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Rusty E. Mardis, MA

Rusty E. Mardis, MA USAF Retired, OEF Veteran

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Rusty E. Mardis, MA, USAF Retired, OEF Veteran  

Kentucky Colonel Rusty Mardis spent 24 years of Active Duty Service in the United States Air Force retiring in 2014.  During his service he spent 12 years as an enlisted member where he was in the medical career field.  In 2001, right before 9/11 occurred he was chosen to go to Officer Training School where he graduated as a second lieutenant.  He has been to numerous places around the world to include California, Montana, Alabama and oversees locations of Portugal, Italy, Germany, and Afghanistan.  He has many medals to include the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters), and Combat Readiness Medal.  He currently works for Northern Kentucky University in charge of their Veteran’s Resource Station, and the Founder & Chair of the Northern Kentucky (NKY) Military-Veteran Coalition.

In addition, Rusty is a past Commander of the American Legion Post 275 in Independence Kentucky.  He has served as a Post Service Officer, Founder and Director of the Moon Riders (motorcycle group).  He started the Independence Veterans Office (IVO) to service veteran needs with the Department of Veteran Affairs.  Co-founded the Veterans of Independence Program (VIP), developed the Independence Ball, launched the Operation Honor Program “Independence Salutes,” and spearheaded the placement of the Department of Kentucky Veteran Affairs office in Independence. In 2016 Rusty was awarded the American Legion Gold Americanism Medal as the Independence Veteran of the Year.  

Rusty created the Veteran Liaison Journey and the Five Points of Success coaching, Commitment, Relationship Building, Mentorship and Follow-up.  All five points are essential to building confidence, developing an ongoing relationship and establishing trust in each other to ensure the mission is accomplishment.  He wrote the Vet 3.0 Resource Guide to provide a full spectrum of operations in Job Readiness.  Co-designed, and wrote the organizations webpage, orchestrated the operational requirements for Salesforce, and formed a complete operational training plan from scratch.

  As the co-founder and Chair of the NKY Military-Veteran Coalition (previously the NKY Veteran Project), Rusty has orchestrated organizational support from seven to over sixty companies.  He procured the agreement with Northern Kentucky University’s (NKU) Masters of Public Administrations Capstone Course to conduct the first-ever NKY Military-Veteran Needs & Barriers Assessment. He oversaw the group’s first ever networking event where over 1,000 patrons participated, coordinated and designed the Resource Portal & United Way 2-1-1 reference card. Rusty started and won a “Blue Chip Award” for his veteran resource show being aired on two public access channels and YouTube called “Veterans in Bars Getting Bourbon.” Finally, he has briefed over 100 government and business leaders on the groups continued passion to support our local military, veterans, and their families.

Rusty is married to retired Air Force MSgt Amy Mardis for 29 years, and they have two children (Alex & Alisa).  Rusty enjoys writing his blog, giving motivational and call-to-action speeches, teaching, DJing, bowling, spending time with his family and working out. He is absolutely passionate about serving others where he works tirelessly to build a community based network and an advocate for our military, veterans and their families.