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 Board of Directors & Staff 

   

Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette
Chairperson
Chair of the Fund Development/Granting Committee
Spring Gala Planning Committee Member

I want to be a part of the Portage Health Foundation because I strongly believe that now and in the future, the PHF has the ability to be a game changer in our community. I want to be a part of that change.

Through my life, I have sat on both sides of the table. I remember what it feels like to have to ask for help. It's hard. The change I envision is more than just a charitable band aid. I would like to see real solutions to the very real problems so many of us encounter throughout our lives. Our community has so much untapped potential and I want to be able to help be a part of the solution.

I was born and raised in Pelkie, MI. Although I left the area for over twenty years, this is where I chose to return. My heart and soul is planted firmly in the Copper Country. It is because of these deep roots, that I invest my time, talent and treasure. The PHF is an organization that I am invested in. I believe it will do some amazing things for our community. I see the PHF as a catalyst for change. I see it as an entity that will help to identify the healthcare needs of our community, and foster the needed innovative solutions.

Through a personal journey with my own health, I have discovered a holistic approach and would like to see that incorporated throughout the community. When I think of my community, I believe that economic, mental and physical health are all integrated to the wellbeing of the whole community. In the years to come, I see PHF making impactful progress in the community to make healthy choices accessible and available for all.

     
 

Roger Helman, J.D., CFP
Vice Chair Person
Chair of the Personnel/Operations Committee

I have lived in the Keweenaw are for more than 25 years, two of my four children were born here, and my parents have lived here for over 40 years. I am very proud to call it home. The people, the town, the history, the weather, and the natural beauty all make it uniquely special. I simply want to do my part, if possible, to help make it an even better place tin which to live. There is no better way to do that than to give my time and efforts to PHF, which is committed to the overall health and vibrancy of the four county area.

Having raised my four children in this community, I am deeply concerned about the area's youth. I hope that PHF can help the younger component of our population to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles, pursue healthy outdoor activities that take advantage of the four seasons, and the natural attributes of our area, and to assist them with the high costs of college education, as warranted. Hopefully, one day, they will be able to live and work in the community and also give back.

Family, school and a college education for my two oldest children, church, sports, work and play all connect me to the community. It is difficult to single out one particular facet that connects me the most, but family is without a doubt the most important to me. It is primarily through that lens that I gauge the health our community. I hear stories from my children about high school and Michigan Tech. I hear about things that students have done, their successes, their failures, and the challenges that they all face. I hope that that connect will somehow enable my involvement with PHF to make a difference. If we help area youth, we will be well on our way to making our community an even better place in which to live.

PHF has the potential to significantly impact the entire four county community. By focusing on the health of the people in the four county area, much can be done to improve many aspects of life. If we can help people, organizations, and even local government officials to collaborate and both identify and solve systemic local health problems, as opposed to simply spending money to put temporary bandages on troublesome issues, PHF will make a profound difference, and there will almost certainly be a ripple effect. I fully expect that if PHF lives up to even a fraction of its potential, some truly wonderful and meaningful changes will occur in the four county area.

     
   

Tim Baroni
Treasurer
Chair of the Finance/Investment Committee

I am fortunate to have been born and raised in Calumet where I established strong roots in the community. This love and connection has been passed on to my three kids who have decided to stay locally and start their families. The people, natural resources and deep commitment to the community is seen throughout our area and it is something I have loved being a part of. It is a wonderful place to grow up and raise a family.

I am proud to be a part of an organization because it is something that I truly believe in. I trust that it is going to have a major impact on the community. In the long run, I see the PHF making substantial changes and a long term difference for the people of this community. I had been a part of the PHF from its inception and I felt compelled to see it through. I want to finish what I started. My roots have driven my passion to serve and try to make this area better for my family and for others as well. I want to see it grow.

My vision for the PHF is to see all the work we are doing now begin to have results and major impact within the community. I want to help drive the change that is needed, help others experience the transformation and see our community reach its full potential.

Our community has so much untapped possibilities and I want to see them utilized and benefited from.

There is a spirit in our community that is genuine. People help each other, look after each other. It is rare to find the type of spirit that this community has. It is my passion for the people and the community as a whole that makes me want to be a part of something bigger - something that will make a lasting impact not only today but for our community's future.

     
 

Michele (Lahti) Blau, MS
Trustee
Member of the Fund Development/Granting Committee

I enjoy learning about the organizations in our community: their mission, the people, and the cause. I am excited to be a part of PHF with its capability and resources to make a significant impact on not only our community, but these organizations. It is very rewarding to be able to function as an organization that can actually support the needs within the community. I have deep roots within the community: my parents, grandparents and great grandparents. I returned after having lived away after graduating from Michigan Tech. My bond with this community and its people is solid and will always remain that way.

