I was born in Iowa, raised throughout the Midwest, and graduated from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan with a BA in political science in 1982. I went on to graduate from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific with a JD in 1986. I was hired by the law firm of Young Wooldridge while in law school and moved to Bakersfield immediately after taking the bar exam in the summer of 1986. Later, I was a partner at the firm of Bunker, Saghatelian & Gibbs and established my own practice in the summer of 1996 with specializations in both litigation and transactional general civil law.
I have been a member of the Bakersfield East Rotary Club since 1991 and served as its 2010/2011 president. It was during this time that a community organization known as Rotary House Retreat was formed and I became one of the original members. Over two years ago, and after eight years as a board member, I took over as president of the organization and incorporated the entity as Public Safety Professionals Retreat, Inc. I immediately secured nonprofit charity status for PSPR by certifying the organization with the IRS and the State of California as a 501(c)(3) charitable entity and continue to serve as its currently elected president.
PSPR VICE PRESIDENT
ACTIVE KERN COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER
Hillary Luff is a shift supervisor at the Kern County Emergency Communications Center, a joint communications center serving Bakersfield Fire Department, Kern County Fire Department, and California City Fire Department. Hillary leads a team that is responsible for dispatching fire, medical, and rescue calls within the 8,000 square miles of Kern County and between 17 law enforcement agencies and three ambulance companies. She began her dispatching career with Hall Ambulance Service in 1997 before moving to ECC in 1999.
Hillary quickly embraced her position within the Fire Department and became a Certified Training Officer. This position enlightened Hillary on the mental effects of handling repeated emergencies over time and repeated exposure to traumatic calls that can result in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms for dispatchers. In 2001 she began her education in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and became a member of Bakersfield Fire Department’s CISM Team. Hillary was named Dispatcher of the Year in 2007 and in 2013 was promoted to her current position. On occasion, Hillary has been “loaned” to South Ops, the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center. This multi-agency group handles the coordination of major fires and disasters in Southern California and surrounding areas.
The nature of the job, as well as being a member of the CISM Team, has exposed Hillary to numerous traumatic events over her multi-decade professional career. Traumatic events have also touched her personal life as well. These collective events helped shape her desire to help first responders learn to properly process PTSD causing events. In 2016, Hillary learned of a specialized retreat for first responders that were having trouble with PTSD symptoms. Hillary was dealing with a lot of symptoms herself, so she attended a PSPR retreat (then known as Rotary House Retreat) and says, “It changed my life."
Hillary benefited so much from her attendance at the retreat that she knew that she wanted to become a part of something that could be so life changing for her peers. Hillary continued her education so she could return to the retreat and serve as a first responder peer. Her understanding of the daily struggles dispatchers face allows her to provide specialized, compassionate care by someone who has walked in those very same shoes.
In 2020 her passion was launched to the next level by being elected as Vice President of the PSPR governing board. Hillary has embraced her duties and started a committee dedicated to private, public, and corporate fundraising for the Public Safety Professionals Retreat.
Regina Pryor has been teaching junior high music for thirty-six years in the Panama-Buena Vista School District. She teaches Orchestra and Choir at both Tevis and Thompson Junior High Schools. She graduated from California State University Fresno with a degree in Music Education and received her teaching credential at California State University Bakersfield.
Regina is the Co-founder of the Sergeant Tom Pryor PTSD Fund (to assist first responders). Through that fund she was as a member of Rotary House Retreat, which is now known as the Public Safety Professionals Retreat, for which she currently serves as Secretary.
She is also a board member on the following community organizations: Bakersfield Youth Symphony Orchestra, Bakersfield Sister City Project Corporation, American String Teachers Bakersfield Section, and Kern County Music Educators Association. Regina is also one of the teachers for the Panama-Buena Vista School District Strolling Strings.
Regina has two grown children and three grandchildren.
Nancy Pollard is a manager with over 26 years of public accounting experience at Barbich Hooper King Dill Hoffman Accountancy Corporation. Her specific areas of expertise are tax return preparation, financial statement compilations, monthly business services, and special projects.
Ms. Pollard graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from California State University Bakersfield.
Ms. Pollard is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Bakersfield Chapter of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, Bakersfield Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi, and is a past President of the Rotary Club of Bakersfield Twilight. She is a graduate of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bakersfield Class of 2014.
PSPR LEAD CHAPLAIN
I worked for 21 years as a Minister of Christian Education and Youth with three different congregations in Illinois, Indiana, and Kansas. While an associate pastor in Indiana, I received my Doctor of Ministry degree from Northern Baptist Seminary in Lombard, IL.
In 1998, my family moved to Bakersfield, CA and I became the senior pastor at Grace Baptist Church. In 2013, I retired from full time ministry with the church. Later, I spent a year at the Yuma Regional Medical Center, Yuma, AZ, performing Clinical Pastoral Education as a chaplain resident. During those twelve months at YRMC, I ministered to just over 200 families who lost a friend or relative as chaplains were called to every death that took place in the hospital.
