Our Team

Senior
Leadership
Team

Kori Yates

Kori Yates

Executive Director

Kori Yates is the Founder and Director of Planting Roots (www.plantingroots.net), a growing organization building a community of Christian military women and wives worldwide. Also an author (“Olive Drab Pom-Poms“) and speaker, Kori is a former Marine and current Army wife. She is married to Kyle, an active duty Soldier, and homeschooling mom to two children. The Yates’ currently live in the Republic of Korea

Kori can be reached at: executive.director@plantingroots.net

Brenda Pace

Brenda Pace

Senior Director for Leadership Development

Brenda Pace is an author and speaker with a passion for bringing encouragement and hope to women. She frequently shares her message in both local church and military chapel settings. She has been the keynote speaker for retreats in Korea, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Italy, and numerous locations across the United States.

Brenda is dedicated to mentor and train women to be godly leaders. She gained practical experience serving at every level of leadership in the military women’s organization, Protestant Women of the Chapel, from president of a local chapter to national leadership as the president of Protestant Women of the Chapel-USA. Her personal experience along with specialized training and education in leadership, has equipped her to encourage and mentor women to develop their full potential for Christ.

Because of her desire to encourage military spouses, Brenda coauthored the devotional book Medals above My Heart, with her friend and fellow military spouse Carol McGlothlin (Broadman and Holman). Brenda and Carol also wrote The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional, Taking a Stand in Prayer for Our Nation and Those Who Serve (Tyndale House). She is a contributing author to Stories of Faith and Courage from the Homefront, Stories Around the Table, and the seminary textbook Women in Ministry and Leadership. Brenda is the author of a soon to be released devotional and bible study series The Journey of a Military Wife: God’s Truth for Every Step. The American Bible Society will launch the series in early 2015.

Brenda holds a BA in education from Lee University, a MEd from Columbus State University, and a MA in Christian Leadership from Liberty Theological Seminary. She is currently a Doctorate of Ministry candidate at the Assembly of God Theological Seminary.

Brenda lives in Tennessee, the place of her birth with her husband Richard. A retired US Army Chaplain with 28 years of service, Richard serves as the Chaplain Endorser and Coordinator for Vocational Chaplains at the Church of God Chaplains Commission. The Pace’s are the parents of two married sons and the proud grandparents of five terrific grandkids.

Brenda can be reached at: director.leadership@plantingroots.net

Michelle Hieb

Michelle Hieb

Senior Director for Spiritual Development

Michelle Hieb serves as Director of Spiritual Development for Planting Roots. She received her BA in Psychology and English from Kentucky Wesleyan College. Her passion is seeing women grow in their faith as well as their knowledge, understanding and application of God’s word in their lives. She has seen the power of prayer in her own life and the life of her family through circumstances large and small such as unemployment, pediatric cancer, depression, deployments, PCS, miscarriage, parenting 4 biological children and several foster children, and most recently COVID-19 ARDS.

Michelle can be reached at: director.spiritual@plantingroots.net

Morgan Farr

Morgan Farr

Director of Operations

Morgan is a Texas-loving, succulent-cultivating book nerd and aspiring author. As an Army spouse, she has learned to lean heavily on Christ while walking this military life.

Morgan and her husband have four young children and a fantastic working dog. As a jack-of-all-trades, Morgan is always learning something new. When she isn’t homeschooling her children, writing for Christian publications, or training her Dutch Shepherd, Morgan can be found listening to Texas country music while lifting weights, reading, or cheering on the Texas Aggies.

Morgan is best known for her structure, discipline, and organization. She uses these skills as:

– The graphic designer for Mission: Milspouse
– The Director of Operations for Planting Roots
– A heavily involved member of her local PWOC
– The magic maker for K9 Farr Fitness

You can connect with Morgan on all major social media channels using her handle @morgandfarr.

Deb Schiess

Deb Schiess

Director of Events

Deb Schiess is a speaker, Bible study teacher, and ministry leader. She has served on staff at several churches as a Women’s Ministry Director as well as coordinating or speaking at workshops, conferences, and retreats in different ministry settings. Deb desires to be a conduit of God’s grace and love by encouraging and caring for people or simply listening to someone’s heart story. She is excited to be a part of the Planting Roots team in order to share her story of God’s faithfulness in her military journey and encourage other women in theirs.
She grew up overseas as a missionary kid which helped prepare her for the transitional life of being a military spouse. Deb has been married to her high-school sweetheart, Doug, for over 30 years.  They have been an Air Force, and now Space Force, family for over 30 years and counting. They have two adult daughters and a son-in-law who are their favorite people to hang out with.
Debbie loves to create- whether it is decorating a beautiful room, baking a scrumptious-looking cake, or arranging flowers. She loves to travel, spend time outdoors, and share time around a table with friends. She is currently serving as the Director of Events.

