Amy Uptgraft– Playwright, Actor, Founder and Director of The Veteran’s Spouse Project
Amy is the founder and artistic director of The Veteran’s Spouse Project and co-playwright of the play, I Will Wait. Amy grew up in Woodburn, Indiana and received her BA in theater performance from Purdue University. She spent several years as a working actor in New York City, where she had the opportunity to act on the stage at the Public Theater in their renowned Shakespeare program, the Shakespeare Lab. She has performed in numerous productions, including: Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Miranda in The Tempest, Brooke in Noises Off, Susie in W;t, Adam in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), and Vladimir in an all-female production of Waiting for Godot. She ran a children’s theatre in Killeen, TX where she taught hundreds of students and directed shows like Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Winnie the Pooh. She has also taught and directed at Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for KidStage in Denver, Colorado and at the Alaska Fine Arts Academy in Eagle River, Alaska.
Amy is a proud military spouse of 20 years. Her husband, LTC Jamie Uptgraft is the Chief of Tactics for the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, GA where Amy is actively involved in various Army volunteer organizations. She and Jamie have four children.
Wendy Caldwell– National Certified Counselor, BFA, M.Ed., NCC, Expressive Arts Director of the Veteran’s Spouse Project.
Wendy holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Masters of Education in Counseling from the University of Maryland. She is the recipient of a Creative Arts Therapy Merit Scholarship and National Military Family Association Spouse Scholarship, has studied Creative Arts Therapy with Pratt Institute, and is part of the current residential program cohort at the Person Centered Expressive Arts Therapy Institute in CA. Wendy is a licensed School Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She has worked in a variety of school systems and military transition services, and currently works as a Mental Health Therapist at Providence Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska, all the while keeping up with jewelry and three-dimensional design work through her personal metals business, Homefront Metalworks. She is currently working toward her License as a REAT, Registered Expressive Arts Therapist.
Wendy has been married to MAJ Christopher Caldwell for 16 years. He is currently the Army Optometrist at JBER, AK. He deployed to Iraq in 2003 as the Commander of Headquarters Detachment,205th MI Brigade; Wendy served as the Family Readiness Group Leader for the Detachment and was subsequently awarded the V Corps Heart of Victory and the Patriotic Civilian Service medal for her contributions to the military community in Wiesbaden, Germany. Wendy and Chris have 2 children.
Lea Johnson–owner and CEO of Sliger Holdings, LLC, certified elementary educator, Managing Director of the Veteran’s Spouse Project.
Lea hold a Masters of Science degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville in elementary education with a specialization in Literacy. She has taught in classrooms in both Florida and North Carolina. Lea is the CEO of Sliger Holdings, LLC which a real estate holding company in Port Orange, FL. She recently sold her shares in Sliger and Associates, Inc after being an owner and Board member for over 20 years. She is also the founder of the non-profit, Let it Shine Celebrations, based out of Fayetteville, NC. Let It Shine provides birthday parties to families experiencing homelessness in the Fayetteville community.
Lea is a tireless volunteer within her military communities and has served in helping organizations like the Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville, NC as well as sitting on the advisory board for Elite Magazine, a local Fayetteville magazine that highlighted military interests. Lea and her family were named the Fort Bragg Family of the Year in 2014, thanks in part to her efforts helping military families. Lea has been married to LTC Rick Johnson for the last 13 years and has stood by his side for five deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. LTC Johnson is the commander of 2-377 PFAR and is currently deployed to Afghanistan in service to his country. Lea and Rick have three children.