The Board of Directors has had an exciting year of coming together and better understanding how to accomplish the goals we set in our strategic planning.
There are many thanks to give the staff who do so much to allow this center to provide better health and wellbeing to our communities of Trapper Creek, Talkeetna, Sunshine, Caswell, Willow and beyond. We know that the future of this center lies in your hardworking hands. Thank you!
And finally, the Board would like to thank the Upper Susitna Valley communities for their unwavering support and confidence. You are our foundation!
Want to join the team?
If you’d like to make a difference in your community and help shape the future of healthcare in the Upper Susitna Valley, serve on our board of directors. To find out how, click here:
Board of Directors
Kathy lives in Willow and joined the Sunshine Board to be a voice for her community. She graduated from Alan Hancock College in 1980 with a A.A. in Social Science. After graduating she spent 30 years working for the Department of Health and Human Services in California. Kathy retired in 2010 and moved to Willow Alaska in 2015. She has been married 20 years, is the Program Manager for Willow’s CERT team and a member of the Willow Garden Club and Iditaquilters. Kathy loves serving her community.
Bill is a relative new comer to Talkeetna having relocated to the area in August of 2013 from SE Michigan. He grew up in Dearborn and graduated from Michigan State University with a B.Sc. in Food Science in 1978. He lived in many areas of the Midwest while working for a number of companies like Pet, Incorporated, Kellogg, Incorporated and The Clorox Company in the food product development and quality assurance areas. In late 1989 he left the food processing world for a career in IT Field Support while working with The Clorox Company. The last three years of his working career were spent as a field support tech for the State of Ohio.
He remained in SE Michigan to assist his parents during their final years; after they passed he was the caretaker for the family home. During this time he learned the joy of volunteering and dedicated 40 to 60 hours a month as a volunteer in the memory impaired section of the Northville (MI) Sunrise Assisted Living facility. Living in Alaska had been a dream since his first backpacking trip with two college friends in September of 1996. After rebuilding from financial losses incurred during ‘The Great Recession’ he was finally able to make his dream a reality.
Within a few months of settling in a small home seven miles south of Talkeetna he once again started volunteering, this time at KTNA. He served for three years as a newscaster, music show host and technical resource for the station. Concurrently, he began volunteering with the Upper Susitna Food Pantry (USFP) as a shopper. In February of 2015 he was seated on the USFP board and a year later became the vice president. In late March of 2015 a fall severely fractured his left radius and ulna; the initial care for this injury introduced him to the Sunshine Community Health Clinic. Because reconstructive surgery was required he traveled to Wasilla for the care and the subsequent Occupational Therapy. During this time he came to appreciate the mission of the SCHC and recognized its importance in providing quality local health care. In the summer of 2017 a friend shared the SCHC was seeking new board members and he immediately applied and was eventually seated on the board.
Bill shares his life with a couple of exceptional canines (Anana – a 112 pound female Alaskan malamute) and Qanuk (an 86 pound male German Shepherd Dog) who love Alaska as much as he does. Some of his hobbies include meteorology, walking/hiking the immediate area, bird watching/feeding, PC building/repairing and listening to music on a large, high end stereo system. He recently purchased a travel trailer which will allow him to further explore his adopted home with his canine companions.
Mary is a long time resident of Talkeetna. She worked as Licensed Practical Nurse at
Originally, a Kansas girl transplanted to the gulf coast, Ronda, nursed at a charity hospital in Mobile, Alabama. Mobile General Hospital is now affiliated with the University of South Alabama Medical School. Ronda lived primarily in the south and mid-west until she retired. At her son’s request she moved to Alaska in 2006. She was very excited about retiring in Alaska and is still happy to be here.
Ronda has an undergraduate degree is from Western Illinois University and her graduate degree is from Auburn University at Montgomery. Ronda’s children are spread out in the northwest part of the country and reside in Wasilla, Seattle, and Montana near Yellowstone. Ronda volunteers locally and is an avid gardener.
Kathy lives in Trapper Creek and joined the Sunshine Board of Directors because she believes in affordable health care for all and her involvement with Sunshine goes back many years. She is a retired science and math teacher that taught at Su Valley, Palmer, and Mat-Su Community College.
Kathy graduated from Valparaiso Universtiy in 1967 with a B.S. in chemistry/math and education. She finished her M.S. in chemistry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1970.
Kathy was a member of the Board of Directors for Sunshine that hired Jessica Stevens during a time when the clinic was in financial peril. She served on the board again from 2011-2014 during another difficult time. Kathy is also an EMT 2 and has been with the EMS system for over 30 years. Her hobbies include travel, birding, bicycling, and she enjoys gardening and the outdoors.
