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Meet Our Leaders

Bridges To Hope is very grateful for the dedicated volunteers who serve on its Board of Directors. Members of the Board serve a three year term and are eligible for three consecutive terms. The officers, which consist of a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer are elected annually and serve a one year term or until a successor is chosen.

Current Board Members:

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Pastor Bud Christenson

Milfred Christenson (Pastor Bud) has been a Minnesota farm boy, a world-traveling sailor in the Navy, a reformed alcoholic, a sponsor for refugees and a pastor everywhere from New York City to small-town Nebraska and the Nebraska State Penitentiary. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth before going on to obtain a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. A father of seven, he lost his life-long sweetheart, Muriel, in 2003. Bud has since re-married and now lives with his wife and best friend, Ruth, in Nebraska. Although Pastor Bud has been helping prisoners reenter society since the late 90’s, he and his late wife Muriel acquired a warehouse in which they could store and distribute donated items to men and women soon to be or recently released. Bridges to Hope became incorporated in 2009 and received nonprofit 501(C)(3) status in 2011 and has continued to be blessed with positive growth and support. Though retired from the ministry, he continues to dedicate his time to support prison ministry and serves as the pastor of Friedens Lutheran Church, 6th and D, Lincoln, Nebraska.

FOUNDER AND HONORARY BOARD MEMBER

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Don Nevins

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Don Nevins grew up with a passion for sports, running track and field in high school. After graduating from University of Nebraska – Lincoln with a degree in psychology in 1997, he began his career as a therapist. Seven years later, he began work as a Senior Parole Officer with the State of Nebraska, where he remains today. After over two decades working in state government, Don has seen and worked with all kinds of cases. Some of the parolees he works with were incarcerated decades prior to meeting him and released with no family or friends to rely on, and often struggled securing basic necessities such as food, clothes, and furniture. Don first heard about Bridges to Hope in his early years as a parole officer. When he began to volunteer at the warehouse, he was surprised and inspired by the warm way people welcomed everyone coming through its doors. That initial connection stayed with him to this day, and during his orientations with new parolees, he eagerly tells them about Bridges To Hope. A proudly active member of the Lincoln community, Don volunteers with several organizations in the area, including the YMCA, where he engages with youth sports. He is also a member of UNL Alumni’s Kappa Alphi Phi chapter. He spent 15 years coaching youth football before the COVID-19 pandemic, and he hopes to return to it soon. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Don spends his free time golfing and riding bike trails.

VICE PRESIDENT

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Jim Rowoldt

Jim Rowoldt has been volunteering with Bridges to Hope for nearly 12 years. At that time, he was a volunteer with the FEAST prison ministry at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and a CCCL sponsor. While transporting people from CCCL to the B2H warehouse he was recruited to “shop” with the re-entrants. That led to spending more time at the warehouse assisting shoppers, sorting/shelving clothing, and picking up furniture donations. Jim has been a member of the B2H Board of Directors since 2015, and President since 2020. Jim has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska – Omaha; both in Criminal Justice. He began his career as a case manager at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, worked for eight years as a State Probation Officer in Lincoln, and for 25 years served as a United States Probation (Parole) Officer, retiring as the Chief Probation Officer for the U.S. Courts/District of Nebraska in 2010. After retiring, Jim was an instructor at Kaplan University, contracted with State Probation, and continued to volunteer with prison ministries. Jim and his wife, Kathy, have been married 47 years. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren. When not spending time with family, Jim bicycles, reads, boats, performs with the Radio Active Players at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, leads a group of Rock & Roll singers called the Playhouse Greasers, and has been playing guitar/singing with Jubilee Bluegrass/Gospel for the past 27 years.

PRESIDENT

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Cathy Maasdam

Cathy Maasdam, a native of Cedar Bluffs, Nebraska, is a retired music and public school teacher. Cathy has two undergraduate degrees from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a Bachelor of Music. She has worked for both Omaha and Lincoln Public Schools. Cathy is passionate about education and serving others. She has been involved with many non-profits as a volunteer. Cathy also enjoys spending time with family and friends, participating in music ensembles, writing poetry and is an avid reader. She plans to never stop learning.

SECRETARY

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Jeri Winkelmann

Jeri Winkelmann is the Director of Administration & Finance at the Lincoln Airport Authority, where she is responsible for the management of airport resources.  Jeri has many years of nonprofit leadership experience ranging from credit unions to healthcare.  Her passion is communicating highly complex financial scenarios to diverse audiences without putting them to sleep.  Jeri is a dog person, baseball fan, and lifelong Nebraskan.

TREASURER

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Phanel Petit

  • Phanel is originally from Haiti; he migrated to Miami, Florida in 1995 and graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelor in Aviation Business Administration with a minor in IT. He later obtained his Masters in Public Administration from NOVA Southeastern University. He worked in the aviation and technology industries for several years before being hired by the State of Nebraska in 2018. Since then he has worked for Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Nebraska Department of Labor (NDOL). He currently works for Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) as an IT Manager/Portfolio Manager, heading the Information Technology Project Portfolio Management Office (PPMO). Phanel is also the founder and owner of NAOSSOFT, a Miami-based software company. Phanel has volunteered at churches and hospitals, mentored those learning English as a Second Language, served on the board of West Indies Foundation, and volunteered as a big with Big Brother Big Sister. He joined Bridges to Hope out of a desire to help give second chances and hope to those who have been incarcerated, and he is grateful working with individuals who embody this mission. Phanel is an aviation enthusiast: he has a collection of drones, and he loves flying them. He is also a biker and has been motorcycling from a very young age and is not ready to give up on his two Kawasaki Ninjas. He enjoys road tripping, kayaking, and whitewater rafting with his family.

