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t9da Board


Ben terpsma

executive director


veteran - United States Marines corp

michigan army national guard

certified mtb coach

Service . Connection . Leadership 

Ben has spent the entirety of his adult life in service to others; as a member of the Marine Corp in his early years, to a public-school teacher, sheriff deputy, and now as a member of the Michigan National Guard, Ben loves giving back and serving his community. 


This passion for service, combined with his love of mountain biking and the outdoors was the inspiration behind he and Laura creating The 90 Degree Ascent.  

When he is not working on T9DA, he can be found traveling with his amazing wife and kids, plunking out tunes on the piano, or embracing his inner HGTV by finishing home remodeling projects. 


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Laura Terpsma

Board secretary

certified yoga instructor

certified world paddle instructor/safety 

Community . Service . Joy

Attorney by Day. Yogi by night. Laura spends her days working for Chicagoland's largest joint pain physician group as the Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer. Their mission is to restore freedom & movement to more than a million people by 2030. Her passion to serve others comes from her own experience with immobility after a botched surgery left her unable to walk at 33. 


As part of her rehab, Laura found yoga and the healing benefits it brought both physically and emotionally. She knew she wanted to also work with others to find the joy of movement and mindfulness. 


Laura has taught yoga for the last 10 years both in studio and around the globe. Laura was a Board Member & Yoga Teacher Trainer for Africa Yoga Project for 6 years, an organization dedicated to the transformational practices of mindfulness & yoga. She has worked with Wounded Warrior Project and Street Yoga to bring yoga and mindfulness to both veteran and homeless communities.

Since regaining her own freedom she has become an avid mountain biker, paddleboard junkie and yogi. She enjoys time in the woods, on the water & at home with her husband Ben and three kids. 


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Matthew Darin

board treasurer

veteran - United states Navy

Leadership . Family . Community


Matthew is our rock. A Navy Veteran turned Global Marketing Senior Manager, he divides his time between work, his community, and his wife and three kids.  Matthew is the quintessential veteran, continually taking on new challenges in life with precision & planning. 

During the summer months you can find Matthew out riding his bike with the family, exploring northern Michigan, working by the pool, or attending community events.  

Matthew is excited to take on this adventure with T9DA as it again is a new challenge, one that impacts a community he is both a part of and holds dear, veterans and their families. 

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Shelley Ritter

Board member

director of surf operations


third coast rising

surf instructor/water safety 

Community . Service . Flow. 

If you want to find Shelley, chances are you can find her on a surfboard in Lake Michigan. 


She has spent the past couple of years founding and directing the surf therapy nonprofit Third Coast Rising for veterans and first responders, which merged with T9DA in 2023.  The idea for the nonprofit came from growing research on surf therapy and her own experience benefitting from combining traditional talk therapy, Brainspotting, and being on the water.  


A teacher and a personal trainer by trade, she has worked in fields that included her passion of encouraging others to keep pursuing possibilities in their lives. 


Constantly curious about human potential, healing, and growth, she personally enjoys developing skills in Olympic lifting and swinging from bars at CrossFit, reading about neuroscience and sports psychology, and seeing how far into winter she can surf in the frigid Great Lakes before her fingers go numb.  


When not working on Third Coast Rising, she’s coaching CrossFit kids, chasing after her rogue dogs that are always plotting a fence break.


Most importantly, hanging out with the people she loves: her husband, son, and wonderful community of friends and family


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Stephanie rife

board President


certified yoga instructor

certified run coach

athletic trainer

Foundation . Wellness . Community 

Her shirt says it all, and so does that smile.  Stephanie is larger than life and her passion for wellness and community knows no limit.


At home Stephanie spends time with her husband Dale and three kids. Where daily runs and bike rides are essential family time. 


At work she spent the first half of her career as the Vice President of Operations for one of the DoD's largest suppliers; and while was wildly successful, it left her wanting to do more. 

So, she did it. She left, and started her own nonprofit, Foundation Wellness, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the benefits of an active lifestyle by offering holistic youth and family focused programs to improve the health and wellness of the community. 

Stephanie is a certified yoga instructor, run coach, and has a bachelor degree in exercise science.  She joins T9DA to bring her expertise and experience in running nonprofits and fitness to the military family, specifically moms and kids. 

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Dawn Hamilton

board member

22 year

mental health social worker

msw (2023)

Movement . Nature . Service

Dawn has spent a lifetime in the service of others, 22 years in fact. Dawn made it her life and career to be of service to those suffering from  severe and persistent mental illness in the Metro Detroit Area. She is a social worker by day, graduate student and mom at night. She recently enrolled in a MSW program, with a specialty in Veteran's Mental Health, with an expected graduation date of Summer 2023. 

When Dawn isn't out in the community or hitting the books, she is somewhere in nature; and believes in the healing power of movement and nature.


Perhaps our most active Board Member, Dawn does it all from trail running, to kayaks, paddleboards, and mountain biking her energy is infectious and seemingly unbounded. Dawn has ran marathons in more than 5 states and two countries. She has ran countless 1/2 marathons, 10ks, 5ks and adventure races over her 20 year race career.  Her more recent love of the water has found her out on her paddleboard most every weekend with her family, friends, and their animals.

Dawn is inspired to bring her passion for mental health, the outdoors, and movement to the greater military community.

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