Doug Capazzi


Doug is a United States Army Veteran where he served as a lead mechanic, vehicle recovery and a combat life saver. He was deployed in 2003 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and again in 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. As the CEO of Guardians of the Purple Heart he is passionate about making Connecticut and Rhode Island combat wounded veterans feel as if they have another family. He works to provide that support system that many veterans need while they are either in transition or at another point in their life while bridging that gap between veterans and services available to them.

Doug has served on many boards for various veteran non-profits to include the Veterans Equine Therapeutic Services (VETS) where he was the Veteran Outreach Director. He was the Communications Director for Team Red White and Blue (Team RWB) and served as the Local Coordinator, Trainer, and National Coordinator for Irreverent Warriors.

Doug’s passion to continue to provide more for the veteran community while leading his team has led him to complete his degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology with a minor in Communications. When he is not working with his team he is working as a Life Skills Educator for the Naval Submarine Basewhere he grew up. Throughout his time in the military Doug has earned multiple military awards including Soldier of the Year, Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal (4).

When Doug is not working you can find him at the baseball field with his son, riding his motorcycle around town with the Guardian Riders or at several events to support other non-profits. He is always on the go and always spreading the word of what the organization stands for and does. But if have trouble finding him, just look in the local pizza places as he will probably be there indulging in his favorite food.

Nick Ransom


Nick is an active-duty Submariner. He joined in 2010 and has been attached to two different submarines as well as a Fleet Maintenance Facility that provides critical repairs to the submarine fleet.

As a member of the Guardians, he is adamant about providing Connecticut’s most precious heroes any and all opportunities they want or need.

Nick is also part of the Irreverent Warriors, CT team, aimed at providing comradeship and a caring ear to improve mental health and prevent Veteran suicide.

Nick is currently studying follow on degrees at SNHU in the computer engineering fields. He’s achieved various awards to include Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Award (4), NATO medal, Good Conduct (4), Arctic Service medal, and the Navy Expeditionary medal.

Schon Russell


Schon Russell, United States Coast Guard Health Service Tech Chief retired. Schon served in the Coast Guard for 26 years. During his tours he served as an Aviation Medivac Specialist, a Surface Force Independent Corpsman, Substance abuse Coordinator at numerous units including the CG Academy. He excelled in all his qualifications ensuring he did over and beyond his job description. Upon being advanced to Chief, Schon made sure all his experience and knowledge was handed down to his subordinates and colleges. The code of a Chief, is Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty, rings true to Schons daily routine, once a Chief always a Chief.


He has received multiple Commendations and Achievements medals, Cuttermans pin, Aircrew wings, Aviation Medivac Specialist pin, Sikorsky air pin, and many other awards and honors. But the most satisfying he recived was the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. This 

drive and passion for looking out for the fellow man in need has been handed down throughout his four kids and family.  


Schon currently owns his own Excavation business after years of learning and excelling in the landscape and construction industry. Working outside has shown him his dad was right all those years ago. “Being outside is so much better”

Monique Ransom


Monique is a lifelong supporter of the military with an Army father and a Navy husband.

She has her own dog training business that she invests countless hours with. When she isn’t busy documenting the Guardians or training a pooch, you can find her tending to her chickens or somewhere in a forest or on a river enjoying everything our beautiful state has to offer.

Monique is our feisty little firecracker and big barking bulldog when you come to our table to say hi! You can always find her there with a bright smile and an open heart to get our mission out to you as well as hear your story. Stop by the tent and ask her about her German Shepherd!

Kyle Bunting


Kyle’s bio is coming soon.

Colton Hill


Colton was born and raised in St. Petersburg, FL and is an active-duty submariner. His father was also in the Navy and decided to take the leap and joined in 2016 and spent 5 years stationed on the USS Hartford (SSN-768). He is now on shore duty at Submarine Surveillance Equipment Program (SSEP).

Colton is currently on track to get a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from American Military University before he gets out of the service.

In his free time, he enjoys video games, riding his motorcycle, playing golf, and watching a myriad of sports including F1, football, premier league, hockey and more! He is a single cat dad with two furballs named B0aty and McLaren.

