Our Why

TOTB was founded on the principle that soldiers deserve better training on how to come home. By the time Veterans leave the service, they are between four-six years behind their peer group. Veterans leave the military with few job prospects (despite what their recruiters promised them), no income, and no training that fits in the civilian world. Often times they have TBI, PTSD, and physical injuries… but the most telling issue is “the moral wounds of war.” They carry in their heart and soul something so dark, something so deep, they can’t tell anyone else. This “thing” eats them from the inside out. But it’s the “thing under the thing” that eventually terminates their life. 

 

TOTB programs were developed to train our soldiers to come home. We start at the very basic level and build upon years of dedicated, uncompromising truth in conscious living and clarity of intention in life. Because it truly does not matter what happened… what matters is what you do next. 

At TOTB, we strive to  give Veterans a new skill set to fight the next, maybe the most important battle: the “Battle of Ft. Livingroom.”

 

Welcome home. Now let’s crack that black heart and let some life back in.

Our Team

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Steve Kuryla
Founder/Board Chair

Mr. Kuryla joined the service in 1976 and deployed West Berlin at the height of the Cold War. Over the 30 year career as an Intelligence Officer, Mr. Kuryla served at the national, strategic and tactical levels of U.S. Intelligence. His initial assignment set him on a course for continued high intensity missions, and Chief met each one with the same enthusiasm, dedication to mission and professionalism that he emulated from those tier one warriors around him. He served at Field Station Berlin, as well as other assignments within Berlin Brigade, for the U.S. Intelligence and Security Command covering the Soviet Illicit Agent network and Russian Soviet Special Operations (Spetznaz) where he was nominated and recognized for the INSCOM Commander’s Trophy for Operational Excellence. He left Europe in 1985 after several deployments to “denied territory” and accepted an appointment as a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Army. Mr. Kuryla returned to the U.S. after several more years in Europe as Current Intelligence Operations Officer for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Europe. Chief returned to the US in time for Just Cause in Panama and a much longer stay at Ft. Bragg, N.C. stationed at both XVIII Abn Corps, 82nd Abn Div G2 and 525 MI Bde to name a few.  

Following missions led to Chief’s involvement in Haiti, Bogota, Central and South America, Liberia, the Balkans, central and north Africa and the Middle East. He was medically retired in 2000 and returned to civilian life working in the Covert Operations and Intelligence field with federal law enforcement. Due to worsening medical situations, Chief left the Intelligence industry in 2006 and founded Tier One Tranquility Base.

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Dave Mayeski
Vice President

David Mayeski joined the Air Force in his junior year of high school at the age of 17, after 13 months of delayed enlistment. Immediately after graduation in 1989, David enlisted as a Law Enforcement Specialist and went on active duty. He was initially assigned to Dover AFB in Delaware. David served in Operation Desert Shield/Storm at Dhahran Air Base in Saudi Arabia. After returning from Saudi Arabia, David spent two years training and competing in Defender Challenge and Peacekeeper competitions. In 1993 David cross trained into the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) career field. As a SERE specialist, David taught air crew and combatants how to survive in any biome, under any condition to evade capture and if caught, to resist interrogation/exploitation, to communicate in captivity, to escape and work toward repatriation.

Since separating from the military in 1996, David has been in public service as a police officer and federal agent. Over his nearly 30 year career, David served as a narcotics investigator, SWAT officer, sniper, marine patrol tactician, firearms instructor, boating instructor, police diver, dive evaluator, academy instructor, high angle rescue technician, and DARE officer. David is currently beyond his retirement commitment with the federal government and his looking for his next civilian agency to continue serving.

David has a firm understanding of who he is in relation to our creator and is always looking for opportunities to share. He doesn't have a church and doesn't ascribe to any formal religion, but his always willing to share his faith and experiences when asked.

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Bart Chambers 
Board Member

Bart Chambers is a 21-year military veteran having served in the United States Navy from 1984-2005 as a Navy Corpsman. He Joined the Navy between his junior and senior year in high school, and upon graduation, went on active duty for tech school and assignment as a Gunner Mate. In 1987 he did a rate change to Corpsman and graduated from the Naval School of Health Science in San Diego. After completing field medical service school, Bart was assigned to 1st Battalion 23rd Marines and deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Storm with 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines. Post deployment, Bart transferred to 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance (4th LAR) Battalion until October 2000 where he was assigned to Inshore Boat Unit 16 (IBU 16). He was deployed numerous times with IBU 16 and to the Middle East for Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Upon returning from deployment, he returned to 4th LAR where he retired in April 2005 as a first class Petty Officer (HM1 FMF) as the Senior Battalion Medical Advisor. 

