Dec. 19, 2012 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS to Welcome New Year with Newly Elected Board Members, Officers | LIRS
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Dec. 19, 2012 NEWS RELEASE — LIRS to Welcome New Year with Newly Elected Board Members, Officers

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Press Contact: Jon Pattee

WASHINGTON, DC Dec. 19, 2012 — Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) today announced the election of four new board members and the re-election of two current members.

“We are honored to have four new directors with great expertise join our board,” said LIRS President and CEO Linda Hartke. “Betsy Biern, Rev. J. Bart Day, Melissa Graves, and Esther López will bring a wealth of knowledge and relationships to LIRS, and we are very grateful for their commitment.”

The new LIRS board members are:

  • Ms. Betsy Biern, senior vice president and chief development officer of the Children’s Hospital of Oakland Foundation. She previously served as the executive director of the American Asthma Foundation, vice president for development of The Brookings Institution, and as vice president and executive director of Community Counselling Service Co., Inc.
  • Rev. J. Bart Day, executive director of the Office of National Mission of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Previously, he served as associate pastor of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston and headmaster of Memorial Lutheran School.
  • Ms. Melissa Graves, CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area. She previously worked with numerous organizations, including For Love of Children, The Fishing School, Montgomery Housing Partnership, and the Metropolitan Center for Assault Prevention.
  • Ms. Esther López, international vice president and director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. She previously served as deputy chief of staff for labor in Illinois, and as director of the Illinois Department of Labor.

The new directors were elected on October 26, and will begin serving three-year terms on January 1, 2013. Current board members Rev. Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro and Rev. Dr. Yohannes Mengsteab were re-elected to the board.

“We are extremely blessed by the contributions of Rev. Dr. Suna-Koro and Rev. Dr. Mengsteab,” said Hartke. “LIRS welcomes their re-election and thanks them for the leadership they have provided.”

“The four new directors succeed Ms. Ruth Henrichs, Rev. Carlos Hernandez, Rev. Jotham Johann, and Ms. Mahta Ostovari,” said Hartke. “We are so grateful for these leaders’ time, effort, and deep commitment.”

The newly elected board officers are Mr. Mark Stutrud (Chairperson); State Senator Betty Boyd (Vice Chairperson); Mr. William Swanson (Secretary); and Ms. Lori Fedyk (Treasurer).

“We’re excited to have such a strong team of new officers,” said Hartke. “It’s no small thing for these four talented people, who already hold positions of such responsibility, to agree to lead the board.”

LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States.

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