Deb can be reached at: director.events@plantingroots.net

Alissa VandeBunte

Alissa VandeBunte

Director of Marketing

Alissa VandeBunte has been a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard since 2017 and attended West Chester University, where she, along with her twin sister, contributed as athletes on the women’s cross country and track team. Their journey intertwines the challenges of running with the broader race of life, emphasizing spiritual and physical endurance.
Alissa’s cherished life verse, Isaiah 43:17-19:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:17-19, NIV)
Actively engaged in her church’s youth ministry, Alissa commits herself to mentoring high school girls, encouraging them to pursue their goals and deepen their faith in God. Driven by a sense of mission, she strives to fulfill her purpose and positively influence others, flourishing where the Lord has planted her and finding fulfillment in receiving her deepest needs from Him.

Alissa can be reached at: director.marketing@plantingroots.net

VACANT

Director of Publishing
VACANT

VACANT

Deputy Director

Board
of
Directors

Jim Glass

Jim Glass

Board President

Skills: Leadership development, adaptability, communication skills, passion for women’s ministry.

Past Experience: Blissfully married to the same wonderful bride for 41 years and father of three girls and a boy–all married–and four grandchildren. Following graduation from seminary with MDiv and PhD, I pastored three churches, taught in two colleges, served as president of the local ministerial association, served on the Alabama Baptist Christian Life Commission, and served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity in Alexander City, Alabama, before returning to active duty as a chaplain in 1998. Retired August 2017.

Military Experience: Air Force Academy cadet, 1973-1977; communications officers, 1977-1982; chaplain, 1998-2017. Sole chaplain in Ankara, Turkey, in the two years following 911. Director of the Excellence Division of the Center for Character Development at the Air Force Academy (annual National Character and Leadership Symposium, semi-annual heritage/character development event, course director for Air Force Core Values education). Executive Officer to the Chief of Chaplains. Wing Chaplain at Fairchild AFB and Ft Meade.

Personal Statement of Christian Faith: I was born into a nominally Methodist family and my parents regularly sent me to church. Although I was very active in many of the church’s activities, even being confirmed at the age of fourteen, I had not yet come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. At the age of sixteen in 1972, the First Baptist Church in my hometown of Prattville, Alabama, was holding revival services. On a Tuesday night, I attended those services. During the invitation, I clearly realized for the first time where I stood with God–that there was a great divide that separated me from Him, and that I could not get to be where He was in my own strength. Not knowing what to do, I spoke to a counselor and he showed me how I could give my heart to the Lord Jesus. He then led me in a prayer, I gave my heart and life to Jesus, and I was born again.

Arthur Pace

Arthur Pace

Board Vice President

Skills: Leadership, team building, encouragement, written and oral communication, and pastoral skills.

Past Experience: 

I pastored a church for three years in New Jersey before entering active duty in 1982. When I retired from the Army in 2012, I was hired as the Executive Director for the Armed Services Ministry (ASM) of the American Bible Society. It was in that capacity that I was introduced to Planting Roots in their inception, and have been a big fan ever since. When ABS moved to Philadelphia I chose not to and engaged in other ministries. I was blessed to be a part of a translation and commentary team for Wycliffe Associates focusing on the Book of Jonah. I then was hired as a part-time consultant for The 1687 Foundation which provides Christian books to a broad swath of ministries. I was also privileged to minister in Moldova and Ukraine with Olive Branch International. I returned to ASM almost three ago as a part-time consultant. I enjoy writing and, besides designing materials for ASM, have had Op-ed pieces published in the Huffington Post, the Christian Post, and the American Bible Society Blog site. I am the co-author of the books Engage Your Strengths 4.0, and the Military Stewardship Devotional, both available on ArmedServicesMinistry.org.


Military Experience:
1982-2012, US Army Chaplain, retiring at the rank of Colonel. I am a graduate of the US Army War College.

Personal Statement of Christian Faith: I was raised in a denomination that did not emphasize the need for salvation. By a miracle of the Lord, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 17. I then got my call to ministry in college when I was 19, and became active in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Rutgers who discipled me. After college, I attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and was ordained after graduation. I am now honorably retired as a minister, although I still preach as requested. I have been married to my bride Mary for 46 years. We have two daughters and 4 grandchildren who are the love of our lives.

 

Diane Hall

Diane Hall

Board Secretary

I served in Protestant Women of the Chapel at the local, regional and international levels. These positions included President, International Theme Development Coordinator, Leadership Training Team member, and Curriculum Writing Team member. I have a passion for studying God’s Word and have led numerous women’s Bible studies. I was a private contractor to the Army at several installations in the role of Protestant Religious Education Coordinator. I am a substitute teacher for our local school district.

 

Gwen Chandler

Gwen Chandler

Board Secretary

Skills: I have worked with a women’s ministry,PWOC, for over 30 years in various capacities of leadership. I have mentored many young women over the years on a one-on-one basis and have desired to pass to the next generation a love of Jesus. My husband and I are associate staff with the Navigators and have had a Bible Study in our home for most of our 21 years in the Army and since we have retired. I love the ministry that Planting Roots has of serving our military women. I consider it a privilege to encourage those on staff and the Board.

