Board of Trustees Officers

MICHAEL MCKENDRICK – CHAIR

Assistant Fire Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department

Founding Member

Mike McKendrick is a native Tucsonan and a 30-year fire service veteran. As assistant chief for the Tucson Fire Department’s Operations Division, he was responsible for all the emergency response forces for the City of Tucson. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in public fire administration from Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, California, and served on the Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System board for 16 years. Mike’s previous community volunteer work includes seven years of coaching football and wrestling at Sabino High School, where he was named 2002 Southern Arizona Wrestling Coach of the Year.  He is a member of the Board of Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union.

HEATH EVANS – VICE CHAIR
Assistant Chief (Ret.), Rural/Metro Fire Department

Heath Evans has served the greater Tucson area in public safety for 25 years and recently retired as fire chief of the Rural Metro Fire Department in Pima County. He follows his family legacy of public service: Most of his family have made life-long contributions to education, healthcare, law enforcement, and fire service. Heath began his journey in public safety as a law-enforcement explorer in high school. He started his professional career in the fire service with the Northwest Fire District, where he progressed through the ranks of firefighter, engineer, paramedic, captain, and battalion chief before retiring as a deputy chief, directing training for the 200-firefighter-strong district. Heath continued his career with Rural/Metro Fire as a deputy chief, directing daily operations for eight fire stations serving nearly 90,000 residents in areas surrounding the city of Tucson. He has also spent his entire career with wildland fire response and served on a Southwest Type 1 Incident Management Team managing large wildland fires across the United States. He is now the interim fire chief for the Rural/Metro Fire Department.

Heath earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University in 2004 and his master’s of science in leadership from Grand Canyon University in 2009. He is an instructor for the Arizona Center for Fire Service Excellence and Pima Community College. Heath was recognized for his achievements in 2017 by receiving a chief fire officer designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, and Pima County Fire Chiefs Association. He has fostered and rehabilitated dozens of neglected horses with his wife and children over the years. During their free time, the Evans family can be found exploring all that Southern Arizona has to offer.

VERN BABILON – TREASURER
CEO Tucson Old Pueblo CU

Vern Babilon moved to Tucson in January 2013 when he became the new CEO of Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union (TOPCU). After earning his bachelor’s degree in banking/finance and accounting at Alvernia College in Reading, Pennsylvania, Vern obtained his master’s in business/management from Penn State University. He became a certified credit union executive (CCUE) in 1993 and a certified public accountant in 1994. Vern has held positions as a top credit union executive for the past 25 years – first as CEO in Reading, Pennsylvania, then as EVP/CFO at a large credit union in downtown Houston, Texas. He has also served as a consultant and auditor for many smaller credit unions. Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union – founded by city firefighters in 1935 – maintains strong ties with the firefighting community, which Vern and his staff actively maintain by volunteering with the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation and other events benefiting firefighters. Vern, currently serving as GTFF’s treasurer, is also a trustee of the Tucson Police Foundation. Having been involved in various community fundraising events (as a sponsor, participant, and volunteer), Vern especially enjoys running and bicycling events benefiting charities. He and his wife are among the first couples to hit the dance floor at the annual Firefighters Ball.

ADAM DELLOS – COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER
President, Adam D Technology, LLC

Adam Dellos is a Tucson native and graduate of Sabino High School. In 2006, he founded Adam D Technology to bring technology solutions to individuals and small companies that needed fast, reliable, trustworthy IT support. His clients include the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs (AZCOPS), Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, Tucson Police Officers Association, United Cerebral Palsy of Southern Arizona, Tucson Celtic Festival, Festival & Events Association of Tucson & Southern Arizona (FEATSAZ), Arizona Police & Fire Games, and the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association. The company provides additional assistance in website development, maintenance, and assistance with employee volunteers. Adam has been accepted into The Centurion rookie class of 2015/16, and serves on the boards of the Tucson Computer Society, and Tucson Young Professionals. He joined the GTFF Board of Trustees in 2016. Adam has been active in foundation volunteer work since 2009, providing technical and logistical assistance for Tucson Police Department IT, the 9/11 Tower Challenge, and the 100 Club of Arizona. He has also served as the citizen co-chair for the GTFF HERO program, which provides emergency financial assistance for regional firefighters as a safe, confidential, and compassionate resource.

