Board of Directors
Love goes the distance.
Steve Shaner, Chairman
Steve Shaner is Chairman of our Board of Directors. He is a retired professor of Mass Communications at Harding University. He has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communication. He started his career in Little Rock where he was a news photographer for KATV Channel 7. While in Little Rock he owned and operated a photography studio and advertising agency. Steve was the director of public relations at the University of the Ozarks before moving back to his hometown area of Chicago in 1987. In Chicago, Steve worked in the printing and direct marketing industry. In 2002 he created Image Marketing & Communications, an integrated marketing communications consulting firm. While at Harding, Steve was the director of the Advertising majors while teaching a broad variety of classes in mass communication. Steve also taught an ESL level communication principles class for Chinese students. During the summers since 2010, Steve has been a visiting professor in China at Universities in Hengyang, Wuhan, Xi’an, Guangzhou, and Zhuhai; and, he spent one summer teaching communications and photography in Bangkok, Thailand. Steve has served as an elder at churches in Searcy, Arkansas, and Naperville, Illinois. Steve his wife Donna have two sons and four grandchildren.
John is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors. John has broad base experience in environmental/public health arena and venture capital investing. He holds a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Industrial Management as well as post graduate studies at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Upon completing his academic endeavors, he was employed in numerous technical positions as an environmental & manufacturing professional for both public and private sectors. Recently John has transitioned to investing in venture capital and private placement endeavors. He has been appointed as a technical advisor and board member for several start-up companies and investment groups. John currently resides in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He has traveled extensively to over 50 international destinations and has participated in various U.S. and international Christian missions traveling as part of a team as well as individually – including a journey in March 2015 to China visiting the Agape Asia network.
Christy Hesslen is a career educator and lives in Greenwood, Arkansas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas and a master’s degree in Secondary Education from Arkansas Tech University. Christy serves as Secondary Instructional Facilitator for grades 7-12 in Greenwood, serving on the Leadership Team and Right to Intervention Team at each campus. She holds various professional licenses and certificates, including an Arkansas Educator’s License in English Language Arts, Gifted and Talented, and PRAXIS III assessor. Christy has been married to her husband Kevin for 27 years. Also an educator, he serves as the Assistant Superintendent for the Greenwood School District. They have two married daughters and a son who is in college.
David Jenkins recently retired from his own construction management company, a field he worked in most of his life. He is a graduate of Abilene Christian University. He and his wife Marla have been married for 45 years and have 4 children and 4 grandchildren. In the past, he served as a board member of HUG (Humanity United in Giving Internationally), an NGO working primarily in orphanages and group homes in Romania. During that time, he led teams of Americans to Romania assisting state employees as well as paid HUG staff in training and improved child care methods. A few years of this volunteer work led David and Marla to adopt two teenage girls from an orphanage in Russia. Both girls have now completed college. One has completed a Masters degree in Social Work and is employed in that field. The other is married and working full time. Recently after several years working as a volunteer David joined the board of directors for India Discipleship Network (IDN). David has a heart for missions and especially hurting children and plans to dedicate his retirement years to such efforts.
Jeff Robertson recently served as our Executive Director and has transitioned onto our board. He is a retired US Coast Guard officer and has served in executive roles in government, industry and nonprofits. He believes that we are all created in the image of God and should treat each other with dignity and respect. As a follower of Jesus, he feels called to demonstrate the love that God has for each person by following the example of Jesus – to love God and to love others the way that God loves us. Providing for the “least of these” in our communities demonstrates our participation in the Kingdom. He seeks to create opportunities for communities to become financially independent and self-supporting, grounded in dependence on God. He and his wife Phyllis live in the mountains of southeast Tennessee; they have 3 wonderful daughters in law (married to their 3 sons) and four grandchildren.
Dr. Graham Sweeney
Graham recently retired after serving in the education arena for over 42 years and as Superintendent of Schools for the Boles Independent School District in Quinlan, Texas, for more than 30 years. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Graham is a graduate of Abilene Christian University with Masters degree in Education, as well as Doctorate in Education from Texas A&M University, Commerce. Graham serves as the president on numerous boards including: the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Rural Education Association, the STAR of Texas (Student Transfer Access Rural Texas), the Dallas Metroplex Red Cross, the Greenville Rotary International, and the Loan Star Credit Union. Graham is married to Laura and they have two adult children, and two grandchildren.