Past Experience: I taught special education for 4 years in a elementary school setting.
I have been President, Vice-President of Spiritual Life, Vice-President of Programs, Treasurer for the local level and the first National level, Worship leader, Hospitality, and Childcare Liaison for the Protestant Women of the Chapel. I currently serve as the Titus II advisor. I have taught Bible studies for PWOC.
I assist my husband in his Pediatric Dental Office as his personal secretary and support the staff in various ways.

Military Experience: We joined the Army in June of 1979 and retired in December of 2000.
We were privileged to serve at Fort Gordon twice, Fort Campbell, San Antonio at UTSA doing a dental residency, Augsburg Germany, Fort Benning, and Darmstadt, Germany.

Personal Statement of Christian Faith: I am a preacher’s kid so I have been in church since I was 3 weeks old. I knew lots of the right language for Christians and was even President of my youth group but still didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. When I was 17 I was reading through the Bible for no apparent reason other than to say I had done it. After I graduated I was working at a snack bar and my friend and I went for dinner after work one day. I told her some things I was struggling with and she said she would put it on her prayer list. I asked her what that was and truly had no idea what a prayer list was. She explained that she wrote down prayer requests and then prayed about them and when God answered she dated and wrote down the answers. I was in the book of John at the time and one night I read John 14:6 which says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That night I asked Jesus to be the way, the truth and the life in me. I had a mentor who then helped me to get started. I went on to college that fall and got involved in several campus ministries that helped me to continue to grow.

Sally Evans

Sally Evans

Board Member

My name is Sally Evans, and am new to the Planting Roots board.  I joined the US Navy at 19, met the love of my life, and have been married 43 years.  We made the military our career, and retired in 2008. We live in Carlisle, PA and now enjoy being Grandparents to 2 wonderful boys.

CH (COL) Karen Meeker

CH (COL) Karen Meeker

Board Member

Chaplain Karen Meeker is endorsed by the United Methodist Church and is an Elder in the Susquehanna Conference. She is a graduate of Bucknell University and has a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Karen is on orders for the 8th Army, Republic of Korea. Her previous assignments include the Senior Chaplain Clinician of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center; 1st Armored Division Chaplain; Chaplain for CENTCOM Forward Jordan; Executive Officer Office of the Chief of Chaplains; Deputy Chaplain, Combined Joint Task Force 101, Afghanistan; Deputy Division Chaplain, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Deputy Chaplain TRADOC; Group Chaplain, 43d ASG; Deputy Group Chaplain, 4th PSYOP (Airborne), USASOC; Chaplain, 2-2 AVN BN, 2d Infantry Division, Republic of Korea; and Chaplain, 307 FSB, 82d Airborne Division.

Cecil Richardson

Cecil Richardson

Board Member

Skills: I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am also an organizer and cheerleader. I love to encourage people in their faith. My wife is a professional educator. I pre-edit all her books before they go to the publishing companies (Janrichardsonguidedreading.com). I own a tree farm, and I’m good with a tractor and chainsaw!

Past Experience: 

  • 39 years ordained;
  • served on MCYM Board of Directors;
  • presently serve on the Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association BOD (Bad Axe);
  • have led hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people to Christ.


Military Experience:
I was drafted in 1966 and served six years in the Air Force as a Russian interpreter. During that time, I heard the gospel for the first time and accepted Christ as my Savior. I left the Air Force for college and seminary, briefly pastored a church, and re-entered the Air Force in 1977 as a chaplain. I retired in 2012 with over 41 years active duty. My oldest son (Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel, Steven Richardson) is the wing chaplain at Columbus Air Force Base. My middle son (Jim) is the Senior Advisor to the State Department for USAID. He has attended Air Command and Staff College. My youngest son is the senior electrical engineer at Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico. All three sons and my wife are devout Christians.

Personal Statement of Christian Faith: I was in San Angelo, Texas, preparing for an assignment in Turkey monitoring Russian missile launches. I was 20 years old and trying to meet girls. I thought I would try a church (I had never been in one). There I heard the gospel and immediately began to follow Christ.

 

Leadership
Development
Team

Brenda Pace

Brenda Pace

Senior Director for Leadership Development

Brenda Pace is an author and speaker with a passion for bringing encouragement and hope to women. She frequently shares her message in both local church and military chapel settings. She has been the keynote speaker for retreats in Korea, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Italy, and numerous locations across the United States.

Brenda is dedicated to mentor and train women to be godly leaders. She gained practical experience serving at every level of leadership in the military women’s organization, Protestant Women of the Chapel, from president of a local chapter to national leadership as the president of Protestant Women of the Chapel-USA. Her personal experience along with specialized training and education in leadership, has equipped her to encourage and mentor women to develop their full potential for Christ.

Because of her desire to encourage military spouses, Brenda coauthored the devotional book Medals above My Heart, with her friend and fellow military spouse Carol McGlothlin (Broadman and Holman). Brenda and Carol also wrote The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional, Taking a Stand in Prayer for Our Nation and Those Who Serve (Tyndale House). She is a contributing author to Stories of Faith and Courage from the Homefront, Stories Around the Table, and the seminary textbook Women in Ministry and Leadership. Brenda is the author of a soon to be released devotional and bible study series The Journey of a Military Wife: God’s Truth for Every Step. The American Bible Society will launch the series in early 2015.

