the foundational Board

Collie Turner, Founder


I love to garden and I founded Heroic Gardens to extend  my passion to support veterans and their families. 

Too many times, people that are most deserving of help don't have access to what they need or awareness of what they can do to help themselves.

My Grandfather was US Army SSgt in WWII. I remember, as a small child, spending hours in my Grandparent's vegetable garden in Somers Point, NJ. We were lucky, that garden was the size of a football field. I was too young to understand how and why my Grandfather spent hours there. 

He was healing.

Having grown up affiliated with the American Legion Auxiliary, and seeing how my Grandparents continued to give back to their community and the soldiers that served, I felt the call to continue their commitment and honor their legacy. 

I'm a candidate for a certification in Horticultural Therapy in 2020 through Temple University's Tyler School of Art Division of Architectural & Environmental Design.

Mark Leighton, Secretary


Not everyone can say they played with McEnroe and well.....neither can Mark.  

But being a father of 3 with a full-time career and an avid tennis player, Mark can say he works and plays as hard as McEnroe.  

In his life, he has been lucky enough to work for some great companies such as Merck, Campbell Soup Company, Pfizer, and Astra Zeneca.  But the best gig he ever landed was at Pointroll, a rich media technology company, where he was lucky enough to learn the ropes of the role by an amazing woman (who later became his wife) Carolyn.

When not hard at work, he spends most of his time with his kids, playing tennis, practicing lacrosse with his son, watching horseback riding competitions and running with (usually behind) his wife.  

He is also active in the community, as a volunteer Den Leader to the local cub scout pack and coaching soccer with Greater Chester Valley Soccer Association.

Rob Andrews, Treasurer


Rob Andrews is a retired financial executive that served in the US Navy.   

A Philadelphia native, Rob attended Gettysburg College where attained his bachelor degree in Business Administration.  

Rob began his business career at Philadelphia's Girard Bank in the Trust Department doing tax work and later in the employee benefit area. This work continued with Mellon Bank having merged with Girard Bank in the 80's.

He later attained the Certified Employee Benefit degree at the University of Pennsylvania, that led to various management positions in that area.   

In retirement, Rob also contributed part time financial work for a boat repair company and a small radio station in Chestertown, Maryland. 

For the last 10 years, Rob has volunteered with the AARP Tax Program to help seniors with tax returns.  

Rob is an avid golfer, skier and  Philadelphia sports fan. He lives in Naples, FL with his lovely wife Marion.

Dawn Heefner


" My first gardening memory is as a 3 or 4 year-old, in our tiny back yard in Lancaster, PA, fascinated with 4 O'Clocks, those marvelous flowers which don't open till late afternoon. 

Later, growing up in farm country there, I helped tend our veggie garden, and hung out on classmates' farms. 

Now, garden life is about coaxing veggies and ornamentals to thrive despite shade - and deer."

By day, Dawn is a TV news producer for the ABC-owned station in Philadelphia, specializing in health & medical stories. 

"Before you can tell a good story, you have to listen, inquire, analyze, and empathize."

Dawn has also always dabbled in textiles, color, and design, now as a quilt maker and quilt historian. Dawn is a former board member of American Quilt Study Group and she is a nationally certified appraiser, lecturer, participant in documentation projects, and authorship.     

"It's much like forensic detective work. Through it, one appreciates community, the anonymous contributions of women, and how much textiles shaped America." 

She is also daughter of a WWII submariner from the Pacific Theater. 

Rick Sabol


Growing up in a small town south of Pittsburgh, it was important to go decorate the graves every Memorial Day.  But I never really got into gardening until later in life.  

Finding Heroic Gardens has been a wish of mine to give back to the Vets.  I’ve always wanted to do more than saying “Thank you for your service.”  

What a better way to help Veterans find peace and tranquility through gardening?

I have an extensive background in Technical Sales / Marketing and Senior Executive Management having spent the last 30 years in Metals, Advanced Ceramics, Glass and Thermal Systems.

 I currently provide Technical Procurement, Distribution and Consultation through my company SGG Industrial.

I’m hoping my background can help grow Heroic Gardens into an organization that can help Veterans and their Families overcome the challenges of PTSD, finding civilian employment, and just acceptance back into society.

Gene Miller


Gene is the global lead for multi-channel marketing at Acelity in San Antonio, TX, an advanced wound therapy medical device company.

Gene is a family man first. His passion for understanding the needs and challenges of patients and caregivers as the centerpiece of his strategic approach has helped drive meaningful experiences, attempting to satisfy all who are involved.

Born and raised in the fledgling world of digital communication, his first foray was running a dial-up bulletin board system on a TRS-80 Color Computer when he was a teenager in Columbus, Ohio.  

He is also proud to have designed, developed and launched one of the only 18,000 websites in 1995 for an international airport.    

At the University of Cincinnati, Gene's biggest accomplishment wasn't studying Real Estate and Finance, but falling in love with his wife Caroline.

Tara Moughan


Tara Moughan has launched and sold two companies over the last 20 years. 

The first, Rea Designs, an event production company with event highlights including the 1997 Academy Awards, 2002 Schwan's 50th Anniversary Celebration, 2002-2007 Macy's Fash Bash/Glamorama, 2005 Super Bowl XXXIX, 2004/2008 Republican Convention and the 2008 Spam Museum Opening. 

The second, Toast Productions, a marketing firm specializing in luxury retail brands including clients such as Wolf, SubZero, Valcucine, Maserati, American Express, Medtronic, Target, General Mills and Ketel One. 

Under this umbrella she also developed multiple consumer events including; Sample Circuit, Last Chef Standing and The Affair, which operated in (12) US Markets.  

Tara earned a BA in Applied Design from the University of MN and an MBA from the Carlson School of Management at the University of MN. 

She is currently a marketing consultant, specializing in small to midsize & non-profit companies; focused in the events, arts, luxury & gourmet living markets. 

Tara is a founding board member of The FAF Coalition; a creative placemaking organization. And now, combining her passions of gardening & community development, she is a board member for Heroic Gardens.

Joseph DiGiovanni


Joe DiGiovanni is an entrepreneur passionate about giving back and fostering community health through collective impact. 

Joe is the Co-Founder and Chief Ideation Officer of Tapp Networks, LLC, a global marketing and technology firm focused on supporting nonprofits and purpose-driven organizations.  

Joe is also the founder of the Nicaragua Yoga Institute. A wellness retreat center in San Juan Del Sur which trains over 200 people a year in Yoga and Mindfulness.   

Joe graduated from the University of DE with a degree in Biology and has been on the pioneering frontlines in innovation from the early stage clinical trials of PCR and DNA testing at Roche Biomedical to International Sales Manager at the first Search Engine to go public, Lycos.  

Joe was also the COO of LLuminari, Inc, whose assets Joe help to grow and sell to WPP and Harpo, where he led the marketing and development of Oprah's Health Portal and Wellness Tours with Dr Oz.

 Joe currently supports veterans as an advisor to the Jefferson Awards and Sam Beard's GIFT Foundation, supporting veterans through mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR). 

Joe enjoys spending time at the Jersey Shore with his daughter and family and catching a few waves.