Board Members

John W. Bell, Jr., M. Ed
President and CEO Buffalo Soldiers of the American West
Home: 303-655-9960, Cell: 720-308-5223

John is a retired public school administrator who also serves as an educational consultant, specializing in the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.  He is committed to educating the public about the Buffalo Soldiers from their inception in 1866 until the last cavalry troop in 1944.  An accomplished horseman, he has trained numerous local, state, and national champion horses and riders.


Richard Werpy, Ed.S.
Vice President

Dick  currently teaches graduate students in school administration at the University of Denver after having retired from the public schools with 32 years as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent.  Dick served as an administrator in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Boulder; and Adams County school districts. A native Minnesota "farm boy", he has a keen interest in horses, the Civil War and Western history.


Ann Simpson Applewhite, Ph. D.

Ann Applewhite is a retired secondary school administrator having served students, parents and teachers in Denver, Adams, and Jefferson Counties during her 38 year career.  She volunteers with several church and civic organizations. She is particularly interested in the roles of African Americans in the West.


Fred Applewhite, M. A.

Fred Applewhite is a career educator with a passion for learning. He has been a teacher and administrator in public schools for 38 years. An avid horseman, Fred has served as one of the lead presenters in the education program. 


Wayne Stribling
Consultant and Director of Development

New to Board of Directors of the Buffalo Soldiers of the American West is Colorado native, Wayne E. Stribling. A direct descendant of 1870s African American homesteaders in Colorado, Stribling will serve as the Director of Development. Stribling is a retired executive having worked at and owning California Brake and Clutch Parts, Inc. from 1958 to 1996. He served as its CEO for 18 years. In retirement Stribling has spent his time traveling, golfing, swimming, cycling, playing chess, horseback riding, and studying the history of African Americans in the West. His academic achievements began at Community College of San Francisco, then on to San Francisco State University and Belford University.  He received his B.A. degree in Business Education and his master's in Business Administration.


Michael Trapasso, Ph. D.
Historical Consultant

Dr. Michael Trapasso is a Professor in the Department of Geography and Geology at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. For almost twenty-five years, he made Civil War more than just a hobby. He has studied the War extensively, and for the last 13 years has re-enacted battles with the 7th Tennessee Cavalry. He has given numerous presentations on the Civil War and the role of the cavalry. He is a strong proponent of historic site preservations and their place in the history of the West.



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