Brenda holds a BA in education from Lee University, a MEd from Columbus State University, and a MA in Christian Leadership from Liberty Theological Seminary. She is currently a Doctorate of Ministry candidate at the Assembly of God Theological Seminary.

Brenda lives in Tennessee, the place of her birth with her husband Richard. A retired US Army Chaplain with 28 years of service, Richard serves as the Chaplain Endorser and Coordinator for Vocational Chaplains at the Church of God Chaplains Commission. The Pace’s are the parents of two married sons and the proud grandparents of five terrific grandkids.

Brenda can be reached at: director.leadership@plantingroots.net

Katie Payne

Katie Payne

Leadership Development Team Member

Katie Payne is on the Leadership Development Team for Planting Roots. She is an Army wife and mom of four girls, and two with four paws. She has a passion for women’s ministry and has served on local and international boards for Protestant Women of the Chapel.

She and her soldier Brian have been married for 27 years. They are currently stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. She treasures her military life experiences and being a stay at home, mom. With three kids grown and out of the house, she has recently begun a new career as a realtor and hopes to continue serving military families in this new capacity. Katie loves Diet Coke, chocolate, connecting with friends, and being with family. But most of all, she loves Jesus. 

Katie can be reached at: katie.payne@plantingroots.net

Joi Rogers

Joi Rogers

Leadership Development Team Member

Joi can be reached at: joi.rogers@plantingroots.net

Ginger Harrington

Ginger Harrington

Leadership Development Team Member

Ginger can be reached at: ginger.harrington@plantingroots.net

Shellie Kelly

Shellie Kelly

Leadership Development Team Member

Shellie Kelly is the wife of a retired military officer. As she has traveled the world with her husband, she has served in significant leadership positions in Protestant Women of the Chapel and worked for the US Government as a Financial Management Analyst in the Office of the Chief of Chaplains (Army) and at the Garrison (Ft. Rucker, AL).  

She serves Planting Roots as the Finance Manager and delights in resourcing the ministry, turning God-given visions into reality and glorifying God through the process. Shellie has been involved with Strength Based leadership and is a Gallup Strengths Performance Coach, and an Engage Your Strengths Faith Performance Coach. She has had the privilege of training military spouses all over the world in leadership and Strength-based courses.  

Shellie lives with her husband Garrick, in Huntsville, AL. They are the proud parents of two: Joshua, a Captain in the US Army and Megan, and proud grandparents of Ana, Samuel, Daniel, Matthew, and Noah.  

Shellie can be reached at: shellie.kelly@plantingroots.net

Spiritual
Development
Team

Michelle Hieb

Michelle Hieb

Senior Director for Spiritual Development

Michelle Hieb serves as Director of Spiritual Development for Planting Roots. She received her BA in Psychology and English from Kentucky Wesleyan College. Her passion is seeing women grow in their faith as well as their knowledge, understanding and application of God’s word in their lives. She has seen the power of prayer in her own life and the life of her family through circumstances large and small such as unemployment, pediatric cancer, depression, deployments, PCS, miscarriage, parenting 4 biological children and several foster children, and most recently COVID-19 ARDS.

Michelle can be reached at: director.spiritual@plantingroots.net

Tonia Gütting

Tonia Gütting

Spiritual Development Team Member

Tonia Gütting combines a deep conviction to pray with a love of writing in Planting Roots’ Sunday Prayer blog. She is married to a retired Army chaplain, and they are now starting a new church near Ft. Polk, LA. She raised and homeschooled three great military brats, and she plays St. Francis to a couple of crazy pups and a salty cat. She enjoys teaching and speaking, reading, and ruminating over a good cup of tea, as well as hiking and all things outdoors. Her blog is at https://sabbatics.wordpress.com.

Tonia can be reached at: tonia.gutting@plantingroots.net

Stephanie Reyes

Stephanie Reyes

Spiritual Development Team Member

Stephanie Reyes was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York to a 3rd generation Puerto Rican family. Stephanie accomplished many “firsts” in her family: joining the Army after 9/11, graduating from college and earning 2 degrees, and after medically retiring from the Army, she has taken on a new challenge as an educator in the field of special education. Stephanie is married with 3 children and currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her oldest son is an Army Reservist at Fort Carson. Stephanie has served military families and surrounding communities through a variety of ministries in prayer, hospitality, women’s small group Bible studies, children’s ministry, and youth ministry. Stephanie enjoys studying Biblical Hebrew, hiking, cooking, gardening, drinking coffee, and building community wherever the Lord plants her.

