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Ready to Serve Once Again: Retired Colonel Selected to Lead as Board Chairman for STEP

30 years after commissioning, John Farnam, Col, USMC (Ret.) reconfirms his mission to protect and serve as Board Chairman for STEP, a local nonprofit that supports military and veteran families in financial crisis.

San Diego, CA – Support The Enlisted Project (STEP), a local nonprofit that provides financial counseling and financial assistance grants for service members and veterans in crisis, announced the appointment of John Farnam, Col, USMC (Ret.) as Board Chairman for the second year. John served 26 years in the United States Marine Corps as a Weapons and Sensors Officer flying the FA-18D and has been on the board since 2015.

“In this time of uncertainty, I am proud to honor our service members. I am humbled by STEP’s commitment to help our service members in crisis to ensure that each of our men and women are mission ready. STEP has served 5,600 military families and provided more than $2.1 million in grants and I know this is just the beginning. Together, we will continue to aid our national heroes with the utmost integrity and care,” shared Farnam, Board Chairman of STEP.

John’s passion for the military community stems from his own experience in the US Marine Corps. During his career, he flew almost 4,000 flight hours which included combat tours in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq. John served as an FA-18 Weapons School Instructor, an FA-18D Squadron Commanding Officer and as the Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. He completed two tours at the Pentagon, the first on the Marine Corps Aviation Staff as the FA-18 Requirements Officer and the second for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs focused on U.S. Military Global Posture.

Following his Marine Corps Career, John transitioned to the biotech sector as the Vice President of Operations for Celegene Receptos in San Diego for three years. He then moved to Kura Oncology as the Chief Operating Officer. In 2019, John founded the Foundational Leadership Team to provide biotech and drug development companies both operational and leadership expertise and advice. John recently was named Chief Operating Officer for the KAB Medical Group providing comprehensive mental health services to San Diego and our local military community.

“I congratulate John on his appointment. STEP is deeply honored to have him on our team once again. We are highly confident that under John’s leadership, STEP will continue to grow and make genuine impact on our military families,” said Tony Teravainen, STEP’s CEO & Co-Founder. “COVID-19 has financially and emotionally burdened our service members and veterans. We are experiencing the largest increase in demand for services since our founding. This is a time for action and adjusting to the needs of our community. We know John is up for the task.”

About Support The Enlisted Project (STEP)

9 in 10 service members are in debt. Financial hardship and food insecurity is on the rise among military and veteran families, impacting mission readiness as well as health, safety, and quality of life for our nation’s heroes. STEP’s mission is to promote financial well-being. Their professional Social Workers, who are Certified Personal Finance Counselors, provide counseling, education, and financial assistance grants in order to build financial self-sufficiency. Since 2012, STEP has assisted more than 5,600 military and veteran families, including preventing 510 in-process evictions. To learn more and get involved, please visit


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