Rachel Zelon, Executive Director & Director of Programs
Rachel Zelon has been working in the field of humanitarian assistance and development for 30 years. Ms. Zelon is a founding member of Hunger Relief International and her energies are focused on the promotion of expanded access to critical nutrition, health care, and education for children in impoverished communities around the world. Ms. Zelon is perhaps best known for her work in Iraq in 2003 when she lead the evacuation of many of the remaining members of the world’s oldest Jewish community from Baghdad to Israel. Her work was featured on CNN’s Newsnight with Aaron Brown in October 2004. Ms. Zelon started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in the jungles of Ecuador and then went on to receive a Masters Degree in Social Work at the Hunter College School of Social Work in New York City. Ms. Zelon worked for HIAS, Inc. for 15 years in the field of refugee assistance, protection and resettlement. During her tenure at HIAS, Ms. Zelon was Vice President responsible for all domestic and international programs. She later went on to serve as Vice President of International Programs for Feed The Children, Inc., a non-governmental relief and development organization headquartered in Oklahoma City.
Ken Patterson – Chair
Ken has been developing and directing international development projects since 1997. For ten years of his career, Ken worked with the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), designing and developing projects in South Asia, West and Central Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. Much of his work has focused on creating projects that respond to refugee and forced migration crises caused by war or internal political strife, such as Legal Protection and Refugee Camp Management. Ken also designed and directed several Business Development and Micro Finance projects, as well as the IARS Project, the first comprehensive anti-trafficking project in the Balkans. He wrapped up his time with ICMC as Director of Global Operations in the Geneva Headquarters.
Since then, he has served as Chairperson for KEP, a major micro finance institution in Kosovo, as well as Team Leader for development of the Balkan Investment Fund. In addition, Ken has recently finalized a formal MOU between the cities of Fayetteville, Arkansas and Korce, Albania for the transfer of agriculture technologies and agri-business development. Ken received his Jurist Doctorate from the University of Arkansas in 1993 and began his international career as a teacher in Japan (JET Program).
He is a proud native of Joplin, Missouri and now lives with his wife, Renee, in Grove, Oklahoma.
Dr. Brian Worley – Treasurer
Dr. Worley is a Pulmonary/Critical Care/Sleep Disorders physician in private practice. Born and raised in Oklahoma, he completed his undergraduate and medical school training at the University of Oklahoma. Following this he entered active duty in the U.S. Army and completed his Internal Medical, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Disorders training at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX and remains Board-Certified in all of these specialties. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army he entered into private practice in Tulsa, Ok. In addition to a very active private practice, Dr. Worley develops, designs, and manufactures numerous medical products many of which are currently being used throughout the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Worley is married to Kay Worley, M.D., a Neurophysiology Neurologist and has three children.
Bill Sage has worked with and for both governmental and non-governmental organizations and agencies including the United States Agency for International Development, the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charities, Church World Service, the International Catholic Migration Commission and International Orthodox Christian Charities. He served as Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University for nearly a decade and previously served as Senior Consultant to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Office in New Delhi, India. He has a BA in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration. He is currently an Independent Consultant.
Mr. Sage’s programmatic expertise is in two principal areas: (1) processing and asylum procedures for refugees and displaced persons, and (2) assessment, development and mapping of staff care and wellness programs for humanitarian assistance workers in the field, both domestically and internationally. In addition, Mr. Sage has extensive experience in the assessment and establishment of program offices, and administrative and operational systems for non-governmental organizations. He is well-versed in the utilization of secondment assignments to fill leadership gaps and the training of professional management teams for development projects, in humanitarian emergencies and preparedness planning.
Mr. Sage’s geographic expertise includes Africa and South and Southeast Asia. He speaks Thai, Lao, and Spanish.
Bill Sage resides in Woodside, New York.
Fr. George Eber
Fr. George is the Presbyter of St. Antony Orthodox Christian Church (Antiochian Archdiocese) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has held this position since 1981. Fr. George is a 1980 graduate of Oral Roberts Seminary and a 1968 graduate of Bucknell University. Fr. George served in the United States Army and in Viet Nam as a combat officer with the 25th Infantry. He was born in Vermont, raised in Buffalo, New York and lived in Colorado Springs before moving to Tulsa. He has a strong interest in counseling and loves to sail and build. He and his wife Claudia, and three dogs, live in an eco-friendly home they have been building. Fr. George and Claudia have two sons who live and work in the Tulsa community.
Dan Hensiek is a native Oklahoman and serves as Vice President of Operations for KPI Architects Inc. KPI is one of the leading provider of design and construction over-site of Public Schools for the State of California. Dan is a 1994 graduate of Oklahoma State University with degrees in Structural Engineering and Architecture. Additionally, Dan has a Masters of Business degree from Phoenix University. His interest in public school construction, especially in impoverished communities is one of the leading reasons for his interest in HRI. In his spare time Dan enjoys collecting art, working on his antique car and his never ending house construction project.
