Our board members


Collie Turner, Founder

Mark Leighton, Secretary

Collie Turner, Founder

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

In today's world, it seems that the people that are most deserving of help don't have access to what they need, or even are aware of what they can do to help themselves.

My Grandfather was a 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.

My mother also spent hours in her garden. Growing up, I remember her  starting with very manicured designs. Over time, she transformed her spaces in to more natural and organic landscapes. My mother was a conservationist that fought land developers in an effort to preserve nature and I know she was not alone in that fight...

I'm a candidate for a certificate in Horticultural Therapy in 2021 through Temple University's Tyler School of Art Division of Architectural & Environmental Design.

I never thought I would follow the footsteps of my family in this way, but I am proud to have this important connection to them.


Dawn Heefner

Mark Leighton, Secretary

Collie Turner, Founder

" 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. 


Mark Leighton, Secretary

Mark Leighton, Secretary

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.


Timothy Duffy Jr. , CPA, Treasurer

Timothy Duffy Jr. , CPA, Treasurer

Timothy Duffy Jr. , CPA, Treasurer

Tim Duffy is a principal at Friedman LLP, where he specializes in serving clients across a broad range of industries spanning construction, staffing, engineering, munitions and government services, among others. 

Tim leverages more than 15 years of experience in accounting, including stints working at two industry-leading “Big 4” accounting firms and roughly a decade in-house at a diversified construction and engineering company. 

He brings a unique perspective to each engagement, having worked at both large accounting firms and as an in-house resource on the client side. In addition to the preparation and review of tax forms, financial statements and reports, 

Tim is well-versed in the best practices relating to compliance, audits and overall reporting.


Tara Moughan

Timothy Duffy Jr. , CPA, Treasurer

Timothy Duffy Jr. , CPA, Treasurer

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 has joined the board of Heroic Gardens.


Gene Miller, Technology

Timothy Duffy Jr. , CPA, Treasurer

Gene Miller, Technology

What are my inspirations?

My mom has been my inspiration when it comes to gardening (and so many other topics!). She could grow anything with her magical "green thumb" and proceeded to do just that, creating amazing spaces with vegetables and plants as far as the eye could see at home.

My dad has a passion for urban planning, commercial development, and home design. As a veteran returning from his assignment in Korea during the Vietnam War, he developed urban spaces in Columbus, Ohio, leading the City's development department, paving the way for thousands of residents to enjoy these outdoor spaces. He also designed and built our childhood home, complimenting my mother's passion for meaningful outdoor spaces. My whole world view about serving our neighbors started with my dad's passion for internal and external design.

I first learned about the struggles of our veterans when my uncle, who was an MP during the Vietnam War, would tell me snippets of stories about his experiences. His story, struggles, and life accomplishments, in the face of many health-related issues, were a big driver for my involvement in helping veterans, as he eventually paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country with his passing.

I learned that it is possible to do more with less while living in London with my family. It was always a pleasure to visit friends with much smaller gardens spaces than one has in the US and to see the innovation and love built into these small spaces. It changed my perspective on creating meaningful outdoor experiences with limited space and budget.

My top three favorite garden spaces are Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kew Gardens in Richmond, United Kingdom, and the Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio, Texas.

Gene is the head of digital marketing at Victory Capital, a global investment management firm in San Antonio, Texas.


Jason Romero

Paul S. Peters III, Esquire

Paul Kawoczka

I’m Philadelphia born and raised and currently work for the city. Through my professional carrier I encountered Heroic Gardens. 

I didn’t have much experience with gardening until I met Collie but like fate she set me on a new path. In the time I’ve known her I’ve accomplished and learned so much. 

I’ve removed large swathes of bamboo, ripped two trees out of the ground with my hands, and built a patio but the most important part of all of this has been giving back to the veteran community. 

Being a veteran myself, I feel passionate about taking care of my fellow veterans and doing what I can to improve their quality of life. 

