Veterans Request | Active-Duty Request | Community Involvement

Officers and Board Members


Monica Orluk

Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director

A Pittsburgh Pennsylvania native, Monica Orluk is a founding officer and serves as CEO/Executive Director of Operation Troop Appreciation (OTA). She ensures that the charity maintains its founding principle “We volunteer to serve those that volunteer to serve our country”. Monica leads the 100% volunteer staff and works to secure funding, promote OTA in the community, and oversees all strategic and administrative duties at the charity. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and is employed full-time as a Sr. Product Manager for Sagent, Inc.

Sherry Einhaus

Chief Operations Officer/Program Director

Sherry joined OTA in 2016 intending to volunteer in support of our troops and veterans.  She quickly became a leader, facilitating volunteer program activities, coordinating fund raising events and securing in-kind and financial donations for the charity.  She has served as Program Director, overseeing all aspects of OTA’s Active-Duty “Wish List” and Veteran “Welcome Home” programs since 2018 and in 2020, the Board of Directors unanimously elected her to position of Chief Operating Officer. Sherry’s drive and dedication is inspirational and she demonstrates unwavering support for the troops and veterans we serve every day.  She sets the bar high and is the perfect example of what it means to serve others. Sherry is a resident of Bethel Park PA and a licensed insurance agent, working full-time in addition to her leadership role at OTA.

Board Members

Colonel John Dowling

John Dowling has been an OTA board member since 2009. He retired as a colonel from the Army Reserve in 2018 after 33+ years of honorable service including two overseas deployments. As a civilian, he is the recruiter for Army ROTC at West Virginia University. He also served on the Mental Health America (MHA) of Western Pennsylvania board for nine years. He has a bachelor’s degree from WVU and a master’s from Carnegie Mellon University.

Lesley B. Mann

Lesley is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at GBU Financial Life. As CMO, Lesley is responsible for the strategy, development, and implementation of GBU Financial Life’s marketing, product, and distribution capabilities.  She champions the GBU mission to provide a superior portfolio of products and services to grow the member base while enhancing their quality of life.

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Sharon Liotus

Sharon Liotus, has been involved with OTA since its inception. Her early meetings with Kristin Holloway and Monica Orluk demonstrated they were serious about this initiative, and were ready to take it on even in unchartered territory. As President of marketing and media companies’ InterGroup Communications and InterVue Productions, Sharon makes it her mission to get OTA’s unique message out to media and the masses. She helps clients grow their business by determining their unique selling proposition. OTA is no different and they do this so well with their proven history to serve both soldiers and vets simultaneously and seamlessly.

Trudy Friend

Trudy Friend has been involved with Operation Troop Appreciation for many years as a social worker.  She worked with various agencies to ensure that every veteran was connected to the services they deserve.  Trudy was instrumental in spearheading one of the first Women Veterans programs in Pennsylvania. She has personally served many homeless veterans and can attest to what a difference Operation Troop Appreciation made in their lives.  Currently retired, she is committed to continue to serve veterans in other avenues. She was employed by Goodwill Industries for 26 years and Veterans Leadership for 10 years, and then served as a consultant for the United Way.

Ruth Brannigan

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Ruth Brannigan returned following a career supporting hardware and software military communication and energy control systems. Her experience is in both program management and engineering divisions for Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command and US Corps of Engineering. She also held a teaching position working with gifted students. Ruth holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, a Master Degree in Teaching and a certificate in Gifted Education. Ruth joined OTA as a Board Member in 2023. She’s looking forward to witnessing and supporting its success.

Kevin Zaffino

An Erie, Pennsylvania native, Kevin Zaffino is a Marine Corps Veteran who currently serves on the OTA Board of Directors. As a Marine Corps Reservist, he serves as the Western Pennsylvania Marine for Life Representative connecting local Veterans and families with important resources in the area. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Master in Business Administration, and is currently employed by Excelicon, Inc. where he is a certified Project Manager and Government Consultant serving the Cybersecurity Division of the Department of Homeland Security.

David Buckiso, CPA

David Buckiso is the Executive Vice President of First Commonwealth Advisors. He oversees all aspects of Wealth Management Services to include the Brokerage unit and the Investment Management & Trust unit.

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David leads the build-out of First Commonwealth’s advisory talent, with a particular emphasis on retirement and estate planning, and customized investment solutions. He is committed to providing a culture of customization and flexibility, ensuring superior service to the client.  

Before joining First Commonwealth, he served as Senior Vice President and Managing Director at FNB Wealth Management, responsible for the organization’s wealth management sales strategy, revenue retention efforts, investment agency accounts, employee benefit plans, foundations, endowments and trustee relationships. He also spent time at Federated Investors and PNC Wealth Management earlier in his career.  

David is a Certified Public Accountant, earning his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from John Carroll University in Ohio and received his MBA from Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh.

Lesley brings over 25 years of experience in financial services, focusing on Insurance & Annuity marketing, product and distribution. Before Joining GBU, Lesley served as the CMO and Head of Distribution for Knighthead Annuity & Life Assurance Company, as founding leader driving the company’s growth to over $2 Billion in assets under management. Lesley spent 20 years with Prudential Financial as SVP, Relationship Management for Prudential’s annuity business, responsible for the management, business development, sales, and marketing for the firm’s 300 institutional clients. She grew sales from under $10 billion a year to over $21 Billion, becoming the largest distributor of annuities in the industry.

As a senior executive, Lesley’s passion is around growing, developing, and evolving businesses, while leveraging the strengths that already exist in the business. She works to understand the culture, the business framework, and the people, shaping her determination to build high-performance teams and successful organizations. Lesley holds B.A. In Economics & Political Science from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.