RORIE JOHNSTON – EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Owner, Amapola Executive Services

Returning to Tucson after a fifteen-year hiatus in Southern California, Rorie Johnston has various corporate, executive, and non-profit experience. Her business, Amapola Executive Services, focuses on developing sustainable income for non-profits. In her most recent role as the Escondido Chamber of Commerce CEO, Rorie managed the 400 business-member non-profit organization, Board of Directors, paid staff, and volunteers. By connecting business leaders with peers and city/state/federal legislators, business leaders had a voice in government, fostering a business-friendly environment and ensuring economic stability and growth. As a customer, Rorie happened upon the Foundation’s Safe Shift Estate Sale/Resale Store but was drawn to the cause of “taking care of those who take care of us.” So, what began as a one-day-a-week commitment quickly transitioned to volunteering full-time. Her financial knowledge, marketing skills, retail, and merchandise experience have been an asset to Safe Shift over the past year as she stepped into managing the store previously held by the late Patty Vallance.

Our Trustees

E.A. “TED” GEARE III
Assistant Fire Chief (Ret.), Tucson Fire Department
Founding Trustee

Ted Geare, a native Tucsonan, served with the Tucson Fire Department for over 32 years, retiring in October 2005. He earned an associate degree in fire science from Pima Community College, a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix, and is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Ted has served on the State of Arizona Emergency Medical Services Council boards, the American Red Cross Association, and, from 1991 to the present, the Comstock Children’s Foundation of Tucson. He has volunteered with a group of retired firefighters for nearly two decades, restoring TFD antique fire apparatus. The completed projects include a 1928 Ahrens-Fox pumper, a 1923 American-LaFrance pumper, and a 1923 American-LaFrance ladder truck. The restoration team is now working on their fourth and final apparatus, a 1930 ALF Quad.  

DAN MARRIES
News Anchor, KOLD-TV Tucson
Founding Trustee

Dan Marries is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who has been covering Tucson’s news for nearly 17 years at KOLD-TV (CBS). Before coming to Tucson in 1999, he earned his bachelor’s degree in mass communications/broadcast journalism from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado. Dan grew up around the fire service: His father, Kurt Marries, is a contract helicopter pilot specializing in aerial firefighting – and during college, Dan spent four seasons fighting fires across the western U.S. with the Bureau of Land Management. He is the founding president of Casas Adobes Optimist Club, and in 2008, served on the Pima County Local Emergency Planning Committee, where he coordinated with media outlets to educate the public about the organization and its goals. Dan has also served as vice president of the Tucson Ski Club, volunteered at the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, and worked for the nonprofit Interfaith Community Services. Due to his community involvement, he was named the 2014 Tucson Rodeo Parade Grand Marshal and has been announcing the Tucson Rodeo Parade for more than ten years. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two boys.

AMBER ISSELHARD

Director of Community Life – Watermark Retirement Communities

Amber Isselhard is the proud wife of a Paramedic/Firefighter and loves her “fire family.” She is a native New Mexican, but she and her family moved to Tucson in 2017. While looking for furnishings for the new home at Safe Shift, she met Patty Vallance and Mike McKendrick. They quickly became friends, and once introduced to GTFF and Safe Shift, she knew this was her new home!

Amber has a BS in Animal Science and a diverse career background. She has worked as a railroad engineer, conductor, dispatcher, and claims representative. Amber worked for ACCION, a non-profit microlender. She has also worked as an event coordinator for the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, where she ran all types of events, including sporting events and major concerts. Currently, she works in community life for a senior living community. She and her husband, Karl, have two children: a daughter at ASU and a son in high school. She loves to travel, and when not working, you’ll find her at the lake or a hockey game.

STEVE ROSENFELD, MD 

El Rio Community Health Center

I have been involved with the Safe Shift Estate Resale Store since its inception because of our friendship with our dear friend, Patty Vallance.

I graduated from New York University and attended NY Medical College. I completed my residency in OB/GYN at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey in 1988.

In 1988, my wife Jill and I moved to Tucson, where I founded El Rio OB/GYN Associates. We have three grown children living in different parts of the US and one grandchild.

