Leon is a Bangor local who started his own business immediately after graduating high school in 1983. He worked day in and day out to build Vanderpool Masonry into a reputable and financially sound business . Exactly 40 years later he has taken his success and applied it to his newest project, the Slate Belt Veterans Association.
Micheal Kovelovich, the founder of the SBVA, reached out to Vanderpool about the project and entrusted Vanderpool to pursue his dream of building affordable housing for veterans in the Bangor area.
Leon is married to his wife Kris, and they both have two children and three beautiful grandchildren.
Brad Kennedy, now age 78, is a decorated, combat veteran of the Vietnam War. In August 1966, then age 21 and having volunteered to serve in Vietnam, Kennedy embarked on a 23-day troop-ship voyage across the Pacific, as part of the 11th US Armored Cavalry Regiment--dubbed the Blackhorse Regiment. The Blackhorse was based and operated mainly in the III Corps military zone of what was then South Vietnam. (For a III Corps map, CLICK HERE)
During his 12-month tour of duty, Kennedy served as an artillery surveyor, a machine gunner, a track commander, and, for his last five months in-country as a Forward Observer (FO).
Whether from helicopters in flight over-looking a battleground below or from the thick of things on the ground itself where the line troops were under attack, Kennedy would first consider how best to weaken the attackers with minimal risk of misdirecting friendly artillery fire on the US line troops nearby.
On July 28, 1967, eight days shy of two full years from his induction, he was released from active duty upon his return by Pan Am Airlines to San Francisco .
In the early 1970s Kennedy worked for two years on one of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs -- the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) – during which time he obtained and administered numerous state SLEPA grants for Hudson County, NJ, as well as for 10 of its individual municipalities. He also co-authored the 1972 Criminal Justice Plan for Hudson County itself.
Thereafter, Kennedy embarked on what is now a 50+ year career as a developer-builder. Projects headed by Kennedy's companies developed and/or built over 600 homes, including 75+ affordable homes and a half million square feet of commercial space. (CLICK HERE for several annotated project photos.)
Included within that total of 75+ affordable homes were 18 ADA-compliant rental apartments that Kennedy developed in his capacity as Housing Development Manager for the project’s sponsor, UCPNCS of New Jersey (UCP), a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization dedicated to Life without limits for people with disabilities. Upon completion, the project became known known as The Meadows at Oldwick in Tewksbury, NJ. UCP financed the construction of the project through the IRS Section 42 Tax Credit Program. Kennedy served as the Owner’s Rep. designated in the Construction Management Contract signed with Peter Ypsilantis of Integrated Green Technologies, Inc. Drawing on the extensive experiences of Toni Lynch, Peter Ypsilantis and Kennedy’s own experiences with energy-efficient construction dating back to the late 1970’s, the Project Architect, Tim McCorry was able to finalize a green design that resulted in the Project receiving the NJ Governor’s Award for Best Affordable Housing project incorporating Green Construction. (CLICK HERE to review)
Burning the midnight oil for decades, Kennedy wrote Betrayal: Will Stone in Vietnam, a fictionalized version of several of his actual experiences in Vietnam. In August 2020, more than fifty years after he left Vietnam, Kennedy filed a VA compensation claim for service-related disabilities. He supported his claim by including with it a factual recounting of those same, previously fictionalized, actual Vietnam experiences, as verified by contemporary Army documents, including after-action reports and citations.
After thorough investigation of Kennedy’s VA claim application, including current medical examinations and his medical history, as well as a complete review of his military records, the VA determined that his combined disability ratings would well exceed the maximum 100% rating that the VA can pay on claims, so the VA’s final determination of Kennedy’s claim rating must be capped at the 100% disability rating permissible. To view a redacted copy of relevant portions of Kennedy’s VA claim application and the VA’s final rating decision.
Today, Kennedy holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Over the years since his safe return from Vietnam, Kennedy has guest lectured extensively to civic-minded audiences and to college and high school classes on the realities of the Vietnam War.
Starting with the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq and until the final US pullout many years, he was a Gannett Newspaper panelist analyzing and commenting on emerging developments in Afghanistan and in Iraq after the US invasion of Iraq. panelist for, a body which met since before the March 2003 invasion to its conclusion, to analyze and comment upon important developments in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Kennedy lives with Barbara, his wife of 53 years; she is a former Peace Corp volunteer who lived in a mud hut next to the one-room schoolhouse where she taught Grades K-12 in Sierra Leone, West Africa. They now live in New Jersey, where they raised their son and foster children.
