PSBCI Founders

Palmetto State Base Camp, Inc. was founded by two Vietnam veterans, Owens and Miles, and two Dessert Storm veterans, Hanson and Johnson. The two Vietnam veterans are now deceased, while Hanson is the current PSBCI president and Johnson is the President at large.


John “Jay” Johnson is a retired South Carolina Air National Guard F-16 Combat Fighter Pilot who has served extensively throughout the Middle East. During periods of War, Jay has volunteered to serve in nearly every military operation from August 1990 through 2004. He became involved with the founding of Palmetto State Base Camp upon his return from the mid-east.

Jay is a member of the SC Bar and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals volunteering countless hours of legal representation and pro-bono legal services to homeless veterans and other veterans seeking remedy or resolution to medical claims within the VA system. Today, Jay serves as legal counsel with the South Carolina Education Lottery. In addition, Jay is co-founder and at-large member of the Palmetto State Base Camp, Inc. Board of Directors and provides legal counsel to the organization.


Jeff Hanson is VP Health, Safety, Environmental & Risk at United Infrastructure Group, Inc., Great Falls, SC. As an occupational safety and health professional, he has worked effectively in state government and the commercial construction industry throughout the Carolinas. Prior to serving in his current position, Jeff owned and operated Hanson Safety Services, LLC, (2005 – 2010); was employed by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Office of OSHA Voluntary Programs, (1992 – 1997); and later with the Carolinas Associated General Contractors – CompTrustAGC of North and South Carolina, (1997 – 2005). Positions held include: SC OSHA Compliance Officer, Safety & Health Training Coordinator - Construction, and Loss Control Consultant, and Owner/President. He is an authorized OSHA 10 & 30-Hour Construction Safety Trainer through Federal OSHA’s Outreach Training Program.


Ray Owens was an infantry soldier with the 1st Calvary Division and later served as an Army helicopter pilot during his second tour in Vietnam. He knew first hand the pain and stress some soldiers endured as he was critically wounded during his first tour and later suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress disorder.

Ray was committed to helping homeless veterans and actively sought out and counseled members of this population. Ray died in 1998 challenging his friend and fellow PSBC co-founder Wally Miles to “Take care of my veterans.” He was honored posthumously with the “Unsung Hero Award,” a national honor given by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. Ray would have been proud of the continued work and expansion of the Palmetto State Base Camp organization in the years since his death.


Wallace B. “Wally” Miles was also instrumental in the founding of Palmetto State Base Camp and the Alston Wilkes Veterans Home. Wally served as an executive board member from inception and was a member of the Palmetto State Base Camp organization until his recent death.

He was co-founder Ray Owens’ best friend having served together with Ray in Vietnam. While living in the woods upon his return from Vietnam, Miles became passionate about the idea of opening a place for homeless veterans to live and receive rehabilitative services. Wally was a “man of action” and worked hard to see that things got done. He was never satisfied with the completed paperwork. Rather, Wally found great pride in operations and the active, one-on-one involvement with his fellow veterans. Wally Miles passed away in 2007.

(c) Palmetto State Base Camp, Inc. All rights reserved. 2008-2011.
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