End Of The Day,
It's All About Your Family.
Volunteer Staff and Volunteer Advisors
NOKR staff has a unique blend of military veterans augmented by
industry business professionals with extensive public and
Cerney, a State law enforcement officer commissioned by Gov.
Nikki Haley is the President and founder of the National Next of
Kin Registry (NOKR). Prior to NOKR, Mark was involved in a
number of organizations committed to connecting families in
crisis situations, one of which is Community Care 2000,
based in Bellingham, Washington. CC 2000 utilizes volunteer
Firefighters and EMT's to survey rural and suburban
populations and identify those with special needs in case of
fire or emergency medical situations. Under Cerney's
leadership, the group developed a record of citizens who
might need particular help during any emergency. The
program expanded into an educational program for these
families through the local fire and emergency service
organizations. Mr. Cerney has also been involved with such
fine organizations as the California Youth Authority, San
Diego County Medical Examiners Office, Clark County Coroners
Office Las Vegas and Whatcom County Fire District 3 in WA.
Mr. Cerney is a US Marine Corp veteran who served Honorably
with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force 3rd
Battalion 1st Marines from 1986-1993. In 1989 the
United States Navy Amphibious Forces Seventh Fleet
recognized him for his role in saving 16 U.S. Marines
survivors of a CH-53D helicopter crash in Korea. Mr.
Cerney also served Honorably in the United States Army
National Guard as a combat medic from 1994-1997.
is a nationally recognized speaker on the subject matter of
personal emergency preparedness and family reunification.
Mark has a natural ability to influence his audience to
become problem solvers and to think outside the box.
Mr. Cerney has trained through the National Emergency
Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC) at
Texas A&M's Domestic
His public service efforts are mentioned in a new book
called Wisdom Out by Elle Allison. Mr. Cerney's work with NOKR has been recognized as a national
standard and endorsed by the American Red Cross, Governors
of 46 states, numerous Congressional
including John McCain (R - AZ), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and
then Senator - now former President Barack Obama. Under Mr. Cerney's leadership, NOKR has reached out across the oceans
and has a presence with volunteers in 87 countries
Mr. Cerney has also amassed Four Presidential Lifetime
Achievement Award's issued by the United States
President’s Council on Service and Civic
D. Brown became NOKR's Chief Executive Officer in July 2009. Michael possesses more than 25 years of experience in public safety, disaster preparedness and emergency management at the local, national and international levels.
Michael is one of longest-serving directors of FEMA. US Senate confirmed first Under Secretary, DHS, Emergency Preparedness & Response.
Michael lead the White House transition team creating DHS, scrutinized $41 billion budget, member DHS Investment Review Board.
Michael led federal relief efforts in 160 presidential declared disasters, including 9/11, Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster, CA wildfires, unprecedented '04-'05 hurricane seasons.
Michael represented US in international forums, directed US response to foreign disasters/terrorist attacks, including 2003 earthquake in Iran; 2004 tsunami killing in eleven countries in South Asia; terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia.
Michael served as U.S. Representative to NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning Committee, negotiated a 10-year cooperative agreement between US and Russian Federation; worked with UK’s Home Office developing communications strategies for floods, member of U.S.-Great Britain Contact Working Group; and led U.S. delegation to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe.
FEMA’s deputy director 2001-2003, general counsel 2001. Managed 13,000+ employees, $12 billion budget. Board member both public & private corporations. Currently management & strategic consultant in US and overseas. Engaged in operational, strategic & political consultations in areas of privacy preservation, security, disaster and crisis management. Advises businesses on operational continuity, crisis communications and disaster preparedness.
Michael practiced law in CO/OK. Bar examiner on ethics/professional responsibility for OK Supreme Court, hearing examiner for CO Supreme Court. Special prosecutor in police disciplinary matters. Staff director, OK legislature’s Senate Finance Committee.