When asked how long he will keep writing about War, Kennedy is quick to answer, “as long as the obituary writers do."obituary writers do."
For more about Brad Kennedy visit: bradkennedy.net
Toni Lynch formed Polysteel Better World Technology, LLC in 1991 with his wife Lois J. Lapekas.
Lynch has an extensive background in masonry, roofing, building construction and home construction for over 30 years years. Toni Lynch formed Polysteel Better World Technology, LLC in 1991 with his wife Lois J. Lapekas. The LLC evolved to integrate green technologies, and energy-efficient building technology, including but not limited to solar, wind, geothermal, and numerous other green products. Often it results in a building or business having no energy expense or even earning an income from their renewable systems.
Polysteel has been recognized by HGTV, Today's Environment, Energy International, and State, National, and Local awards for excellence in energy-efficient technology. Toni and his company have earned centerfold stories in PA Builders News, Energy International, appeared on HGTV, and Today's Environment for their unique approach to implementing and integrating this approach to sustainable building technologies. The company has adopted the logo of - Zero Energy Building Technology.
The basic formula that Better World Technology has used, and will be implemented into the newest project for the Slate Belt Veterans Association is das follows:
As Secretary for Upper Mount Bethel Township, Cindy came to know Mike Kovalevich. Cindy knew he was a highly recognized Veteran and that his mission was to establish housing for Veterans. In 2020, she was
approached by Toni Lynch to act as the Recording Secretary for the Slate Belt Veterans Association and has
continued to work side by side with the members of the Board. Cindy currently attends all meetings, applies for grants, prepares agendas, and meeting minutes.
Mr. DeGroot is responsible for managing office operations and land development projects of varied scope and size for Terraform. Mr. DeGroot has designed all types of land development projects, including commercial, industrial, educational, retail, residential subdivisions, golf courses, and roadway and utility design. These projects involve all aspects of the site selection, land development, and approvals process. His work experience also includes serving as Municipal Engineer for several municipalities in Pennsylvania, major roadway projects for municipalities in the tri-state area, and providing professional testimony for condemnation hearings, zoning issues, and other litigation matters requiring engineering expertise. Other background includes master planning, environmental investigations, environmental permitting, construction management and inspection, and traffic engineering.
Northampton Township, Bucks County, PA
Lehigh Township, Northampton County, PA
Upper Makefield Township, Bucks County, PA
Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, PA
Newtown Township, PA
Lower Nazareth Township, Northampton County, PA
Kristine was brought on at the beginning of 2023 to help facilitate the project, which includes fundraising, website building, and social media marketing. She has worked for several small businesses and a few larger corporations as an Administrator or Manager. Most recently, Kristine was an Office Manager for a local Chiropractor for over two years until the owner retired. At the same time, she graduated with her Masters in Clinical Herbalism from Maryland Univeristy of Integrative Health in 2022. She currently runs her online apothercary and clinic from her home. "I've always been searching for how I can better assist others. In addition to my small business, it has been a blessing to be a part of the SBVA and I look forward to seeing all that we accomplish."
Mrs. Schrak lives with her husband Hunter, their newest edition to the family, their son Fox, and their two hounds.
Michael grew up in Saylorsburg Pa and attended Stroudsburg High School. He also attended Northampton Community College, University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida, majoring in Fine Arts and Photography at all three.
He worked for Dow Jones Media (owners of the Wall Street Journal) for 11 years. Michael then went on to buy the Blue Valley Times in 2005, and went on to create three more monthly publications, Pocono Sports Extra, Lehigh Valley Sports Extra, and Warren County NJ. Journal.
Michael and his wife live in Bangor Pa., they have 4 grown children and 4 grandchildren.
They also own the Blue Valley Times news media (18 years) that publishes every Tuesday of the year and the MM4Corp advertising agency.
When Michael and his wife aren't working on the paper or participating in additional community services, they like to golf together, play tennis and pickleball. And of course, spoil their grandkids and cat ‘Willow.’
Additional Community Service: