By Heartbeat Editors
Mid-term elections may be behind us, but you’ve still got a little more voting to do. It’s time to elect Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts officers for 2019. You’ll get to know the candidates who hope to help shape the future of these organizations during the next two years. Some candidates are running unopposed, but this is still a great opportunity to learn more about the organization’s leaders.
Millie Henn is a retired educator and counselor in Temple, Texas. She has been active in Mended Hearts since 2000 when she joined Mended Hearts Centex Chapter 12 after her heart bypass surgery. She is currently executive vice president of Mended Hearts and is on the national board of directors, where she works with fellow board members, national staff, corporate sponsors, leaders and chapter members across the country.
She is a member of the Patient Advocacy Committee and, as part of the Mended Hearts Speakers Bureau, speaks to groups and organizations about Mended Hearts and heart health.
She was the Southwest regional director from 2011 to 2015 and assistant regional director from 2007 to 2011. She has served her local chapter as president, secretary, hospital visitor, accredited visiting chair and newsletter editor. She was master of ceremonies for the 58th annual Mended Hearts conference in Minnesota and chaired the 60th Mended Hearts annual conference in Dallas.
In addition to her local and national Mended Hearts activities, Millie actively volunteers in her community. She has served as both a deacon and elder in her church. She has been a member of the Bell County American Heart Association Board of Directors, and in 2009, became a designated Women Heart Champion. She is an officer of The Friends of the Temple Public Library Board of Directors, Bell County Retired Teachers, Cotillion Dance Club and a sustaining member of the Bell County Junior League.
Millie and her husband, Stan, have two children who live nearby with their families, which happily provides lots of opportunities for Millie and Stan to spend time with their four grandchildren.
Ron Manriquez has volunteered with Mended Hearts for the last 13 years and, during that time, has attended every conference and facilitated three chapter-building workshops. He is currently completing his second term on the board of directors as regional director for the Western region.
His priority for Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts is to build on the organizations’ strengths and develop action plans to address new challenges. It is the volunteers who are dedicated and work tirelessly, and he sees them as the lifeline to continue the mission of Mended Hearts. He will work to establish stronger communications between chapters, assistant regional directors, regional directors and the Mended Hearts board to expand outreach and patient advocacy efforts.
He brings a business background to secure a stronger financial future for the organization; he holds a business management degree and retired from Kimberly-Clark after 22 years. He is effective at developing teams and has successfully organized multiple regional cluster meetings. He will lead by example to inspire and motivate all members to accomplish their goals.
Angel Olvera is honored to be a part of the MH/MLH leadership and executive team. His 8-year-old son was diagnosed in utero with a rare heart defect that took their family from Phoenix, Arizona, to Boston, Massachusetts, to receive a newer in utero heart surgery procedure.
Although successful, Angel’s son still required two open-heart surgeries and continued cardiologist appointments. That has given Angel the passion to learn, seek out resources, advocate and support not just his son, but all heart patients. Angel sees MH/MLH as the organization that provides a lifetime of support and believes that no one should ever feel alone with no hope.
MH/MLH groups and chapters work so hard and volunteer many hours supporting families within our mission.
We all work very hard to learn important and sometimes difficult lessons from families’ and patients’ experiences that make Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts a better support organization.
Since being appointed as the vice president of Mended Little Hearts and an executive committee member, Angel has worked to make contacts, build partnerships, gain sponsorships and leverage MH/MLH’s role as a national organization dedicated to supporting all heart patients and families for a lifetime.
Executive Vice President
Patrick Farrant was born in a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada, and moved with his family to Sacramento, California, in 1961. After finishing high school, he graduated from American River College and San Jose State University with a degree in marketing. His primary career field was publishing, where he specialized in higher education and university textbooks.
In February 2005, Patrick had a heart attack followed by triple bypass surgery and eight stents. The following year he became a member of the local chapter of Mended Hearts, where he went on to serve as treasurer, vice president and president.
Nationally, he has served as assistant regional director for the Western region. He has also served two terms as regional director for the Western region and is serving his second term as national vice president.
Patrick lives in San Jose with his wife of 50 years and has two adult children, four grandchildren and two dogs. He spends his leisure time golfing and high-altitude trout fishing in the High Sierras of California.
Following bypass surgery in 1997, Marvin Keyser joined Mended Hearts Chapter 9 in Hartford, Connecticut. He soon became an accredited visitor and later served on the board of directors of the chapter both as vice president and president.
After losing his wife in 2000, Marvin moved to Weston, Florida, in 2007 and became active in Hollywood Chapter 161 as an accredited visitor and volunteer. He is now assistant regional director for the Southern region, a role he also held from 2007 to 2011, and has worked as chair and co-chairman for multiple national conferences. After open-heart surgery in 2010 due to Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), he became even more involved with Mended Hearts.
Marvin is an active Mended Hearts visitor and serves on two committees as a cardiac survivor and on the executive board of a hospital patient/family advisory committee.
Al Voss joined Mended Hearts in August 2016 and is president of Southwest Georgia Chapter 165. He also is a Mended Hearts accredited visitor, certified patient advocate, member of the Patient Advocacy Network and the assistant regional director for the Southern region.
Al received his education from the University of Alabama. Before retiring four years ago, he was a partner with an international accounting firm in Chicago.
Al and Kristie currently live in Dougherty County near Albany, Georgia.
MLH Vice President
Elizabeth Blumenfeld is the mom of a teenager with congenital heart disease (CHD). She volunteers as the educational coordinator for the Mended Little Hearts Washington, D.C. Group, is a steering committee member of the multinational, multidisciplinary Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome Collaborative (CNOC) and co-chair of its Community Outreach Committee and a parent advisor and fundraiser for Children’s National Medical System’s Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Outcome clinic (CANDO) in Washington, D.C. She has done advocacy work at both the local and federal levels, covering issues such as mandatory pulse ox screening for critical congenital heart disease and funding for CHD research.
An online privacy lawyer, Elizabeth stepped down from her legal career to care for her son. She has worked for leading companies and organizations in the Internet and information industry as a chief advisor on Internet law and policy, including The Washington Post, America Online, The Library of Congress and Crowell & Moring. She was formerly co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Internet Law Subcommittee and editor of Internet Law for the Business Lawyer. She earned her B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, at the University of Chicago and her law degree from Yale Law School.
Bruce Norris was born and raised in Bellefontaine, Ohio, and lives there today with Louise, his wife of 55 years. He is president and visiting chair of Mended Hearts Chapter 69 and is past assistant regional director as well as current Central region director. A member of Mended Hearts since 2002, he also is an active volunteer with the Logan County Historical Museum, the First United Methodist Church, Ohio Kiwanis Club, Ohio Lions Club and more.
In 2017, Bruce and Louise were named the Ohio Senior Citizens of the Year by the Area Council on Aging for all the volunteer work they do in their community.
When he had open-heart surgery some 23 years ago, Bill Carter was overwhelmed by the amount of support he found. Now, Mended Hearts gives him the opportunity to pay it forward and give others that kind of support.
His activity with Mended Hearts has included being a visitor trainer, chairman of the publicity committee, assistant regional director for four years and regional director for the past two years. He hopes to build a better relationship with minority populations, which he sees as a growing segment of the patients they visit in hospitals, but a smaller part of the Mended Hearts community.
In 2008, at age 61, Larry Mantle had a heart attack, and two days later, he was transferred to a St. Louis hospital for open-heart surgery. Three of his arteries were 100% blocked and one artery was 95% blocked. After surgery, Larry realized that he needed to make some serious lifestyle changes. He quit his smoking habit of 40-plus years, began a daily walking routine and began adhering to a heart-healthy diet.
Larry started the initial groundwork in 2010 to establish a Mended Hearts chapter to reach out to heart patients in St. Charles County, Missouri. In 2015, his chapter visited 2,372 heart patients in four area hospitals.
Larry and his wife, Charlotte, have lived in Wentzville, Missouri, since 1975 and have two sons, one daughter and six grandchildren.
Bob Hoffman is a member of Greater Hartford Chapter 9, where he has served in a variety of roles, including visitor trainer, PAN visitor, chapter secretary, chapter vice president and chapter treasurer. He has enjoyed his first year as Northeast regional director and is looking forward to making further contributions to Mended Hearts.
Bringing his business strengths and background to the table, he is looking forward to helping raise more money for Mended Hearts and motivating the assistant regional directors in the Northeast.
Tiffany Hackett-Stuart, RN, BS, MHA, was born with coarctation of the aorta and bicuspid aortic valve. She became active in advocating for patients after becoming a nurse in 2006. Tiffany is actively involved with the Arizona Con- genital Heart Walk and works closely with the Adult Congenital Heart Association. In 2018, she attended the Con- genital Heart Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. and found the experience empowering and an amazing way to educate legislatures on the importance of continued research for congenital heart disease. Tiffany works as a nurse case manager at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, and is passionate about her ability to advocate for her patients. She resides in Gilbert, Arizona, with her husband and two daughters.
To be appointed.
As ARD for the Southwest region, Daniel visits chapters and communicates with heart surgery patients, as well as assisting the regional director with meetings. He also is president of Mended Hearts Chapter 192, newsletter editor and an accredited visitor in person and online with patients and caregivers who are post-recovery. Daniel is also an AHA-certified CPR and skills instructor.
He has attended multiple national education and training conferences, served on the National Conference Committee from 2013 through 2018 and was the program book ads coordinator.
He also assisted national staff to set up and break down exhibits, package displays and help with inventory.
As a volunteer at Ascension Providence Hospital in Waco, Texas, he visits patients and caregivers pre-surgery, post-surgery and post-recovery.
He is an elder at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Waco, president of the Czech Heritage Society of Texas and on Providence Hospital’s volunteer board. He is retired from the U.S. Navy.
Sandy Briggs has worked diligently to help establish Mended Hearts, both nationally and locally, and wants to continue creating Mended Little Hearts groups in the Western region. Her background as a claims adjustor provided her with a strong understanding of the healthcare industry and of how families can get the help they need.
In 2004, Sandy was named Mended Heart of the Year, and her year of serving in that position made her realize how much people need to be able to reach out to someone they trust in times of crisis and challenge. She has become a strong advocate for heart families everywhere and wants to continue following that calling by becoming regional director. Having developed skills and awareness as an assistant regional director, she is ready to step up to the plate and do whatever she can to help develop chapters in her region.
Marlyn Taylor was born in Lamar, Missouri, and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and graduated from the University of Nebraska, Omaha with a BFA. He began his career as a merchandiser with Sunkist Growers in Omaha, and retired from the company in 1999.
Marlyn served on his church board for six years, five as president, where he learned the value of well-researched and presented committee reporting, the importance of organization and the benefits of a well-run board meeting.
He moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, in 2008, where, before a five-way CABG, a Mended Hearts visitor visited him on Christmas day and then again after surgery.
That inspired him to become involved with Mended Hearts. Marlyn has served as his chapter’s president for six years and as secretary for two. He is starting his eighth year as assistant regional director. He has helped start five new chapters in the Washington and Oregon areas.
Brent Zepke is a long-time member of Mended Hearts. He learned firsthand the difficulties that caregivers face when his wife developed cancer and he found himself caring for three children under the age of 10 while holding down a full- time job.
In January 2007, after his heart stopped, Brent learned the strength of Mended Hearts and the peer-to-peer sharing it provides.
He brings his experience as an attorney, executive, professor and author to Mended Hearts and wants to use the lessons he’s learned in both his personal and professional life to help others.
MLH Board Director
To be appointed.
In early December, the Mended Hearts national team will distribute ballots electronically to chapter presidents, group leaders and members at large.
Chapters will vote in January and February 2019. Members can vote for both Mended Hearts and Mended Little Hearts positions but may only vote for regional director from the region in which they reside. Results will be announced in the spring. Happy voting!
For questions about the election, please email Andrea.Baer@mendedhearts.org.