Mike Steele


Mike is a strong supporter of all military branches, past, present, and future. His love for the veteran community runs deep as he continues to support his best friend from Highschool who served in the Army. To this day he continues to support his buddy in any and all endeavors throughout the veteran community.
Mike is a Jack of all trades. If there is an obstacle or idea the organization comes across, Mike is the one to take it apart, find out how it works, put it back together and come up with a solution.
In his spare time Mike is a part time mechanic, flies’ drones, and does home improvements. But one thing that he really loves is designing and 3D printing everything and anything. A hobby he shares with his son, and his buddy who served in the Army. He realizes it helps with his PTSD and continues to share his knowledge.
When Mike is not dabbling in ripping things apart, he enjoys his time with his wife, son, and their dog in Gales Ferry.

Michelle Russell


Michelle Russell is a New Jersey/Rhode Island native. She grew up bouncing back and forth between New Jersey and southern Rhode Island. She has a teenage son that tries her at times but makes her a better person the rest of the time. Michelle has been in retail pretty much her whole adult life to include, but not limited to, being a store manager of CVS and Ocean State Job Lot. She didn’t know much about any Veteran programs or even the need before she met her husband, Schon, but she drank the Kool-Aid, as one might say. Michelle is dedicated to Guardians and the mission, as it is needed more than most can imagine. She is so proud to say that she is part of Guardians, and we are now in Rhode Island.

Rebecca Cameron


After learning about the organization in 2022 It was something that spoke directly to her heart. Coming from a family of those who served, it was her way to honor their service as well as the service of those who served past, present and future. This organization stands for everything she stands for their passion was beyond infectious. After meeting the team and learning more of what they do and how they do it, being more involved became apparent. Being able to call herself a Guardian and being accepted into this family just affirms that’s where she’s supposed to be.

Up until high school she was involved in a lot of sports that the local Parks and Recs Department offered its residents. This developed into a love of boxing and weightlifting after she graduated high school which she continues to explore when she is not working. Working in the restaurant business, she is still finding her path, but she loves interacting with people and building those relationships and connections. What does she want to be when she grows up? She does not know but she can’t wait to find out!

Music is her escape especially when it comes to Post Malone. she finds his music inspiring and pure as well as his presence. she has been to one of his concerts and hope to hit several more!

Seth Sharp


Seth is a United States Navy Veteran. He served in the Submarine Force for 11 years. Enlisting as a third generation Submariner, he was attached to three sea going commands, Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Command, Naval Submarine Support Facility, and Prisoner Escort/Recover.

Coming from a family of over 20 veterans, Seth has been immersed in the military and veteran community for over 30 years. He is intimately familiar with the challenges of his brothers and sisters who are active, their families, and those who have separated. He is excited to continue to show his love and support for the community he grew up in. Reminding them that they are loved, respected, appreciated, and never forgotten. That legacy and what we leave behind makes what we do well worthwhile.

Seth is working to complete his bachelor’s degree in Data Analytics at Southern New Hampshire University, while working in the private sector as middle management. He has received multiple awards during his time in service including Navy Good Conduct (3), Navy Marine Corp Achievement Medal (4), Battle E, Expeditionary Medal (2), Meritorious Unit Citations, as well as others.

Denise Capazzi


Denise was married for 48 years, but with her husband since high school (1969), before she was sadly widowed seven years ago. She and her Navy veteran husband raised 4 boys, one of whom is Doug, CEO of the Guardians. After he retired from the Navy they settled where they were stationed, in Gales Ferry, CT.

Denise started taking photos when she was about 7 years old. She adores taking photos and capturing a moment in time. She has seriously done photography since 1995, and is also a 2000 graduate of the New York Institute of Photography.
She believes that photos keep one in touch with important people who have passed and special times in one’s life. These moments in time can never be replaced and photos help one remember. She memorializes special moments with the Guardians at nearly every event, making sure to capture history in the making.

Another in her life that she brings to the forefront is that veterans are a very valuable to society. They paid the price to keep the rest of us safe. We need to recognize and celebrate their contributions to our country. Photos are her way of making sure these great men & women are remembered for all time. Denise has her own business, called “Captured Time Photography: Where Time Stands Still and Memories Live On”. Working with the veterans and the Guardians helps bring her closer to her husband, as well as her son, and their great service to the States.