I still cheer for my New York sports teams and enjoy attending the Arizona Wildcats football and basketball games. My hobbies include skiing, scuba diving, hockey, and art collecting.

My youngest brother was a volunteer firefighter in our hometown of Greenlawn, NY, and briefly served as a firefighter in the Rural Metro Fire Department.

Dr. Steven Rosenfeld

SARA PEROTTI, MSN, NP 

Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioner, Banner University Medical Center

Sara Perotti, ACNP-BC, MSN, NREMT-P, CMTE, is a neurosurgery nurse practitioner at Banner University Medical Center Tucson on the University of Arizona campus. A nationally and state-registered, certified emergency paramedic since 1997, she is also executive director of the Southeastern Arizona Emergency Medical Services (SAEMS) Council. Sara has 15 years of experience as a helicopter flight nurse and was vice president of the largest EMS helicopter transport operators in the United States. She is licensed as a National Registry Certified Medical Examiner (NRCME) by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). She is also certified by the Association of Air Medical Services as a certified medical transport executive (CMTE). Sara earned her master’s degree at Saint Louis University, and her post-master’s education includes certification as an acute-care nurse practitioner. She is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants, the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the Air and Surface Transport Nurses Association. Her advanced certifications include ACLS, BLS, PALS, and ATLS. Sara owns and operates Advanced Clinical Solutions LLC, a medical/clinical consultation company. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer appointed her to the Arizona Emergency Medical Services Council, and she continues to serve the state of Arizona in this appointed position. She also serves as vice president of the nonprofit Rialto Theater Foundation.

CHRIS HAMBACHER
Investment Advisor, Financial Directions LLC
Chris Hambacher earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Arizona in 2004. He worked for several years in administration for the cardiothoracic surgery/transplant office at University Medical Center (now Banner University Medical Center.) Since 2009, he has worked as an advisor and registered principal at Financial Directions LLC, a registered investment advisor. Chris’ past volunteer experience includes serving on the site council for Soleng Tom Elementary School, coaching his daughter for Sahuaro Fast Pitch softball, as well as coaching his son for Pantano Little League baseball.

MIKE ARMENTA

Vice President, Crest Insurance Group

Mike has been a trustee since 2011 and has been very helpful in supporting the GTFFs’ fundraising activities. Mike joined CREST in June 2017 with a background in the healthcare industry for over 20 years. He was formerly a Benefits Broker at Benefits Logic, Inc. Mike graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree from the University of Phoenix in Health Care Management. He is married with four children, and his hobbies include golf, scuba diving, and traveling.

DOMINIC WORRELL MS, LAT, ATC

Certified Athletic Trainer

Dominic Worrell is a Certified Athletic Trainer with over 13 years of experience across multiple settings. He earned a BA from Trinity International University and an MS in a post-professional program at Michigan State University. Most of his professional experience has come in collegiate athletics, leading sports medicine departments at three universities while providing clinical care and as an instructor. He has additional experience with professional athletics across multiple sports. In 2019, Dominic transitioned settings and began working with the US military. This opportunity has allowed him to utilize his skills and experience to benefit tactical athletes serving in the armed forces. He has obtained advanced certifications in neuromuscular dry needling, instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization, and teaching first aid and CPR/AED through the American Red Cross.
Upon moving to Tucson, Dominic wanted to find a way to give back to the community and connected with the Safe Shift arm of the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation. This was a good fit due to family connections to firefighting and a passion for helping first responders. He works to support the fundraising efforts of Safe Shift and is developing fitness and wellness initiatives for firefighters in the Tucson area.

KARL ISSELHARD

Fire Chief, Rural Metro Fire Department

Chief Karl Isselhard started his career in the fire service as a volunteer EMT/Firefighter in 1992
with the Bernalillo County Fire Department in Albuquerque, NM. He attended paramedic
school in 1994, graduating with an Associate degree in Emergency Medicine. In 1996, he was
hired full-time by the Bernalillo County Fire Department, where he served the residents of
Albuquerque’s South Valley for five years. In 2001, he attended a lateral academy with the
Albuquerque Fire Department. Chief Isselhard rose through all ranks at AFD to include
Firefighter, Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Deputy Chief, and finally Assistant
Chief, to which he served for his last four years. He earned a Bachelor’s degree
in Business Management and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) shortly after that.