I am passionate about giving back. My time and talent are my ways of serving and helping the community and PHF. Looking into the future for PHF, I see us continuing to invest in identifying the diverse amount of need in the community. By continuing to educate ourselves and be students of our environment, we can be a great asset to the people of this area. There is so much significant need that we still do not realize exists. I would like to see the PHF continue to partner with organizations and collaborate in areas where we can bring large scale and sustainable solutions, not only through monetary actions, but through support and advocacy.

     
 

Terry Kinzel, MD
Trustee
Member of the Fund Development/Granting Committee

There's a modern saying, "He who dies with the most toys, wins!" Whenever I hear something like that, I always want to ask, "Wins what?" To me, winning is having the privilege of living in a healthy (in every sense of the word) community. And this is the reason I feel so honored to be able to be on the Board of Directors of the Portage Health Foundation, which exists to support the health needs of our community.

PHF naturally attracts my interest as a physician, but in my practice as a Geriatrician and as I care for the intellectually disabled, I daily see people at the fringes who are neglected by our health care system. In my work on the board, I have seen how the PHF is able to help in these areas - supporting programs for nutrition and fitness that will prevent future illness, support local students, who could otherwise not afford it enter careers in health care, and support the development of programs to make the lives of the frail and elderly better. It is because of these qualities that I want to be a part of PHF. I know that by being part of PHF, I can be a part of the change and help those in need.

My connection to this community goes back to when my grandpa came to work in the mines. My first touch with the area was when I came to preview Tech. I fell in love with the area and came here for my undergrad. Having graduated I knew I wanted to return someday to practice medicine, and I'm thankful to say that I did. My patients through geriatrics and then Copper Country Mental Health all gave me an even greater bond to this community and its residents. I got to know them, understood their history, and gained a deeper knowledge of the difficulties they faced.

Although my favorite avocation is reading, I dearly love many outdoor activities such as woodland walking, bicycling, kayaking and cross-country skiing. As our country comes to the realization of just how unfit we are and what a huge toll that is taking on our health, wealth, and happiness, emphasis is turning to improving our fitness and overall wellbeing. It is my passion for these activities that make me want to invest my time and talent. My passion for the outdoors and the overall wellbeing of the community push me to do my part to make this community a healthier place to live.

I started this bio out using the word privilege and I'd like to end with it also. I've mentioned how the PHF's work meshes well with both my career and my other interests, but the main reason I love working for PHF is the opportunity it affords me to give back to my community. I believe those of us who live privileged lives, and that includes a lot more of us than we might admit, have a moral imperative to give back to our community, our whole community. My hope is that my work can, in a small way, contribute to leaving a beautiful, healthy, and whole community to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

     
 

Jeanne Kurtz
Trustee
Member of the Fund Development/Granting Committee

My roots in this community run 4 generations deep. Grandparents, parents, my children and I have spent our lives in this special place. Family members owned businesses here since the early part of last century and my husband and I have owned businesses here since 1974.

This area holds my heart. It offers more than most rather remote areas in education, recreation, safety and "community." In spite of all of it's positive aspects, it falls short in areas that I believe can be improved upon.

I was part of Portage Health Foundation's board of directors before the sale of the hospital and understood it's value to the community. The "new" foundation had even more potential. Being a part of this revised foundation would give me a unique opportunity to contribute to my community in an even more important and dramatic way. If there was a place for me on this restructured Portage Health Foundation Board, I knew I wanted to stay involved.

What's happened since then, inspires me to stay engaged. As I've learned more about the issues we face locally, and met dedicated, caring community leaders, I'm motivated even more to participate with my time, talent and energy to facilitate positive change. My vision for Portage Health Foundation is collaboration and contributing relationships among businesses, municipalities, non-profits, citizens, other foundations. With all of this energy working toward a common good, we are sure to make a BIG difference.

     
   

Paul Ollila
Trustee
Member of the Finance/Investment Committee

As the PHF was making its transition after the sale of the hospital, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I saw the potential it embodied and knew that it was going to do some amazing things. To support the health needs of the community provides a lot of potential that we could experience at PHF. Even more than seeing the potential, I believed in PHF. I believed in its mission. By supporting the health needs of the community, we are supporting their deepest needs. We are supporting them. To be a part of an organization like PHF is such a privilege because of the chances it gives me to make a real impact on the community.

Volunteering my time and talent comes from a passion to help people. Throughout the stages of my life, I have been helped by so many people. Their influence, guidance, help, and encouragement in my life has pushed me to give back and volunteer my time, talent and treasure. It is my way of paying it forward. It is also an empathy for people in need and facing challenges that also motivate me to give back. If I can make a difference in one person's life, I know it was all worth it. My life experiences are a driving factor of why I do what I do.

This community is my home. I'm not originally from here but my career and livelihood is here. I have been in the education system here. These experiences connect me to this community in a unique way. I have worked with young students, families, those with mental handicaps, administrative capacities, vocational education and I could go on. These experiences have given me insights to the needs in our community. Difficulties families face, their children's struggles, the importance of education on every level all drive my connection here and also drive my desire to give back. These experiences have made a lasting impact on my life and I want to use them to reach others and better this community.

