THOMAS J. STOKES
CEO and Founder
Thomas J. Stokes is a decorated war veteran, a licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Registered Nurse. Tom began his military career as a PFC in the Signal Corps with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He served in the United States Army Reserves as a Military Social Worker and retired at the rank of Colonel in March 2018. From April 2010 to April 2011, he served a year-long deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan where he was the Officer in Charge at the Combat Stress Clinic at Forward Operating Base Gardez. During this deployment, he was responsible for behavioral healthcare in Paktia Province for thousands of military personnel over the course of his tour.
Upon his return home from deployment to his native “Pixburgh”, Tom began his journey back into the civilian world as he reconnected with civilians, professionals, and local members of the military community. This journey included the realization that military experience changes us, and our families, forever. These meaningful interpersonal connections, combined with the experience of his deployment, impacted him profoundly. He observed the pressing need for the education of civilians on contemporary military service and the rethinking of behavioral healthcare for veterans, their families, and their communities. He accepted that his mission here at home had only just begun, and Operation Strong Mind was born.
Tom’s civilian career includes 29 years of experience in behavioral health with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services in Pittsburgh and time as a Veterans Court Advocate at the Pittsburgh Veterans Administration. Tom volunteers for many organizations who are working to serve those who serve us. He is a frequent speaker on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day Ceremonies. He also provides consultation to various foundations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations regarding the culture and challenges faced by the modern military community.