My introduction to law enforcement chaplaincy took place in Moorhead, MN in 1974 and I have ministered as a law enforcement volunteer chaplain for over 45 years. Now that both my wife and I are retired, we split time between California and Minnesota. This allows me to volunteer presently as a chaplain with both the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in Bakersfield, CA (September–April) and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office in Walker, MN (May – September). I am also a National Red Cross Disaster Relief Spiritual Care Provider and have been deployed to national disasters.
As a volunteer chaplain, I became keenly aware that trauma and PTSD were significant issues for first responders. Hence, when the opportunity presented itself to be a part of a solution for those struggling with the effects of job-related trauma, I was excited to become part of the PSPR team. Working with a team of mental health clinicians, fellow chaplains and first responder peers to create a safe, healing atmosphere that promotes healthy coping skills is a privilege. I am blessed to be able to assist first responders who have developed trauma and stress-related symptoms due to critical incidents experienced in their public safety roles realize their full professional potential and achieve fruitful personal lives.
PSPR RESERVE CLINICIAN
Heather Berry is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, dedicated to partnering with individuals to achieve their goals of positive wellbeing and improved mental health. Heather has been a mental health provider for over 30 years and believes in the value of active and engaged commitment to self-improvement through education, movement, good nutrition, and social support. An active mindfulness-based practitioner herself, she brings a strong foundation of understanding and real-life experience to the strategies she offers her patients. Heather can often be heard to say, “If you want to change the way you feel, you need to change the way you think,” and follows this up with real-life strategies for lasting change. Heather has been offering her clients a confidential, safe, and supportive private practice environment to be heard and understood for over 20 years.
Specializing in trauma and skilled in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), she relates well to all ages of clients from seniors to youth. Heather offers an eight-week course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, a six-week Art Therapy Series, and workshops in Goal and Intention Setting plus new and creative opportunities in development.
Heather has been a director of clinic based mental health services, a college professor, speaker, and outdoor educator. Heather is an active community volunteer and is seeks education to continually bring relevant evidence-based strategies into her practice.
She has been a strong contributor to the Kern River Valley community, as a leader in times of community crisis, as well as committed to developing community-based resources, support groups, and professional liaisons. Heather directs and facilitates the Kern Valley Professional Mental Health Forum, creating a collaborative for local and county mental health leaders to work together, developing programs, and resources.
PSPR BOARD MEMBER
RETIRED KERN COUNTY SHERIFF
PSPR BOARD MEMBER
RETIRED KERN COUNTY SHERIFF
I live in the Tehachapi, CA area. I worked in Law Enforcement a total of 44 years with the Bakersfield Police Department, Kern County Sheriffs Office, and Stallion Springs Police Department. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Stallion Springs community in California.
I have been married to my wife Bobbi, a retired California Highway Patrol officer, for 39 years.
PSPR BOARD MEMBER
RETIRED CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL
Brian was born the ninth of eleven children in Philadelphia, PA. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He was in the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for 28 years where he created the Peer Support Program and retired as an Assistant Chief. He was also a Deputy Chief for a city police department. His son and son-in-law are also CHP Officers.
He published a book entitled We Were 17 Again and he currently writes true police articles called “Cop Tales” which appear in the Bakersfield Californian, the Kern Valley Sun, and several social media posts.
PSPR BOARD MEMBER
ACTIVE KERN COUNTY FIRE
Derek is one of eight children and the father of one teenage son. He originally moved to Bakersfield to attend college and swim for CSU Bakersfield. Swimming led to the start of his career in public service by gaining a job as an ocean lifeguard for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Derek would eventually transition to the Kern County Fire Department where he currently serves as a Fire Captain.
As Union President, Derek became an early adopter of the behavioral health campaign by the International Association of Fire Fighters “Stamp Out the Stigma” campaign. It wasn’t long before he realized he had fallen into the dark clutches of PTSD himself. After seeking help and learning how to survive and thrive, Derek became a behavioral health advocate.
In his advocacy, he testified in front of the state legislature in support of SB 542. Senate Bill 542 added Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a presumptive injury for first responders. The bill was passed unanimously and signed into law by the Governor of California.
PSPR BOARD MEMBER
ACTIVE HALL AMBULANCE SERVICE
Jenny Ramirez is a Human Resources Professional with over 15 years of experience. Her passion is providing HR solutions for the companies she supports by helping them build their HR infrastructure through technology, compliance, and people. Currently, she is the Director of Human Resources for Hall Ambulance Service, an ambulance company based in Bakersfield, California.
Prior to working for Hall, Jenny held several corporate HR leadership positions in agriculture, manufacturing, IT, and professional services organizations. A native of Los Angeles, she holds an MBA with a focus in HR management from the University of St. Mary's in Leavenworth, Kansas and a certificate in Human Resources Management from UCLA. In addition, Mrs. Ramirez is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) both on a state and local level, and she is also certified as a Professional in Human Resources Management (SHRM-CP).
Jenny is passionate about using her position and training to improve working relations for companies and workers. Early in her business career she identified that the best way she could be of service was to be directly involved with setting policies and procedures, a role that she is continually reinventing through the pursuit of ongoing education and adoption of best practices.
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