Ari S. Merretazon, M.S.CED, Executive Director
He is a decorated-Bronze Star-honorable discharged Vietnam War Veteran, Headquarters Recon, 3rd Brigade, 4th and 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army. His war narrative is Chapter 7, in the book, Bloods, an Oral History of the Vietnam War told by Black Veterans, by Wallace Terry. His story was used to make the movie Dead Presidents, actor Larentz Tate played his character. He is quoted in “A Vietnam Trilogy: Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress, 1968, 1989, 2000, by Raymond Monsour Scurfield.
In 1978, Ari was invited by Senator Alan Cranston, to testify on matters related to incarcerated veterans; he is a White House Honoree, President Jimmy Carter, for establishing the first Office of Incarcerated Veterans Affairs inside of a prison recognized by the VA. In 1980, he was hired by the Veterans Administration as a member of the first team to setup a “Vet Center” in Little Rock, Arkansas, under a Congressional mandate of 1979, (Public Law 96-22).
Ari is a Certified Legal Technician, Antioch School of Law, Washington, DC., where he worked managing the Teaching Law Firm as the Special Assistant to the Deans. He has provided representation for veterans at administrative hearings and before military discharge review boards. He is an ordained minister, and is a graduate of the Graduate School of Community Economic Development, at Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire, and served as Director for the school’s Church-based Initiative. He is the EPIC (Equal Partners in Charge) Coordinator, Department of Human Services, hosted by the friends Neighborhood Guild, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.