Leadership of the Friends of Project RENEW, Inc.

Board of Directors

Robert H. Frank, CPA, CGMA

Bob Frank has focused his professional career on the representation of tax-exempt organizations. He has written many articles in the areas of tax-exempt organizations, tax law and charitable contributions. He has also co-authored numerous publications concerning the tax and accounting issues of tax-exempt organizations. Bob has been a frequent lecturer to States Societies of Certified Public Accountants for their CPE programs in both tax and accounting subjects. He also serves as a member of various local and national not-for-profit organization’s board of directors.

Bob earned his B.S., B.A. degree in Business Administration at Louisiana State University and a Master of Accountancy and Taxation at Texas Tech University.

Charles Mathes (Chuck) Searcy

Chuck Searcy is International Advisor for Project RENEW, a partnership between Quang Tri Province and international NGOs. 

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Chuck served in the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion in Saigon from June 1967 to June 1968.  Chuck has represented three American veteran organizations in Viet Nam since 1995, including Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF), Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), and Veterans for Peace (VFP).

Chuck co-founded and was the publisher and editor of the Athens (Georgia) Observer. Later, he was press secretary for U.S. Senator Wyche Fowler (D-GA) of Georgia.  From 1989 to 1994 Searcy was executive director of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a professional membership organization of 3,000 attorneys. Chuck has lived in Hanoi, Vietnam since 1994 and was awarded the National Friendship Medal of the State of Vietnam, the highest honor for foreigners who have served the country. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a B.A. in political science.

Sarah J. Benson

Sarah Benson is an educator and longtime justice and peace activist.  Her global perspective is informed by extensive travel and life in Asia. 

Sally holds masters’ degrees in education and theological studies majoring in social and political ethics.  In addition to U.S. public school teaching, she has taught English at the Tai Tung Middle School in Hong Kong. Joining International Voluntary Service (IVS) in Vietnam, she taught English at the National Institute for Administration in Saigon 1967 – 1968.  Sally met her husband Steve Nichols as a fellow IVS volunteer in Vietnam. Today they manage a small family foundation that supports work addressing war legacy issues and the Mine Risk Education program of Project RENEW.

David Wells

David Wells has been involved with RENEW as an adviser and donor for over 10 years, and in 1969-70 served as a U.S. Army adviser to Vietnamese infantry near Phan Thiet in Binh Thuan Province. He was an early supporter of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which later helped create RENEW.  

Prior to retirement, he was a partner in the London office of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, an international law firm, for over 20 years and worked on a wide range of international transactions in Europe and Asia. These included representing the UK government or the underwriters on many privatizations, including those of British Airways, BP, Statoil, British Telecom, and the UK power companies as well as advising corporate clients such as ICI and Reliance Industries in India.  David is also a director of the American Friends of Royal Museums Greenwich in London. 

David holds an A.B. (history) from Harvard and a J.D. (law degree) from Georgetown University Law School. He is a member of the N.Y. State Bar Association.

Jerry M. Ray

Jerry Ray has held senior positions in corporate, political, and government organizations, developing and implementing complex business, public affairs, and crisis communications plans for over 30 years.

He is president and CEO of Synchrony, LLC, a management consulting firm focused on constituent networks, strategic communications and public debate management. His primary work for the last decade has been for the American unit of Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Français (SNCF), the French National Railway. For 12 years previously, Jerry served as senior vice president for external affairs at The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE). He was a founder of Powell Tate, the highly regarded Washington public affairs firm,

Earlier Jerry served as press secretary to U.S. Senator Howell Heflin, (D-AL). He holds an undergraduate degree in communications from Auburn University and a graduate degree in mass communications from the University of Alabama.

Louis Andre

Louis Andre retired in 2007 from a 30-year career with the US Department of Defense as a member of the Senior Executive Service.  Since then, he has worked in the private sector as a Business Strategist, Chief Operating Officer, Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer for several notable companies.

Louis is also a veteran who in 1969-70 served as a member of an Army Special Forces A-Team located at Mai Loc in Quang Tri Province, not far from RENEW’s headquarters in Dong Ha.