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Vicky has nearly 30 years of non-profit experience from her diverse roles as a staff member, Board member and community volunteer with organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs and the B.R.A.V.E. (Bomberos Resourceful And Valiant Efforts) Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving training and emergency services in third world countries.
She has broad based nonprofit development experience through her work with community leadership raising funds for a variety of community needs.
Vicky also holds a Managing Brokers license in the State of Washington and has been helping people fulfill their homeownership goals for more than 20 years.
Vicky has been a B.R.A.V.E. Foundation Board member since May 2008. She made her first trip to Guatemala in February 2010 where she bonded with the people of Guatemala who are happy and generous people, in spite of the extreme poverty.
Vicky enjoys using her expertise and "people first" spirit to help fulfill the mission and goals of the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation.
Adam is one of the founding directors of the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation. He began working with the Guatemala Project long before the Foundation was created.
Adam began traveling to Guatemala in September 2000 where he has taught classes, sat in counsel with Department leadership and planned many aspects of the Guatemala project. Because of his work in Guatemala he has been awarded the Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International and the National Merit of Honor by the Benemerito Cuerpo Voluntario de Bomberos de Guatemala
Adam brings 15 years of Fire/EMS experience, where he currently serves as a Lieutenant for Central Pierce Fire & Rescue in Tacoma, WA. Also, serving on the departments technical rescue team.
He has also volunteered for 14 years with the Boy Scouts of America, working with hundreds of youth and sharing his expertise with other adult Scout leaders by being actively involved in regional training programs for the BSA.
His enthusiasm and energy brings much to the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation and the Guatemala Project, living by the adage, "Where there is a WILL there is a WAY".
Jeff Palensky is a founding member of The BRAVE Foundation. He began his fire service career at the young age of 16 as a volunteer and is currently a firefighter/paramedic in Pierce County. Jeff brings many years of technical rescue experience to Guatemala, an area of much need. He has served on the Mt. St. Helen's Volcano Rescue Team and is a Team Lead for his current department’s rope rescue and structural collapse teams.
Jeff was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International in 2007 for his efforts in Guatemala. Since his first trip in 2001, he has been truly committed to Guatemala.
Jeff believes the cliche to be true: One person can really make a difference.
Ron Quinsey is a Firefighter/Paramedic with over 25 years of service with the Lakewood Fire Department (WA), a founding member of the Brave Foundation and charter member of the Guatemala Project since 1999, traveling the country many times. He was instrumental in the development of both the Basic and Advance TUM (Tecnico en Urgencias Medicas [EMT]) Program, initial student training and its service delivery process with the support of grants such as LifePak 10 ECG/defibrillators from the Physio-Control Company and other donors of medical equipment.
Rotary International honored Ron with a Paul Harris Fellow award. He received a prestigious National Merit of Honor by Benemertio Cuerpo Voluntario de Bomberos de Guatemala and many other acknowledgements by the Bomberos, department and Guatemala citizens. "I am humbled by the work of the people of Guatemala and proud to work with individuals who are equally committed to advancing life saving services where none exist", said Ron Quinsey.
He is also a founding Member and Executive Officer for the Life Safety Charity Fund, a non-profit for Lakewood Fire Dept. and its community since 1992.
Board of Directors
Vanessa Palensky is a founding member of the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation. Prior to the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation's non profit status, she made several trips to Guatemala, teaching the firefighters and getting to know the culture. She continues to rely on her years of experience as a provider and educator of Emergency Medicine to teach the dedicated Los Bomberos de Guatemala the skills they need to offer the best care possible to their citizens.
Her professional experience began in 1991 as a volunteer EMT in Minneapolis. A few years later she furthered her education in Dallas, Texas earning her Paramedic certification in 1994 and upon completion of the course, she was honored to receive the Valedictorian Award. She worked as a paramedic in Ft. Worth for four years, during which time she held the position of Lead Paramedic and was a preceptor for Paramedic students from all around the United States.
She moved to the Pacific Northwest area and became employed in the Emergency Department at Oregon Health Sciences University as part of the Trauma Team. She also continued to be a preceptor for Paramedic students in the Emergency Room.
Shortly after relocating to Olympia, Washington, she earned a Bachelors degree at The Evergreen State College. Following her graduation, she instructed the class: Writing the Short Film, at The Evergreen State College.
She has been with her fire department in Grays Harbor County since 1999 and became a shift Captain and the Medical Services Officer in 2005. Her responsibilities included organizing and providing the medical training for all members, public education and public relations. In addition, her daily duties as a Captain required supervising the shift and functioning as the Commanding Officer on all fire and EMS calls. Vanessa developed and implemented an Explorer Program for the fire department, a program allowing high school students to job shadow a firefighter. Many students from the program have gone on to become firefighters, paramedics and nurses. Vanessa is a charter member of her union local and held the position of Secretary/Treasurer for five years.
