Executive Team

RICHARD CASPER | Co-Founder & Executive Director

Richard Casper is a Marine Corps Veteran, Purple Heart recipient, Artist, Entrepreneur, and a songwriter with over 70 placements in film and TV. He is the co-founder of CreatiVets, a non-profit that empowers wounded veterans with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries to heal through art and music.

Richard was named a CNN Hero in 2022 and one of TIME magazine’s Next Generation Leaders in 2017. He is the feature of TIME’s documentary Evidence of Things Unseen, where he was recognized by President George W. Bush for his life changing work with veterans. In 2018 he was one of thirty-three scholars chosen to be in the Bush Institutes inaugural Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program.

Richard served in the USMC from 2003-2007. During the first portion of his enlistment, Casper served as Presidential Guard at Camp David. Later in 2006-2007 during his tour in Iraq, Richard survived four IED blasts which left him with a left-traumatic brain injury and witnessed the death of his friend which caused his post traumatic stress. After nearly giving up, he discovered art and songwriting as therapeutic forms of expression, and went on to attend and graduate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where his idea for CreatiVets began to develop.

Richard has taught art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Virginia Commonwealth University, Belmont University, and the University of Southern California. He is a keynote speaker, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He resides in Nashville TN with his wife Ashley, son Barrett and daughter Quinn.

BRETT GILLAN | Program Director

Brett Gillan embarked on a unique journey that began at Illinois State University (ISU), where he was a member of the men’s basketball team. His life path was set as he cultivated his skills in web application development during an internship at State Farm Insurance, a journey that spanned from high school through college. Brett held a promising career on the horizon at State Farm’s corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois.

However, following his graduation from ISU, where he earned a degree in Applied Computer Science (ACS) and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), Brett chose to chart a completely different course in life. He became a founding member and the front-man of the Midwest country band, Brushville. In 2014, Brushville’s debut album soared to the #1 spot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Brushville continued their climb in the music industry, sharing stages with nearly 100 major label acts and selling out countless venues as they embarked on their tour. The band’s achievements included numerous regional and national awards, notably triumphing in the fierce “Battle for the Saddle” competition at the renowned Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2017, Brett made a life-altering decision to part ways with the band and relocate to Nashville, Tennessee, where he joined forces with CreatiVets, a mission that resonated deeply with him. In his current role, Brett draws upon a wealth of diverse life experiences, ranging from IT expertise and business management to his musical talent and beyond.

KYLE YEPSEN | Deputy Director

Kyle Yepsen is the Gold Star brother of LCPL Luke Yepsen who served alongside CreatiVets’ co-founder/executive director Richard Casper. Kyle has spent time living and traveling around the world, is a graduate of Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and now lives in Nashville, TN. Over the last 20 years, Kyle started a number of small businesses including Texas Track Works, which specializes in building custom BMW and Porsche race cars where he also served as the NASA racing, German Touring Series (GTS) director. While serving as the GTS director, Kyle tripled driver entries and worked to expand the Texas road racing community as a whole. During this time Kyle was also awarded the BMW Car Club of America lifetime achievement award for his work within the Texas Region BMWCCA.

In 2017, Kyle stepped away from the racing community to focus on improving the lives of our nation’s military veterans. Currently, Kyle is the deputy director for CreatiVets, helping wounded veterans heal from the effects of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries and other service-related trauma through art and music. Shortly after losing his brother during the war in Iraq and meeting the marines that served with him, Kyle got a glimpse into the loss and trauma that returning veterans face every day. After getting to know Richard Casper (co-founder of CreatiVets and close friend of his brother), learning about his healing journey, and completing the CreatiVets songwriting program, he decided to focus full-time on sharing the healing power of art and music with veterans across the country. While not a veteran himself, Kyle knew that his personal experience with anxiety and depression could still provide the foundation in which he could help veterans everywhere.

When not in the office, you’ll find Kyle at a baseball game, under the night sky with his camera teaching astrophotography or at a small dive bar listening to live music.

 Staff & Volunteers

KEOKI SPAULDING | Chief Impact Officer

Keoki has spent her professional career bridging research and practice to create and support evidence-based programs, which advance organizational effectiveness and impact, and create stronger and healthier communities. For the past five years Keoki has supported the evaluation efforts of several Veteran Service Organizations as part of the external evaluation department at D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

A few years ago, to celebrate her 50th birthday, Keoki ran the Rehoboth Beach Marathon and used the opportunity to fund raise for CreatiVets. She continues to run but her marathon days are over.

Keoki holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Castleton State College and her Master’s Degree in Cognitive Psychology from Boston College and has taught courses in Research Methods and Statistics.

RICKY ANDREWS | Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator

In 2007, Ricky enlisted in the Air Force as Security Forces Airman and was assigned to the 72 Security Forces Squadron at Tinker AFB, OK. Ricky deployed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and Manas AB in Kyrgyzstan. Ricky then took on a special duty assignment in 2013 as a combat instructor in Las Vegas, NV where he completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and finished his term with the USAF.

ANYA HUDYNCIA | Grant Writer

With over a decade of experience in the nonprofit arts industry, Anya joined the CreatiVets team in 2022. Expanding on many years in events and development, she is excited to give back to the men and women in our military and veterans who have done so much for her, the Nashville community, and our country. In her spare time, Anya likes to explore with her Australian Shepherd, Maddy, and hang out with her family. She is an avid runner, but only to be able to eat more Five Points Pizza. You can find her on any given day attempting to keep her plants alive and talking about late 1960s American muscle cars.

