E-Kit Video Credits
Special thanks to our military experts
Jeff Struecker, Spokesperson
Jeff Struecker – As an Army Ranger who lived through the Battle of Black Hawk Down in Mogadishu, Jeff saw “first-hand the difference that Jesus Christ makes when warriors are faced with life and death issues from combat.” Later, as an Army Chaplain he explains, “much of my energy was focused on ministering to families that were under overwhelming stress because of long deployments and separation.” Today, as a pastor, Jeff believes, “this project has been an answer to my prayer. I’ve been begging God that He would motivate His church to reach out to the men and women who defend our country.”
Jeff Presnal, Host
Jeff Presnal – As a retired Army Reservist and father of a soldier, Jeff says of this seminar, “We’re working together with you to help heroes find hope and grow in their faith in Christ. The war’s made a huge difference in our lives and the lives of thousands of others like us, and it continues to do so.” But the church can engage the military around them. “Everyone who will be watching this video is gonna be watching it because they have a heart to serve the military.” Jeff knows that even folks who know nothing about the military and have no military experience are being called by God to begin “making a difference in many military lives around them.”
Larry & Mary Bailey
Larry Bailey – Now a retired Master Chief, Larry spent 30 years in the US Navy. He and his wife Mary sent their son off to war as a US Marine, where he lost both legs and a hand when hit by an IED in Afghanistan. Larry says in a situation such as this, “You have a choice. You can turn your face away from God…or you can turn and look God directly in the eye, and extend your hand and He’ll extend His hand. And that’s exactly what I did as an individual and we did as a family.”
Mary Bailey – As a former US Navy Hospital Corpsman and now the mother to a wounded warrior, Mary faced the challenge of “not being over-zealous in caring for him…while still trying to be a mom. We definitely had support from our church, people in the community, work, family… people that you didn’t even expect… praying for you and your son, giving you that spiritual guidance and uplifting that you need. They weren’t just military. They were also our community; neighbors that we had never met…they all came together…”
Scott & Karen Clark
Karen Clark – National Guard spouse and mother, Karen did not have the support of a base or military community during Scott’s 23 month deployment. “So that meant that I was a full-time working parent. I was a single mom and dad. And I felt that most of my job was to make sure everything was taken care of at home so he could go focus on his job.” In spite of the challenges of long separations, lack of support, her husband’s injuries, and his severe PTSD, she says, “My faith has grown stronger with our military service.”
Scott Clark – Retired Army National Guard Captain with 27 years of service, Scott survived a horrific helicopter crash in Afghanistan. As unresolved combat trauma took a toll on his family, Scott says this is what helped: “Daily prayer, staying connected to God through daily reading and studying the Bible, going through the Combat Trauma Healing Manual, helping others go through the Combat Trauma Healing Manual, and talking through issues with counselors at the VA.”
Gabe Garriga – After being injured in Iraq in 2003 and undergoing more than 30 surgeries, Gabe was medically retired from the Army, began using his GI Bill and was doing whatever he wanted, “being young and retired …” But life had no purpose. Then one morning he woke up and began to read the Bible his Christian mother had given him in the hospital. Gabe says, “… the words jumped off the page. It felt like my mom was talking to me and God was talking to me at the same time… I knew something was happening… there was a sense of new life, new purpose, and things like that. The clear realization that God is real and has been with me this whole time.”
Hernando & Mari Peña
Hernando M. Peña – Retired US Army Master Sergeant with 24 years of service and two tours of duty (OEF 2001-2002 Kuwait and OIF 2005-2006 Iraq), Hernando also received the Bronze Star. Back at home he says, “It took a long time for me to realize that I wasn’t in combat.” He describes his journey with PTSD as an “extreme challenge…which ignited our need/dependency on leaning in to the Lord. We knew that without him, this journey was not going to be possible.”
Mari Peña – As a military spouse and mother of young children, Mari says, “I had to come to terms with the fact that my husband as I knew him before war was forever changed.” Their marriage was having a really difficult time when they went down for prayer at church and met a couple who prayed over them and said, “We want to walk down this journey with you.” She believes their prayer and support put her family on the path to healing. Mari is active in helping other women find hope and healing in Christ.
Sandra Presnal – When Jeff and Sandra’s son returned from combat in Iraq, Sandra was blessed to be able to connect him to someone who could listen to his story “and… just spend like a year and a half just working through his story and the things that he saw and the things that he was experiencing. For me, that was… so wonderful to know that I wasn’t the one that had to do that, but there was already someone that was walking him through…this whole process of what he had seen.” She and Jeff drew from their own experiences and started a military ministry in their church because they know that “one person that is willing to spend time with a veteran can make the biggest difference in their lives.”
Josh Renschler – Josh was a US Army Infantryman, OIF 2003-2004, and is committed to helping other soldiers find hope and healing, Josh says, “It doesn’t take a psychology degree to help a soldier. It takes practical assistance in showing them love and support in whatever means that they need at that very moment. God has brought me through such a multitude of issues…traumatic brain injury, PTSD, survivor’s guilt, chronic pain. I’ve endured so many hardships and God has given me the tools that I’ve needed and the people that I needed to be there to support me.” Someone from a church, “welcomed my family into his house for just meals, and in practical loving ways just showed that there was somebody there who cared.”