Stephanie can be reached at: stephanie.reyes@plantingroots.net

VACANT

Deputy Director of Spiritual Development
VACANT

VACANT

Spiritual Development Team Member

VACANT

Admin for the Spiritual Development Team

Community
Team

Andrea Plotner

Andrea Plotner

Training Coordinator

Andrea Plotner is a military wife (retired) and now a military mom. A long-time writer and editor here at Planting Roots, Andrea is now developing our new discipleship and leadership curriculum. Andrea and her husband live and work at Spring Canyon (Andrea is living her foodie dream running the kitchen), a retreat center ministering to the military in the Colorado Rockies. Looking back, Andrea sees both obstacles and opportunities of military life and likes to share “lessons learned” with practical ideas for loving God and loving others.

Andrea can be reached at: andrea.plotner@plantingroots.net

VACANT

Director of Community

VACANT

Admin for Community Team

Events
Team

Deb Schiess

Deb Schiess

Director of Events

Deb Schiess is a speaker, Bible study teacher, and ministry leader. She has served on staff at several churches as a Women’s Ministry Director as well as coordinating or speaking at workshops, conferences, and retreats in different ministry settings. Deb desires to be a conduit of God’s grace and love by encouraging and caring for people or simply listening to someone’s heart story. She is excited to be a part of the Planting Roots team in order to share her story of God’s faithfulness in her military journey and encourage other women in theirs.
She grew up overseas as a missionary kid which helped prepare her for the transitional life of being a military spouse. Deb has been married to her high-school sweetheart, Doug, for over 30 years.  They have been an Air Force, and now Space Force, family for over 30 years and counting. They have two adult daughters and a son-in-law who are their favorite people to hang out with.
Debbie loves to create- whether it is decorating a beautiful room, baking a scrumptious-looking cake, or arranging flowers. She loves to travel, spend time outdoors, and share time around a table with friends. She is currently serving as the Director of Events.

Deb can be reached at: director.events@plantingroots.net

Rachel Beard

Rachel Beard

Admin for the Events Team

Rachel Beard is serving as the Admin for the Events Team. She served for 20 years in the Air Force as a Space Operations Officer and is also a proud Space Force wife. After retirement, she looked for ways to serve the Lord and our military families and found Planting Roots as a way to do both. When not annoying her two kids, Rachel can be found on her front porch feeding the birds, reading, and drinking her ever-present cup of coffee. She and her husband, Casey, still serving in the Space Force, are currently stationed at Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado and will be heading back to the Pentagon in the summer of 2023.

Rachel can be reached at: rachel.beard@plantingroots.net

Kate Fuller

Kate Fuller

Events Team Member

Kate Fuller is the events team bookkeeper. Her love of numbers and helping out has led her to be the event team bookkeeper. She may love to be behind the scenes but she will be laughing and serving wherever she is found. She loves numbers and using spreadsheets. She loves communicating with groups of people to register them and make sure they enjoy the event.

She is a Texan at heart but her husband has taken her all over the world in their more than 16 years together. They currently reside in Germany. They love traveling and exploring. She is a homeschool momma to four fun, beautiful, crazy children. They keep her on her toes with their activities and their questions. Most days you can find her attempting to instill her love of God, math, and science in her children through silly, sometimes messy, activities and experiments. When you find her in Europe, they will share their adventures with you. Kate loves to help wherever she can. She enjoys working on projects and meeting new people. 

Kate can be reached at: kate.fuller@plantingroots.net

Jolynn Lee

Jolynn Lee

Events Team Member

Jolynn Lee is a speaker, writer, mentor, and military family advocate. She serves the military community through volunteerism with various non-profit organizations. She and her husband administer and facilitate the non-profit program REBOOT Combat Recovery – Camp Lejeune, a trauma recovery program open to all active-duty personnel, veterans, and their families. She is also the Community Team Lead for Planting Roots, a non-profit organization that encourages military women to grow in community and faith.

Jolynn has been a military spouse for 30 years and continues to experience new dimensions of military life as both mother and mother-in-law to active duty personnel. She is passionate about the mental health issues faced by those who serve, and those who love and support service members. She fundamentally believes as we create an environment of solid mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, we strengthen families and support our military force in action. She is eager to support and assist in having those “hard conversations” and leaning-in to address the hard topics surrounding trauma recovery.

Jolynn lives in Hubert, NC, with her husband and their youngest son, age 12, who is best known in the family as “the bonus blessing.” Jolynn and her husband have three adult children (aged 29, 27 and 25) and seven grandchildren. They eagerly await the day when everyone will be stationed in the same place at the same time. 

Jolynn can be reached at: jolynn.lee@plantingroots.net

Kasey Raia Stout

Kasey Raia Stout

Events Team Member

Kasey Raia Stout serves as the Deputy Director of Events for Planting Roots. After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in 2018, she was commissioned as a Force Support Officer. She and her husband Tyler, who is also Active Duty Air Force, are currently stationed at Altus AFB in Oklahoma. 

Kasey has a heart for ministry! Upon graduating high school, her first exposure to ministry was working as a church youth leader for three years. Next, she had the opportunity to do a semester-long internship with The City Mission; a Christian non-profit organization in Cleveland, OH where she was the Youth and Family Programming Assistant. 