SETH COLE | Veteran Outreach

Seth is an Army veteran who served from 2005-2009 as a radar operator for field artillery. Before the military, he worked many exciting jobs from construction of sewage treatment plants to painting huge grain silos all over the Midwest. Seth joined the ARMY in 2005 and was deployed in 2007 to Iraq to FOB Mamadiyah where they were rocketed and shot at on occasion the 6 months he was there. After surviving a lot of close calls, one day in September, 8 days after he did a re-enlistment his luck ran out in a sense, when he was injured badly by a misfired Mark 19 round. What wasn’t realized was that what looked like bad luck was a blessing in disguise. “Any holiday can be a day when packages come to the door and you don’t remember ordering them.” Many years went by with a lot of therapy and different things for the PTS nights. Seth was about to give up. A friend called one day and said that he found a group called Creativets and that he signed Seth up. Seth took that a leap of faith and it took him on a soul searching journey of art, songwriting, and learning to compose music. In 2018 he attended the Visual Arts Program and was completely captivated by how much healing came out of it and the sense of self-worth that ensued through creating something that made ripples with others in and out of the veteran community. Amazed by what he learned over the last few years, Seth said, “art saved my life and music has shaped it.”

JESSE WAYNE TAYLOR | Nashville Music Instructor

Unlike the majority of musicians in Nashville, singer, songwriter and musician, Jesse Wayne Taylor, is a born and bred middle Tennessee native. Growing up with a love for music, he experimented with writing lyrics as young as 7 years old. While singing in church throughout middle and high school, Jesse did not start playing guitar until he was 18. In his early years of college at Lipscomb University, he quickly realized that music would be a very big part of his life. While still in school he played around town any chance he could get. He graduated from Lipscomb University in 2015 with a degree in Public Relations. Following his college graduation, he decided to become a full time musician. Over the past few years he’s been “cutting his teeth,” playing any show he could get his hands on and writing song after song. As an independent artist, he has already released several projects. Along with his work at Creativets, he is collectively working to release more new music.  

TIM BROWN |  Art Director

Tim Brown, a native of Palm Beach County, Florida, is a distinguished Combat Veteran of the U.S. Army. He dedicated five years of his life to serving the nation as an Infantryman for the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York. His honorable service record includes two combat tours, one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq.

Upon completing his military service, Tim pursued higher education, shaping his path towards a fulfilling career. Presently, he finds joy and fulfillment as a Graphic Designer in the vibrant Nashville area, amassing over 15 years of professional experience. His passion for his craft is evident in his work, where he excels in various creative endeavors.

Tim’s career achievements stand as a testament to his exceptional skills and work ethic, having thrived solely on client referrals and word-of-mouth endorsements. This accomplishment is a source of pride for Tim, as it underscores his reputation and the high regard in which he is held within his industry.

Brandon Deatherage | Project Manager

Having grown up in a small town where nearly everyone was either military, going away to college, or working in a factory, Brandon considers himself lucky enough to have had uncles and grandparents who served in the Air Force and several close friends in the Marines. Though he never served in the military himself, he strives to help those who have served in any way possible. His charitable roots go all the way back to the weeks after 9/11 when he and a few classmates raised $800 for the Red Cross. Currently volunteering as an admin for The Chive Illinois and as an IT Engineer for Country Financial, he has directly or indirectly raised almost $100,000 for CreatiVets through various events, letters to The Chive, and networking. His best friend in the world is his Australian Shepherd mix, Wrigley, properly named after the best ballpark on the planet. He bleeds Cubbie Blue, and is an avid golfer. Not good, avid.

AMY HESS |  Chapter Coordinator

Major Amy Hess served in the United States Army Reserve Chemical Corps and Adjutant General Corps. She also served as a security forces officer in the Illinois Air National Guard. Amy served in multiple duty positions including Commander, Security Forces, 183d FW, Springfield, IL​ and Flight Commander, Security Forces, Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Amy continued her education in the military and completed the Adjutant General Officer Advance Course, Chemical Officer Basic Course and the Security Forces Officer Basic Course​.

She graduated Kappa Omicron Nu from Northern Illinois University in December 2005 with her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.

Amy’s recent civilian work experience includes Director, Equal Employment Opportunity, United States Army Garrison, Rock Island Arsenal and nearly 4 years of mobilization in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Amy retired in April of 2012 with 22 ½ years of service.

On September 11, 2012, she founded Adonai Community Support Services, a nonprofit Veteran organization to assist Veterans with advocacy in benefits and employment. She closed the doors February 2018 due to her journey with breast cancer. To which we can say she is a survivor and cancer free.

Amy first participated in the CreatiVets’ songwriting program in October 2018 and has since written and co-written 8 songs. She has also been an active part of the CreatiVets mentor program and has mentored 6 individuals through the songwriting program.

Tragically, Amy lost her son Benjamin, forever 21, a United States Marine, to suicide in January 2022. Since then, she has poured herself even further into CreatiVets programs to find healing through the arts and help others find their path to healing. She resides in New Boston, Illinois with her two daughters, Rebecca (23) and Sarah (16). Amy has taken her pain and transformed it into hope and promise for others. As the CreatiVets chapter coordinator, she started the CreatiVets New Boston Chapter on August 1, 2023.

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.