Johnny Keene is a founding member of NOKR. Johnny is a
native of Florida who served his country after graduating
from high school. Johnny joined the United States Marine
Corps in Florida in 1981. He was initially assigned to 2nd
Force Service Support Group, 2nd Marine Division, Camp
Lejeune, North Carolina. Johnny worked in logistical
support. Johnny was later transferred to Marine Air Group
39, 3rd Marine Air Wing, Camp Pendleton, California. He
served in a logistical support position compiling and
analyzing aircraft maintenance data to be used during
aircraft crash investigations. Johnny received a good
conduct medal for his service and an Honorable Discharge in
is currently a member of Law Enforcement and has been
for over 20 years. He has worked many assignments within
uniformed patrol and investigative units. Johnny was a
member of a team of Detectives that investigated the
2002 disappearance of a 7-year-old girl in San Diego. He
later testified at the murder trial of her accused
Johnny has been involved in the investigation of many
persons that were reported missing. Johnny was part of a
team of Officers that was sent to Los Angeles as part of
Mutual Aid during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. As a
founding member of NOKR Johnny has been instrumental
with educating emergency agencies and establishing
policy and procedures for system access. Johnny was also
instrumental during NOKR’s emergency response to
Hurricane Katrina by reunifying families displaced by
the national disaster. Johnny is National Incident
Management System NIMS trained through FEMA as part of
his work in law enforcement.
NOKR Deputy Director
Chief Operations Officer
Gerard J. “Gerry” DiStefano
a State law enforcement officer commissioned by Gov. Nikki
Haley joined NOKR as it’s Deputy Director in 2008. He is a Public Accountant by profession, and currently is serving as the President of a residential Real Estate Company in Columbia, South Carolina.
Mr. DiStefano attended the University of Tampa in Tampa, Florida and Passaic College in Paterson, New Jersey. He holds a degree in Liberal Arts.
Mr. DiStefano brings a wealth of knowledge and skills to NOKR from his years of public service and private practice. Prior to moving to South Carolina in 2002, Mr. DiStefano ran a successful Accounting Practice in New Jersey. In 1996 he was elected to Public Office, responsible for a multi-million dollar service branch of County Government whose duties included budgeting, staff, purchasing, legals, contract negotiations and oversight of daily operations of the department. His direct “hands on” approach to the management of that entity brought him statewide acclaim as under his leadership the operations and income of his office rose from 20th of the 21 N.J. counties to 4th within his first two years in office. In office at the time of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Mr. DiStefano saw firsthand the need for the type of services NOKR provides, even as NOKR was not yet in existence. When Mr. DiStefano became aware of NOKR in 2007, he contacted Mark Cerney, NOKR President, to become involved, leading to his current position.
Mr. DiStefano's efforts assisting victims of crime and his
time as a Chaplin have been recognized by his peers at the
Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, Criminal Investigations
Division. He has been a top producer in giving his time to
those in need. His skill set in these areas have netted Mr.
DiStefano a prestigious yearly award given by the Sherriff
for 2015 and 2016 to only one person among his peers at an
annual ceremony of law enforcement professionals.
Wilson, CPA joined the NOKR team in August 2008 as the
organization's Chief Financial Officer. He brings an extensive
background of accounting, auditing, financial analysis,
program management and managerial skills from over 26 years of
combined government and private sector finance experience.
Harry gave his heart to the Lord as a young man, while a
freshman in high school. Harry has also achieved the coveted
and highest rank of Eagle Scout with Silver Palm while in the
Boy Scouts. In 1981 Harry graduated from Mid-America Nazarene
University and now holds a bachelors degree in business
Upon graduation from college Harry worked for three years at
the International Headquarters - Church of the Nazarene as a
junior trust accountant in Kansas City, Missouri. He then
moved to Washington, DC and began his government career. He
worked for nine months at the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (HUD) and then for over 17 years with the FDIC -
Office of Inspector General (OIG), mostly in Washington, DC
with short stints in Dallas, Texas and Knoxville, Tennessee.
While at the FDIC-OIG, Harry had the opportunity to travel
extensively; visiting most of the major cities in the U.S.
Harry has been very actively involved in the church. He has
coached the teen volleyball team, sang in the choir, been on
the pastor's prayer team and taught Crown Ministries classes.
