We currently have 12 Board of Directors. A majority of our board members have received special training and are experienced in working with adults and children with conditions such as paraplegia, quadriplegia, amputation, neurological diseases (Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.), and cognitive disorders. Two members of the board are persons with spinal injuries and accomplished adaptive skiers.
Neal Hueske – President
Neal has been president of the OAS board since 2006 and is humbled every day by the graciousness, generosity and courage of OAS participants, volunteers, instructors and supporters. He is a retired attorney, avid skier, optimistic golfer, aspiring cyclist, father of two beautiful teenage girls, and married to Jodie who is an executive at Les Schwab. For a so-called retired guy, all of these things keep him rather busy.
Jason Epple- Vice President
Born an Oregonian, grew up in the Willamette Valley and graduated from Oregon State in 1993. Moved to Bend in 1998 with my wife Trisha where we now are raising our four children. I am a partner of Century Insurance Group, a Bend based insurance agency. For me one of the greatest things is spending time with my family on the mountain. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience snow sports which is primarily why I am drawn to Oregon Adaptive Sports.
Kelly Brawner – Secretary
Kelly was first introduced to Bend in August of 2005, and in April 2006, relocated from San Luis Obispo, CA and officially became a Bendite. She continued her banking career with Bank of the Cascades, where she still currently resides as a small business lender. In a pursuit to become part of an organization that really spoke to her, she found Oregon Adaptive Sports, and knew instantly that it was an organization and team that she wanted to be a part of. Kelly enjoys spending free time with her husband and two pups, and can often be found SUP’ing, running the trails, and enjoying the plethora of opportunities to enjoy the outdoor music scene in Bend.
Colleen has been involved with Oregon Adaptive Sports since its inception and has been an active board member since 2003. Her love for the organization and the people OAS serves is shown by her continued years of involvement and dedication to the growth and success of OAS. Colleen’s current focus with OAS is finance, marketing and special events. She holds a dual bachelors degree in English and Art History from Santa Clara University and competed in the 1996 Paralympic games in Atlanta in swimming. Colleen lives in Bend with her husband and stepson and enjoys being involved in the community, serving on BendFilm’s advisory committee and co-chairing its annual Spring Fundraiser, designing and developing accessible homes, spending time with her family and friends and stays active with swimming, biking and skiing.
Joseph “J.J.” Jones
JJ has lived in Bend since 1994 when he migrated West from Florida. Being an avid Snowboarder, since the winter of 94/95, he planted his roots in Bend for good. He has helped out his Good Friend/old room mate, Kendall Cook, over the years and is now an active Board member. Since joining the board in 2007, he has had many experiences with the OAS family that has brought an appreciation for this organization that he can not describe.
Kendall is a founding member of OAS and has over 20 years of adaptive teaching experience. He has been on the board of directors since 2003 and has also served as program director, instructor and volunteer. The impact of OAS on participants and their families, as well as, the incredible dedication of OAS volunteers is what he is most inspired by. He lives in Tumalo with his beautiful wife Deena and amazing daughter Adeline and enjoys skiing, golfing and mountaineering on occasion.
Dr. Ray is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board at Bend Research, where he has worked since 1983. During his time at Bend Research, Dr. Ray has held numerous positions specializing in the development and commercialization of a wide range of products. In addition to his expertise in advancing pharmaceutical processes and products, Dr. Ray has extensive experience in commercializing diverse products for the electronics, energy, medical, agricultural, and space industries. Dr. Ray holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and a master’s degree and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Colorado and Oregon. Dr. Ray holds 21 U.S. patents and has 41 scientific publications.
“I am proud to be invited to join the OAS Board of Directors. OAS has made a huge difference in the lives of people who are challenged to get outside and participate in sport activities. In fact, my own granddaughter, Bailie Jo Ray, has experienced skiing at Mt. Bachelor thanks to OAS and their many motivated and talented volunteers. OAS is a quality organization and it feels good to be affiliated and to help in some small way.”
