About Reel American Heroes Foundation

The Reel American Heroes Foundation is a 100% volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation that works with both military hospitals and military bases to provide recreational therapy to our nation’s wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Disabled and Combat Veterans.

Leadership Team

Ashley Gardner

Chief Executive Officer

Ashley Gardner is Ron’s daughter. You might recognize her from the registration table at our annual event. Since Ron first started the foundation, she has taken on a behind-the-scenes, administrative role within RAHF. She was recently given the opportunity to join the board as the new Executive Director and jumped at the chance.

Chris Gardner Jr.

Chief Operations Officer

Chris is a native of Stafford County, VA, home of the Annual Reel American Heroes Fishing Tournament. He is a graduate of North Stafford High School (2005) and has always had a strong interest in sports and the outdoors. He grew up fishing on Aquia Creek with his brother and his best friend and is no stranger to the waters here.

Ronald R. DeFreitas

Founder & Chief Financial Officer

Originally from Massachusetts, Ron moved with his family to the Northern Virginia area in 1992, due to a job relocation. He has been employed in the Information Technology Field most of his working career, holding positions as a System Engineer, Director of Information Technology and System Administration.

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Leslie Van Horn


Leslie Van Horn is a resident of Woodbridge, Virginia and has been volunteering with RAHF for the last two years, assisting with planning, logistics, and registration. In addition to her new role within RAHF, she successfully runs two businesses, is a volunteer firefighter/EMT, serves on the local fire department Board of Directors, and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children

Jay Nicely


Jay has been a resident of Stafford County, Virginia since 1994. He is an avid outdoorsman, and enjoys bass fishing in Virginia and often spends his weekends trout fishing or hunting in West Virginia. Jay is a graduate of Mountain View High School (2007) in Stafford.

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