Chief Master Sergeant Paul Lavelle, USAF (Ret) is the founder and President of Operation Restored Warrior. Serving for 26 years on active duty as a medic, Paul held several major commands and senior medical executive leadership positions throughout his military career, culminating his career as a senior enlisted representative at the United States Air Force Academy, where he retired in 2001.
Meet our Leadership Team
Paul Lavelle, CMSgt, USAF, (Ret), MSC
Founder and President
Kevin Knutson, (former) United States Marine
Executive Director of Operations
(Former) United States Marine Kevin Knutson is the executive director of Operation Restored Warrior. Serving as a HAWK Missile Systems Operator in the 4th LAAMBN, 4th Marine Air Wing, Kevin is the recipient of both personal and unit awards for honorable service. Kevin grew up in a family-owned bakery business, where he learned the business from the ground up.
Kevin is happily married to his wife Krissy, and they have 3 children, Carter, Kylee, and Katelyn. As a 7-time Ironman finisher, with multiple half-Ironman, Olympic distance, marathon and half marathon finishes, Kevin is also an accomplished endurance triathlete.
Executive Chef Tom Walker is a Master Chef who has been running the Food Ministry for Operation Restored Warrior since its inception in the fall of 2008. After several years as an Executive Chef for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, he left a life of wandering far from God, never to look back again and soon after, Jesus got a hold of Tom’s heart.
The discovery of the sanctity of food and the intimacy at the “Table” has evolved into something that must truly be experienced. Tom will always tell you it’s not about the food, rather what happens in the breaking of bread – it is truly biblical. As a young soldier who experienced Tom’s food at an ORW Drop Zone once said, “I don’t know what heaven is going to be like, but now I do know what the food will be like.” This is a sentiment shared by all of the men who come through the ORW Drop Zone and that is especially true once they have experienced Tom’s heart for cooking and serving our veterans.
Tom lives in Edwards, Colorado with his wife Sarah and twin sons Ryan and Tyler. He is an avid fly fisherman and loves the mountains of Colorado and the beaches of southern California where he grew up in the 60’s.
Jordan Fulton, Sergeant, US Army (Ret)
Director of Training
Sergeant Jordan Fulton, US Army, (Ret), served as an Infantryman at the 101st Airborne Air Assault Division and at the 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard. Jordan was a 240B gunner during his time at the 101st, and was a casket team leader responsible for rendering final honors at burials for both fallen active duty soldiers and veterans while standing stationed at The Old Guard.
Jordan is the recipient of several personal and unit awards, decorations, and medals, including a Purple Heart for combat injuries. Jordan attended an ORW Drop Zone looking to rekindle a relationship with Jesus and his wife after realizing how emotionally withdrawn and distant he had become. With diagnoses of PTSD, depression, and anxiety, he realized that medication(s) could not fix these problems. Through the Drop Zone experience and having a powerful encounter with Jesus, his heart was restored and healed in some deep places. Since this experience, Jordan has been propelled forward and he has not looked back. Jordan is married to an amazing woman, Sarah, who is his partner in raising their 5 kids together. Jordan has a passion for family, fitness, and single-origin coffee. He is a graduate of Elim Bible Institute & College with a diploma in Pastoral Ministry. He also has a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management: Health and Wellness and a Master’s degree in Exercise Science, both from California University of Pennsylvania.
Chris Fields, Command Sergeant Major, US Army (Ret)
Drop Zone Facilitator
Command Sergeant Major Chris W. Fields served proudly for 30 years in the United States Army. He has led soldiers as a Scout Team Leader, Squad Leader, Sniper Section Leader, Scout Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major for both an Infantry Battalion and Calvary squadron. He has had four combat tours, one tour in the Horn of Africa, two to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.
During Command Sergeant Major Fields Deployments, he was engaged with high explosives fourteen times. These explosives ranged from Improvised explosive devices, Homemade Explosives devices, and Military grade explosive devices (Rocket propelled Grenades). These engagements resulted in two serious wounds in Combat, Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress. After returning from his second tour in Iraq, he began to struggle with Post Traumatic Stress that led him into a very dark time. Operation Restored Warrior restored this valiant warrior to fight for others. He is married to Debbie, and they have two sons, Gavin (who is currently serving in the Army), Gabriel, and one daughter Emily.
Troy F. Schielein Sr., 1stSgt United States Marine Corps (ret), Drop Zone Coordinator and Facilitator.
1stSgt Troy F. Schielein Sr., United States Marine Corps (ret), currently serves as the Executive Director Drop Zone Coordinator/Facilitator for Operation Restored Warrior and served proudly for 22 years as a United States Marine. He served in multiple units as an infantryman to include Special Operations units as well as subsequent tours as a combative marksmanship trainer, Marine Corps Martial Arts instructor and a tour as a Marine Drill Instructor at Parris Island South Carolina.
Troy battled his PTSD and other combat-related issues for many years following retirement and after 6 years of battling what seemingly appeared to be a lost fight, he attended Operation Restored Warrior. Since his life-changing experience at ORW, Troy now lives his life surrendered and without concerns about his and his family’s futures. His marriage, his love for his family, friends and even those he encounters and does not know, has become one of a fulfilled and joyful purpose, a calling that can only be designed by Jesus himself. His compassion and fire to serve his fellow veterans and nations heroes as a vessel of our Lord Jesus Christ is directly targeting those fellow Warriors in need of being rescued and restored.
Shannon Rusch, US Navy SEAL, Facilitator
Shannon Rusch, US Navy SEAL, Facilitator
Shannon Rusch has extensive experience in communications, team leadership, and the delivery of solid results in high-stress environments, with experience as a United States Navy SEAL and a record of success in deployments to mitigate terrorism and narcotics trafficking throughout Central and South America. As the Founder and Principle of SilentShadow USA Inc., Shannon brings a wealth of wisdom and experience to his roles as a trainer, speaker, and consultant for tactical and firearms skills development.
In addition to his role as Founder and Principle of SilentShadow USA, he also serves as the Founder and CEO of SEAL Swim Charities, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a Mind, Body & Spirit approach to healing for veterans. Shannon also spends his time working as a facilitator with Operation Restored Warrior. After having his own personal encounter with Jesus and an undeniable spiritual experience he and his dog PigBear, decided to then help others overcome their personal struggles.
Shannon is a member of of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) graduating class 236. He currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
CW4 Michael Hunt, US Army, (Ret.), Drop Zone Facilitator.
Michael is a retired CW4 who served over 23 years in the U.S. Army. He enlisted in 1990 and attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where he learned Russian. He attended U.S. Army Rotary Wing Flight School in 1994, graduating in 1995. He flew for 19 years and amassed almost 4,500 flight hours including over 1000 hours in combat.
Col. Mel “Keoni” Kahue, US Army, Aviation, (Ret.), FOB Leader, Drop Zone Facilitator.
Colonel Melson “KEONI” Kahue is a 28-year U.S. Army Combat Veteran of the Vietnam War and has served in leadership positions in Infantry, Airborne, Ranger, and Aviation units. A Senior Army Aviator, he flew OH-58, UH-1, and CH-47 combat sorties in Southeast Asia. He served on the Headquarters Department of the Army Staff at the Pentagon as well as Executive Officer to the Army Auditor General.
David Binford, Sgt., United States Air Force and US Army (Ret), Drop Zone Facilitator.
David Binford served in the United States Air Force from 1988-1992 and in the United States Army from 2008-2012. While in the Air Force, David served during Desert Storm and later went on to deploy to Afghanistan for OEF X-XI in the Army with 2nd Battalion 327th Infantry Regiment, NO SLACK, 101stAirborne. He is the recipient of the several personal and unit awards, decorations and medals.
David’s professional career outside of the military has been filled with several leadership positions as he became a top performing sales professional for several companies; a Vice President of Field Marketing and Development for a top energy brokerage firm; a Business Manager for one of the most successful Powersports Dealerships in North Texas; and an entrepreneur owning and operating multiple businesses.
David’s heart has always been geared toward helping men and teenagers; he walked in that calling during his time in the Army. After returning home from Afghanistan April 30, 2011, he attempted to reintegrate back into the life he knew. Unfortunately, the events that took place during his deployment would not leave his thoughts; after suicidal ideations, a failing marriage and attempts at counseling, David came to realize that nothing he did could bring him out of the dark place in which he found himself. In late February 2013, David reluctantly attended an Operation Restored Warrior Drop Zone and experienced the restoration of his heart and the hearts of the fellow attendees; it was at that moment David knew he wanted and needed to be a part of the ORW Team. It is seeing this heart restoration and the power of Jesus operating in each attendee’s life that continues to drive him forward in life today.
Timm Harting, SPC, US Army, Drop Zone Facilitator.
Timm is a combat veteran having served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer from 1999 to 2003. He had two deployments, one as a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo and the other with Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Timm deployed with the 108th Military Police Company (ABN/AASLT) to Afghanistan in December of 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as part of Task Force Rakkasan.
Ray Dillman, Major US Army (ret.), Drop Zone Facilitator.
Major Ray Dillman, US Army (Retired), is a facilitator for ORW. Ray served nearly seven years as an enlisted Soldier and another sixteen as a commissioned officer. Highlights of his enlisted service include driver/bodyguard for the 2nd Infantry’s Division Commander in South Korea, Infantry team leader for 9th Infantry Division, and Senior Medic for 7th Special Forces Group (ODA 745).
While on terminal leave, Ray met Paul Young, author of The Shack, who convinced him to look into Operation Restored Warrior (ORW) as a way to better understand God’s purpose for his life after the military. Ray attended a Drop Zone the month after he retired and encountered Jesus in an unexpectedly powerful way. That encounter awakened Ray’s understanding of his role in God’s Kingdom, giving him an inner peace he had not previously known. Upon returning home, Ray noticed his marriage to his wife, Kelly dramatically improving and his relationships with their four children strengthening. Since Drop Zone, God has continued to strengthen Ray spiritually, equipping him for Kingdom service. Ray serves through facilitating other veterans to encounter Jesus and experience peace during an ORW Drop Zones.
Roy Spivey, US Army, Infantry, Vietnam, ORW Chaplain, Drop Zone Facilitator
Roy, born in 1945 as the youngest child and with three older sisters, grew up in Gaston County, NC, and he attended and graduated Dallas High School, Dallas, NC. in 1963. He married his high school sweetheart on September 7, 1963 and worked as a machinist until drafted into the Army on October 13, 1966.
Brian “Coach” Cabral, Chicago Bears Super Bowl Champions, University of Colorado National Champions, ORW Facilitator
Brian Cabral served as a 30-year College D1 Assistant Football Coach and a 9-year NFL Veteran. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. His coaching experience includes 2 seasons at Purdue University, 24 seasons at the University of Colorado, including their National Championship in 1990, and 4 seasons at Indiana State University.
In Brian’s words: “In all that I have accomplished as a player and coach in athletics, it is ORW and the Drop Zone that has had the most profound impact on my life. To finally become the man that I was always meant to be. Free from all that has held me back. Free from what I didn’t know was holding me back. Free to live the life God has always meant for me to live.”