school, enlisted in the United States Army. Sergeant First Class (SFC) Podell served a total of 12 years on active duty with multiple deployments including, Bosnia, Kosovo, and 5 additional deployments in support on the Global War on Terrorism (Iraq & Afghanistan). In addition to being a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient, SFC Podell was a Soldier’s Medal awardee, the Army’s highest peacetime award for heroism. Markus was separated in December of 2009 for injuries sustained during combat operations and returned to his hometown of Fort Worth. Since his separation from the military, Markus has served as a Behavior Intervention Classroom Teacher for high risk teens, a Value Stream Manager for Bell Helicopter, and Post-Traumatic Stress Retreat Co-Facilitator for the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center in Angel Fire. Markus holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia College and is also a graduate of the College of Health Care Professions Massage Therapy Certification Program, He, himself, was diagnosed with both Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and he and his wife Janice are prior participants of NVWHC’s 7-day retreat program. Markus joined the National Veterans Wellness & Healing Center team in September of 2016 as a Retreat Co-Facilitator and eventually was appointed to his current position as Post-Traumatic Stress Program Director in 2018. In addition to his work with Veteran families, Markus also serves his community as a Chaplain with the Moreno Valley Chaplain Team and is a volunteer for the New Mexico Wildlife Center where he and Janice conduct rescue transport operations.

Dan Rakes

General Counsel, NVWHC Board Member

Dan Rakes is a rare native born third generation New Mexican. He was born and raised in Albuquerque New Mexico. He attended local public schools and ultimately the University of New Mexico school of law graduating in 1982. He was admitted to practice law in State and Federal Courts in New Mexico in 1983. He was in private practice in Albuquerque from 1983 to 1997. He was partner in the law firm of Taylor, Gaddy, Rakes and Hall (later to become Gaddy, Rakes and Hall) from 1990-1997. He moved to Angel Fire in 1997 to become Angel Fire Resort’s General Counsel. He is currently the Resort’s Executive General Counsel and has served as a board member and Special Counsel for the Vietnam Memorial since the early 2000s. He was instrumental in negotiating and transfer of the Memorial to the State of New Mexico. He has served as Special Counsel and board member to AF Wellness and Healing since its inception. He has served on numerous boards and committees in Angel Fire while in Angel Fire.

Chuck Zobac

NVWHC Board Member

Chuck and wife Carol have been married since 2007 and reside in Santa Fe. Chuck currently hosts a radio show at KTRC AM/FM, called “Calling All Vets”. The show discusses veterans programs, benefits, etc. Chuck is involved with and supports the following organizations: National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center, Angel Fire Veterans Memorial, NM Honor Flight, TUGAN Luncheon Group, Purple Heart Association of NM, Special Forces Association.

Chuck professional employment past includes: real estate broker, loan officer, former member of the New York Stock Exchange with Rauscher, Pierce & Refsnes, Licensed NM insurance broker and real estate agent.

Chuck earned his BSBA from former college of Santa Fe. Chuck served in the US Army, 1965-1968; Army Intelligence Special Agent, 5th Special Forces served Republic of Vietnam from March 1967 to April 1968


Lin Daley

NVWHC Co-Director/Facilitator, Board Member

I am the daughter of a WWII veteran and the mother of army veteran. Over the years, the veterans have taught me by sharing their stories, their pain, and their healing. I bring the lessons that they have taught me to every retreat I facilitate. I have been a mental health therapist for 35 years. My experience has been extensive and broad. During the past 15 years I have been volunteering to work with our veterans, and am honored to do so.

Experience with veterans includes:
  • National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center – Angel Fire, NM. Currently working as a therapist and instructor.
  • CORE: March 2017. Community Reconciliation Vietnam: travelled as a staff member working in clinics established by Vietnam veterans and witnessed veterans return to Vietnam and tell their story.
  • Vet’s Journey Home: 2008- currently. Facilitating trauma release processes for veterans during retreats; Board Member; Instructor Committee and program, development.
  • Warrior’s Song: 2010- currently: Board Member; program development for retreats; Facilitate retreats with Leader Team.
  • Mountain Gate Center: NM. Zen Center: Facilitated a retreat for female veterans: September 2013
  • Soldiers Heart: Regional Coordinator (2008-2010) Retreat staff with Dr. Tick; Developed Kent State: Vietnam and Art: lessons on understanding peace for children, 1-3 grades; attending Dr. Tick’s classes on War and the Soul.
  • Warrior Summit, Milwaukee, WI (06/2010) Presented on the Effects of War on Children and Strategies for Families; Telling Your Story Without
  • Department of Defense Conference: Albuquerque, NM (08/2010) Presented on Veterans and families, using art to tell their stories.
  • Blue Mountain Center: 2009. Awarded fellowship: Project: War and the Effects on Children and Families.
  • Marquette Listening Program: 2005 Developed the program “How to Listen to Veterans” and presented to the community.
Master’s Psychology- UW- Milwaukee
BS Social Work – UW- Milwaukee
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Joe Kelly Hughes

NVWHC Board Member

Joe Kelly Hughes, former Navy SEAL, sitting after a hike out to SoldierStone near the Continental Divide, paying homage to allies left behind in the Vietnam War. A decorated combat Veteran, he was only recently provided VA Medical treatment for acute long term PTSD by the VA. His forty year wait for the VA, while struggling with his emotional trauma gives him a deep understanding of the destructive nature of PTSD, as it affects on the family and the individual. He asked to join the Board to help insure that PTSD therapy services will be there for Veterans and their families in time to avert hardships and family break-ups. “The Vietnam Memorial at Angel Fire, it’s close proximity to NVHWC’s headquarters, and the successful work accomplished by the unique family counseling retreats and follow-up protocols is a fantastic combination” ex Lt Hughes notes. He has been an Executive Director of a field research non-profit 501C-3, , a member of the Board of a successful ongoing non-profit Museum program, a volunteer for the American Red Cross, and a FEMA Disaster Services Field Inspector, over many years. He and his wife Linda live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Now married for 25 years and retired, he is learning to be a Vet and open up to other Vets.

Harris Pink

NVWHC Board Member

Born and raised in Wichita Falls Tx. Studied Agricultural Business at Tarleton State University. The greater part of my younger years were spent rodeoing and eventually working as a cowboy on several different ranches including the famous 6666 Ranch. For years I have ben actively involved with working with a host of non-profit organizations and grass roots efforts with raising funds for charitable and worthwhile causes. Currently a member of the cowboy auction team for non-profit auctions and one of the founders of the annual Bridge to Bridge Car Cruise. After joining the Patterson Auto Group Team, I became the personal assistant of the late Mr. Harry Patterson. Almost immediately, Mr. Patterson and myself became very active in the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center because of our passion to help our Veterans.

Janice Podell

NVWHC Executive Director

I grew up in a small town in Texas and am the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran. In 2007, I attended Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. During my studies, I met my husband, Markus, online while doing research for a case study on Post Traumatic Stress. He was stationed in Iraq, so we spent the first year of our relationship extremely far apart. We were married in December of 2008 and I earned my B.A. in Psychology the same weekend. After completing my degree, I worked for The Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth as a public speaker, birthmother mentor, adoption advocate, and retreat planner. In 2016, Markus and I attended our first NVWHC retreat and instantly knew that Angel Fire was where we wanted to be. We were afforded the opportunity to join the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center that same year and became permanent residents of Angel Fire. I am honored to be here as Executive Director, and even more honored to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing veterans and a variety of talented healers.