When I think about the vision of the PHF, I see positivity. I see a very bright future for not only the organization but the community it serves. We are starting to really dig deep into the systemic issues of the community and I know that we can continue to make a change for the better with more health initiatives. I see us really moving the needle with systemic health issues that are facing our area. We have the opportunity to support health programming through financial and advocacy.

     
   

Brent Peterson
Trustee
Member of the Finance and Investment Committee

I came to this area as a student to Michigan Tech. It was here that I gained family roots to the community because my wife and I met my senior year. Throughout my professional hockey career, this was our home base. It wasn't until my hockey career was over that it truly became our home. We knew this was an amazing place to start and raise a family. I feel connected and invested to see this area grow because I want it to be even better for my kids. I was on the PHF board since it was started. I wanted to stay on as a board member because I knew that PHF was going to do some amazing things in the community and I wanted to be a part of the change. It is exciting to see the transformation PHF has gone through in the last few years. It has been a privilege to be a part of an organization that is pressing forward to drive change and positive impact in the community.

I believe when we are a part of a community, there is an ownership that comes with it. When we adopt the mindset of "our community," it changes the way we perceive and view it. It is because of this mentality that I want to give back. I believe I have a responsibility to use my time and talent to make this a better place, not only for my family, but for the community as a whole. I have a responsibility and an opportunity to be a part of something bigger that will spark change. My vision for PHF is big. I believe the potential is unlimited, and we have yet to fully grasp the depth and capacity PHF truly embodies. I also believe we can leverage more resources and people to create even more opportunities for this community. The possibilities are endless and we have yet to scratch the surface.

     
 

Ann Clancy-Klemme
Secretary
Member of the Fund Development/Granting Committee

My father was passionate community volunteer who taught me the importance of generosity, grace and giving back. I aspire to the high bar he set. I feel fortunate to have chosen a profession that provides many opportunities to utilize my work expertise within volunteer endeavors. Professionally, I have worked as a critical care nurse, medial educator and flight nurse for over 30 years. As an international volunteer I've worked in several developing countries, most recently Nepal during their earthquake. Locally, I've participated with the Red Cross, Houghton Rotary, and assisted with the acquisition and distribution of AED's. Currently, I co-direct an emergency preparedness program for area youth, and our community crisis/stress management response team. In my interactions over the years with patients and their families, I have witnessed a dramatic increase in their medical and mental health needs as well as an alarming deterioration in the effectiveness and availability of core local services to treat these life altering mental/medical health issues. I am very excited to be a part of the PHF's vision, mission and engaged governing board. I fully believe the PHF has the commitment and tools to effect a positive, sustaining impact on the mental and physical health and wellbeing of all our community members. I am grateful for this opportunity to play a role in the development of creative solutions, community service collaborations, and individual partnerships that together will facilitate peace of mind, body and spirit today, and for generations to come.

     
 

Kevin Store
Executive Director

I was born and raised in Ontonagon, Michigan and moved to the Keweenaw in the late 90s with my family. Having been a life-long resident of the Upper Peninsula, this community is of great importance to me - it is my home!

Having been accused as being ideological at times, I know that I can bring a big-picture perspective to the table. Perhaps, to some, that is difficult to accept as I prefer to apply energy and resources into what is the ideal rather than accepting or working to sustain simply "what is". I also know the importance of being an incrementalist. I not only realize the need to take things in step, but have been told that I have the ability to break complex issues down into manageable action steps that work towards the "ideal" outcome. That is my passion - to be an effective at solving some of the systemic challenges we face in our community. I want to be able to apply my skillsets towards addressing the needs of our community; to support the work of so many others; and to drive the PHF to be an effective partner in making this a healthier community for everyone.

Because of the twenty plus years' experience in non-profit and healthcare administration from which I have been able to grow professionally and personally, I believe I bring a unique perspective to PHF. It is through these experiences that I have gained an intimate understanding of the struggles our community faces. I have worked with adjudicated youth; developed vocational education and job training programs; designed new and creative work programs and business opportunities for cognitively impaired and mentally ill adults; witnessed firsthand the challenges facing our populations' health; and collaborated with human service providers across state and local sectors to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable people. These experiences molded me into who I am today and they grew my connection with this community to a greater level. Having a deeper understanding of the inner workings of the non-profit sector gives me a great amount of appreciation and respect for the work they do. This community is my family and it gives me a greater sense of purpose to ensure the work we are doing at PHF has meaning and is impactful.

It is intended that we will be able to look back upon our work at the PHF and within the community and recognize the change(s) we have been able to incite as we work towards building a healthier community for all of our citizenry. We will be able to realize the fruits of our labor, not through immediate gratification of transactional grants that may meet a need of today, but rather through the long-term transformational lens from which we are evaluating our reinvestment in hopes of creating a more prosperous and healthy community for its children of tomorrow.

     
     
     

 
 
 

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P.O. Box 299
Hancock, MI 49930 

 

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