NOKR Government Affairs
Roger F. Castro
Mr. Castro has served on the board of
directors including serving as Vice-Chair since January
2005. As Vice-Chair, he was instrumental in promoting
NOKR's mission nationally throughout the entire Katrina
event. Mr. Castro joined the NOKR staff as Vice President
and Chief Operations Officer in January of 2006. Now with
his successful effort in recruiting a highly qualified COO,
Mr. Castro can focus on Government Affairs and NLETS.
Castro brings to NOKR over 18 years of non-profit and
private sector leadership, marketing and business
development experience. Mr. Castro has held a variety of
managerial and executive positions throughout his many years
Strong business collaboration, operation systems
development, and development and application of innovative
marketing strategies experience will serve NOKR in its goal
to reach out to not only America but to people all over the
Mr. Castro is also involved in many community projects
that promote improving the quality of life for all. He
is a Rotarian and strong supporter of Boy Scouts. He is
also very active in many other youth leadership
development projects. Mr. Castro is a Veteran of the
United States Army, served during Desert Storm, and is a
Mr. Castro's vision of promoting emergency preparedness
extends far beyond the borders of America. His
Christianity, fatherhood, and many travels around the
world have solidified his belief in the concept of "One
Planet, One People and One Goal."
Director for Missing Persons
Kym L. Pasqualini
Founder, Nation’s Missing Children Organization
& National Center for Missing Adults
Served as CEO from 1994-2010
Kym Pasqualini has been advocating for missing
persons and their families for 20 years. In 1994,
Kym founded the Nation’s Missing Children
Organization, Inc. (NMCO), and quickly realized that
missing persons over the age of eighteen, and their
families, were a segment of the victim population
who were significantly underserved. To address this
need, in 1995, she expanded the agency’s charter to
include cases of missing adults.
Joined by families
of missing, Kym requested the assistance of Congress
to create the first national clearinghouse for
missing adults. In November 2000, President William
Clinton signed Kristen’s Law appropriating funding
to formally establish the National
Center for Missing Adults (NCMA). During her
tenure as CEO, she developed a national registry for
missing adults funded by the Bureau of Justice
Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice. Her agency
provided advocacy and support services to families
of missing persons and law enforcement nationwide.
In partnership with Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC),
she developed model policy for law enforcement and
provided training to law enforcement agencies
nationwide addressing the complex investigations of
missing adult cases, proper utilization of available
resources, investigative techniques, and policy
responsibilities have included overall nonprofit
management to include program development, case
management, public and media relations, grants
management, and legislative issues.
Kym continues to work with national media to raise
awareness and featured on Anderson Cooper Live,
Greta Van Sustren, Montel Williams, the John Walsh
Show, CNN, BBC, FOX, People Magazine, Ladies Home
Journal, and included in hundreds of news and print
articles throughout the world.
Kym has served on
the National DNA Advisory Board and the National
Missing Person Task Force for the United States
Department of Justice, served on the Unidentified
Dead Advisory Board for the Internal Homicide
Investigator’s Association (IHIA. In 2005, Kym was
the recipient of the Arizona Attorney General’s
Distinguished Service Award for Leadership
acknowledging her contributions to victims and
efforts on behalf of victim’s rights – while
exercising principles and practices of effective
leadership (vision, initiative, commitment,
excellence, service to others, cooperation and
||NOKR Media Relations and
Public Affairs Officer
Ruth Suarez Zane
brings with her ten years of communications
experience in media and technology. She has lived
and worked in major media markets such as New York,
Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. Ruth
gained her most recent PR experience from the
fast-paced media market in New York City where she
placed clients on CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Larry
King Live, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and
hundreds of other publications.
Ruth also has had numerous articles published in
trade publications and had a book published,
traveled extensively throughout Europe and South
America. In her spare time, Ruth has dedicated time to
literacy programs in Florida and New York. Ruth holds a
Master’s of Science degree and a Bachelor’s in English.
She is fluent in Spanish.