Dr. Didié Hérold Louis, Country Representative, Haiti
Dr. Louis, a Haitian citizen, is the Country Representative for Hunger Relief International in Haiti. Dr. Louis was born and educated in Haiti and has dedicated many years to humanitarian work in that country. Dr. Louis comes from a very poor family – his maternal grandmother sold food staples in one of the most iconic markets in Port-au-Prince and his grandfather was a simple laborer. Education was considered paramount in Dr. Louis’ family and great pride was taken in ensuring that all of the children and grandchildren had access to the best education in the country. Dr. Louis attended private schools, founded and run by religious orders, and considered to be the best in Haiti. “Although my family did not always have the best gadgets at home, the best meals, or the best clothing, the children always had the privilege of attending excellent schools.”
After graduating from high school, Dr. Louis went through the arduous task of applying to the Faculty of Medicine of Haiti State University. Although it took two attempts, this young man was accepted into the nation’s most prestigious college of medicine. After receiving his degree, Dr. Louis realized that his true interest lay in the area of Community and Public Health. In 2002, he began working as a researcher for the first study ever implemented in Haiti on the prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure in the country. Shortly after beginning his work there he was promoted to a supervisory position and later given a permanent post at the Haitian Foundation for Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
Simultaneously, Dr. Louis worked as a consultant on healthcare and development with Intell Consult. This provided an opportunity to work in different regions of the country on diverse subjects ranging from access to healthcare, women’s /children’s health, orphans, gender equity, and HIV/AIDS. Through this experience he gained vast experience in research on community interventions, monitoring and project evaluation.
From 2004-2006, Dr. Louis worked for Centres Gheskio, a Haitian NGO specializing in HIV/AIDS research. For more than twenty years, Gheskio has served as the Haitian Government’s research and training center for HIV/AIDS. Centres Gheskio is internationally recognized for excellence.
Dr. Louis served as the Assistant Regional Director for Feed The Children, Inc. for two years. In his capacity there he worked on restructuring the medical clinic and launching the organization’s leading role in the country in the area of deworming.
In 2010, Dr. Louis joined Hunger Relief International as the Country Representative. He has spearheaded HRIs efforts in the country and has developed strong partnerships between the organization and 29 orphanages as well as several farmers associations. Dr. Louis continues to take HRI to new levels of professionalism and innovation in our efforts to positively impact the lives of orphans and vulnerable children.
In his own words,
“My Christian faith, along with a strong sense of social responsibility towards my country and its citizens, reinforces my commitment to working for a better Haiti for all.”
Efrain de los Rios, Country Representative, Guatemala
Efrain de los Rios was born and raised during very turbulent times in Guatemala. He was a boy during the civil war in that country and after his father’s assassination his family was forced into exile for many years. Mr. de los Rios returned to Guatemala with his mother and sister when he was a young adult.
Efrain de los Rios began his career serving as a parliamentary official, advisor and secretary in the Central American Parliament, under the direction of Dr. Manuel Conde Orellana. During that period he had the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of the complexities facing countries throughout Central America. He later served as a consultant to CARE Guatemala and the USAID mission, specifically related to the peace process going on in Guatemala at that time.
During the years 1996 – 1997 Mr. de los Rios was an advisor to the Youth Ministry in Guatemala, under the leadership of Diego Arzu, son of the nation’s president. Since early 1998 Mr. de los Rios has worked in the field of humanitarian relief and development. He started with an international NGO where he held different positions including Country Director for Guatemala and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mr. de los Rios is the Country Representative for Hunger Relief International in Guatemala and serves as the organization’s primary liaison throughout Central and South America.
Efrain de los Rios received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Rafael Landivar in Guatemala. He later had the opportunity to complete several post-graduate programs in Human Rights and Politics in Musbach, Germany.
Mr. de los Rios currently lives in Guatemala City with his wife Leslie.
Kimberly Lagomarsino, Program Officer
Kimberly Lagomarsino has spent her academic and professional career committed to improving outcomes for resource-limited children, families, and communities. She began living abroad in Latin America at age 18 working in rural communities and schools. She later completed a B.S. in Family Studies at the University of Maryland where she concentrated on issues affecting immigrant families. She then went on to work in Early Childhood policy for 4 years at ZERO TO THREE in Washington, DC. During this time she completed an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She focused her graduate studies on conflict in Latin America and community conflict, but did her culminating Master’s research on refugee policy in Turkey. She later moved back to Latin America, spending time in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia. In coastal Ecuador she managed an intern program and community education center along with various development projects. Her experiences both domestic and abroad continue to inspire her work.