Eric is a fourth generation Oregonian who grew up skiing at Mt. Ashland and Mt Bachelor. He graduated from University of Oregon with a degree in Biology and worked extensively with fruit flies and zebra fish in the Molecular Biology department. He also volunteered with Special Olympics and traumatic brain injury support groups while in Eugene. It was those interactions that pointed him towards a second career, a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Pacific University. Upon receiving his master’s degree, he moved to Bend in 1996 and has been working at St. Charles Medical Center ever since. He currently works in the Outpatient Rehabilitation department, conducts a weekly wheelchair seating and positioning clinic, and is a certified ATP (Assistive Technology Practitioner) through Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America.
“I have pointed many people towards OAS over the years and it has made all the difference in so many ways. Providing a service that enhances quality of life, introduces or reintroduces people to the great outdoors, builds community, confidence, and independence….I am humbled and honored to be on the board of OAS.”
Gilmore is retired from the athletic shoe industry, having worked for both adidas and Nike in the Portland area, before moving to Bend in 2004. Gilmore also operated his own retail shoe store for six years. Prior to moving to Portland, Gilmore worked as a journalist, teacher, coach and college admissions counselor. He has a bachelor’s degree from Emerson College and masters degree from Harvard University. Gilmore lives in Bend with his wife Hilary. They have two grown children.
Jason grew up in Eugene, Oregon with his twin brother and their mom. After graduating from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, Jason began his instructor career at Beaver Creek and worked there from 1996 to 2001. Throughout his years instructing, Jason has become certified in Alpine and Telemark skiing, as well as snowboarding. In 2001 he returned to Oregon, settling in Bend with his wife Bre. He continued his teaching career at Mt. Bachelor and is currently the Director of Gravity School and Daycare. In addition to snowsports instructing, Jason is a certified white water raft guide, a board member for his family business, coaches his two son’s lacrosse and football teams and is a general outdoor enthusiast. Jason is excited with the opportunity to bring his knowledge of the outdoors and business to Oregon Adaptive Sports.
Geoff was born in the Columbia Gorge and grew up roaming the wild lands around and between Mt. Adams and Mt Hood. This rugged beauty has always been his anchor point, particularly after surviving a brain-stem stroke, and he credits OAS with allowing him to continue to be outside and enjoy the “tonic of wildness” again with his family. He is proud to organize teams to race in the Adaptive division of Pole Pedal Paddle and give people the opportunity to be part of such an incredible event.
Born and raised in Bend, Oregon, Karen traveled north to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where she graduated with a degree in International Affairs and Mandarin Chinese. After two years in the freight industry as a dock supervisor and a historical teamsters strike, art school was her next stop. She graduated with a degree in commercial photography, one of her lifelong passions. Although she loved living and working as a professional photographer in Seattle, the weather and supportive community of Bend called her back home. After eight years as a retina angiographer, working with seniors and patients with moderate to severe vision impairment, free-lance photography gradually re-emerged as her primary focus. Karen’s interest in retinal disease gave her a greater empathy and understanding of the loss of a sense, as well as the adaptive opportunities regarding blindness, which continues to help her photograph her subjects with greater awareness and understanding. Karen’s family has always been engaged in Bend’s alpine and Nordic community, dating back to the Skyliner Ski Club and present day Mt. Bachelor Ski Education Sports Foundation. She looks forward to following in their footsteps as the newest board member of Oregon Adaptive Sports.
My involvement with OAS began as a participant and student shortly after a skiing accident in Canada that left me paralyzed below the waist. I was lucky enough to have been taught to sit-ski by OAS’ Kendall Cook, whose unwavering patience and goodwill allowed, even me, to become a capable skier again. Our friendship throughout the learning process grew into a special bond and Kendall invited me to help teach newly injured mono skiers as a volunteer and later a member of the board of directors.
I’m a husband to a beautiful wife and father to two wonderful girls and my initial fear after my accident was that I would lack the abilities to be either. Through OAS and the people involved with the organization I came to realize not only could I still participate in outdoor sports but more importantly — be an active and productive participant in life. My deepest gratitude goes out to all of the volunteers, sponsors, donors, and Board Members of the Oregon Adaptive Sports family. Your dedication, hard work, and kindness helped me to see there is truly ‘Life After Tragedy’. The gains to the human spirit, quality of life, confidence and hope OAS provides to all involved is an immeasurable gift! My hope now as a member of the OAS family is, in some small way, I can help to ignite the spark in the lives of other challenged athletes that OAS helped to re-ignite in me.