Board of Directors


First Board of Directors meeting on April 6, 2013
(from left) Art Pitz, Caralee Rath, Vicky Miller, Gloria Spencer, Laurie Hurst, Nathan Hurst, Jean Baptiste Twizerumukiza (Deb Bowen and Bernice Jones were not able to attend.)

Deb Bowen, Vice President

Deb has over ten years experience working with high school age foreign exchange students from around the world. Her specialty has become Kennedy Luger Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program students who are in the United States on scholarship. These are kids from third world countries who come from the Middle East, Africa, etc. Bowen collected children’s picture books for a school in Sierra Leone and organized a fundraising drive for a water well in Kenya in 2012. Her heart is for those who have need and the need is huge in Africa. Deb Bowen also works with a literacy project called A BOOK by ME where students write and illustrate true stories for younger readers.

Laurie Hurst, Secretary/Treasurer

Laurie is co-pastor of Grace Family Church with her husband Nathan. She has a degree in non-profit administration and corporate experience and is a gifted organizer, administrator, delegator. Laurie has professional experience in human resources management. She brings a young and fresh perspective to the Board.

Nathan Hurst, Director

Nathan is Lead/Founding Pastor of Grace Family Church in Bettendorf, Iowa. Over the past seven years, Nathan has worked with some of the nation’s largest and fastest growing churches in Louisville, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh. Nathan is a gifted communicator and teacher and he is passionate about leading people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. He has participated in and led mission trips. Nathan will provide spiritual and ministry guidance and oversight to the organization.

Bernice Jones, Director

Bernice retired from the Rock Island Arsenal as Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, having risen from the ranks of the custodial staff. She taught race relations and was a Labor Relations Specialist and a leader in the civil rights movement in the Quad Cities. Bernice has had a longstanding personal interest in Sierra Leone which has included travelling to Sierra Leone and helping Sierra Leoneans immigrate to the U.S. She brings invaluable wisdom, courage, and tenacity to the Board.

Vicky Miller, Director

Vicky was President of Moline Rotary Club in 2012, and she played a crucial role in obtaining and implementing the Rotary Foundation International Future Vision grant, which is now in progress in Sierra Leone. She is Director of Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center at Black Hawk College. Vicki has served on numerous non-profit Boards and has operated her own consulting business. Her business skills, practical wisdom, passion for transformation, and spiritual insights will help keep this Board on course and make the organization effective.

Dr. Art Pitz, President

Art is co-founder of White Field Partners with his wife Suzanne. He has international and intercultural experience from living and working in over twenty nations. He has made two trips to Sierra Leone to establish relationships with partners there and plans his third visit in May, 2013. Dr. Pitz serves on the Boards of Moline Rotary Club and Women’s Choice Center. He has administrative experience as a professional educator.

Caralee Rath, Director

Caralee is a long-standing House of Hope sponsor who made her first trip to Sierra Leone in 2012 as a mission team member. Her first-hand knowledge of conditions in Sierra Leone and the people there will be invaluable. As a mother of nine children, seven of them adopted, she has a deep commitment to the well-being of children. She is licensed minister and Assisting Pastor at Faith Walk World Outreach Center in Silvis, Illinois.

Gloria Spencer, Director

Gloria  has demonstrated her passion for missions through years of service on the Missions
Committee of Tabernacle Baptist Church. In 2012 she organized a fund drive to raise $5,000 for a well project in Sierra Leone. Her wisdom, caution, and passion to serve people in need are key assets for the Board of Directors.

John Baptiste Twizerumukiza, Director

Jea -Baptiste immigrated to the U.S. four years ago after fourteen years in a refugee camp in Zambia. He will help the Board view possibilities and decisions from an African perspective. He is expert in intercultural communications, proficient in several languages,and currently working as an interpreter for new immigrants accessing medical services. At a very young age in Zambia, he gained leadership experience through his work for non-governmental organizations. Jean Baptiste is a nursing student.