NOKR Military Affairs Campaign (MAC)
Neal Therrien is a
native of Arizona, with an extensive computer and military
background. After spending 10 years on active duty, Sgt
Therrien was honorably discharged and joined the US Air
Force Reserve. He currently has over 18 years in the US Air
Force, and is assigned to the 939th Air Refueling
Wing, USAFR, Portland, Oregon. Neal is the Workgroup
Manager for the 939th Mission Support Group and
responsible for over 400 computer assets and users. Duties
include computer service, deployment, inventory, network
connectivity, user and e-mail exchange accounts and much
more. Neal has had the opportunity to travel the world
including Kunsan, South Korea, Dharan, Saudi Arabia, Okinawa
Japan, and Mildenhall, England.
Neal graduated from the University of
Phoenix (U of Phx) with a Bachelor of Science degree in
Information Technology. He is currently a member of U of
Phx Alumni Network and will be returning to the U of Phx to
complete the Master of Business Administration/Technology
Management (MBA/TM) program in the summer of 2005.
NOKR's Office Manager
Ms. Kerri Cerney
Kerri Cerney from FEMA Department of
Homeland Security. Kerri is also a
founding member of NOKR who understands what it means
to be a volunteer. Kerri has volunteered countless
hours of her time to the Washington and California
school systems and to Washington Fire Departments.
Kerri has also dedicated her personal life to giving
back to not only her community but to children around
the world. Kerri Cerney was instrumental in
establishing NOKR’s volunteer program that now has
more than 3000 volunteers worldwide.
Kerri's work at FEMA DHS includes post disaster
assistance to victims. FEMA deploys Ms. Cerney to
the epicenter of disasters to support the core FEMA
mission and mitigate the financial loss many victims
incur post any disaster.
Kerri has established many tips sheets for NOKR
families and children to prepare for daily emergencies
and national disasters. Her recent NOKR tips were for
the 2007 hurricane season and
pandemic flu information
preparedness. Kerri is currently working on NOKR's DMV
program and NOKR's pet registration integration.
Kerri’s motto is, “Give people an opportunity and a
reason to help and they will”.
NOKR Director of Education
Dr. Damon Castillo EdD
is a former school district superintendent and county deputy
superintendent with 34 years of professional experience.
Dr. Castillo's professional accomplishments include a
California Distinguished School recognition, the first in the
district’s 100 year history, State recognition of the district
continuation school as a model continuation school, and
passage of the first general obligation bond in 35 years.
The result was a capital flow of $120 million to the district
for to address growth and modernization.
As a community leader Dr. Castillo's enhanced business and
education partnerships through his leadership in over a dozen
non-profit boards, as a president of an active Hispanic
Chamber of Commerce in the Inland Empire, and as a member of
the board of directors of one of the largest chambers in
Dr. Castillo holds four degrees, including an earned
doctorate. Recognition for his service includes a
tribute in the House of Representatives, Congressional Record,
California State Assembly Recognition, County Board of
Supervisors Community Service Award, and Educator of the Year.
Volunteer Board of Advisors
Robert E. Byrd
Robert E. Byrd was born and
raised in Chicago, Illinois where his parents instilled in him
the rich appreciation of family he espouses. After graduation
from college Robert married, and chose to raise his family in
Riverside, where he presently resides. Robert and his wife
Patricia have two children, a son Robert, and a daughter
Robert E. Byrd has held key
operational positions and has gained a broad perspective of
County operations from working in such diverse departments as
Department of Public Social Services, Flood Control, Waste
Management, and the Auditor-Controller’s Office. One of
Robert’s main attributes is his ability to bring diverse,
competing parties together to work in an atmosphere of
Elected Auditor-Controller in
November 2002 with more votes cast in the history of the
office, Robert E. Byrd has moved swiftly to improve the image
as well as the effectiveness of the Office. With high moral
and professional ethics as the cornerstone of this
administration, Robert has revolutionized the
Auditor-Controller’s Office by its restructuring to provide
better customer service and improving the quality and flow of
information to County management. Robert has also refocused
the County’s audit function to not only serve its regulatory
mandates, but to also incorporate the flexibility to audit
proactively, which allows for bringing standards to County
processes and functionality.
