Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
California Veterans Board Biographies

Dr. Carla J Thornton, Chair

Member since 2016

Dr. Carla J. Thornton, 37, of Moreno Valley, has served as a veterans service coordinator for Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California since 2016. Previously, Thornton served as associate director of development at the University of California, Riverside beginning in 2014. She also served as a victim advocate for the U.S. Air Force Reserve since 2007 and logistics manager for the U.S. Air Force since 1997. She was fund development coordinator at Human Options from 2012 to 2014 and combined federal campaign fund manager for the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 2009 to 2011. Thornton serves in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and served active duty from 1997 to 2008. She earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California School of Social Work and a master's degree in management from the University of Redlands.

Hugh E. Crooks Jr., Vice Chair

Member since 2014

Hugh E. Crooks Jr., of Los Angeles, serves as the California Veterans Board's Vice-Chair. Crooks was an operations manager at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Human Resource Division from 2000 to 2005 and at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum from 1994 to 2000. He held multiple positions at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County from 1971 to 2000, including operations manager and safety police chief. Crooks was booking clerk at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department from 1969 to 1971 and served as a rifleman in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was state commander of the American Legion from 2011 to 2012.


Todd Trotter

Member since 2015

Todd Trotter, of Sacramento, was appointed to the California Veterans Board Chair in 2015. He has been national senior director at Kaiser Permanente since 2013, where he has held several positions since 2002, including human resources leader, Northern California director of labor relations and human resource business partner. Trotter served as a letter carrier and labor relations representative at the U.S. Postal Service from 1992 to 2002 and served in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1991. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.  He is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

Charlene Taylor, RN, MSN, NEA-BC

Member since 2012

Charlene Taylor joined Kaiser Permanente in 1997 as the Director of Specialty Services for The Permanente Medical Group at South Sacramento. In 2002 Charlene became the Service Director for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals responsible for Perioperative and Perinatal Services at South Sacramento. She was promoted to Chief Nursing Officer at the Sacramento Medical Center in 2008, and promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2010. Charlene retired from Kaiser Permanente in 2013.

Charlene is a Diploma Nurse graduate from the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing. She continued her education receiving her Bachelors of Science in Nursing graduating from the University of the State of New York in Albany New York. Her Masters Degree in Nursing Administration is from the University of California, San Francisco.

Charlene was commissioned as a Captain in the United States Air Force (Reserve Command) in October 1993, earning her flight nurse wings in 1994. She subsequently was selected to be a flight nurse instructor followed by a promotion to evaluator status. Her last squadron assignment was that of Chief Nurse.

In addition to years of experience conducting aeromedical evacuation missions throughout the world, Charlene was activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from March 2003 - March 2004. In January 2005, Charlene was selected to be the Chief Nurse of the 379th Expeditionary Aeromedical Squadron in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While transporting the injured out of Mosul, Iraq in a C

-130, the aircraft took enemy fire landing without casualties. Charlene is the recipient of two Meritorious Service medals, Expert Marksmanship (2) and multiple other medals.

Due to the demands of her civilian position, Charlene transferred to inactive status in the Air Force Reserve Command in 2008.  She is a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

Juan Gonzalez

Member since 2015

Juan Gonzalez, of Lancaster, is an active member of the California Veterans Board. Gonzalez was a design engineer at Eaton Corporation from 1987 to 1995 and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1960 to 1968. He is the "resident member" on the board living at the California Veteran Home in Lancaster.





John W. Busterud

Member since 2017

John Busterud, of Belvedere, has recently been appointed to the California Veterans Board. Busterud was managing counsel and senior director for environment and real estate at Pacific Gas and Electric Company from 1985 to 2016. At PG&E, he was also a founding director and counsel to the company’s Veterans Employee Resource Group, an organization with over 1,000 members. Busterud is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with multiple Combined, Joint and Interagency assignments, including deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Combined Forces Command on the Korean Peninsula. His decorations include: the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and Parachutist’s Badge. Busterud received his Juris Doctor from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Busterud is a member of the American Legion.




Content Page General

California Veterans Board Biographies