While attending USAFA, Kasey started a cadet women’s Bible study called Relentless Love. She also led the USAFA Officer Christian Fellowship (OCF) chapter her “firstie” (senior) year. In the Fall of 2021, she graduated seminary and received her Master of Divinity degree from Liberty University, with a focus in Global Studies. With Kasey joining the Planting Roots team, God’s calling on her life of both the military and ministry continues to develop and evolve. 

Born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO, Kasey loves the mountains. She enjoys hiking, reading, running, coaching or playing volleyball, and spending time with the people she loves. In their free time, she and Tyler can be found playing cribbage, hanging out at coffee shops, playing ping pong, or exploring new places.

Kasey can be reached at: deputy.events@plantingroots.net

Heidi Skilling

Heidi Skilling

Worship Team Coordinator

Heidi Skilling is a Space Force spouse. She is also prior active duty Air Force as a Registered Nurse. She has five kids and loves to be involved in all of their activities from praise team, track and field, volleyball, football, and soccer. Heidi has been a part of worship teams since 2009. Heidi enjoys helping women grow in their confidence in leading worship and worship team members.

Heidi can be reached at: worship@plantingroots.net

April Dingle

April Dingle

Worship Team Member

Born and raised in our Nation’s Capital, April Dingle is the proud wife of a USANG man, “The Real” Eugene Dingle. They have been married for 19 years and are parents to four girls, two of which are adults, one teenager, and one vibrant elementary student! Currently, they are re-establishing life in D.C. as they both tend to the needs of their aging parents. It is April’s joy and desire to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, making His praise glorious here in the earth. Singing is something she can do, but worshiping our Father through song is what she loves to do! Recently April has released her very first Single Titled Love Is You, available on all music platforms.

April can be reached at: april.dingle@plantingroots.net

Mary Beth Gunther

Mary Beth Gunther

Worship Team Member

Mary Beth is a Retired Army Bandsmen and an Army Chaplain wife. Currently stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Mary Beth is a gifted singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist who is active in leading worship in various ministries. Recently, Mary Beth discovered her love for percussion instruments.

Mary Beth can be reached at: marybeth.gunther@plantingroots.net

 

Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams

Worship Team Member

My name is Nicole Williams. I am the daughter of a retired Army Major. I was born in El Paso, Tx, at Fort Bliss. However, I currently reside in Northern Virginia. At my home church, Fort Belvoir Gospel Service, I play piano for all choirs; adult Choir, male chorus, and youth choir. I’ve been playing the piano since a very young age, and I love using my gift to uplift God. I am currently on the Planting Roots Worship Team as a keyboardist and look forward to the fellowship and worship during the next conference!

Nicole can be reached at: nicole.williams@plantingroots.net

Kelly Stoll

Kelly Stoll

Worship Team Member

When I joined the Navy nearly 16 years ago, God was challenging me to step out of my comfort zone, and not stay where it was safe. He called me to trust him moment by moment, through faith, so that I could grow. He did the same thing when I first was introduced to Planting Roots.
In the military and in life, we are challenged. We are called to places we have never been, asked to do things we might not be trained for, tested, and sometimes pushed to our limits, if not beyond. The question is, “how will we respond to the challenges?” I am continually reminded that to be who He has called us to be, to plant roots that will stand the trials we face, and to bear fruit, we must abide in Christ. John 15:4-5.
From leading worship in various settings, to performing Taps while honoring veterans who have passed away, I have been blessed with community from the amazingly talented and unique individuals that God has brought across my path. I reside in the Midwest and delight in spending time with family & friends, studying the Word, anything involving music, women’s ministry, the outdoors, volleyball, and international travel.

Kelly can be reached at: kelly.stoll@plantingroots.net

Tricia Souza

Tricia Souza

Worship Team Member

Tricia Souza has been active as a worship team member for over 17 years. She is married to a retired Army officer with 3 daughters, 5 granddaughters. and 1 grandson. Tricia is a professional photo journalist who focuses on story telling at various events. Tricia picked up a guitar in 2003 as she felt a passion and calling to provide this gift to the church. She became a member of PWOC when her husband was stationed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 2006. Tricia has seen much of the United States with her husband’s nearly 30 years of military service. Singing and worshiping provided. Tricia with an outlet for her heavenly gifts, to praise our Father, and to share the joy of the Gospel.

Tricia can be reached at: tricia.souza@plantingroots.net

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Deputy Director of Events

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Worship Team Member

Marketing
Team

Alissa VandeBunte

Alissa VandeBunte

Director of Marketing

Alissa VandeBunte has been a member of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard since 2017 and attended West Chester University, where she, along with her twin sister, contributed as athletes on the women’s cross country and track team. Their journey intertwines the challenges of running with the broader race of life, emphasizing spiritual and physical endurance.
Alissa’s cherished life verse, Isaiah 43:17-19:
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:17-19, NIV)
Actively engaged in her church’s youth ministry, Alissa commits herself to mentoring high school girls, encouraging them to pursue their goals and deepen their faith in God. Driven by a sense of mission, she strives to fulfill her purpose and positively influence others, flourishing where the Lord has planted her and finding fulfillment in receiving her deepest needs from Him.

