Meet our Team
After a successful career in the sign & logo business, Rich Feneis decided he wanted to dedicate his time to something meaningful. This is when he thought about his long-time friend Joel Vogel, who for the past 8 years had been fundraising for and donating life-saving AED's throughout Central Minnesota. Rich took it on himself to learn a bit more about cardiac arrest, CPR, and the use of an AED – and that's when he found out that 80% of the time cardiac arrests happen in the home. He then decided to look up the average EMS response times for his Pine Point neighborhood and was startled to find out that given the time for EMS to arrive, the chances of survival were almost zero. With this, Rich knew he needed to place an AED in his neighborhood which would be accessible 24/7 year-round. After an overwhelmingly positive response from the neighbors and surrounding community, Rich decided to approach a local hospital group and see if they would be interested in contributing to a county wide initiative. It wasn't long after that, Rich launched Advocates for Health, a certified 501c3 non-profit organization committed to placing community AED's in outdoor smart monitored cabinets. Over the past two years, Advocates for Health has placed over 60 lifesaving AED's throughout Minnesota.
Joel Vogel was 46 when he suffered a heart attack at his St. Cloud home. Thankfully his family recognized something wasn't right and quickly called for an ambulance. On the way to the hospital Joel went into cardiac arrest. After recovering from surgery, Joel decided to get involved with a local non-profit supporting cardiac patients and providing public awareness, CPR training and AED donations local businesses. Joel then took it upon himself to start an annual fundraiser, the "Save A Life" golf tournament, which has now helped place countless AED's across Central Minnesota. Joel's passion rubbed off on his buddy Rich, and together they created the nonprofit organization Advocates for Health. By placing AED's in outdoor public places, Advocates for Health is on a mission to increase the chances of survival from cardiac arrest. Over the past two years, Joel's efforts through Advocates for Health has led to the placement of over 60 outdoor lifesaving AED Stations, and over 80 community public awareness sessions on how to recognize cardiac arrest, and how to respond by providing CPR and using an AED. Over the past two years, Joel's has facilitated over 80 community public awareness sessions on how to recognize cardiac arrest, and how to respond by providing CPR and using an AED. Contact Joel at email@example.com
After years as a CPR & AED instructor, Carly Jackson found success as a leading AED sales representative with a focus on thoroughly understanding all the public access devices on the market. During this time Carly worked directly with various global leaders in AED device manufacturing, distributors of AEDs across both Canada and the USA, as well as non profit groups in the cardiac arrest industry. In 2019 Carly helped Rich create Advocates for Health, as has since its inception held a seat on the Board. Carly continues to be committed to helping the public fully understand sudden cardiac arrest, when & how to use a defibrillator, and is extremely passionate about increasing the number of AED’s available in a given area.
Talk about a Father-Daughter dream team! It didn't take long before Rich Feneis' passion spread and his eldest daughter Jessica Theisen, joined the @advocates4health mission to save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest. Jessica's passion for health and improving the community, combined with her love for working on projects with her dad made this partnership a no brainer! We are so grateful to have Jessica running the day-to-day operations at A4H, and we look forward to keeping her busy this year with all our new AED Smart Cabinet placements.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Todd Wistrom has been actively involved in cardiac care since the mid 90's when he began working as a Cardiovascular Technologist at St. Cloud Hospital. Through working at Guidant Corporation, Maquet Getinge, and C Change Surgical, Todd's has over twenty years of experience working with clinicians to determine best treatment plans and products for cardiac patients. Todd & his wife Susie, also operate a local CPR & First Aid training company called Specialized Health and Safety. It was through this training company that Todd first became aware of Advocates for Health and their initiatives placing AED's in outdoor public places. As a CPR & AED instructor, Todd knew first hand the importance of 24/7 AED access and quickly decided he too wanted to be part of saving more lives. Since then Todd has not only been advocating for more AED Smart Cabinets within Central Minnesota, but he has also assisted with the installation of many of these units and provided community CPR & AED training sessions after all installations.
Kaitlyn Gilk is a 17-year-old high school student from Paynesville, MN and a lifelong member of the Girl Scouts. After seeing her mom Wendy work alongside Advocates for Health & the local Sheriff's department to place 16 publicly accessible defibrillators (AED's) in outdoor smart cabinets throughout the communities of Richmond & Cold Spring, Kaitlyn fully understood the need to have lifesaving AED's everywhere. With this, Kaitlyn presented a plan to the Girl Scout council on how she could truly make an impact on community safety by installing 5 publicly accessible AED’s in her town of Paynesville. Throughout 2020 Kaitlyn successfully raised over $22,000 and is now completing the installation of these 5 lifesaving devices. Kaitlyn also qualified to receive the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is presented to those who drive lasting change in their communities and had always been a dream of Kaitlyn’s to achieve. After witnessing Kaitlyn’s dedication & passion for saving lives, Rich Feneis the founder of Advocates for Health, invited Kaitlyn to permanently join their team and work to place more AED Smart Cabinets throughout Minnesota.