Legacy Military Reunion with a Gold wreath between Military Reunions. Est 2023 written under the wreath
Honoring your legacy

Legacy’s Leadership Team

Benjamin (Ben) Liotta

 

CEO and President, Board of Legacy Military Reunions

Robert Shumate 

Chairman of the Board and Secretary of Legacy Military Reunions

Douglas (Doug) Hayenga 

Treasurer, Board of Legacy Military Reunions

Benjamin Liotta – CEO and President, Board of Legacy Military Reunions

Born and raised in New York, Benjamin Liotta joined the Navy as a Fleet Marine Force Corpsman in 2002 following the attacks on 9/11. During his service, he deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. For his exemplary service, Benjamin was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, both with combat valor distinguishing devices.

After leaving the Navy, Benjamin attended San Diego State University, where he studied Psychology and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Post-college, he became involved in activism and nonprofit work, contributing to organizations such as the San Diego Food Coalition and the Bancroft Center for Sustainability.

Through his studies and personal experiences with PTSD and TBI, Benjamin has learned the vital importance of community. In planning reunions, Benjamin and Robert discovered that reuniting with those who shared your toughest times can be some of the most powerful medicine. These reunions transformed their unit from brothers who served in combat together into a supportive community that can lean on each other and help each other grow while facing post-war challenges. This realization led to the creation of Legacy Military Reunions, born out of a deep understanding that veterans need to foster and nurture community. This is how we combat the 22-a-day tragedy and recognize when a brother is struggling. As CEO and President of the Board, Benjamin is dedicated to fostering a strong community of support and brotherhood among veterans.

Robert Shumate – Chairman of the Board and Secretary of Legacy Military Reunions

Robert Shumate grew up in Northeast Texas, just outside of Texarkana, where he currently resides. In 2001, prior to the attacks on 9/11, Robert joined the Marine Corps shortly after high school. As a decorated combat veteran, he served two combat deployments in Iraq. His first deployment was in 2003 during the initial invasion as a radio operator. He returned to Iraq in 2004, serving in Fallujah as a squad leader, where he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with combat valor distinguishing device and was combat meritoriously promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Robert continued his service in the Marine Corps Reserves, where he was later promoted to Staff Sergeant.

After leaving active duty, Robert pursued higher education at Texas A&M University-Texarkana, where he studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. During his time there, he founded the school’s Student Veterans Association in 2010, serving as its President. He also organized a community-wide event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Currently, Robert is a Project Manager in the sports industry, collaborating with numerous professional teams and Division I schools nationwide. His extensive experience in organizing his unit’s reunions inspired him to co-found Legacy Military Reunions with Benjamin and Doug, where he continues to dedicate his efforts to bringing veterans together.

Doug Hayenga – Treasurer, Board of Legacy Military Reunions 

Doug Hayenga grew up in St. Cloud, MN, where he graduated from Tech High School. Before 9/11, Doug joined the United States Marine Corps and served from August 2001 to December 2006. During his service, he completed two combat tours in Iraq. On his second tour in Fallujah in 2004, while serving as an infantry Team Leader with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, he was severely injured and was subsequently medically retired after recovering from his wounds.

After his military service, Doug earned a degree in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Grand Canyon University. He currently serves as a Deputy Training Officer for the Navy.

Doug resides in Virginia Beach, VA, with his wife, Dinora, a retired Navy veteran, and their two daughters. He is passionate about helping veterans come together to form a community of support and brotherhood, which led him to co-found Legacy Military Reunions.