Gary J. Bartels, Jr. – Founder, Executive Director, Chairman of the Board

1-9-2006 Salman al Juburi mission 27

Gary graduated from Kountze High School and then completed his Undergraduate degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelors of Science in Systems Engineering where he was also a member of the Army Football Varsity Team.  Following graduation from West Point, he served as an Infantry Rifle Platoon Leader and Rifle Company Executive Officer in the 101st Airborne Division, 3rd and 1st Battalions, 502nd Infantry Regiment and completed the first of two combat tours to Iraq.  Upon returning from combat, Gary was reassigned to Fort Drum, NY as a member of the 174th Infantry Brigade, where he served as a Team Chief, Observer-Controller/Trainer, and Special Assistant to Iraq’s 3rd Public Order Brigade in Baghdad, Iraq and completed the second of his two combat tours.  Gary completed his military service on May 31, 2010, and for his eight years of service in the Army, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment, and an Honorable Discharge.  Gary also serves as the Secretary for his West Point Class and enjoys spending time with his family, hunting and supporting those that benefit from OATH, Inc.  Gary leans very heavily on his faith to guide his daily activities. 

Mark Smith – Legal Director, Board Member

Images supplied for HCEC Brochure for EMS Week 2012

Mark graduated from Pearland High School and then completed his Undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University where he earned his B.A. in English and Journalism.  He also graduated from the University of Houston Law Center with his Juris Doctorate and from Texas A&M University with his M.B.A.  He also holds the certification of Senior Professional in Human Resources.  Mark is a member of the Board of Directors for Harris County Emergency Corps (a 911 EMS agency).  He is also co-owner of OlsonSmith Solutions, LLC, an emerging IT staffing and consulting firm.  In 2004, Mark formed his own law firm in the Pearland area where he practices primarily in civil litigation, family law, corporate law, government law, and employment law.  In addition to supporting our veterans through his efforts with OATH, Inc., Mark is a sports and fitness enthusiast, having participated in several races including the Tough Mudder.

John Knox – Financial Director, Board Member


John graduated from Dulles High School and then completed his undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University where he earned his B.A. in Business Administration and Accounting.  He is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas and has practiced public accounting for nearly 30 years.   He is the managing partner of Sandersen Knox & Co., LLP, a full-service CPA firm in Sugar Land, Texas.  John has been a member of the Board of Directors of Sienna Plantation Management District for 7 years and has served on numerous non-profit boards supporting youth sports.  He is a life member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and has volunteered many hours in support of youth and education.  John, his wife and four incredible kids love the outdoors and enjoy hunting and fishing as a family.  John is eager to support the Veterans of OATH !

Regina Bartels – Secretary, Board Member


Regina graduated from Cornwall Central High School in Cornwall, NY and then completed her Undergraduate degree at State University of New York where she earned her B.A. in Elementary Education.  Regina currently works as a Language Arts Instructional Coach for the Katy Independent School District.  As she is considered a vital part of the Katy ISD leadership, she has been hand selected to attend Columbia University’s Teacher’s College for three consecutive years.  As a wife of a Disabled Veteran, Regina is passionate about supporting veterans and their families as they transition after military service.  Outside of work and OATH, Inc., Regina is passionate about her three small children and enjoys scrapbooking and reading.