Eric grew up on a dairy farm in Northeastern Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Professional Aeronautics and a minor in Aviation Business Management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Eric served in the U. S. Air Force for 22 years and was awarded the U.S. Air Force Meritorious Service Medal five times. In 1986 he was selected as the USAF Outstanding Aircraft Maintenance Technician Supervisor of the Year and honored in Washington DC. Prior to retiring from the military in 1998, he served as superintendent of Process Engineering HQ Air Combat Command at Langley AFB VA. From 1998-2012 he worked in the state of Washington in construction management.
Currently Eric lives with his wife, Alice, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They have two children. Their son, Andrew, is the program advisor and lead instructor of the Machine Tool Technology and Millwright Apprentice Programs at Alpena Community College, and their daughter, Dorothy, is a student at Northern Michigan University. Dorothy lives in an apartment near campus and has hired three in-home caregivers who, along with her parents, provide her care. Dorothy requires care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As one of Dorothy’s most memorable friends and caregivers, Kara Vernon is a special person to CIP’s team. Kara is a Northern Michigan University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in management of health and fitness with a minor in dance. During her tenure as a student at NMU, Kara became an in-home caregiver.
She uses her years of experience as both a student and a caregiver to advise and mentor new caregivers entering the field. Kara and Dorothy met through a dance workshop at NMU. Without thinking that anything further would come from the dance workshop, Kara and Dorothy connected on a deeper level and she became one of Dorothy’s first caregivers. Kara has a background as a Physical Therapy Technician where she assisted with exercises, documented improvements, and set up equipment. She also is a personal trainer at Anytime Fitness where she develops exercise programs and teaches equipment technique.
Angela Hentkowski is a native of Ishpeming. She holds a Juris Doctorate, as well as a Masters of Law degree in Taxation and Master of Law degree in Elder Law. She is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation (as accredited by the American Bar Association). Angela practices primarily in the areas of estate planning (including asset protection and special needs planning), probate and trust administration, and nursing home issues.
Currently Angela practices law at Steward & Sheridan PLC in Ishpeming, and lives with her husband, Scott. They have two children, Henry and Duncan, and a rescue dog, Avirex.
Ellen Rapp serves on CIP’s Board of Directors. A proud NMU undergrad alumna, she most recently received her Master of Social Work at Grand Valley State University. Ellen is now pursuing clinical social work as a Case Manager at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services.
In her most recent position, Ellen served as a Case Manager for YWCA West Central Michigan. Previously, Ellen served as a Direct Support Professional at Bay Human Services, where she provided community-living support to adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. In this position, Ellen worked closely with consumers and advocated for their needs while strengthening their independent living skills. Ellen has previously volunteered as the Executive Treasurer for NMU’s Student Social Work Organization, where she contributed to the development of fundraising opportunities and collaborated with other officers to engage in community involvement.
As a board member for CIP, Ellen plays an important role in recruiting students and community members to become aware of and familiar with the Caregiver Incentive Project.
Malarie LuftProgram Manager
Malarie, Program Manager of Caregiver Incentive Project, brings a wealth of experience and education to our program. Having growing up…
Malarie, Program Manager of Caregiver Incentive Project, brings a wealth of experience and education to our program. Having growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she understands the challenges provided by rural healthcare. Malarie’s educational background stems from a Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Public Health Education & Promotion combined with two associate degrees, as well as nontraditional education, which has lead her to become a Licensed Massage Therapist and a Certified Sports Yoga Instructor. Above all, she brings a commitment to continuing education and providing rural healthcare advocacy to our CIP program.
Dorothy Paad is the spokesperson and inspiration behind the Caregiver Incentive Project. As an individual with disabilities requiring in-home care, Dorothy understands the difference quality caregivers make in helping people to live, not just exist. She is passionate in her desire to advocate for people with special needs — and their caregivers. As spokesperson, she has presented at various meetings and events and has been featured in numerous videos.
She is also an Instructional Coach for the Northern Michigan University School of Education. In this role, she prepares future teachers for inclusive classrooms.
As a published author, Dorothy’s has written several books inspiring others to overcome challenges. Her first book, Dance Your Dance, Sing Your Song, is a nonfiction children’s book focusing on her love of dance encouraging others to pursue their dreams. During her time studying dance and performing arts at NMU, she has appeared in two university productions of Scrooge, taken ballet and jazz classes, and has been a member of the university choir.