Alissa can be reached at: director.marketing@plantingroots.net

Monica Guthrie

Monica Guthrie

Social Media Coordinator

Monica is an Army brat, an Army veteran (Rock of the Marne!) and now an Army spouse with two boys. She is a government and industry award-winning journalist, columnist and photographer, with experience as a videographer, guest blogger, editor, social media manager, and event designer/coordinator. In addition to her work with Planting Roots, Monica serves as the publicity chair for her local PWOC ministry and is part of her church’s worship team.

Monica loves tamales, R2D2, Batman, surprising others with gifts, and wearing ball gown on training holidays. Additionally, Monica and her husband love trying new foods and are taking full advantage of the culinary delights of South Korea where they are currently stationed. Every Friday she and her youngest son share in a tradition of trying a new café (one of the 75k+ in the country).

Her hope through her life is to be able to see where God is working and join Him in his work – ball gown optional.

Monica can be reached at: monica.gutherie@plantingroots.net

Erin Johnson

Erin Johnson

Podcast Coordinator

Erin Johnson is the Podcast Coordinator for Planting Roots. She graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and married her classmate, Nolan in May of 2022. Now stationed on cutters in Virginia, Erin and Nolan are very involved in Officer’s Christian Fellowship and are passionate about pouring into the Military Christian communities who brought them together and closer to the Lord. Erin loves expressing her love for God and the lessons she’s learned from the military through her YouTube videos and is excited to capture her passion for sharing stories of God’s faithfulness through the Podcast Coordinator position.

Erin can be reached at: erin.johnson@plantingroots.net

Elizabeth Doyle

Elizabeth Doyle

Podcast Co-coordinator

Liz Doyle is the Podcast Co-Coordinator for Planting Roots. She is a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard who graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in May of 2022. In May of 2023, she married her best friend and classmate, Matt. She is now stationed in Houston, TX, serving as a Marine Inspector while her husband serves on a patrol boat in Galveston, TX. Liz enjoys serving her community and church family; she is actively involved in her church’s community groups, as well as the Women and Children’s ministries. She considers her life verse to be Acts 20:24, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Liz is excited to testify to the gospel of the grace of God by capturing her love for Jesus and others. She hopes to be able to help other women who can relate to her as a military spouse and/or active-duty member. In her free time, Liz enjoys running, reading, traveling, and spending time with her friends and family.

Liz can be reached at elizabeth.doyle@plantingroots.net

Kerstin Emmett

Kerstin Emmett

Photographer/Videographer

Kerstin Emmett is the videographer and photographer for Planting Roots. She was born and raised in Germany and after marrying her husband moved to the United States. She has been a military wife for 16 years and continues to serve the military community even after her husband retired from his military career. She is very passionate and involved in ladies and youth ministry. She has been a homeschool mom to her two kids, loves Jesus, a good cup of coffee, education, Alaska and is a bookworm. She works as a photography and videographer and loves to capture special moments, adventures, nature and loves to share her passion with others.

Kerstin can be reached at: kerstin.emmett@plantingroots.net

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Deputy Director of Marketing
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Admin for the Marketing Team

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Website Coordinator

Operations
Team

Morgan Farr

Morgan Farr

Director of Operations

Morgan is a Texas-loving, succulent-cultivating book nerd and aspiring author. As an Army spouse, she has learned to lean heavily on Christ while walking this military life.

Morgan and her husband have four young children and a fantastic working dog. As a jack-of-all-trades, Morgan is always learning something new. When she isn’t homeschooling her children, writing for Christian publications, or training her Dutch Shepherd, Morgan can be found listening to Texas country music while lifting weights, reading, or cheering on the Texas Aggies.

Morgan is best known for her structure, discipline, and organization. She uses these skills as:

– The graphic designer for Mission: Milspouse
– The Director of Operations for Planting Roots
– A heavily involved member of her local PWOC
– The magic maker for K9 Farr Fitness

You can connect with Morgan on all major social media channels using her handle @morgandfarr.

Lisa Redford

Lisa Redford

Human Resource Manager

Prior to meeting her husband, Lisa Redford neither had any knowledge or interest in a military lifestyle nor did she ever plan to be a military spouse. She attended college at Moorhead State University and the University of Kentucky, graduating from the latter with a degree in Special Education.  However, quite comfortable with a teaching career in Lexington, Kentucky God had a different journey planned for her life; once she acknowledged God’s plan was far better than her own,  she began to thrive, not just survive, the military life.

For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”      -Jeremiah 29 11-13

Lisa loves encouraging others and serving families in the communities God plants her.  She believes that small acts can reveal great love and strives to live by the belief: Jesus first, others second, and self last.  Lisa desires military women to fully grasp God’s love and plan for them in their own military journey.  She strongly advocates that once you understand God’s love, you can give it and once you accept His plans for you, you can be a part of them, which is awesome!

