On February 19th, 2021, USMC Captain Matthew Brewer died by suicide. Captain Brewer played middle linebacker at The Naval Academy where he wore the number 38, and then served in the Marine Corps for 8 years before transitioning to be a firefighter in Kansas City.
In response to Matt’s tragic death, his brother, Brandt McCartney, created a warrior workout to memorialize and honor his hero. From 2021 – 2022 The 38 Challenge has raised over $200,000 for TBI, PTSD, and CTE research and awareness.
To eliminate suicide through challenging the stigma associated with seeking help and showing vulnerability.
We want to change the warrior culture to where vulnerability is seen as the greatest sign of strength, not weakness.
There are more than 45,000 Veteran non-profits, most of whom have amazing programs created to help veterans in need. There are still more than 22 veterans a day taking their own lives, and these warriors know that help exists. They know the numbers to call and the organizations that are out there.. The problem is that they don’t want to ask for help because it is viewed as weak..
Through our events, community, and advocacy, The 38 Challenge shows Veterans that seeking help and showing vulnerability is a sign of STRENGTH. Our goal is to empower warriors to take the first step towards healing by admitting they need help, and then connecting them to partners who are proven to help.
MATT BREWER WAS A COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAMMATE, A MENTOR AND A FRIEND OF MINE. AFTER TRANSITIONING OUT OF THE MILITARY, HE WAS SERVING AS A FIREFIGHTER IN KANSAS CITY AT THE TIME OF HIS SUICIDE. THE OTHER 38CHALLENGE WAS CREATED WITH THE HOPE THAT THROUGH HIS DEATH, MATT’S LIFE WILL CONTINUE TO SAVE AND PROTECT THOSE SUFFERING WITH SUSPECTED CTE AND PTSD. LINK IN BlO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MATT’S STORY. THERE’S ALSO A SECOND LINK IN BlO TO MY FUNDRAISING PAGE, ALL PROCEEDS WILL GO TOWARDS RESEARCH AND RAISING AWARENESS FOR MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH VULNERABILITY.
- JUDE MERKEL
Brandt McCartney is the Founder and Executive Director for The 38 Challenge, a non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate suicide through challenging the stigma associated with showing vulnerability and asking for help. He also serves as the Military Programs Manager for the Concussion Legacy Foundation which serves to be a catalyst for TBI, CTE, and PTS research.
McCartney is the brother of the late Matthew Brewer, a former linebacker at the Naval Academy (#38) and Captain in the Marine Corps, who died by suicide in February of 2021 due to suspected Chronic Traumatic Encephalopthy (CTE) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). In response to losing his best friend, biggest role model, and brother, McCartney created The 38 Challenge, a “warrior workout” to honor and remember his big brother. McCartney shares his experiences with his brother and often reflects on the “difficult conversations he avoided having” because of the uncomfortable stigma that is attached to being vulnerable.
The first annual 38 Challenge raised over $50,000 for the Concussion Legacy Foundation for CTE, TBI, and PTSD research in veterans and athletes. Realizing his passion for helping others and entrepreneurship, McCartney registered The 38 Challenge Project Inc. as a 501(c)(3) organization and raised over $100,000 in year two for Brain Injury Research and Mental Health advocacy.
McCartney is a skilled public speaker, podcast host, hybrid-athlete, and a people-first leader. He believes in doing hard things, and that the core of mental toughness is the ability to be vulnerable.
He was previously the CEO of the 30-year-old consulting firm, Afterburner Inc. He led more than 100 former elite military professionals, including fighter pilots, Navy SEALS, and Army Rangers, in achieving strategic objectives and fostering elite teams for Fortune 100 companies and professional sports teams. As President/CEO, he led the team to twice achieve Inc 5000 status as one of the fastest growing companies in the world. Additionally, Forbes named them one of America’s top 25 small businesses.
Joel is a former F-15 mission commander, United States Air Force. He continued to go by his pilot callsign, “Thor,” in his business career. As a pilot, he’s escorted the President and led missions to ensure the sanctity of the United States after the attacks of 9/11. He was the tactical leader of 300 of the most senior combat pilots in the Air Force and oversaw the execution of a $150M/year flight program. Joel was named the Top Instructor Pilot at the Air Force Flight Training Headquarters in 2010. In 2012, he was selected out of 62,000 people to receive the National Public Service Award.
In 2010, Joel was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and given a fifteen percent chance of recovery. During treatment, Joel founded Motivate Our Students Texas (MOST), a community outreach program for at-risk students in San Antonio. This program has helped more than fifteen thousand children to date. Additionally, he co-authored the award-winning book, Survivor’s Obligation, released in October 2019, to tell the story of his cancer journey and his resolve to live an intentional life. His book was granted the Benjamin Franklin award for top memoirs of 2019.
Joel is the President of the Atlanta chapter of Young President’s Organization (YPO), he sits on the board of several national organizations, and is the co-founder of a military support corporation, PCSgrades.
Joel holds a BA from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an MBA from the University of Texas. Joel enjoys competing in sporting events; he completed the New Zealand Ironman Triathlon in 2015 and was a contestant on American Ninja Warrior in 2018, 2019, and 2022. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and three children.
