Stephen B. Stone, BA, Co-Founder of Veterans Angels, Inc., Marine 1961-1965
Stephen was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Glendale, California. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1961 and was honorably discharged in 1965. He was recommended for Marine of the Year in 1964. He served during the Vietnam Era and was attached to Marine Aircraft Group 13, 1st Marine Brigade FMF. He was briefly attached to VMA-214, “Pappy Boyington’s squadron, the Black Sheep. The Air Group was assigned and transferred to Chu Lai, Republic of South Vietnam.
Stephen was a Life Member of the Marine Corps League and the Vietnam Veterans of America. After his Honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Stephen attended and graduated in 1969 from California State University in Sacramento, California with a degree in Business and Communications.
Stephen, utilizing his private pilot’s license served with the Aviation Unit as a Reserve Deputy for Butte County Sheriff’s Department.
He was appointed and served as a chaplain to the California State Prison in Susanville, California.
Stephen founded and served as President and Registered Principal for an investment company for ten years in Northern California. Stephen was active in the financial services industry since 1965 and attained the designation of Registered Investment Advisor.
Mr. Stone was a founding Director for a bank in Northern California, serving as vice-chairman of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Stone was the chairman in Butte County, California to elect George H.W. Bush for President of the United States of America.
Stephen’s community activities include the Shriners’ Hospital for Children for more than 30 years. In 2005, Stephen served as Potentate for the Zelzah Shrine in Las Vegas, NV.
Other affiliations include Rotary and the Sons of the American Revolution.
Stephen and his wife, Linda, have been residents in Las Vegas, NV since 1998. Stephen passed in 2019. He is survived by his spouse, Linda, four children, and twelve grandchildren.
Linda R. Stone, M.Ed., President and CEO of Veterans Angels, Inc., Director
Linda attended college in Tennessee and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tennessee and her Master of Education from Memphis State University in 1967. She was honored by being selected to “Who’s Who in American Universities” and presented a monetary award for “outstanding woman student” in 1966.
Upon relocating to California, Linda owned and operated a Real Estate firm in Northern California.
She held the position of Vice-President and Principal for an investment company formed by she and her husband, Stephen Stone.
Linda has participated in various charities benefiting children and the hearing impaired.
She and Stephen formed Veterans Angels, Inc. in May of 2009 to offer information regarding potential benefits to senior veterans and their surviving spouses.
Linda is an accredited claims agent through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Swannie Swenson, Jr. BS, MS, D,Ed, Col. USA Ret., Director
Col Wilton G. Swenson, Jr., who normally goes by the name of Swannie, retired from the United States Army on 1 January 1998. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and two weeks later he and his mother joined his father who was serving in the US Army in Louisiana. His formal years were spent traveling around the world with his parents as his father, a military career officer, moved through many posts and forts.
Swannie is a Viet Nam veteran and like his father traveled to many military locations with an average stay of 17 months. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Saint Cloud State University and Mankato State University. He has also attended many Military Schools to include Command and General Staff College, Officer Career Advance Courses at Fort Bliss, Texas, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD, and spent some time in correspondence training with the Air War College.
In 1998 he was inducted into the Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, five Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Accommodation Medals, Army Achievement Medal, two National Defense Service Medals and other combat ribbons.
He has taught school in grades three thru High School and has been an Elementary School Principal and Junior High School Principal. After retiring to Las Vegas Swannie ran the Internet Division of a New York based financial institution serving as their Senior Vice President. Swannie currently serves as President of the Military Officers Association (MOAA) Southern Nevada Chapter. Swannie is actively involved with the Shriners Hospital for Children and served in 2007 as Potentate of the Zelzah Shrine in Las Vegas, NV.
He and his wife, Mary Jo, currently reside in Las Vegas.
Ronald Swensson, BBA, Entrepreneur, Director, Marine
A Marine Corps Viet Nam combat veteran who served with “Mike” Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment (’66-’68); Ron was based out of Phu Bai (third Marine Division headquarters) and worked mostly in the DMZ; the city of Hue; and firebases at Khe Sanh and Dong Ha.
After graduating from Western Michigan University (’71), Ron pursued a career in public accounting and later provided financial stewardship for family-held businesses in the construction equipment and hearing health-care industries.
Ron believes wholeheartedly in the mission statement of Veterans Angels, and enthusiastically serves on the board in an effort to provide creative problem solving skills for this fast-growing non-profit corporation.
Patricia J. Gates, BS, Author & Educator, Director
Pat Gates was born, raised, educated in Los Angeles and graduated from University of Southern California in 1946 with a teaching credential. She was a training teacher for the many young women from Cal State/Northridge.
After retiring from 30 years of teaching, Pat and her husband, Cecil, a World War II veteran, formed the non-profit corporation, the Friendship Fleet, Inc. Cecil built seven unique ships including four 18 ft. battleships, one 20 ft. aircraft carrier, a 23 ft. RMS TITANIC, and the 36 ft. USS ARIZONA. The Gates traveled every navigable waterway in the country educating folks about the history of these historical ships, and serving as the featured speakers at many boat shows.
After 30 years of boating and displaying the American flag in many venues, the Gates were delighted to have Matson Navigation take their 36 ft USS ARIZONA to Honolulu and display her for the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. In 2011, Pat, again with the scale model of the ARIZONA, participated in the 70th anniversary private services on the Arizona Memorial and Punch Bowl.
Now widowed, Pat’s great joy is playing the piano for Reno veterans and serving as a Board member for Veterans Angels, Inc., helping to spread the word about the VA benefit available to senior veterans and their surviving spouses.
Pat is a published author with a book about the adventures with the Friendship Fleet and an inspirational children’s book.