MEMBER

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Art Wilson

Art Wilson works for the People's City Mission, a Lincoln, NE shelter that offers guests a safe atmosphere promoting recovery, self-sufficiency, and independent living. It also serves as a place of refuge for battered women and children. Art oversees the mission's transitional housing department, and has been working here for five years. Art enjoys spending time with his wife Kayla, having a variety of outdoor adventures like hiking, fishing, camping, and bicycling. He also loves to read.

MEMBER

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Tarvis Banks

Tarvis Banks was born and raised in Lincoln, NE and attended Lincoln High School. He later attended University of Nebraska at Omaha and played football there as well. Tarvis graduated cum laude with a degree in criminal justice, with minors in history and sociology. He also attended UNO for graduate school and obtained his master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in criminology. Tarvis has been with the Lincoln Police Department for 14 years. As a captain in the department, he is responsible for being the Shift Duty Commander and Assistant SWAT Team Commander. He is married with three children.

MEMBER

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Tony Britten

Anthony Britten was born and raised in Lincoln, NE. He graduated from Syracuse High School after my dad got a job in the area. He then attended University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received a degree in criminal justice. Shortly after graduation, he began his career with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. He has been with the Department for over a decade. For the last six years, he has worked in various roles with the Reentry Team and assisting individuals with rejoining the community. For the last two years, he has served as the reentry program manager. Anthony is married and has a very spoiled labradoodle. He and his family enjoy traveling the country and seeing what the world has to offer.

MEMBER

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Eve Brank

Eve Brank, J.D., PhD., is a Professor of Psychology and the director of the Center on Children, Families, and the Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She attended Jacksonville University for her undergraduate studies and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for her graduate and law degrees. Her research primarily focuses on the way the law intervenes (and sometimes interferes) in family and personal decision making. Eve is married to her college sweetheart, Adam, and they have one daughter. She enjoys running, sewing, and home-improvement projects. She and her family attend Sheridan Lutheran Church.

MEMBER

In Loving Memory of Harlan Baehr, Honorary Vice President

Current Staff:

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Rhonda Mattingly, Executive Director

Rhonda has over 40 years’ experience in management and executive leadership roles, 14 of which have been in non-profit agencies. Upon graduating from Norfolk Sr. High School, she spent the first 8 years of her career as a cosmetologist. She then returned to college where she attained a degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Wayne State College. She put that degree to use first as a Child Protection & Safety worker and later was selected as Executive Director for a nonprofit Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault agency. Rhonda and her two children moved to Lincoln in 2005 where she worked for UNL in the Bureau of Sociological Research Department as Director of Operations for a grant funded study with Native Americans. After 6 years, upon completion of the project, she stayed with UNL as a Budget/Business Coordinator for the College of Education and Human Sciences for another 2 years. Rhonda realized after a couple of years working with numbers & budgets, that she definitely preferred working with people and was led to Bridges to Hope in February of 2015. The nonprofit arena is her passion, so she feels back at home as the Executive Director for Bridges to Hope. When not at work, Rhonda enjoys spending time with her husband Dave, and their two Morkies, Mowgli & Harley. Rhonda and Dave are blessed with 5 children and 4 grandchildren and are proudly referred to as Mimi & Papa.

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Kathy Herr, Thrift Shoppe Manager

Kathy Herr is a long time Lincoln resident. She graduated from Lincoln Northeast and UNL, where she received a degree in Home Economics with an emphasis on Interior Design. Kathy has over 45 years of retail experience. She first worked at Miller & Paine Department Store in Lincoln and then in Grand Island in the home furnishing and interior design departments. Returning to Lincoln, she worked with a local Interior Design Studio, which lead to partnering with a friend and starting Fashion II Consignment Boutique. In 1985 Kathy became the sole owner of Fashion II, which continued in business until 2016. 

After closing Fashion II, Kathy was interested in working in the non-profit sector. An article written in the Lincoln Journal Star of her stores’ closing, led to a meeting with Rhonda Mattingly, executive director of Bridges to Hope.  Kathy began working with Bridges to Hope in April of 2016 and in November of 2017, Bud’s Thrift Shoppe was opened. Kathy has grown to understand the needs of those trying to start a new life after incarceration. Giving reentrants a second chance needs the support of everyone in the community.

Outside of the store, Kathy enjoys attending live theater and concerts, and spending time with family.

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Valerie Dahlke, Office Manager

Valerie was hired in November of 2019 first as an office assistant and after proving her organization skills is now the office manager.

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Tina Daberkow, Thrift Shoppe Assistant

Tina grew up in northeast Nebraska. She received an A.A. in Business Administration from Northeast Technical Community College in Norfolk. She moved to Washington DC and completed a B.S. in Business Management at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and for over 30 years worked various jobs including retail management, membership services, event planning and childcare provider. She returned to Nebraska in late 2019 and was a dedicated volunteer at Bud’s Thrift store and later became a paid member of the staff.

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Bonnie Nelson, Volunteer Warehouse Manager

Bonnie has been volunteering with Bridges to Hope since their inception.