Board of Directors
Sunshine Community Health Center is fortunate to have a dynamic Board of Directors. Each member brings a unique perspective, but all are united in their commitment to improving health for Mat-Su residents. Members serve two-year terms and may serve up to five consecutive terms.
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.
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. During his career he worked for the State of Alaska in the Breast and Cervical Program and for Fairbanks Public Health providing primarily women’s health services in Fairbanks, Delta, Tok and many remote locations.
Mike also worked as a pilot for several years in the airlines industry while simultaneously working in women’s health.
Mike says, “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.”
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.
Mary is a long time resident of Talkeetna. She worked as Licensed Practical Nurse at University of Wisconsin in the early 1970’s and moved to Talkeetna in 1976. Mary earned her B.A. in Education and taught primary grades at both Talkeetna and Willow Elementary. Presently Mary is retired and keeps busy with grandchildren and art projects.
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 Matanuska Susitna Valley, serve on our board of directors. To find out how, click here:
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.
Mabel was born in Ohio from a large family of 13 children. She later spent many years in Kentucky working, running a cattle farm and building and running a grocery store. She and her husband lived in Bellingham Washington before moving to Alaska in 1999. Her husband of 27 years, Ron, is a volunteer with the Talkeetna Fire Department.
Mabel’s experiences in Alaska are many, including learning from Native women the art of making beaded amulet bags, Quillows, and fur sewing. Mabel is the owner of Alaska Unique Creations making and selling her beaded jewelry at cooperatives, bazaars and the Alaska State Fair. Mabel and Ron managed the Denali Overlook Inn for many years before retiring in May 2020.
Mabel is involved in many non-profits including the Talkeetna and the State Homemakers FCE, the Talkeetna CERT team and the Fireman’s Auxiliary. She became a Sunshine Community Health Center Board Member in 2019 because she wanted to become more involved with the community and find ways to give back.
Margo graduated from Kansas State University with a B.S. in Health and Physical Education she trained with the Olympic handball team. She coached girls basketball at Wichita State University prior to moving to Utah where she taught and coached three different sports moving into the position of Athletic Director for 12 years before retiring. Margo was voted Utah Health Educator of the year in 2014.
Margo regularly visited Talkeetna since 1998 and moved to Talkeetna after retiring from teaching. She is an active member of Talkeetna CERT where her desire to help and assist in her community is welcomed. These are the same reasons that brought her to the Board of Sunshine CHC.
Bill moved to the Talkeetna area in August of 2013 with two large canines and a bevy of dreams. Since relocating he has volunteered at KTNA doing music shows, newscasts, and operating the soundboard for live music as well as volunteered as a ‘shopper’ for the Upper Susitna Food Pantry before finally sitting on their board. He was accepted onto the board of the SCHC in September of 2017 and remained there until he took a ten-month hiatus beginning in September of 2018. He returned to the SCHC board in June of 2020. He is also the team lead for Talkeetna CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) which was formed in March of 2019.
Living in Alaska is as close to living a dream as he has known. He is still learning how to not just survive but to thrive in semi-rural south-central Alaska. He has fostered large rescue canines and continue to participate in a ‘citizen/scientist’ organization called CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow) network which collects daily precipitation measurements. Meteorology is a hobby as is night sky watching (when it is dark, anyway…) and listening to music on a high-end stereo system. Bill completely supports the SCHC and hope he can assist this most worthy operation in continuing to provide quality health care for this area.
Pamela was born and lived in Northern California for the first fifty years of her life. She has been blessed to share seven children and ten grandchildren with her husband, Michael.
Pamela worked with the Department of Aging, Children and Community Services in Stockton for many years and oversaw eight community centers (serving the needs of the poor), along with 22 other programs (homeless shelters, Energy Crisis Intervention, Retired Volunteers, children’s shelter. Being non-profits, all these positions included grant writing and advisory boards.
Her concern for children “hanging out” in the community centers, because they couldn’t attend school due to chaos in their lives, made her decide to become a teacher. She returned to school for her credential and taught in schools in California, and eventually in bush schools, throughout Alaska.
As Pamela moved through Bering Strait School District as an itinerant principal/teacher, she met a wonderful friend from Talkeetna, came for a visit and fell in love with the area. She and her husband built a home close to the Talkeetna Clinic, and will be very excited to finally live here full time.
Pamela is currently a teacher/principal at an Athabascan village (Tyonek) but will retire in June to her new home. Knowing she will miss working with kids, she plans to volunteer at Talkeetna Library teaching science, working with the Talkeetna Girl Scout Troop and, feels fortunate to be helping with the Sunshine Community Health Center, as needed. She strongly believes that working with others, with a common goal, is an honor and a privilege.
Randall Kowalke has recently been a Matanuska Susitna Borough Assembly member representing District 7 which encompasses 18,500 square miles of the West Virginia sized Borough (70% of the Borough land mass).
Randall is a highly respected and accomplished Alaskan whose friends describe as loyal, confident, and engaging. His professional relationships have earned him accolades for an award- winning film on ANWR development and his unique representation of the Alaska Oil Industry to Congress and other national audiences. Randall was also selected by two different Alaskan governors’ to be part of their international trade delegations (the Russian Far East and more recently China).
Randall and his wife Karen originally came to Alaska in 1975 when he was part of an engineering firm that had the design and construction management contract for the water and sewage treatment facilities for ARCO and BP on the North Slope. Randall’s early career included stops at an iconic Alaskan enterprise, Alaska Industrial Hardware (AIH) and a number of oilfield service companies. At AIH he excelled as the general sales manager and adeptly improved the businesses profitability. Later, as a project manager for the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation and then Vice President of a multi-million- dollar oilfield service contractor, Randall demonstrated his ability to see complex projects through from beginning to completion and made his mark on helping to build the backbone of Alaska’s developing resource infrastructure.
Randall has helped a number of companies in leadership roles such as vice president, marketing manager, general manager, and project manager. Each of these dynamic and essential positions enabled Randall to improve the effectiveness and performance of companies he worked for in international oilfield services, sports equipment manufacturing, forest products and business communications technology (which included a fiber network, several internet service providers and a small rural phone company).
Randall has served in a number of governmental and governance roles and it is his intention to bring that experience to the board of the Sunshine Community Health Center. Additionally, it is his desire to help build on the efforts of those who have so diligently served before him.
Now Recruiting New Board Members
As our board members’ terms end, we are enlisting potential new members. If you want to help improve the health and wellness of Mat-Su Alaskans, this is a terrific opportunity for you! We are looking for potential board members with expertise in long term planning, governance, risk management, finance, and health care quality.
Click here to learn more.