John currently serves as a © DS-Ambassador (volunteer) for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. He serves as a liaison between NDSS and members of Congress in the State of Florida advocating for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community. He is also a member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), a national peer-to-peer network dedicated to protecting and enforcing the legal and civil rights of students with disabilities and their families.
John brings leadership, authenticity, and a commitment to teamwork to the organization. After a three-year enlistment in the Army, he attended Pennsylvania State University from 1987-1991 where he graduated as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a Regular Army commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.
In 2010, John chose family over career when he learned of his daughter’s Down syndrome diagnosis and probability for congenital heart defects during his wife’s second trimester. John retired from active duty as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2011 with numerous awards and medals from 23 years of active duty in the Infantry and Special Forces, which included assignments with the 24th Infantry Division, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), and Headquarters, United States Army Special Operations Command.
Since the end of his military career, John continued to support the Special Operations community at the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as a Senior Operations Planner in the Interagency Task Force from 2011-2013. He is presently employed as a Senior SOF Advisor to Department of Defense senior executives and mid-level management at Geographic Combatant Commands and Theater Special Operation Commands across the globe. His work focuses on counterterrorism policy, plans, and operational law during training and exercises.
John is married to the former Yaluisneth (Yani) Nieves from Miami, Florida. Together they have three children: Gabriel, Alessandra, and Nicholas.