David lives in Talkeetna and is the longest continuously serving board member. He joined the Sunshine Board of Directors over 20 years ago to help promote a viable health care facility in the Upper Susitna Valley.
David graduated from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri in 1971 with a B.A. in Bible and a B.A. in Education. He also studied Education at the University of Alaska, Southeast.
David has worked in various positions in this community. He’s been in food service, a painter, warehouseman, active in all aspects of his Church, a supervisor for Mahay’s, and a bus driver. He enjoys fishing, reading, and hunting.
William (Billy) FitzGerald
Billy lives in Talkeetna and joined the SCHC team at the request of a very good friend who was intimately involved with the development of the clinic from the early 90’s until 2008. When he joined, the board had been through difficult times and lost community support. It was, and still is, Billy’s primary goal, to strengthen the board’s relationship with the community.
Billy’s graduated from Needham High School 1971 and Dean Junior College 1973. He served on several volunteer boards in Talkeetna including the Talkeetna Community Council, Inc., the Talkeetna Historical Society, the Talkeetna Airmen’s Association, and the Denali State Park Citizens Advisory Board.
Billy’s hobbies are bird watching, any games that involve a ball, fishing, hunting for food and gathering blueberries and chaga.
Cathy has been in Alaska since 1983. She and her husband of 43 years are in the process of building a home in Willow. They have one daughter who lives in Oregon with her husband and three children. Cathy obtained her Associates Degree from University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2008.
While briefly living in Fairbanks where her husband worked; Cathy joined the Fairbanks Republican Women to get involved in the community. This opened the door to new experiences and friendships. Upon moving back to Willow, Cathy became involved in the Valley Republican Women and held various positions through the years. Cathy said that these positions have been a good influence on her; teaching her leadership roles, and networking. In June 2017 she was elected President of the Valley Republican Women. Cathy looks forward to serving on the Board of Sunshine Community Health Center.
Melitta was born late November in inner-city Manhattan, New York. She always thought Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a marvelous way to celebrate her birthday. She attended nursing school in Brooklyn. Married to her high school friend by then, she was employed as a Registered Nurse in a hospital pediatrics unit and then in an emergency room. A fateful decision was to come to Alaska, five months before the ‘64 earthquake, where she worked at the original Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage as a pediatric nurse and then in the orthopedic and burn unit. Returning to Anchorage and Eagle River in 1969 after two years in Juneau she continued work as office manager and purchasing agent, then changed careers to Realty Specialist/Land Law Adjudicator with the Bureau of Land Management. In that capacity, she traveled to remote corners of Alaska by helicopter to examine, report, and write survey instructions for lands in federal jurisdiction. Concurrently she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. After 30 years in federal service, she retired and continued being her mother’s caregiver for a total of 22 years.
Volunteer work consisted of over 20 years with Alaska Health Fairs in many locations providing healthcare information. During one trip with them to Kuparuk on the North Slope, she joined the Polar Bear Club by swimming in the Beaufort Sea. Now living in Willow she is a member of Willow CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Willow Garden Club, Willow Historical and Wildlife Foundation, Willow Homemakers (FCE), and Willow Iditaquilters, and joined the Sunshine Community Health Center Board of Directors to continue serving her community.
For fun, Melitta watches and feeds wild birds, walks and plays with her dog, raises houseplants, experiments with recipes, learns from Great Courses, reads, and goes camping. Skiing brought her to Willow to have closer access to snow and the joys of the outdoors.
Mary Middleton lives in Anchorage and has been the Executive Director at Stone Soup Group since 2013. She moved to Bethel, Alaska from Texas in 2001 and then to Anchorage a year later. Growing up an Army brat, she moved frequently and still enjoys traveling to new places. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has worked in non-profit management for more than 25 years. Mary also serves on the board of directors for the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership and is the former chair of the State Vocational Rehabilitation Committee. She is the mother of a young adult son who experiences autism and a teenage daughter.
Mike Von Ah
Mike Von Ah’s 36 year nursing career has been in Women’s Health and he considers it a privilege to be a Sunshine Community Health Center board member.
Mike worked as a nursing manager in Ketchikan, was the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Alaska Regional Hospital for 3 years and worked as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner for 13 years. Mike briefly taught nursing in the great University of Alaska Anchorage Program. During his career he has worked for the State of Alaska in with the Breast and Cervical Program and Fairbanks Public Health providing services at Fairbanks Delta, and Tok and being requested to do primarily women’s health at many remote locations.
Mike also worked flying with the Airlines full time as a pilot and simultaneously working in women’s health over several years.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to do two careers I very much love – nursing and aviation. I closed my Women’s Healthcare Clinic due to family health concerns for our family’s. This allows me more flexibility to go out of state when needed. I look forward to this new challenge and have been pleased that I will be working with wonderful Board Members.