Dorothy is the recipient of a MI-UCP (United Cerebral Palsy Association) Closing the Disability Divide Award and a volunteer with Lake Superior Life Care & Hospice.
Kylie Bunting, a Marquette native, is the Digital Engagement Architect of Alumni Relations at Northern Michigan University. She supports the expanding and improving alumni engagement and fundraising strategic initiatives, executing an alumni-centric digital engagement plan inclusive of social media, e-newsletters, web, giving platforms, media relations, and more.
Prior to returning to her hometown in 2018, Bunting worked in public relations for the hospitality industry for eight years, representing well-known Chicagoland restaurants, hotels, breweries, and nonprofits through extensive media relations and social media campaigns. Before beginning her career at her alma mater, Bunting served as the Marketing Manager at Innovate Marquette SmartZone and Invent@NMU promoting economic development in Marquette County and supporting small business and invention ideas.
Bunting graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in media productions and new technology with a minor in public relations. She is currently pursuing a master’s of arts in education with an emphasis on leadership at NMU. She resides in Marquette with her husband, Lee, and her two kids Beckham and Harlow.
It was during her time with Invent@NMU that Bunting first met the CIP team, and she is excited to continue to bring her over ten years of experience to CIP, advising on marketing and communications campaigns to benefit the nonprofit.
Shenae Kreps is a senior at Northern Michigan University majoring in social work and political science. She is doing her social work internship hours with CIP. She grew up in Nampa, Idaho and went to Queens College in New York for two years before transferring to NMU. She is a goalkeeper for the wildcats soccer team and loves living in the UP.
Shenae began working in caregiving at an assisted living home for seniors in the summer of 2021. She now works for people with disabilities in a group home setting. She loves her work and the people she works with so much and is very excited to further her education with CIP.
Rachel MitchellStudent Activity Coordinator
I am excited to be serving as the Student Activity Coordinator for the Caregiver Incentive Project. I am partnering with…
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Addie SandersPhysical Therapist
Addie heard about our mission through her physical therapy treatments with Dorothy. Her passion for providing the best care for…
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Erik BerghCurriculum Program Manager
Erik Bergh has joined the CIP team, serving as Program Director. A native of Marquette, Erik grew up in downstate…
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Patrick CathcartWeb Developer and Graphic Designer
Hi, my name is Patrick Cathcart. I started working with Caregiver Incentive Project almost two years ago setting up their…
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Mary FranczekMSN, RN, HTP, Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Mary has been a registered nurse for forty-one years. She currently is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Northern Michigan…
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Rachel MitchellStudent Activity Coordinator
I am excited to be serving as the Student Activity Coordinator for the Caregiver Incentive Project. I am partnering with fellow volunteer Abby Poss to create a student group that aims to support and inspire students that are both caregivers and cared for. Becoming a part of the CIP family has been such an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to see what this amazing team of like-minded and passionate individuals will continue to accomplish!
A little about me, I was born and raised in the lower Michigan and moved up to Marquette in 2016 to begin school at Northern Michigan University. It was not until I moved away after my first year here that I realized this is the place where I would be most successful, and the only nursing program I wanted to graduate from. Shortly after I moved back in 2018 I was accepted into the nursing program and have not looked back since! After graduation I plan to attend midwifery school with the hopes of returning to the Upper Peninsula to practice and continue my work with the CIP.
Addie heard about our mission through her physical therapy treatments with Dorothy. Her passion for providing the best care for her patients motivated her to join our CIP team to contribute to the solution for the caregiver shortage.
Addie is a native of St. Clair, Michigan and received both her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Grand Valley State University. She moved to the Marquette area with her husband, a Marquette native, who is a physical therapist as well. She is currently working as an outpatient physical therapist at UP Rehab Services in Marquette, Michigan, specializing in pediatrics and neuromuscular disorders. She also works part time at UPHS Marquette providing acute care physical therapy services. During graduate school, Addie worked pro-bono at Grand Valley’s Pro Bono Clinic, as well as in home with a youth in need of therapy services. She was a member of Grand Valley State’s Colleges Against Cancer, as well as the Community Outreach chair for her DPT class. She also participated in a service-learning trip to Guatemala to provide therapy services to individuals in remote villages around the country.
