"We wanted to find a way to give back to the community by helping our at-risk and vulnerable LGBTQIA+ members of our community on the verge of homelessness."
- Claude Raffin
The Bright Star Team
Claude Raffin, President
Claude and Jon met on January 7, 1978 at a cocktail party in San Francisco. Claude, a Vietnam veteran, was then a US Army Lieutenant Colonel, Jon worked in the travel industry..
Shortly afterwards and upon Claude’s military retirement, they moved to Santa Barbara. Together they started a career in Real Estate, opening two offices, Spectrum Realty, in Santa Barbara and San Diego. Thru astute investments and a degree of luck they were quite successful, retiring in 2003. They have since traveled extensively, having set foot on all 7 continents.
After a valiant seven month battle with cancer, Jon passed away on March 1, 2019, at the age of 70.
Claude Raffin (left) and Jon Gathercole (right)
Rob Schlegel moved to Las Vegas in 1974 to become production manager for the Valley Times (daily) newspaper, eventually acting as the de facto general manager. During the next 40 years, Rob owned, operated and edited several publications in Southern Nevada and in 2019 became publisher of the Las Vegas Spectrum. Schlegel has been active in politics and since 1986, has chaired the LGBTQ political endorsement committee for Southern Nevada. As a community leader, he participated in or helped found numerous charitable events and organizations. During a brief sabbatical from publishing, Rob set up a medical practice for a local physician. Currently, Rob sells real estate through Elite Realty, is Chairman of the Board for Nevada’s largest behavioral healthcare clinic and is a founding board member of Bright Star Foundation – both 501c3 organizations. He has actively and effectively lobbied for reforms in Nevada, especially in areas related to social justice.
A California native with a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Doug has been buying and selling Real Estate for over 30 years as a private investor. With successful careers in Advertising, Sales and Marketing commencing in the Telecommunications industry where he served as President of a large telecom interconnect. Particularly adept at strategic pricing for buying or selling. Doug is an avid skier, scuba diver, wine connoisseur, with a passion for architecture. He has served on and led several non-profit board of directors, including a large chamber of commerce and a college foundation. In addition to serving on the Bright Star Board, Doug is currently serving as a member of the board of directors of the California Association of REALTORS.
Doug Van Pelt
For over 35 years, Doug has been a senior executive engaged in marketing and sales with various consumer product goods companies in the United States and Canada. He has worked on such brands as Nature Made Vitamins, Minute Maid beverages and several specialty food and pet brands.
Doug currently leads the Global Sales and Marketing for a Dietary Supplement Ingredient Manufacturer based in Southern California. He is active in numerous dietary supplement industry groups as well as global nutrition groups.
Doug is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Public Relations Society of America.
Doug and his husband John live in Los Angeles and can be found most weekends running short and long-distance races. They are active with the Los Angeles Frontrunners. Doug completed his 14th marathon last October in Dublin, Ireland.
With over 30 years of experience, Peter has been a senior executive responsible for leading internal audit, finance, and operations teams with several global Fortune 500 companies as well as in the Big 4. His experience includes positions in the financial services, public accounting, construction and real estate, as well as hospitality industries.
Peter currently leads the global internal audit function for a Fortune 500 professional services company based in Southern California. Peter is a CPA and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Sidney "Ty" Branch
Ty is the Diabetes Coordinator for the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe Department of Health and Human Services, where he has worked for eleven years. He is originally from Tillatoba, Mississippi and earned his Bachelor's in Business Administration from Ole Miss University. He later earned his Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from Trident University. Ty have two biological children and three grandchildren.
Carter Martin is a business owner, an educator and an independent filmmaker.
Carter’s early documentary work included subjects such a gay bashing, child abuse support groups and AIDS within the Asian American community in Chicago. His short, Preservation of the Song, was a 30-minute dramatic film that played both nationally and internationally. It won critical acclaim, and was among the first films to discuss AIDS survivor guilt.
In the 1990’s, Carter worked alongside his husband Roberto who started the Asian American AIDS Foundation, an outreach organization that sought to help educate and bring awareness to the various Asian communities in Chicago. In the early to mid 2000’s, Carter and his husband were actively involved in charitable work in the Philippines, traveling often to work with orphanages in Manila and Dipolog City. They contributed food, medical, clothing and toys as well as sponsored medical check-ups.
Carter was member of the adjunct faculty for Columbia College Chicago's Film Department since 1992. He served as the Academic Director for the Illinois Institute of Art where he developed curriculum for Digital Media Production. He has freelanced in videography, photography, film and video editing, sound design and music composition.
Carter recently relocated with his family to Las Vegas December 2018. He is currently teaching at UNLV in the Film Department and the Educational Psychology & Higher Education. He develops online courses for Rasmussen College as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) and has been adjunct faculty for five years. Carter joined Laurus College in California where he is currently developing curriculum for a new audio and visual program.
Carolyn originally hails from Chicago. She is the Program Coordinator for the Homeless to Housing Unit for Nevada's Division of Welfare and Supportive Services. She is a volunteer mediator with The Neighborhood Justice Center and mediates a variety of cases in Clark County. Carolyn has a passion for helping people and has worked for and volunteered with nonprofit organizations across the country. She is also the owner of a handmade, bespoke jewelry company.
Tyler Renner works as Director of Community Outreach for San Diego City Council's District Three. After earning his B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara he worked as Behavioral Therapist for children on the Autism Spectrum. He worked as an LGBTQ Program Coordinator and Development Associate at LGBT Community Centers. He is passionate about social justice and reducing homelessness.