Lisa has been married to the love of her life, Craig, for 15 years. They have five joy-filled children, Caden, Kenadie, Ashlyn, Elijah, and Elizabeth.  Lisa is a proud stay-at-home-mom who currently home schools her children, another plan that was not hers. She loves being involved in the children’s extracurricular activities.

Lisa enjoys jogging, being outdoors, volunteering, and gatherings with family and friends. Lisa has been involved with Protestant Women of the Chapel for several years. Lisa was involved with establishing a Battle Buddy Resource Center, which has been serving Soldiers’ families through food pantry services for just over a year.  Above all, she loves being a military spouse and believes this journey has provided many opportunities for growth in many areas, especially spiritual.  It’s her strongest desire to learn and grow deeper in God’s word every day and be proof of Jesus’ love, every moment.

Lisa can be reached at: lisa.redford@plantingroots.net

Beth Sanders

Beth Sanders

Finance Manager

Beth Sanders is the Bookkeeper for Planting Roots. She has a heart for women’s ministry and has served as a facilitator in several locations both within her church congregations as well as PWOC. She is an Army Veteran who loved every minute of serving in uniform. Beth met her husband John, also a soldier, of 17 years while they were serving together in Suwon, South Korea. She and John have three children who keep them busy runnning to swim practices and swim meets. Though Beth is no longer in uniform she enjoys volunteering with the soldiers and families of her husband’s unit at Fort Stewart, GA.

Beth can be reached at: beth.sanders@plantingroots.net

Debbie Sutter

Debbie Sutter

Compliance Manager

Debbie Sutter serves as the Planting Roots Compliance Manager. She is the wife of 29 years of Paul, an active-duty Air Force chaplain. Together, they’ve raised four boys in the military community, which has been challenging at times for their kids. Military life has given them the opportunity to be stationed in amazing locations from Alaska to Turkey. Debbie has volunteered on-base in such diverse areas as the tax assistance center, thrift shop, and pharmacy. Currently, they live in Colorado Springs where she loves being outdoors and finding support systems while her husband serves as a chaplain in the newly-formed Space Force.

Debbie can be reached at: deb.sutter@plantingroots.net

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Deputy Director of Operations
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Admin for the Operations Team

Publishing
Team

Melissa Hicks

Melissa Hicks

Publishing Team Member

Melissa Hicks is a second-generation military brat who grew up on posts around the world. After college, she exchanged Army brat for Army wife and began a journey to help other military women grow in their faith. 

Though she met Christ at an early age, Melissa continues to struggle with the difference between being a “good girl” and following Jesus. Thankfully, between the military and motherhood, God provides ample proof of her own depravity – making the message of God’s grace so much sweeter. A message so sweet, she desires to share it with others. 

Melissa currently resides in Tampa, Florida, with her active-duty husband, two sweet children, and a snuggly hound named Felix. In between PCS moves, she loves to write, spend time at the beach, and connect with friends new and old around the globe. 

Melissa can be reached at: melissa.hicks@plantingroots.net

Megan Rivera

Megan Rivera

Publishing Team Member

Megan Rivera comes from a family with a long line of military members.  Going back to her great-grandfather, at least two people in every generation have served.  Part of her childhood was spent at Ft. Bragg, NC and the other half was in northwest Indiana where she met her husband, Angel.  They have two boys and she couldn’t be more thankful to be a “boy mom.”  Angel decided to join the Army in 2011. They spent his whole enlistment in GA.  During that time, they were active in the community by serving with their local church.  Megan was also had opportunities to serve on base with her husband’s unit, PWOC, and at the main post chapel.  She has a heart to make a difference in women’s lives through the Gospel and God’s Word.  Having been through military life as an army/navy brat, army sister, and army wife, Megan knows that relying on God and a strong community is what will get you through the ups and downs.  She looks for opportunities to give back to and support the military community, a group who gives so much for others without expecting anything in return.

LNSDQ!

Megan can be reached at: megan.rivera@plantingroots.net

Stephanie Ward

Stephanie Ward

Publishing Team Member

Stephanie is a self-declared ministry Jack of all trades, master of none. Meaning, she sees a need, feels a holy spirit nudging to serve, and then jumps in and helps where she can. Stephanie originally began serving in her local church while teaching high school students. She later served as a Children’s Director at a rapidly growing church in the Kansas City area. Stephanie has been an Army Reservist wife for 13 years and she and her family recently made the jump into Active Duty Army life, where her husband serves as a Chaplain. Together with Stephanie and her husband, Kyle, teach classes and volunteer with the local duty station. Stephanie and her family have a heart for the military community and wanting to spread the hope of Jesus at every duty station.

Stephanie is a proud mom to her two boys Elijah (12) and Isaiah (9). She can speak the languages of soccer, football, jujitsu, and video games. Stephanie also has two Dachshunds that help complete their family.

She loves traveling and adventuring with her family, especially when those travels involve discovering tasty international foods. She wants to see the women of the military have such a firm foundation in Jesus Christ that when the trials of life come, they will not be shaken.

Stephanie can be reached at: deputy.community@plantingroots.net

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Director of Publishing

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Deputy Director of Publishing

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Admin for the Publishing Team

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Designer