Brian Wood, Founder and President of the Board

Founder and President of the Board Brian Wood has a strong passion for connecting humans with wild places.  He has been a high school teacher for 17 years with the Douglas County School District, working with at-risk youth in an alternative educational setting.  In addition to teaching, Brian has been leading and guiding outdoor adventure courses for twenty years.  He was an instructor and guide with Aspen Achievement Academy and the Ascent Wilderness Program, both wilderness therapy organizations.  In his spare time, he can most likely be found in some dark hollow of the canyon country.  Brian holds a M.A. in U.S. History from the University of Colorado.  He is a certified American Mountain Guides Association Single-Pitch Instructor, a Wilderness First Responder with the Wilderness Medicine Institute and has received extensive training in technical canyoneering with Intrepid Adventure Sports in canyoneering skills and rescue.  In 2010, a student and friend of his, U.S.M.C. Cpl. Max Donahue was killed in Afghanistan. After his death, Brian became determined to serve veterans in some capacity.  CanyonQuests for Vets is a result of this deep-seated determination. 


Derek Porter, Vice President

Derek Porter has over 15 years of experience in multiple facets of the security industry.  He passionately advocates for safety and security for people and their assets.  This passion has led him to create one of the best security services in Denver.  As a former special operations Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team (F.A.S.T) Marine, he has implemented cutting edge maximum security practices both as a Marine and as a private contractor operating over the course of two deployments to Iraq.

Derek's background in security services for the Denver area is truly impressive; he has worked in the executive protection world and has practiced security consulting for over a decade with industry specific consultation for the cannabis industry.  Derek has a B.S. in Business Management from California State University and a M.S. in Security Management (Summa Cum Laude) from The University of Denver.  Derek holds dozens of security certifications including being board certified by the American Board of Homeland Security and a Business Identity Theft certification from the Institute of Consumer Financial Education.  His level of experience has made him the perfect leader to manage security services for businesses in Denver.  

Derek has been involved in strategic partnerships since 2012 and Co-Owner and VP of Operations for CannaRabbit.  Derek is also the Co-Founder and COO of The War Writer's Campaign, Inc..  He wrote his first book to help fund The War Writer's Campaign called Conquering Mental Fatiques.  Derek is a tremendous advocate for veterans and prides himself on a commitment to hire U.S. veterans for his company. 


Mark Jason Velasco, Board Member

Mr. Mark Velasco specializes in a number of fields in business that makes him highly attractive to a variety of industries.  Since 1996 his primary field of interest has been in global sourcing for commodities, supply chain management, and supplier development and quality assurance, but also expanded into teaching undergraduate coursework in Business Operations at several local universities, as well as subcontracted for local non-profit organizations conducting HIV research for the Center for Disease Control.  Furthermore, Mr. Velasco has a specialized skillset in Negotiation and looks forward to completing his Master’s in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding in December of 2015.  Mr. Velasco received his first Master’s Degree in Supply Chain management from the University of San Diego. He continues to work in the field of small business manufacturing industry on both sides of the United States/Mexico international border.  In 2016, Mr. Velasco plans to diversify his career to start a company for global supply chain solutions, offer negotiation and mediation services, as well as continue to teach university level Business and Negotiations courses. Mr. Velasco is excited to be a part of CanyonQuests for Vets.  Service to others truly runs in the family.  His father was the Director of San Diego’s Chicano Federation’s HIV Research and Education Program and his mother was a social worker and advocate for the elderly.  He looks forward to the opportunity to research grants and funding opportunities. 


Patricia Hornbrook, Advisory Board Member

Patricia Hornbrook is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who is currently practicing in San Diego, California. She earned her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in 2007. Her undergraduate work included specialty training in addictive disorders and criminal justice. Patricia’s clinical experience includes the treatment of depression, addiction, trauma-related issues, PTSD, and a wide range of anxiety disorders. She has accumulated eight years of experience while working with individuals, families and couples. In her practice, she works with military veterans and their families, as well as a diverse patient population. As a specialty she has been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for the treatment of trauma. She has subsequently applied this therapy to help relieve the negative symptoms associated with various trauma experiences that individuals may experience. Being the daughter and wife of Navy veterans, she has gained personal insight into the daily struggles that veterans may commonly face. Patricia is passionate in her desire to help every individual she works with by supporting them in developing self-awareness and insight, and ultimately creating a balance between mind, body and spirit. When she is not helping others, Patricia enjoys traveling and spending time connecting with nature while trail hiking, biking, and exploring our precious mother earth.


Stacey Strong, Advisory Board Member

Stacey joins us with a M.S. in Psychology from Regis University.  She is currently working on her PhD in Forensic Psychology and maintains a grade point average of 4.0.  Stacey has spent over 15 years working in the field of protective services. During this time, she has served varying populations ranging from new born babies and their families, to the elderly community. Stacey works tirelessly to advocate, counsel, and empower her clients in times of need. She has committed herself to this calling and is passionate about serving others. She strongly supports Canyon Quest’s vision for Vets. 

Stacey states, “I have spent many hours working with and supporting veterans from all age groups.  What I have learned is every one of their experiences is diverse and each individual has something very important to convey.  The stories I get to listen to fascinate and intrigue me.  The strength, knowledge, courage, and many sacrifices veterans share with us is a gift.  In turn, CQV is a strong believer in giving gifts back to veterans.”

In her spare time, Stacey is busy raising two boys. She also enjoys the beauty of Colorado and all of the outdoor activities this state has to offer. Hiking, camping, skiing, and biking are just a few activities that Stacey enjoys, which is just one of the reasons Stacey has such a passion for CQV.