Operation Homefront announced today that retired Brig. Gen. John I. Pray, Jr., 56, will become our president and CEO effective May 18. Pray, who most recently held several leadership roles with the United Service Organizations (USO) and served as its interim president and CEO in 2014, takes the helm of Operation Homefront as we provide emergency financial, housing and supportive family services to military and veteran families.
Pray, a 27-year veteran of the Air Force, retired in 2007 to accept a position as the executive secretary of the National Security Council, where he was responsible for managing policy formulation in support of the president of the United States and other senior White House decision makers. When his government service ended in early 2009, Pray became the executive vice president for SPEC Innovations, where he helped the systems engineering company expand into new areas. He joined the USO later that year and has, for almost six years, led a broad range of initiatives in operations, marketing, communications, information technology, entertainment and strategy, to ensure the USO met its commitments to service members and their families and the donors that support them.
“John is an exceptional leader with a remarkable skill set, perfectly tailored to the needs of Operation Homefront,” said Catherine Blades, board chair for the organization. “Over his military career, he held command assignments at every level and is keenly interested in the needs of those who served under him. He also understands how policy determination at the highest levels of government affects the most junior enlisted and their families, essential to how Operation Homefront needs to serve these families now and in the future.”
Tim Farrell, who has served as interim president and CEO since September 2014, will resume his primary duties as chief operating officer. “I want to thank Tim for his tireless commitment to the organization and to all the employees for their hard work during this transition period,” Blades added. Operation Homefront set new records in 2014 by providing more than $4.8 million for families in need of emergency financial help and raised more than $20 million with 92 percent of its expenditures going directly to programs that provide support to military families.
“I’m very honored to have been selected for this incredible opportunity,” Pray said. “Operation Homefront is a remarkable organization with a superb team comprised of caring employees, volunteers and donors who have forged a strong reputation for delivering programs that have improved the lives of those who so selflessly choose to serve our great nation.”
Pray holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Master’s degrees from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the School of Advanced Airpower Studies and the Air War College. He has also completed senior executive programs at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School and Wharton.