Board of Directors
Dr. Lucho Espejo was raised in Chimbote and visited the US in the 1970s with the help of Father Jack Davis. He eventually attended medical school in the US and is the medical director of Family HealthCare Clinic in Fargo, ND. In 2016 he became the first Chimbote native to serve as board chairman for Friends of Chimbote. Lucho makes frequent trips to Chimbote. He and his wife, Marlene, live in Fargo, ND.
Bill Seiler first met Father Jack Davis while they were classmates at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN from 1963 to 1965. His first visit to Chimbote was in 2000. Bill served on the Los Amigos foundation board and development committee from 2009 until 2011. He joined the Friends of Chimbote development committee and board of directors in 2012. Bill is an advocate for Friends of Chimbote within St. Mary of Sorrow’s parish in Fairfax, VA helping to coordinate fundraising events, visit area donors, and promote continued support. Prior to retirement, Bill worked for the US Department of Labor. His wife, Pat, is committed to the Chimbote mission and has joined Bill on several mission visits.
Scott Sanders was first introduced to Friends of Chimbote through his father Wayne and joined the board in November 2009. His background and experience provide valuable expertise to the board in the area of finance and he served as the board treasurer from 2012 to 2015. Scott currently serves on the finance committee. He is the COO of a financial consulting company in Fargo and visits Chimbote each fall with the board of directors.
Tammy Campbell’s first trip to Chimbote was in 2007 as part of a group led by Father Tim Schroeder of St John’s, Grafton, ND. Inspired by Father Jack Davis and Sister Peggy Byrne’s work, she developed a true passion for the people of Chimbote. She carried this forward by leading numerous groups to Chimbote. Tammy serves as an associate of the Presentation Sisters in Fargo. She is retired from her owner/operator role in KinderPrep preschool. Tammy and her husband, Bill, have three sons.
Father Phil Ackerman
Father Phil Ackerman joined the board of directors in November 2014. He first visited Chimbote in 1981 and has been back several times with one of the most memorable trips being in December 2015 when he had the opportunity to concelebrate at the Beatification Liturgy for three priests who were killed in the 1980s by the Shining Path terrorists. Father Phil is a priest of the Diocese of Fargo who, while serving at Holy Family in Grand Forks, led numerous groups to the mission. He is inspired by the scriptures that tell us if you have two coats give one to the person who has none. Currently serving as Pastor of Saint Alphonsus in Langdon, ND, he is a mentor for other parishes who wish to become more actively involved in the Chimbote mission.
Brian Berg made his first trip to Chimbote in June of 2017 with a mission group from Oak Grove Lutheran School in Fargo that included his son, Justin. He was inspired by the work done by ACAF and the Mission and looks forward to returning very soon as a member of the Board. Brian is a Principal Architect and firm owner with a regional practice in the Fargo Moorhead area. While in Chimbote, Brian worked with the carpentry shop to explore ideas related to modular housing that could be used as sustainable source of income that could eventually help support the work of the Mission. Brian and his wife, Marea, live in Fargo and have three children.
Pat Klein joined the Friends of Chimbote board in 2011 and served as chairman from 2012 – 2016. He was formerly the chairman of the Los Amigos foundation board. Pat and his wife, Norma, are active in St. Michael’s parish of Prior Lake, MN where they spend their summers and the St. Bernard’s parish in Scottsdale, AZ during the winter. As a retired executive of a large international construction firm, Pat also finds time to work part-time as an instructor and facilitator in the construction industry.
Eric first heard about Friends of Chimbote at Nativity Church in 1999. He and his wife, Brenda joined the group and made their first trip to Chimbote in August. They were struck first by the poverty the people faced and second by their incredible faith amid such overwhelming odds. Eric and Brenda stayed connected with and supported the organization, but Eric didn’t return to Chimbote until 17 years later when he joined the board of directors. He was amazed at how much the mission had changed during that time and how it has truly changed the lives of the poor. He is excited to use his business experience, strategic thinking and computer skills to continue the positive momentum.
Dan and wife Lisa live on his family farm on the edge of Charlotte, NC where he has resided over fifty years. There they raised two boys and two girls, all aged 21 and over, and all veterans of one or two Chimbote mission trips. Lisa and Danielle, the oldest, first came on a Youth mission trip in 2008. Dan was unable to make his first journey there until 2011. He will enjoy his tenth visit in 2018. He has led trips to Chimbote for his church, Providence Presbyterian, since 2014, previously leading domestic Youth and Adult mission trips since 2001. Dan went into the Real Estate business with his parents in 1985, and currently manages rental property. The Chimbotanos have embraced him in friendship and deeply touched his heart. He feels called to continue leading others to experience the best week of their year on a Friends of Chimbote mission trip, where he knows they will receive blessings as they bless others.
Leona Fox became acquainted with Friends of Chimbote due to her family roots in New Rockford, ND where she grew up and attended high school. Leona relocated to California after college where she spent years building and running a successful business. She has served as vice chairperson/secretary of the Los Amigos foundation board and joined the Friends of Chimbote board in 2011. Leona is the chairman of the development committee and a member of the governance committee. She has visited Chimbote on a number of occasions.
Kelli Schmitt Kester considers her baptism by Father Jack to be her “claim to fame” surrounding all things Chimbote. Not only did faith take root, her desire to connect with people who are poor and on the margins did as well. Before beginning college at St. Ben’s in 1990 Kelli ventured to Chimbote for a month. Returning with her husband, Troy, in 2005 inspired them to lead three immersion experiences with the Church of St. Stephen and The Basilica of St. Mary in 2007, 2011, and 2013. Her children, Ellen (22) and Jonah (19) have accompanied their parents on each trip and will join in again on future trips. Kelli holds the tenets of Liberation Theology and Vatican II dear to her heart and strives to empower all travelers to Chimbote with awareness of the Gospel message and social justice in light of our shared faith. The Kester’s live in North Minneapolis and are active in their hood. Kelli works and worships at The Basilica of Saint Mary.
Debra Lalley, accompanied by husband, Pat, made her first trip to Chimbote to volunteer in the hospice in 2011. They returned in 2015 with a group from Christ Church Newman Center in St. Cloud. As a nurse practitioner in child and adolescent psychiatry in St. Cloud, Debra’s career focus is working with children and families. She also served on the St. Cloud school board for nine years. Debra’s husband is a family physician in St. Cloud and they are blessed to be near two sons, their wives and their daughter who live in the Twin Cities area. “Our daughter came to Chimbote with us, and we hope to get the others there in the near future,” states Debra.
The stories and history of Chimbote are woven into Dan Mahli’s life since early childhood. Dan’s parents Maurice and Ellen met as missionaries in Peru and worked together in Chimbote after the earthquake in 1970. Dan also grew up in one of Father Jack Davis’ parishes in Fargo, ND, Nativity Church. Dan has served in local community development for over 20 years and takes pride in an ability to discover possibilities for collaboration, work with unnoticed and unlikely leaders, and identify potential for new directions to help develop dynamic, diverse, and thriving communities.
Linda Zespy joined the board in 2018 after several trips to Chimbote, beginning in the late 1990s.
Linda was first introduced to FOC through her father, Gary Zespy, who helped found the organization. She works for technology startups in her home city of Minneapolis, MN.