In 2009, Vanessa accepted a position with The Life Flight Network as a Flight Medic. She continued to work with her fire department as their educator, working with the volunteers and paid staff. She established her own small business: Emergency Education that provides First Aid, CPR and Infectious Disease Prevention instruction to clients in and out of the medical field.
In 2007, she was honored to receive the Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International for her efforts in Guatemala.
Vanessa plans to continue her work with the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation and is excited for the future of the organization. She remains committed to the mission of the Foundation and looks forward to many more years assisting them in achieving their goals.
I currently have 42 years in the fire service; I worked my way from a volunteer Firefighter to a paid firefighter, then up through the ranks Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief and Assistant Fire Chief. I have had the opportunity to oversee all four major sections of the fire service in my career. Training, Support Services, (overseeing building maintenance, construction, vehicle maintenance and purchasing, writing bids, grants, etc. for just about everything dealing with the fire stations) EMS, and Fire Prevention which includes public safety, community training, inspections and investigations. I also was the department Public Information Officer and department spokesperson for 11 years. I wrote press releases and spoke directly with all of our community civic groups, community groups in general, home owner associations etc. every year, and many of the groups I visited monthly to give them Fire Department updates. I oversaw twice yearly news letters that was sent out to every homeowner in our coverage area. I also taught fire safety in all of our elementary, middle and senior high schools, as well as senior safety to many senior centers and senior adult living communities.
I have had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala on four different occasions, two of which were driving vehicles and supplies from the North West down through Mexico to Guatemala. My last trip I taught a mandatory two day tactics and building construction class to all 75 Fire Chiefs in Guatemala. I have also had the opportunity to instruct a class to many New England area fire chiefs at the New England Mayors and Elected Officials conference in Portland Maine. I have also attended the National Fire Academy 13 times and have an Officers Command and Control Degree.
Central Pierce Fire & Rescue oversees, approximately 90 square miles and has a population of approximately 200,000. We have approximately 300 personnel with 13 fire stations. I was also responsible for a large portion of our budget. Currently I am retired, but continue to serve the department as a support service member where we install smoke alarms at no cost to our citizens, attend community events, fit bicycle helmets for children, and staff booths at safety fairs and events for the department. We also staff the Western Washington Fair fire station during the spring and fall fairs where we come in contact with well over 100,000 citizens.
I am married to my wife Janet of 30 years, and have two sons Alexander who is 24 years old and is also a paid Firefighter with Central Pierce Fire & Rescue, and Zachary who is in his final year at Eastern Washington University.
Emeritus Board Member
Paul, now back in the US, had been living in Guatemala helping to develop an EMS system in a rural region of this poor Central American country. He was granted a leave of absence from his position of Captain/Paramedic with Central Pierce Fire & Rescue in Tacoma, WA in order to complete this project.
That project was located along the shores of Lake Atitlan in the Guatemala highlands, the home of the 120th company of Bomberos, the newest fire company of the Volunteer firefighters of Guatemala.
They built a fire station that houses a ground ambulance, fire engine, rescue vehicle, and clinic. They have also built a water ambulance service to provide emergency transportation to many villages that previously had no access to health care.
In the summer of 2009 they finished building the second floor to this fire station that serves as a regional training center for firefighters.
Paul has been traveling to Guatemala since 1996 to provide equipment and training to the firefighters throughout Guatemala. He first went as part of a medical team providing emergency care to children and was introduced to the firefighters who were attempting to provide Fire, Rescue, and EMS services with extremely limited resources and training.
In 1998, with the support of Rotary clubs in the US and Guatemala, he helped to establish the first EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) program for the Volunteer Firefighters of Guatemala, providing the necessary training, equipment, and apparatus to provide both basic and advanced pre-hospital care to the sick and injured.
With continuing support from Rotary, fire departments, hospitals, and many special individuals, he has helped to expand this training to firefighters throughout the country where there are now 13 EMT programs in place.
Paul has been involved in the fire service since 1994. He has been an EMT / Paramedic and an EMS educator for 24 years. He has worked on a regional Hazardous Materials Team as a HazMat Technician.
Paul is also heavily involved in technical rescue and has helped to develop technical rescue teams in California and Washington. He has taught courses in Rope Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, Trench Rescue, and Rescue Systems for the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management. He has also served as a Technical Search Specialist and Rescue Specialist for FEMA / Washington Task Force 1.
In December of 2008, Paul became the President of the B.R.A.V.E. Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving training and emergency services in third world countries.