Founder and CEO of Be a Legend, Inc., and an inspirational keynote speaker, Lara has an exceptional business background, with over 20 years of corporate new business sales and marketing experience and is an advanced international business strategist earning her title of “The Legend” given to her by the owner of an 80M dollar business. During this time, she facilitated and helped grow the company from 5M to 50M dollars over the duration of six years, creating and managing the new business key account department for sales and marketing, selling to small, medium and large size entities including FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies.
Never afraid to challenge, Lara has an impeccable understanding of business strategy and what it takes to get companies to the next level and ensure a R.O.I is achieved, ultimately increasing revenue faster. Her resilience, determination, ambitious mindset, energetic character, and warrior attitude sets her apart from the competition through applying her passion in helping individuals and organizations to become the best version of themselves.
Lara helps unlock the tools in others that already exist at a certain level, implementing strategies, motivation, and belief they need to push themselves to the next level.
Earning her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Psychology, Lara applies her educated knowledge and innate ability to be in tune with others’ needs, being extremely perceptive to human behavior. Understanding the psychology of high achievers, she has studied the mind, body language, tone of speech, and language in depth, thus is able to assess and identify the ‘winner quality’ within her clients. Using techniques and strategies to bring these to the surface, Lara is able to change mindset, ultimately creating a ‘power to endure’ and ‘never give up’ attitude, elevating the success of everyone around her!
Lara is also a recognized executive, leadership, culture and mindset coach, utilizing her neuroscience training and brain based behavior knowledge to help leaders and teams with her unique coaching while helping shape, form and change the culture of organizations to be in line with the core values of the client.
Originally from England, UK, Lara now resides in Gilbert, AZ with her Veteran husband, USMC (Ret), and children and runs Be a Legend, a successful digital marketing agency, in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona, ensuring that Be a Legend’s clients’ business goals are achieved through the highly skilled and talented team that she has built around her over the past few years, here in America.
Outside of Be a Legend, Lara is an accomplished pianist, saxophonist and singer and enjoys writing music, writing poetry, hiking, reading, and going on adventures with her husband and children. Lara is an advocate for our Veterans and spends much time supporting many causes related to helping our Veterans transition from the military into civilian life, as well as helping in her local community to support families that have lost children, through her grief and trauma educator certification, owing to her own tragic loss of her youngest son and nearly the loss of her own life in 2021. Knowing that every day is a gift, she ensures that not a second is wasted and has a unique ability to uplift those around her with her positive and focused mindset, helping them to become laser focused, disciplined and persistent in business and personal endeavors.
For more than 40 years, Jay Barrington has held various financial and consulting positions over an exciting and diverse career serving national and privately-held business owners in achieving their goals. These experiences have allowed him to develop significant problem-solving skills and strategies in improving company profitability, business valuations, mergers and acquisitions, family succession planning, analysis of cost structures, incentive compensation plans, and many other aspects of running privately-held companies. Jay has also served the legal profession in providing expert trial testimony in areas of business valuations, financial damage calculations and forensic accounting.
Jay is one of the founding partners of Humes & Barrington, LLP, (H&B), a highly recognized local St. Louis CPA firm that averaged over 15% annual internal growth for over 24 years. Most of the growth of H&B was due to the growth of business consulting, tax planning, mergers and acquisitions, business valuations, owner succession planning, litigation support and IT services which accounted for 40%-50% of its annual fees. The core purpose of the Firm was to be a “source of ideas that make a difference” for our clients’ companies. As a result, H&B served its clients as their “Trusted Advisors”. From this approach, H&B was able to internally develop and promote five partners in a firm of 75 professionals. During his role as Managing Partner, Jay led the Firm through transitions related to its strategic plan, partnership agreement, partner compensation plans, adapting the Firm culture to address generational differences and the merger of H&B into a national firm in 2010. H&B ranked as one of the top 7 largest local CPA firms, enjoyed the highest of reputations and was regularly nominated for the best local CPA firm in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Prior to his tenure with Humes & Barrington, Jay was with PriceWaterhouse Coopers, the manager of internal audit for an international Christian mission organization and an officer in a consolidated group of steel fabricating companies.
Jay is also known as an effective speaker and has spoken at numerous seminars and events in the areas of business consulting services, business valuations, owner succession planning and the firm management of CPA firms.
Harry ‘Buddy’ Jericho is the president and founder of Echo Analytics Group and a former intelligence officer with more than 18 years of experience in the intelligence community. With 14 combat deployments during his career, he served on the ground during the conflict in Bosnia and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Buddy is the co-owner of Echo Analytics Group (EAG), an open source research and training services company founded in 2014. As the creator of EAG’s open source research and analysis methodologies and processes, he has trained more than 3,000 members of the Department of Defense, numerous law enforcement agencies and intelligence professionals in counterterrorism, security, and cyber intelligence operations.