Through his time in Albuquerque, Chief Isselhard served and chaired multiple committees,
oversaw Emergency Medical Services, Fire and EMS Training, Human Resources, Safety, and
Professional Development. In 2017, Chief Isselhard retired from AFD to take on a new role as
Fire Chief of Rural Metro Fire Department in Tucson, AZ.

Chief Isselhard continues to serve the residents of Pima County in his role as Fire Chief. He is
an active member of the Pima County Fire Chief Association, Arizona Fire Chiefs, serves on the
Tucson Fire Foundation’s Board, and is an active member of numerous other committees in the
region. Chief Isselhard believes strongly in community relationships and working in
collaboration with other agencies and stakeholders to ensure public safety needs are met.

GARY BYNUM

Fire Chief, Drexel Heights (Retired)

Born and raised in Tucson, Gary started with the Drexel Heights Fire District as a junior firefighter in
1975 as a high school senior, becoming a volunteer firefighter upon turning 18. He went full-time in
1976. Gary worked his way through the ranks, obtaining the rank of Assistant Chief and serving as
interim Chief twice during his career, the final time for over a year. While serving as the officer overseeing annexations, Gary worked closely with area residents to allow the Fire District to expand from its original 8 square miles to its current boundaries. He directed the apparatus committee and served as the project representative for station construction in the later years. Before his retirement in 2012, Drexel Heights effected an administrative reorganization, and the Assistant Chief position was replaced with the position of Division Chief.

Gary attended Pima College throughout his career, obtaining associate degrees and Technical Committee in Fire Science, Emergency Medicine, and General Education. He received a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

During his career, Gary participated in Rope Rescue, Aircraft Crash Rescue, and Wildland Firefighting. He
responded to many wildland fires both in and out of the state of Arizona, including the 1988 devastating
fire in Yellowstone National Park. He was also the initial Incident Commander for the Old Tucson Fire
until relieved by the Fire Chief for Drexel Heights. He participated in many committees with the Pima County Fire Chiefs organization, including the new Department Identification System still in use today. Gary also worked on the PCWIN radio system, the regional radio system currently used by most fire and police departments within Pima County. He worked on the User Committee and Technical Committee and was the alternate on the Executive Committee. Gary has volunteered for the National Firefighter Memorial Service every year since 2002, traveling to Emmitsburg for the service.

He was appointed to the Drexel Heights Fire District Board in 2014 to fill a vacated seat and then successfully ran for election later that year. He is currently the Board Chairman. He joined the Last Alarm Foundation in 2016 as a driver and was appointed to the Executive Board later that year. He is currently the Treasurer and the Funeral Coordinator. He began volunteering for The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation in 2019 and was elected to the Board in 2023.

Gary Bynum

Our Programs

Our Impact

Cancer Prevention

When firefighters sign up for their careers, they know many of the well published risks the career choice carries. However, few realize the extent of the cancer risk until well after they have started their careers.

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Cardiac Wellness

Heart disease is a leading killer of firefighters. The Greater Tucson Fire Foundation has provided ultrasounds and other cardiac screening for at-risk firefighters.

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Mental Health

A healthy mind is just as important as a physically fit body. Therefore, the foundation has worked to remove the barriers to receiving quality mental health care from culturally informed providers.

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Peer Fitness and Injury Prevention

The Fire Foundation’s Peer Fitness and Injury Prevention Program support the physical health of our Firefighters. The Fire Foundation continues to provide fitness training and education for Firefighters throughout Southern Arizona.

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Firefigheters Beyond Borders

Launched in 2013 by Greater Tucson Fire Foundation’s Board of Trustees and Patty Vallance (of blessed memory), the Firefighters Beyond Borders program connects our Firefighters in Arizona with the Firefighting community in Israel to support one another in times of need.

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HERO Program

Hardship can strike at a moment’s notice, and firefighters are no different. That’s why we created the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) program to lessen the economic impacts of acute medical hardship.

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Useful External Links

Safeshift

NFFF

Mental Health Providers

Fire Agencies

GTFF Archives

911 Sculptures

TOPCU

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