An acknowledged leader in the
community, Robert E. Byrd is highly active through his church
and other local organizations. He is also an active member of
the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers,
Government Finance Officer’s Association, the State
Association of County Auditors, member of the Riverside
Rotary, International Relations Council (IRC) for the City of
Riverside and Finance Chairperson for La Sierra Academy Board
Robert E. Byrd is emerging as
one of the community’s most requested speakers, as he displays
a dynamic presence in his presentation of information in the
fields of Accounting, Auditing and Ethics. In addition, as a
result of his daily life experiences Robert offers insight and
coaching in the areas of civic duty, community involvement and
Frosio has worked in local government and non-profit
administration in San Diego for the past 15 years.
Public Administrator/Public Guardian/Indigent Burial Officer
for the County of San Diego from 2002 through 2005, Patricia
led a staff of 40 employees in investigating and administering
approximately 500 decedent estates each year. She served as
the legally appointed conservator for 250-300 elderly and
disabled persons and ensured a dignified disposition for over
1,000 of the region’s poorest citizens and veterans. In these
roles, she was responsible for finding next of kin of
thousands of decedents. Patricia managed $45-$50 million in
estate property at any given time and served in leadership
positions on the Board of Directors of the California
Association of Public Administrators/Public Guardians/Public
also served as Chief of Staff for two Chief Administrative
Officers at the County of San Diego where she coordinated
implementation of the Board of Supervisors’ directives and
managed executive-level operations. Previous to this,
Patricia developed and implemented a nationally recognized
government innovation project that saved over $40 million
annually in taxpayer dollars. Patricia also served for five
years as a Senior Policy Advisor to Ron Roberts, both during
his tenure on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and
San Diego City Council.
1999-2005, Patricia served as the President of the San Diego
Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration,
which assists government and non-profits professionals achieve
excellence in public service. From 1997-2001, Patricia served
as President of San Diego County Crime Stoppers where led the
organization to achieve fiscal solvency and improved relations
with law enforcement agencies and the media which resulted in
solving hundreds of felony crimes. She also served for
several years on the Board of the San Diego Crime Commission
and community organizations serving at-risk and emancipated
Patricia serves as a Senior Advisor to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and is an Adjunct Professor at National
University’s School of Business and Management and San Diego
State University’s School of Public Administration and Urban
San Diegan, Patricia resides in Alpine, California.
Richard Morse Esq.
Richard Morse's 16 plus years experience includes specialized
services in entertainment, arts, sports, intellectual property
litigation, licensed merchandising, business development, and
more. His extraordinary list of clients includes multi Oscar
winning director Jonathan Sanger, Milton Berle, America's Cup
Champion Dennis Conner, Intrepid Securities, funk music icon
Rick James, music legend Yma Sumac, Howard Hughes' widow and
legendary actress Terry Moore and rock and roll art icon
In conjunction with a group of high-profile
entertainment industry veterans, Richard is currently
collaborating on several feature film projects and business
ventures, serving the projects as Counsel as well as
developing, packaging, and pitching to studios and investors.
Over 15 projects are currently in development, most with
writers, directors, and talent attached and many with
development and/or production funds in place.
In addition, over the last 3 years, Richard Morse was General
Counsel and Head of Business and Legal Affairs for
Entertainment Business Group (EBG) and its production
development subsidiaries and TV division. EBG specializes in
development of feature films and network television projects
and business/legal affairs consulting regarding feature film
development, production, finance and distribution. In this
role, Richard utilized his veteran experience and
relationships in the entertainment industry to provide
substantial benefits for the company.
Richard also serves as General Counsel to Northern Arts
Entertainment, a U.S. distribution/executive production
company whose high profile projects have garnered
international acclaim and notable festival honors since 1990.
Richard held the joint position of VP of Business & Legal
Affairs for Mod Studios and Senior Business Affairs Counsel
for Signatures Network. The venture is a cutting-edge
production/distribution project, developing innovative digital
emerging media including electronic licensed merchandise, ITV
& VOD. They Produce: Hollywood Previews- first monthly
interactive CD/Rom Video Magazine and various licensed
merchandise including DVD/CD/ROM videos for many recording
artists including Ozzy Osborne, Eagles, Britney Spears, Elton
John, Billy Joel, feature films (including Terminator) and
sports promotions (including the Dodgers).
Richard received a BA with Honors in Psychology at the
He received his law degree from the
Hastings College of Law where he was appointed to the Hastings
Communications and Entertainment Law Review. Together with
his faculty advisor/mentor Roscoe Barrow, the US Presidential
Special Counsel for Communications and Entertainment Law,
Richard drafted weekly advisory opinions for the White House.
He currently serves as President of the Hastings Alumni
County. Richard remains active in
Continuing Legal Education of the Bar programs for
entertainment, sports, art, and corporate counsel matters.
Four years of pure transactional practice as Outside House and
Private Counsel for entertainment/sports entities and
personalities followed. His clientele included Milton Berle,
Intrepid Securities, Tixa Technologies, America's Cup Champion
Dennis Conner, F-3 Racing Champion/Brazilian TV star Suzanne
Carvello, the Emissary for China (regarding matters with
Madonna and more), living music legend Yma Sumac, Rick James
and Licensed Merchandise innovator Bing Broido and Beverly
elected Franklin County’s First Coroner in 1994. Dan was
re-elected to a third term as Franklin County Coroner in 2002.
Past President of the Washington Association of Coroners and
President of the International Associations of Coroners &
Founder and Board Member of People Learning About Drugged
President Elect of the Washington Association of Elected
Board Member of the Washington Tri-Association, Made up of
executive board members of the Washington Association of
Elected Officials, Washington Association of Counties, and
Washington Association of Cities
Member of the Washington State SIDS Foundation
Board Member of the Benton Franklin Substance Abuse Coalition
the Governors Task Force on Bio-Terrorism preparedness
member of St Patrick’s School, Long Range Planning
the duties of responding to sudden and unexpected deaths in
Franklin County, Dan is very involved in education and
prevention of traffic Fatalities in Franklin County. Each
spring Dan participates in the Hanford Safety Expo held at
Trac where a mock alcohol related fatality accident is
recreated so the public can observe what happens at a fatality
from Law Enforcement, Fire, Ambulance, Coroner, and Funeral
Home’s point of view. Dan also is involved in the every 15
minutes program at Pasco High, and speaks to many school
classes, and service clubs about the consequences of drinking,
using drugs and driving, and the consequences of not wearing a
seatbelt. Dan resides with his wife and four children in
Franklin County, Washington.
currently serves the American Red Cross as the Chief Programs Officer
in the Riverside California region.
Martin has served the American Red
Cross for 13 years managing state support chapters and Chapter
program management in response and preparedness throughout
California. As a Director Martin continues to work towards
refining the following:
•Client assistance protocol
•Volunteer recruitment & development
•The overall objective for the program: How can we improve our
infrastructure while continuing to maintain our excellence in
Martin has been involved in
many US disasters as an instrumental team member of the
American Red Cross. Martin continues to follow his basic
principal “we must be ready to help, because help can’t wait!”
is a former Hollywood child actor whose list of credits
include the NBC television series 'James at 15' and 'James at
16' and the feature film 'Outbreak' starring Dustin Hoffman.
Like many actors in the business, the Hollywood lifestyle
began to take its toll on Lance. While his life appeared to be
on a downward spiral, God was getting ready to begin His work
in Lance's life. God gave Lance his first daughter Savannah in
1994. With a daughter in his life now and God knocking on the
door of his heart, Lance began to see that there was more to
life than fame and money. Lance gave his life to the Lord and
is now sold out for God. He has a hunger to bring the Gospel
to the youth of today so that they can know the Savior of his
life and avoid the struggles that he went through. Lance
resides in Kauai, Hawaii with his wife Yvonne and his three
daughters Savannah, Trinity, and Terah.