Benjamin David Berk
California native Ben Berk is a financial professional who serves local organizations in the Antelope Valley community with his time and expertise.
Ben served in the US Navy from 2005-2010, and in the US Army from 2010-2020. During his fifteen years of service, he deployed four times with Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve.
Following his military service, Ben and his wife cared for a family friend diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. He saw firsthand the financial strain a cancer diagnosis puts on a family. After his friend’s passing, Ben was inspired to enter the field of financial services so that he could continue to protect lives in a way far different from his military service. He wanted to help ensure they had the necessary finances should the time come when they had to face the most difficult season of their lives.
Ben and his wife live in California and are the proud parents of six children. His motto is “Life is short. Volunteer and leave the world a better place.”
Cory’s “protect and serve” background stems from being born into a military family, with members who served in the Navy and Marines.
The Jordan family is well acquainted with cancer, having lost two members to the disease. Cory’s father is a prostate cancer survivor.
Cory’s connection with Blue Cancer Connect enables him to help other families through the difficult process of dealing with cancer. He believes the least number of families who feel the sting of cancer, the better.
Taylor is the widow of California Highway Patrol Officer Andy Ornelas who was killed December 7, 2020, in a motorcycle accident while responding to an incident.
A registered nurse, Taylor works in the emergency room at Antelope Valley Hospital, which serves the community she grew up in. Working hand-in-hand with first responders, she understands how cancer changes the lives of law enforcement officers and their families.
Living in the same community as Detective Mitch Speed, Taylor remembers how his diagnosis impacted not only the law enforcement family, but also the Antelope Valley community. Then, when she lost her husband two years after Mitch passed, she experienced the same outpouring of love and support the Speed family had experienced in July of 2018.
Taylor wants nothing more than to give that love and support to other families and is honored to serve as a board member for Blue Cancer Connect.
LAPD Officer Christopher Soto is a fifteen-year veteran of the department who was diagnosed in October 2021 with job-related stage-2 cancer.
Also, a former sergeant the United States Army, Soto’s list of merits includes three Army Achievements Medals, National Defense Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Air Assault Badge, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the LAPD Police Meritorious Unit Citation.
Having personally experienced the effects that cancer has on law enforcement officers and their families, Chris is committed to providing others the practical and emotional assistance he once received from Blue Cancer Connect.
Valerie Soto is the wife of Los Angeles Police Department Officer Christopher Soto. In 2021, after celebrating twenty years of marriage, the couple learned that Chris had stage-2 testicular cancer.
The Soto family had lost several members to cancer, so the journey they were about to face wasn’t new. What was new was the strong support system they had with Blue Cancer Connect. After eighteen months Chris was pronounced clear of cancer, but his journey didn’t end there.
Today the Soto family mission is to serve other law enforcement families dealing with a diagnosis of cancer. Blue Cancer Connect is the vehicle through which Valerie “gives back” the support her family received from their brothers and sisters in blue.
James Brodie Speed
The son of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Detective Mitch Speed and Vickie Speed, Brodie Speed knows firsthand what it is to witness a father succumb to cancer.
He identifies with the daily struggles and the questions that arise during a family’s battle with cancer. Brodie’s desire is to help other families navigate their journeys following a cancer diagnosis and provide the support they need during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
Brodie Speed graduated from Whittier College in 2016 and obtained his master’s degree in 2018 from the University of San Francisco. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas.