Who We Are

The Silent Warrior Project is a non-profit organization that serves veterans who struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

Founded in 2016, we host spiritual retreats for veterans and provide tools to help them reduce stress through a daily practice of mindfulness meditation and contemplative prayer. By helping veterans fully re-engage in their lives and be present with their loved ones, we can bring about hope. And healing.

We seek to be the best resource for veterans with PTSD and MST and their families by educating, speaking truth and leading change.
OUR MISSION: To reduce veteran suicide rates and help veterans mindfully heal from the wounds of war.

Board of Directors

Founder  & Board President

Ryan Haugen

Ryan (pictured here with his service dog, Abbott) is a veteran with PTSD who served in the United States Navy for 4 years during the Gulf War.  In his career, he has worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Veteran’s Advocate and has more than 20 years of experience serving veterans and their families.


Harry Hurley

Harry is a veteran who served in the United States Navy for 4 years during the Vietnam War.  He was also the President of the Board of Directors of Helping Paws (who train and place service dogs for veterans with PTSD.)  He is currently an Adjunct Professor, at Saint Mary’s University, in the Masters Program for Information Technology Management.  He loves to help others, golf and happens to be a Golf Pro!

Board Secretary

Phil Styrlund

Phil serves as Chief Executive Officer at The Summit Group, is a recognized thought leader on strategic selling and business value transformation and is the author of “Relevance:  Matter More”.  He earned a Bachelors degree from Augsburg College in Minneapolis and he also holds a Masters degrees in Business Management and Telecommunication Science from St. Mary’s University.

Board Member / Spiritual advisor

John E. Lawyer, Ph.D.
LtCol. USAF ret.

John is a veteran of the Vietnam War and retired from the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel.  He is a Professor of Political Science Emeritus, Bethel University, St. Paul, MN.
Harvard College-A.B., 1960, University of Delaware- M.A., 1965, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University – M.P.A. 1970, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University – Ph.D., 1976, St. John’s Graduate School of Theology, st. John’s University – Certificate in Spirituality.

Board Member / Director of Firefighter Retreats

Brian Carlson

Brian has been a firefighter and paramedic for the past 20 years and currently works for a career fire department in the Minneapolis area.  He has a passion for helping firefighters and EMS professionals understand the many positive impacts mindfulness based practices can have.  Brian has spoken nationally to other EMS professionals about his own PTSD and is an advocate for mindfulness based self-care to improve how firefighters and EMS professionals handle the everyday stresses of this job.  He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in counseling psychology and plans to continue to work with first responders in the mental health field.

Board Member / Director of Women’s Engagement

Berlynn Fleury

Berlynn is an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps. She is a Certified Peer Specialist, Health & Wellness Coach and also serves on the Board of Directors with the Veteran’s Defense Project.  She provides unique support with women’s engagement, trauma informed services, fundraising, and education.
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