She is currently involved in efforts to bring an AMBUCS chapter to the Marquette area, which provides support for adaptive tricycles for individuals with disabilities. She brings her experience as a physical therapist and a young professional in the healthcare system to CIP in order to improve the current caregiver system and aid in the system of training for caregivers.
Erik Bergh has joined the CIP team, serving as Program Director. A native of Marquette, Erik grew up in downstate Michigan and returned to receive his education degree from NMU. He served as a teacher, coach, and school administrator in an education career that spanned 34 years.
After retiring in 2012, Erik went to work in business, and most recently worked as the senior person in Goodwill’s Workforce Development group. Erik met his wife, Kathy, while at NMU. They have three adult children and two granddaughters. They have an adult son with autism who lives with them, so they are familiar with the challenges of finding qualified caregivers in the community.
Hi, my name is Patrick Cathcart. I started working with Caregiver Incentive Project almost two years ago setting up their logo, website, promotional material, social media management and photography at fundraisers and other events. I have enjoyed watching the support that CIP has received throughout the community and how hard Eric Paad and all of the volunteers have worked to get them where they are today.
I’m excited to continue helping the cause and look forward to seeing them grow locally and nationally in the future.
Mary FranczekMSN, RN, HTP, Associate Professor, School of Nursing
Mary has been a registered nurse for forty-one years. She currently is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Northern Michigan University, teaching in the foundations and holistic health assessment courses. Her passion is speaking on the importance of self-care and integrative wellness.
She is researching the introduction of an extra credit assignment in self-care with her foundation nursing students. She is known for her passion, integrity, and humor! She is an Advanced Holistic Nurse—Board Certified, Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and Healing Touch Practitioner.
Sarah R.W. Shell, LMSWAdvisor and volunteer
For the past sixteen years, Sarah has worked as a clinical social worker with fourteen years in the medical setting….
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Claudia WernerAdvisory Committee
Claudia’s professional career spans a period of thirty-four years, twenty of which were spent in educational administration. She served…
For the past sixteen years, Sarah has worked as a clinical social worker with fourteen years in the medical setting. Eleven of those years have been at Michigan Medicine in Children and Women Services. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University. She has been a licensed social worker since 2004 and a fully licensed social worker since 2006, first in Massachusetts and now in Michigan. Sarah been employed as a clinical social worker at Michigan Medicine since 2008 and currently holds the status of senior social worker as granted through the application and approval process of the career ladder.
She has held the position of medical/surgical social worker, being the social worker accountable to ten different medical teams. She has worked as the social worker on a specialized medical team in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, with the Maternal/Infant Health Program, and with the Children’s Intestinal Rehabilitation team. She works as a continuity social worker for both inpatient and outpatient populations in the Children’s Intestinal Rehabilitation Program.
Claudia WernerAdvisory Committee
Claudia’s professional career spans a period of thirty-four years, twenty of which were spent in educational administration. She served as a teacher of special education, a K-12 special education consultant, a director of special education, a federal projects director, an assistant high school principal, and principal of a large Class A High School. Claudia concluded her career as the Head of Upper School (High School principal) at a private international K-12 school in Thorpe, England. She has served as the President of the Michigan High School Principals Association (MASSP), President of the Michigan Association of Administrators of Special Education (MAASE), served on the State Board of Education Task Force and served on the National Council On Standards for International Educational Exchange Programs Accreditation Committee. She has been actively involved in service clubs, her church and local and state organizations. These include Zonta Club International, Habitat for Humanity Women Build, Child Abuse and Neglect Team, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Science Olympiad judge, and Sunday School superintendent and teacher, Youth Group advisor, Vacation Bible School volunteer, Minister of the Word and Minister of the Table (communion assistant).
In September 2018 Claudia was part of a Mission team who traveled to Uganda. It was a life transforming experience. She witnessed poverty, malnourished children, rudimentary educational facilities, lack of educational opportunities for children, insufficient and in most cases nonexistent health and dental care, lack of clean drinking water, and children and adults with no shoes or proper clothing to wear. Inspired by this mission experience and with a desire to serve, Claudia along with Pastor Vicky Lovell assembled a Steering Committee at Zion Lutheran Church to raise the necessary funds to build and equip a family health clinic in the rural and economically depressed area of Sayyi, Uganda.