Buddy is considered a thought leader in countering Islamic extremism within the special operations community due to his extensive experience on the ground where he served as a human intelligence officer. Buddy served as an officer at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Military Joint Intelligence Center, where he briefed Senior Defense Officials on strategic and tactical human intelligence operations and developed plans and methods to target senior Islamic terrorist leaders. Buddy is recognized as one of the most successful human intelligence officers in the War on Terror and received eight prestigious DoD Civilian Special Achievement awards. Leveraging his experience as a leader in the government and as an intelligence officer, Buddy and his team at EAG train intelligence and security professionals in the public and private sector on cyber intelligence operations and provide social risk management products to select clients.
Don is a dynamic entrepreneur with two decades of experience in business development, client management, and business relationships.
He’s spent years working in the finance industry and with technology in the startup community where he gained an appreciation for developing and scaling software projects. Don has operated AtlasTech Web Studios since 2015 where he’s focused on brand strategy and product positioning. Don has grown AtlasTech Web Studios into a scalable team of vetted industry experts to meet clients where their needs are.
Recently he has launched a marketing automation SaaS software solution, Ignite. This powerful software is helping his business clients to build customized business engines that is automating processes as well as lead generation, nurture and conversion. Don and his team love to help proactive entrepreneurs and business owners grow through the combination of software and marketing services!
As a Marine Corps veteran Don is actively involved in the local and national veteran communities and he is also a proud dad to his little girl, Mila.
Leveraging eight years of education administration and teaching experience, Kendall Brewer is directing a growing suite of leadership programs at Technology Partners Inc. in St. Louis, Missouri. As an educator, leader, and most importantly, proud sister to Matthew Brewer and Brandt McCartney, Kendall is grateful for the opportunity to bring her time and talent to the Board of Directors of The 38 Challenge. Before accepting her current position as Director of Leadership Programs, Kendall served as Head of School at Twin Oaks Christian School and as an educator at Kirk Day School. She earned a master’s degree in Mind, Brain, and Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2019 to complement her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from St. Louis University. In her free time, Kendall likes to hike with her Cavapoo, visit national parks, and of course train for The 38 Challenge.
Stephen C. Lewis joined Bernstein in 2002 as a Financial Advisor and helped launch Bernstein’s private client practice in Houston. He was appointed Principal in 2008 and cofounded the firm’s Nonprofit Advisory Group in 2011. Previously, Lewis was with GATX Capital Corporation, where he provided finance solutions to Fortune 500 companies. He earned a BA in human relations from Texas Christian University and studied finance at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business.
Texas Monthly magazine selected him as a Five-Star Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager every year since 2011. Lewis is on the board of trustees of the Star of Hope, Crime Stoppers of Houston and Life Without Limbs. He also serves as an auctioneer for numerous charity events in Houston.
Jon Macaskill is a retired Navy SEAL Commander turned leadership and mindfulness coach. During his 24-year Navy career,
he served in multiple highly dynamic leadership positions from the battlefield to the operations center and the board room. His style of teaching leadership is unconventional yet highly effective.
He is passionate about helping people and organizations become the best versions of themselves through mindfulness coaching,keynote speaking, and grit and resilience training.
Parkman is CEO of MainNerve, a provider of end-to-end Defense Grade™ cyber security services, and of Blue Light, the leading provider of analytic training, software development, service and support for IBM i2 Analyst Notebook. Parkman served 21 years in the Army, including 18 years as a Green Beret serving in a variety of assignments in 7th and 10th Special Forces Groups and with the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center and School before retiring as a Sergeant Major in 2001. Parkman is a founding Director of the Green Beret Foundation, Chairman of the Board for the Global Special Operations Forces (SOF) Foundation and the head of integration for Project Next Ridgeline, an initiative to help veterans reintegrate into society. Parkman lost his 17-year-old son, Mac Parkman, in 2020 after a struggle with mental illness and depression and Bruce has become an advocate for concussion and CTE research and awareness.
Francis M. Beaudette Lieutenant General, United States Army (Retired)
Over the course of his 32-year career in Army and Joint assignments, the majority of it as a Green Beret, Fran served with high performing organizations at varying levels, from a 12-man Special Forces ‘A-team’ to the 36,000- Soldier and Civilian US Army Special Operations Command.
His recent assignments were Deputy Commanding General of the 1st Armored Division, Assistant Commanding General of JSOC, CG of 1st Special Forces Command and Commanding General of the US Army Special Operations Command. Fran is a fluent French speaker, and has had the opportunity to travel to nearly 80 countries. As an immigrant, service to his Nation has been an important hallmark of his career choices.
His operational assignments, totaling six years of deployed time, include the first Gulf War; comprehensive Africa experience to include noncombatant evacuation operations in Sierra Leone and the Congo; multiple peacekeeping operations in Kosovo; numerous deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Jordan, all during eras of war, turmoil or crisis.
Fran, a distinguished academic and military graduate from the Citadel, holds a MA in Military Arts and Science from the US Army Command & General Staff College and a MS in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College. Fran serves on the advisory board of the Patriot Foundation, UNC’s Matthew Gfeller Center THRIVE program, chairs the advisory board of Gold Star Teen Adventures, and is an ambassador for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.
Fran, an avid outdoorsman, and his wife of 32 years, Liz, live in Charleston, SC. They raised three children: one a Special Forces military spouse, one serving in Special Forces, and one in college.