Don Thanars is from Houston, Texas and is a graduate of Texas Southern University where he attained a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree. He subsequently served faithfully for 21 years in the United States Marine Corps retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2006. During his military service, he deployed and served during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom; held command at every level from platoon to Battalion; and served in Joint and Division staff assignments.

Throughout his career, Don has received multiple military awards for his leadership and exemplary service, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal (2nd award); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (4th award); Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal; and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal to name a few. He has also received the Man of Valor Community Service Award in 2018; and has been featured in the local Slidell Independent Newspaper.  Additionally, he received the NAACP Roy Wilkins Renown Community Service Award in June 2000 and was subsequently featured in JET Magazine.

Since his retirement, Don has been a very active member of the St Tammany community, working with several organizations, mentoring programs, and his church. He is 2015 graduate of Leadership Northshore and a founding member of Notes for Education Northshore (N4ENS) which supports the academic and social development of kids on the Northshore by providing musical instruments, grants, and scholarships. He is also a founding member of the Slidell Jazz and Blues Festival which the primary funding vehicle for N4ENS. Additionally, he is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; the Veterans of Foreign Wars (Post Commander); the Marine Corps League; and the American Legion.

Don Thanars has a Master of Arts (MA) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees from Webster University and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy (FBINA). He has also completed other senior leadership training at Ohio State University and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, Arizona State University.

Don Thanars is married to Dinah Cousin of Houston, Texas (35 years) and they have three daughters. Don is also an accomplished saxophonist performing with his own band and in the music ministry at Living the Word International in Slidell, LA.

Appointed by the St. Tammany Parish Council; exp. May 2026.