Davan Goos


Davan’s bio coming soon.

Benny Pelchat


Benny is the son of Michelle Russell, He is the assistant content coordinator at a high end landscaping design and build construction company. He is constantly looking at content for the company to keep it relevant and to industry standards. Benny has learned so much about veteran programs and recognizes the need for Guardians. Often Benny is working on photo’s, brochures, pamphlets, or business cards for Guardians. He is constantly throwing out ideas on how to make us better for the group of people we serve. Benny came up with the QR code on our business cards to be able to link our accounts to a one stop shop to include a donation tab. So check out our QR code and go donate.

Our Cause:

Our Cause: The Guardians of the Purple Heart is made of a group of Veterans, family members, and spouses of Veterans who want to make a difference for Combat Wounded Veterans in the State of Connecticut. We intend to help a Veteran each year, focusing on different generations as each year passes. We run a Motorcycle Run every year as our biggest event to honor a Purple Heart recipient. We plan on running multiple other events throughout the year to support the goals of the organization and raise awareness for Combat Wounded Veterans, Veteran Suicide, and connecting Veterans with services provided by other organizations.

Our Purpose:

Our Purpose: To have successful fundraisers attended by supporters of our country’s Veterans to commemorate those wounded in combat while serving our country. We are raising money through sponsors, individual donations, and other events held throughout the year. The main event is the Purple Heart Poker Run, a motorcycle run in which a specific Recipient is chosen by the Board and honored on this day.  All of this is to recognize and celebrate those who have served our country, honoring specifically those who have faced death and been wounded in its defense.

Our Impact:

Our Impact: Every year we want to have a positive impact on a Combat Wounded Veteran who is from Connecticut, as we seek to focus on helping a local individual. Our plan with the money we raise is to assist our recipient with basic needs or some essential need that other organizations are unable to provide. We will not only donate monetarily but reach out to local businesses in our community who can donate their time and services to help fulfill a complete package of necessities for our recipient.  We intend to make sure that all Connecticut Purple Heart Recipients feel they have a home in our state, a stable living environment, and a family within our organization.

About Us:

The organizations main event, the Purple Heart Poker Run, was founded by Brent Walker, an OIF Purple Heart recipient. Brent is medically retired from the United States Army, in which he served 7.5 years as an Infantrymen with US Army Alaska. He served two separate deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2009, Brent was severely wounded by a suicide bomber, which led to his medical retirement. At first the poker run was designed to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project but around 2014 that all changed. After taking a step back for a year and recollecting his thoughts, Brent came to the table with a new plan, to help Purple Heart Recipients of Ct.

In 2016 the organization helped their first Purple Heart recipient, Vietnam vet Clarence Hook. From there the organization, and concept, took flight. It was after that event when Doug was brought in as the President to help take the organization to new heights. It was shortly after Doug took the reins; the name Guardians of the Purple Heart was born along with the logo, moving away from the name The Purple Heart Poker Run Inc. Implementing new events, strategies for marketing, and creating the opportunity for brand awareness and exposure was at the top of his list. If the organization was going to set out to help Purple Heart recipients of Ct, people needed to know the help was available. As the team was being built, it was being lead in a direction it had never traveled before.

The Guardians of the Purple Heart is a 501c3 nonprofit that specializes in obtaining items or services for CT and RI combat wounded veterans that are not being met by other organizations, like the VA. Where these entities must leave off because of their limitations, which is only natural, the Guardians can come in behind them and fulfill these needs by reaching out to the community, working with their vast network of supporters and bringing the community together as a whole to improve the overall living quality of these veterans. After almost seven hard working years, the organization was finally ready to take the next step, they crossed state lines and moved into the state of RI.

The Guardians of the Purple Heart are always on the move and generating new ways to do more. Between working with other nonprofits, working with businesses and even “teaming” up with the local little league team, there is never a dull moment when the Guardians are involved. But the one thing you can count on with this organization, is whether you’re helping at an event, or they are helping you, the feeling of family and belongingness is felt by everyone.

Our Supporters