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WSCF Advisory Board

2016 Board


Current Board Members

Doris Zacher–Board Secretary

Mary Averill — Treasurer

Advisory Board

Mike Riches is President and Founder of The Sycamore Commission.  Dr. Riches spent 24 years as a senior pastor before founding The Sycamore Commission, through which he ministers in teaching, training, leadership support, and ministry to churches and church leaders in many countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and in North America. Still currently in full-time pastoral ministry as lead pastor of Harborview Fellowship in Gig Harbor, Washington, Mike is the author of The Living Free Course, Living Free: Recovering God’s Design for Your Life, and co-author of Hearing God’s Voice for Yourself and Others.
Mike served as a volunteer Chaplain for several years in the South Pierce County region.  His experience and leadership were well-received by the first responders he served while in that volunteer capacity.
Mike and his wife Cindy are the parents of two grown daughters and the proud grandparents of a granddaughter.

Dr. Tom Jonez is the Assistant Director  for Washington State Chaplain Foundation providing leadership and training to chaplains across the state. He is the President of Plumbline Management Corporation & Plumbline Media Group. He has over thirty years experience in business organizational leadership, including CEO of an INC 500 company, International Telly Award-Winning video producer, Marketing Agency Owner/Director, as well as a business and marketing strategy consultant. Dr. Jonez has served on numerous boards of non-profit agencies, on a volunteer basis.
He is a private real estate investor, an international conference speaker, and the author of numerous articles and books on the topics of organizational development, leadership, and marketing as well as a weekly blog on leadership available at
Specialties: Company Growth Strategy, Market Leadership Consulting, Award-winning Video Production, Internet Marketing, Graphic Design, Advertising, Social Media Marketing, National Award-winning Advertising.  Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Tom and his wife currently reside in Gig Harbor, Washington.

Gerry Zacher retired as President and co-owner of Meridian Center Electric, Inc.  after 34 years of building a successful electrical contracting business which became the largest residential electrical contractor in Washington State.  His years of service led him to mentor hundreds of young men and women in character building and work ethics.  Today he spends his time gifting his talents to his local church and community and overseas missions.  He lives in Shelton WA with his wife Doris and delights in spending time and fishing with his 5 grandsons. Gerry has been committed to this Chaplaincy since it’s beginning in 2008.

Larry Godt is the Owner of Emerge Business Strategies. He is passionate about helping organizations achieve & sustain Operational and Leadership Excellence. With over 35 years of experience working in a multitude of industries and across a wide spectrum of company sizes – from small family run to large multi-national corporations – Larry sees the mastery of core operational and leadership principles as the foundation to long-term success. Larry and his team help their clients achieve this mastery by partnering with them to meet their business objectives. This partnership can take on many forms such as executive coaching, leadership development, cultural & operational transformation initiatives, management system implementations, business systems improvement, new product and service development, internal improvement team development, and facility design for innovation. Larry also serves as a Washington State Police and Fire Chaplain and is a graduate of the National Police and Fire Chaplain Academy.

Ryan Spurling was Elected Sheriff in Mason County Washington in November 2022. He is a retired WSP Trooper who lead defensive tactics for the State Patrol Academy and a former U.S. Marine Sgt. Major.  After retiring from WSP he served as the Chief Criminal Deputy for Mason County under Sheriff Casey Salisbury. Sheriff Spurling is now the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for Mason County.

Ted Jackson is a retired State Fish and Wildlife Sergeant and was a member of the Chaplain Advisory Board with the Agencies since it was formed in 2011. He was a Board Member for Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) and served three years as an Assistant Chief in a Police Department in Pierce County. He is currently the Director of a Non-profit in Mason County.

Past board members

John Bruun began his career with the Washington State Patrol in 1974 as a Patrol Cadet and retired in 2002 as the Assistant Commander of  Tacoma District 1. He went back to work for the agency as a civilian and then retired again in 2020 with 42 years of service. John was one of the founders of the joint agency Chaplain Program

Steve Sutton retired from the Washington State Chaplain Foundation board in 2019. He is a retired Captain from the WSP and a retired Police Chief from Lake Forest Park.

Honorary Board Member Emeritus

Bruce Bjork lives in Lacey and is a retired Deputy Chief for the Washington State Patrol rising from the ranks of trooper after more than twenty-five years. In 2013, after fifteen years Bruce retired from Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife as the Police Chief. He is a past President of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC).

In 2008, WDFW Chief Bjork created a Chaplaincy with WDFW and in 2011 he worked with the Washington State Patrol to help create the joint chaplain program serving both WSP and WDFW.

Helen Thayer is an internationally recognized Keynote speaker for Corporate and Civic Group programs. New Zealand born, her life is a testament to setting goals and achieving them.  Her list of historical expeditions and accomplishments includes:
First woman to travel alone to any of the world’s Poles when she skied at age fifty to the Magnetic North Pole 364 miles without dog sled, snowmobile, resupply or support.  

  • At age 60 she walked solo 600 miles to the South Pole.
  • First woman to walk 4,000 miles across the Sahara from Morocco to the Nile River.
  • First to walk 1,600 miles across the Gobi Desert at age sixty-three.
  • Kayaked 2,200 miles of the Amazon River.
  • In a unique study in the wild, Helen lived near a wolf den above the Arctic Circle for a year.  Helen won the American national luge championship and represented three countries in international track and field.
  • She has climbed some the world’s highest mountains.
  • The Explorer’s Club awarded Helen the Vancouver Award for Excellence in Exploration.  With presentations to audiences worldwide, she has addressed countless organizations in the last two decades — from one-room schools in the Amazon to the White House.
  • She is a three time best selling author.

Helen has an incredible heart for and understanding of the chaplaincy and the role chaplains play in a disaster. She witnessed it firsthand having lost friends in the Oso disaster.

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IN LOVING MEMORY September 16, 1946 – August 27, 2017

Major General (Ret.) Tim Lowenberg was a Vice President of Gordon Thomas Honeywell Government Affairs Law Firm in Tacoma at the time of his death in 2017. Prior to joining that firm, he was the nation’s longest tenured Homeland Security Adviser and culminated a 44 year military career by serving as the Washington Adjutant General, a governor’s cabinet post he held from 1999 to 2012 where he commanded all Washington Army and Air National Guard Forces, served as the Governor’s Homeland Security Adviser, and administered the state’s homeland security grants, Emergency Management and Enhanced 911 telecommunications programs. He was Chair of Homeland Defense and Homeland Security of the Adjutants General Association of the U.S. and Chair of the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council. He was also a principal advisor to the Council of Governors facilitating governors’ work with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security and senior White House officials.
He was the Chair of the National Guard Bureau Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) and Security Cooperation Activities General Officer Advisory Councils.

He had a B.A. (1968) and Doctor of Jurisprudence (1971) degrees from the University of Iowa and has completed National Security Management studies at Syracuse University (1985), in-resident Executive Program studies in National and International Security at Harvard University (2000), in-resident Homeland Security Executive Leadership studies at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (2007) and in-resident studies in U.S.-South Asia Engagement at Harvard University (2011).
General Lowenberg also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Seattle University School of Law and, formerly, the University of Puget Sound School of Law, since 1973 and is a frequent guest lecturer at Seattle University School of Law, the Naval Postgraduate School and other graduate-degree programs.

He was twice  awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (the military’s highest peacetime award) (1999 and 2012) and was honored by Distinguished Service and Meritorious Service awards from twenty-one (21) states. In 2012, he was the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) Lacy E. Suiter Award honoree for lifetime achievements and contributions in the field of emergency management.

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