Matt VanderFeltz – Matt, an Army veteran, describes saying goodbye to his family as a real challenge, but adds, “My church embraced the military…our church equipped us as a family…they embraced us and just lifted us up. I mean, day in, day out.” As a result this husband and father says, “…I felt equipped to go… whenever I came home, I felt equipped to come home.”
In his experience a church can make a difference in the life of a military family. “It’s just a simple step, and that’s just stepping forward, and then getting to know and building relationship with the military.”
Andi Westfall and Stella
Andi Westfall – As her chopper provided medevac support for 200,000 troops in Iraq, this combat flight medic saw things that continued to invade her mind when she returned home. She thought, “There is nothing… there is no one out there strong enough to be able to handle my experience…” But one believer’s “consistent and persistent presence” in her life showed Andi that, “there are people that do care, that… have no connection to the military. She just wanted to hear my story. And she was genuine about it. She kept showing up and… that was key.” Andi is accompanied by her extraordinary service dog, Stella.
The man-on-the-street participants are located mostly in Oregon. They have little or no experience with the military and have wondered if they could be of any use in bringing Christ to the military. Their questions may reflect your own.
Lili Armstrong • Tracy Breeden • Dennis Burri • Michelle Garnett • Colin Halstead • Kathy Jones • Larry Kirkpatrick • Margie Kirkpatrick • Tommy Odom • David Ortega • Daniel Pearson • Lee Sheng
‘Why’ Video Clips
Ryan Presnal • Robert & Amy Nuttall • Andi Westfall • Nate Self
Cru Military Project Team
Stephen & Karen Dorner are the leaders of Cru Military’s Church Mobilization/PTSD Strategy and have served as speakers for the Bridges to Healing Seminars since 2009. They headed up the E-Kit Project. Located in San Antonio, Texas. Stephen and Karen are also Regional Directors of the Red River Region. Stephen served as a combat medic in Vietnam. The Dorners have two daughters.
Karen Watkins, serves on the Cru Military National Team. Prior to relocating to Virginia in 2013, she served in Eugene, Oregon on the Bridges to Healing team and with Disciplemakers International, formerly a ministry of Cru. She edited the books, “The Combat Trauma Healing Manual” and “When War Comes Home” and led support groups for veterans and wives of veterans.
Tommy & Cynthia Odom live in Chesapeake, Virginia. Cynthia worked for Cru Military for several years in public relations and now serves as Director of Marketing for Acts 2 Network. Tommy supplied his video production skills and experience during the production of the series.
Nick Bair and his wife, Senja, served with Cru Military in Wisconsin ministering to Navy recruits and junior enlisted personnel. They and their children relocated to Virginia in 2013, where Nick is the Director of Integration for Cru Military.
TriWest Healthcare Alliance
TriWest provided corporate sponsorship to make the production of the E-Kit possible, supplying both financial and technical assistance. Their video production team filmed and edited 99% of the E-Kit videos. We could not have done this without them.
Dr. Ken Farmer • Scott Celley • Tara Mogan • Steve Wygle • Mike Clayton • Sarah Meske • Jeff Cooper • Jennifer Diveley
Why Video & Call Center Voices: TriWest staff
Armon • Glenn • Jeri • Lara • Mike W • Sarah • Steve • Tara
Arizona Support Team
Most of the video production was completed in Arizona. Local Cru Military staff with a servant-hearted volunteer team supplied our military experts and production team with transportation, refreshments and whatever else we needed. They made the production a fun experience and a great time of fellowship.
Ron & Marcia Wheat • John & Karen Blehm • Valerie Birmingham • Jillian Birmingham • Betty JoAnne Wilder • Perry Harris • Susan Kreuzer
Keynote Communications Team
Keynote is the communications division of Cru and specialize in all areas of media. As the project got off the ground, they advised and encouraged us, showing us possibilities we had never considered. The E-Kit would not be the tool it is without their wisdom.
Vicki Guinn • Sam Leo • Holly Menzer • Dana Russo • Dave Fackler
Dr. Jay Strack
Dr. Jay Strack, President & Founder of Leadership University.
The book, “The Three Success Secrets of Shamgar,” authored by Dr. Strack and Pat Williams, with Jim Denney, provided us the framework for the E-Kit content… Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. Dr. Strack graciously gave us permission to use these concepts in this video series.
Steve Wygle, TriWest Healthcare Alliance
Karen Watkins, Cru Military
Nick DeTerlizzi, Thunder Dog Productions
Location & accommodations
TriWest headquarters studio Wigwam Arizona
Fishes & Loaves
Video footage provided by The JESUS Film Project and from JESUS © 1979-2014 Inspirational Films, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. www.inspirationalfilms.com
Photos provided by:
Chris Adsit • Guy Gerrard/Worldwide Challenge • Stephen & Karen Dorner • Gabriel Garriga • Andi Westfall • “Angels All Around You” Military Ministry • Cynthia Odom • Nate Self • Jeff & Sandra Presnal • Jeremy Warneke • Karen Watkins
Dan-O at DanoSongs.com (“Sunspark” “Gently” “Come Alive”)
E-Kit Video Project © 2014 Cru Military, Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc.