RICHARD CASPER | Co-Founder & Executive Director
Richard co-founded CreatiVets and currently serves as the CreatiVets organization’s executive director. Richard served four years as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, with a combat deployment in Fallujah, Iraq. During his deployment, he was hit by four IEDs in just four short months, causing him to suffer from a traumatic brain injury. Upon returning home, Richard found it hard to adjust and suffered from PTS until he discovered the healing power of music and art. After experiencing firsthand the impact music and art had on his own recovery, Richard co-founded CreatiVets to help other veterans who are suffering.
BRETT GILLAN | Program Director
Brett Gillan attended Illinois State University (ISU) where he was a member of the men’s basketball team. He had been developing web applications at State Farm Insurance as an intern from highschool through college and was set up for a career at State Farm’s corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois. But, after graduating ISU with a degree in Applied Computer Science (ACS) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Brett decided to pursue an entirely different career path. He became a founding member and the front-man for Midwest country band, Brushville. Brushville’s debut album, released in 2014, went to #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. Brushville shared the stage with nearly 100 major label acts as a touring band and also won multiple regional and national awards including the Battle for the Saddle, a battle of the bands style competition, at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2017, Brett made the decision to part ways with the band and move to Nashville, Tennesse to help with the mission of CreatiVets. His current role involves all of his life experience from IT work to business management to music…and, he can still shoot the lights out playing basketball.
KYLE YEPSEN | Financial Director
Kyle is the brother of LCPL Luke Yepsen and has founded many businesses over the last 15 years. His most recent company, Texas Track Works, is based in Fort Worth and specializes in building custom BMW and Porsche race cars. After building that organization and winning numerous club racing titles over the last 11 years, he decided to step away in order to take time to make a difference in the lives of veterans. Kyle is a recent participant of the CreatiVets songwriting program and seeks to bring the same appreciation and creativity to veterans across the country.
MICHAEL PEACOCK | Content and Communications Director
Currently residing in Nashville, Michael has more than 20 years of experience as a writing professional working with well-known brands such as The Coca-Cola Company, The Weather Channel, IBM, and CNN, as well as smaller companies and locally-based firms including Lovell Communications, VF Imagewear, and Bulwark. With a passion for serving those who have served our country, he is using his editorial, content development, and content strategy skills and experience to support veterans who seek healing through the programs offered by CreatiVets.
GARRETT LEO AUGUSTYN | Art Director
Garrett Leo Augustyn is a Chicago based artist who graduated from the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) with a Bachelors of Fine Arts with Emphasis in Art Education (BFAAE) in 2017. Garrett Leo’s interdisciplinary work explores what it means to be an American by looking at the history of the United States and its juxtaposition of our society today. His interests in American traditions and aesthetic representations has continued in his ongoing series of work; Grit Culture – the romanticization of an aesthetically pleasing culture with the intent to distort the historical reality. Through artistic expression, Garrett Leo manipulates themes of exploitation, glorification, and glamorization found within American aesthetics with what he refers to as grit. His passion for necessary dialogue in a fractured society is exemplified in this work with veterans. As a citizen, artist, and educator Garrett Leo uses his skill set and experiences, to help support the men and women who have served their country through healing by creative expression. Garrett Leo currently works as a Visual Arts Educator for Chicago Public Schools and as the Art Director for CreatiVets.
JOSEPH LEFTHAND | Veteran Director
Joseph Lefthand is an artist and administrator currently living in Chicago. A veteran of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Lefthand works at the intersection of art and social practice, exploring the role of body movement, performance, and abstraction as alternative modes of communicating and engendering social discourse, particularly around the role of foreign policy.
BART CROWE | Veteran Resident Assistant
Bart Crowe grew up in Daytona Beach, FL and served active duty Army from 1988-1991 and then National Guard from 1991-1995. He deployed for Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm 1990-1991. He now resides in North Carolina with his wife Melinda and three boys. Bart attended the CreatiVets art program in the summer of 2017 and has become an official part of the CreatiVets team to “pay it forward” since the program had such a positive impact on his life.
MICHAEL BENNET | Veteran Outreach
Michael joined the Marines in 1995 as an 0331 and served 4 years active duty and 2 WESTPACs. He then served another 5 years USMC reserve and after working various civilian jobs he decided to go active duty Army. From 2004 to 2012 he served with The Rakkasans and deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. In 2012, he was diagnosed with CIDP and lost the feeling in his lower legs. He retired in 2015 after 20 years of service. Michael was a participant of the CreatiVets art program in 2018. He was such an asset during the program that he now serves as CreatiVets Veteran Outreach to accept veterans into the CreatiVets programs.