After having participated in several projects and volunteer events I gladly accepted a position on the Board when offered. For me, this is the next step to take on more responsibilities and give back to the veteran community in new ways.

 I’ve always been willing and able to adjust, adapt, and overcome any obstacle in front of me and I look forward to serving as a Board Member of Heroic Gardens.


Paul Kawoczka

Paul S. Peters III, Esquire

Paul Kawoczka


Paul S. Peters III, Esquire

Paul S. Peters III, Esquire

Paul S. Peters III, Esquire

Paul S. Peters III, Esquire is the owner of 

The Peters Firm, PLLC.  

He concentrates his law practice in the areas of  Bankruptcy & Debtor’s Rights, Criminal Defense, Family Law, Employment Law, Estate Planning, and Business Law.  

The Peters Firm, PLLC has locations in Elkins Park, Philadelphia, and Norristown.  

Paul grew up in the Lawndale section of Northeast Philadelphia.  He attended school in the Philadelphia Public School system and was educated at Crossan Elementary, Wilson Middle, and Northeast High.  

After graduating from Northeast High School, he received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Albright College in 1998, and his law degree from 

Widener University School of Law in 2001.

Immediately following law school, Paul opened his own law practice in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.  There, he served clients in and around Philadelphia in areas of law including criminal defense, bankruptcy, 

family law, and personal injury.  

After 13 successful years of practice, Paul decided to take a sabbatical from the law to teach and coach.  Paul spent 5 years teaching business and law classes, coaching track and cross country, and serving as the Human Resources Director and General Counsel at Nazareth Academy High School in Philadelphia.  

Paul continues to serve as an adjunct professor in the Schools of Criminal Justice and Business Administration at Holy Family University.  Paul has taught courses in Introduction to Criminal Justice, Ethics in Criminal Justice (Undergraduate and Graduate), Race & Crime, Juvenile Justice Courses, Criminal Law, Court Procedures and Policies, Labor Law, Legal Issues in  Sports, and Business Law.

While Paul found his work as a teacher and coach to be incredibly rewarding, he missed practicing the law and helping clients.  In March of 2018, Paul returned to the legal profession.  Paul prides himself as an attorney who is highly skilled in the areas in which he practices, and one who assists his clients with care and without judgment, and with a desire to help them navigate some of

 life’s most difficult circumstances.  

It is the compassion, patience, and understanding Paul shows his clients that be believes distinguishes 

him from other attorneys.

Paul has been a dedicated and avid runner for most of his life.  He was a four-year varsity runner on Northeast High School’s Cross Country and Track Teams, where he experienced great success and learned to love and embrace the sport of running. 

 He continued his running career at Albright College participating in the college’s cross country and track teams.  After college and law school, Paul developed an interest in running marathons and ultra-marathons. 

 His first marathon was the Pittsburgh Marathon, and he went on to run the Philadelphia Marathon multiple times, the Boston Marathon twice, and marathons in Miami, Baltimore, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington D.C.  Paul has also competed in 50- mile, 100- mile, 24- hour, and 12- hour races.  The highlight of Paul’s running career was the 200-mile Ragnar Relay that he did with 5 friends in 2011. 


Most recently, Paul did a 12-Hour treadmill run on Giving Tuesday, November 27, 2018, to 

raise money for scholarships at 

Manor College in Jenkintown, PA.

Paul has played guitar since middle school and plays duets with his daughter on the violin at her music school once or twice a year.

Paul is an avid reader and is always

 reading one book and listening to one

 book at the same time all year.

Paul lives in Elkins Park with his wife Heather and daughter Hsin-Hua.  Paul and his wife met the first weekend of college and have been together for 24 years.  Heather is the VP of Human Resources for Allan Myers, a heavy civil construction company based in Worcester, PA.  Their daughter Hsin-Hua is 11 years old and in the 5th grade at Germantown Friends School.The family also has 4 cats, 

and 6 backyard chickens.