Bart's service to this nation spans over 30 years in public safety. Prior to becoming the state fire marshal for the state of Nevada, Bart worked at CAL FIRE, holding numerous positions within the state of California. He was also a sworn state peace officer for CAL FIRE’s law enforcement program for over 12 years. He retired from CAL FIRE as the Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement at CAL FIRE’s Headquarters in Sacramento overseeing law enforcement operations and 172 peace officers. He was instrumental in enhancing the departments law enforcement program prior to retirement. 

In 2017, Bart became the 11th State Fire Marshal for the State of Nevada's Department of Public Safety and currently oversees state firefighter training, the State Emergency Response Commission, Fire Investigation Law Enforcement, Licensing of fire protection companies, Hazardous Materials reporting, and Fire Engineering and inspections. He is also a sworn state peace officer in the State of Nevada. 

 

He is also a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is finishing a degree in Homeland Security/Emergency Management. Bart has three adult children and three grandchildren.

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George Radanovich 
Advisory Board Member

George Radanovich served as a United States congressman from 1995-2011. 

A leading advocate for California’s agricultural resources and recreational communities, he was a key member of the Resources Committee, Chairman of the National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands Subcommittee, Chairman of the Water and Power Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the Water Caucus. 

After leaving Congress, George served as chairman of the board of a small family retail business founded by parents in 1955. In 2016 George become President of the California Fresh Fruit Association. He left that position in 2019 to promote agriculture, labor, water, and veteran’s policies in Washington, D.C. and across the nation. 

George met Chief in 2012  while researching veteran’s issues for a local speech. It was then that he learned the plight of returning combat Veterans and the enormous suicide rate. Since that time, George has been deeply involved in research and the heart-felt need to mitigate the rising suicide rate of post 9/11 Veterans. "Giving back to those who gave so much" isn't just a bumper sticker quote. It's a duty to us all, and George exemplifies the characteristics of a truly great American, rolling up his sleeves and diving in to help fix the problem.  

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Laura Phillips
Program Manager

Laura Phillips had a long career in non-profit administration and fund development, which she left in 2015, swearing never to go back into the field. And then she met Chief. Having no knowledge or real interest in the military, she was shocked by the statistics he related regarding Veteran suicide and was compelled to get back into the game. She is Chief’s main antagonist and loves spreadsheets and budgets.

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Ernesto Gomez 
Treasurer

Mr. Gomez was born and raised in Merced, California, living there for most of his life. Growing up in the south side of town, Ernesto soon came to realize that life had more to offer than the status quo he experienced during his younger years up through high school. Mr. Gomez attended California State University, Stanislaus, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in corrections. Along the way, he also enrolled in psychology and sociology courses, which would lead him to be a very well-rounded individual capable of understanding people, their needs and motivations, with the added benefit of reaching a broader number of individuals since he is also fluent in Spanish. 


This educational history lead Mr. Gomez to work with the local high school district as a Gang, Drug, & Crisis Intervention Counselor from 2001- 2006 where he excelled in saving teens and adults from suicide, gang life, and drug use. After a tragic loss in his family, Mr. Gomez changed gears, going into the real estate and finance fields. Ernesto has been a branch manager and sr. mortgage loan originator of the Merced branch, operating his own branch since 2017, and winning many awards for his dedication, professionalism, and focus, 


Aside from Mr. Gomez’s career, he is currently a member of the Board of Director’s for Golden Valley Health Centers since February of 2016 and has served as the Treasurer since February of 2018. Mr. Gomez is also on the board of directors with the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He is very active in charitable causes, helping to sponsor and raise money for numerous organizations.


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Donna Brownell 
Advisory Board Member

Donna Brownell has a long history with non-profit organizations. When her children were still in school, she worked with non-profit nursery-elementary schools. That progressed to 16 years at Learning Tree University, a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-degree granting, adult educational organization. Throughout her tenure, the organization transitioned from a small, undeveloped organization to one serving 40,000 students per year through three campus locations, a seminar program for managers and entrepreneurs, and a national seminar program for healthcare professionals. As Vice President of Business, Donna “retired” in 2000 to move to Mariposa.  

In Mariposa Donna served as Executive Director of the Mariposa County Arts Council until she retired (again) in 2011. A friend urged her to complete her real estate license. Donna says that she was part-time because she only wanted to do the “fun stuff” - helping people find their forever homes while turning over all the paperwork to the office. These experiences have led to developing life-long friendships that are truly treasured. 

Donna met Chief and instantly knew he was special. They connected immediately and started looking at properties that could serve Tier One. It was through these showings that Donna learned that Chief was doing great work with Veterans. Hearing how people wanted to help Tier One, but Chief had no way to receive their donations, propelled Donna to offer some suggestions and help begin the development of a non-profit.