Affinity Clinic – Sherman Neal II

My name is Sherman Neal II and I am a Marine Corps veteran, attorney, filmmaker, and social justice advocate. My personal and professional goals revolve around building equitable, ethical, and innovative campaigns that result in more resilient communities. At present, I am committed to doing that work as the Deputy Campaign Director for Sierra Club Military Outdoors in addition to serving as an agent/advisor for college athletes. 

In August of 2023 I was invited on a trip that changed the trajectory of my life — the 2023 Team River Runner Affinity Clinic. I had never been whitewater boating, I hadn’t previously been involved with the organization, and I had never enjoyed the outdoors with such a diverse group. I learned quite a bit about myself floating down the Lower Salmon River and sleeping under the stars. I learned from every conversation with other participants (in addition to the goodness that comes with challenging yourself in ways only getting dumped out of an IK in a Class IV rapid can…) and I left a firm believer that TRR has a special opportunity to leverage the outdoors to develop minority leaders in the veteran community and I am excited to create similar opportunities to what I experienced on the Lower Salmon that bring joy and healing to veterans in ways they may not have otherwise thought possible. 

“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” – Desmond Tutu 


Vanessa Jones

Committe Co-Chair

Vanessa A. Jones is a dynamic force dedicated to fostering
inclusivity, encouraging discussion, and promoting a culture of
belonging in the outdoor sports community. Hailing from
Washington, DC, she brings a wealth of diverse experiences and
perspectives to her endeavors.
As a US Army veteran and ordained Chaplain with a focus on
seniors and caretakers, Vanessa is deeply committed to serving
others. Her work as a patient-caretaker advocate reflects her
passion for supporting vulnerable populations and ensuring their
voices are heard.
Currently, Vanessa is employed by a resettlement agency, where
she confronts challenges head-on with resilience and
compassion. As a single, Black woman veteran, she embraces
the unique hurdles she faces, viewing them as opportunities for
growth and empowerment.
In her downtime, she wears many hats, including that of a
missionary, spreading hope and positivity wherever she goes.
Weekends are spent paddling, immersing herself in West African
dance and finding solace and joy in nature’s embrace.
Vanessa is committed to equitable principles, ensuring that
everyone’s opinions are valued and heard. Through her
unwavering dedication and inclusive leadership, Vanessa is
paving the way for a more equitable and diverse outdoor sports