Veterans Leaders and Former Hostage John Early to Join Gov Richardson in NH Visit, November 19 and 20th

Two-Day Trip Will Focus on Health Care and Veterans Issues

Manchester,NH – Governor Bill Richardson and First Lady Barbara Richardson will return to the Granite State next week for a two-day trip focused on health care and veterans issues.

On Monday, the Governor will launch “New Hampshire Veterans and Military Families for Richardson” in Manchester and lay out his bold plan to protect veterans, active military and their families. Vietnam veteran and former hostage John Early, Brig. General John Johns, New Mexico Secretary of Veterans Services John Garcia and Director of Field Operations Lou Helwig will join the Governor for the kickoff event. The following day, the Governor will appear on New Hampshire Public Radio’s “The Exchange”and hold “Health Care Town Hall” forums in Nashua and Derry.

First Lady Barbara Richardson will hold six public events, including receptions at her alma mater, Colby-Sawyer College, and the home of her former college roommate in Jaffrey.

Below are the full schedules for Governor Richardson and First Lady Barbara Richardson, as well as bios for major surrogates.


Monday,November 19th

WHEN: 2:30 PM

WHAT: “New Hampshire Veterans and Military Families for Richardson”

WHERE: Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post #2, 251 Maple St., Manchester

WHEN: 4:00 PM

WHAT: Media Availability with Governor Richardson, John Early, Gen. Johns and Sec.Garcia

WHERE: Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post #2, 251 Maple St., Manchester

Tuesday,November 20th

WHEN: 9:00 AM

WHAT: Live Appearance on NHPR’s “The Exchange”

WHERE: Concord

WHEN: 3:15 PM (Doors Open at 2:45 PM)

WHAT: Health Care Town Hall

WHERE: Sylvia Frontier Hall (Amphitheater), Rivier College, 420 S. Main St., Nashua

WHEN:5:00 PM (Doors Open at 4:30 PM)

WHAT: Health Care Town Hall

WHERE: VFW Post 1617, 18 Railroad Avenue, Derry

WHEN:7:00 PM (Doors Open 6:30 PM)

WHAT:Merrimack “Presidential Job Interview”

WHERE:Home of Ed and Donna Boerner, Merrimack

First Lady Barbara Richardson Monday,November 19th

WHEN: 4:15 PM

WHAT: Reception at Colby-Sawyer College

WHERE: 504 Main Street, New London

Tuesday,November 20th

WHEN: 9:15 AM

WHAT: Reception

WHERE: Nashua Senior Activity Center, 70 Temple Street, Nashua

WHEN: 10:00 AM

WHAT: Tour of Marguerite’s Place

WHERE: 85 Palm St., Nashua

WHEN: 12:00 PM

WHAT: Lunch Reception at the Home of Claire Bean

WHERE: Jaffrey

WHEN:2:00 PM

WHAT: First Partners Series at Franklin Pierce Univerity

WHERE: Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication, Franklin Pierce University, 40University Drive, Rindge

WHEN: 4:00 PM

WHAT: Reception at the Earl M. Bourdon Center

WHERE: 67 Maple Avenue, Claremont


Vietnam Veteran and Pilot John Early

John Early joined the U.S. Army in 1963, where he volunteered for, and passed selection for, the United States Army Special Forces, also known as the "Green Berets." After serving for twelve years in the Special Forces, including three and a half tours in Vietnam as an enlisted soldier and officer, Early received a direct commission to Lieutenant and completed his bachelor's degree in political science and communications from Southern Illinois University. During his Army career, he was decorated on several occasions for his actions under fire and was wounded four times. Early later finished graduate school at the University of South Carolina and started a small skydiving business in New Mexico that evolved into a company that supplied aircraft and technical advice to motion picture companies. The company's film credits include "Red Dawn," "Uncommon Valor," and the "Rambo" series of films.

In1989, Early embarked on a career as a pilot that began with airlines in the United States and continued with a number of companies in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and various parts of Africa. Early worked for several years as a "bush pilot" on contracts with the United Nations and The International Committee of the Red Cross in Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, the Congo, and several other African nations. It was during this time that Early was hijacked and held hostage by a rebel group while managing a medical evacuation program for the Red Cross in southern Sudan. After being extricated from that "interesting" adventure by Governor Richardson, Early has continued in aviation, except for a short hiatus working with the Department of Military Affairs and the New Mexico National Guard.

Brig.General John H. Johns (USA, Ret.)

Dr.John H. Johns served as a combat arms officer in the Army for over 26 years, retiring as a brigadier general in 1978. During his career, he served in command assignments up to Assistant Commander of the 1st Infantry Division and Director of Human Resources Development for the Army General Staff. He has taught leadership and ethics at the U.S. Military Academy, the Army War College and the Naval Academy. He served four years as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense before resigning to become a Professor of Political Science at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair. He is an adjunct professor at the Federal Executive Institute, where he lectures on "Values and the U.S.Constitution" and teaches a one-week course in ethics. Dr. Johns has an undergraduate degree in economics and political science from the University of Alabama. He holds Master’s degrees from Vanderbilt University and George Washington University and a Ph.D. from American University. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the National WarCollege.

New Mexico Secretary of Veterans Services John Garcia

New Mexico Secretary of Veterans Services John Garcia is a native New Mexican, appointed by Governor Bill Richardson in 2003 as the first Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services. Previously, he was President of Garcia & Associates, a consulting company he started in1995. Secretary Garcia was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Economic Development Department by former New Mexico Governor Bruce King.

Secretary Garcia was a member of the United States Army from 1969-1971 and served in the Central Highland of South Viet Nam from 1969-1970. While attached to the 4th Infantry Division, he received several citations and was honorably discharged in 1971 as an E-5. He is a founding member of the Vietnam Veterans of New Mexico. He served as the National Deputy Director of the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program in Washington, D.C. from 1983-1985. The Secretary was actively involved in the dedication of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D. C. He was also the State Director of the Vietnam Veterans of New Mexico Program. He served as a Commissioner of the New Mexico Veterans’ Service Commission for 12 years.

Secretary Garcia is a member of numerous boards, committees and task forces and has been recognized by numerous organizations including the De Colores, Inc. for the New Mexico Hispanic Businesses Leadership Award, and has received the National Hispanic Leadership Award from the Mexican-American Foundation, the American Center for International Leadership Award. He is listed in Who’s Who Among Hispanic Americans and has received the Profile of Courage Awardf rom the Vietnam Veterans of New Mexico and the New Mexico Veteran Small Business Advocate of the Year Award by the New Mexico Small Business Administration.

Lou Helwig, Director of Field Operations, New Mexico Department of Veterans Services

Lou Helwig spent 12 years in the Air Force from 1962-1975. He attended New York State University and Troy State and graduated from the United States Armed Forces Institute with degrees in English and Math. Helwig has been an advocate for veterans since 1991, when he started helping homeless veterans through the now defunct Vet Help Program. He worked for the state of New Mexico as a State Service Officer/Benefits Counselor for over five years before joining a VA Regional office in Albuquerque as a National Service officer for AMVETS. He was recognized as the National Service Officer of the Year in2001. Helwig is now in his fourth year serving as the Director of Field Operations for the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services. He manages 17 Field Offices across New Mexico. Helwig is an Associate Member of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs and a member of the American Legion, AMVETS and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).