ComfortCare Women’s Health Staff and Board Members

STEPHANIE CRAWFORD
President and CEO

Family:  I have been married to my husband, Ches, since 2010.  We met on a blind date and were the eighth couple that our “matchmaker” set up that ended up getting married.  We live in Ches’ hometown of Bridgewater, VA with our son and our two fur-babies.

When did you start working at ComfortCare? I started April 10, 2017!

What inspires you about ComfortCare? I think this changes for me daily, as I continue to meet new people and see fresh perspectives.  I have met so many amazing people at work for this ministry – from our prayer coordinators, to all of our staff, our volunteers, and our clients.  Each of them inspires me in different ways.  Most significantly though, as I talk to each of them, they clearly demonstrate a heart for the work that the Lord has called them to complete here in the Augusta/Rockbridge areas.  They each reflect different gifts, but use them in unity as they are drawn towards this greater purpose.  I am blessed to come to work each day in an environment that strives daily to show the love of Christ to those in need.

What is your favorite part of your job?  My favorite part of this job is leading an incredible team of people. I have the privilege to work with an amazing group of ladies every day and I am in awe that God would entrust such a responsibility to me. I am thankful for their gifts, their grace, and the sisterhood we share.

What is your favorite patient story? One of my favorites is when we were able to pull a team of people together prior to the clinic being opened to meet with a young woman who was planning on seeking an abortion that day.  This young woman mentioned that before she pursued the abortion, she needed to go talk to her friend about it first.  That friend had been a patient at ComfortCare in the past and she knew immediately what was needed… she drove her straight to ComfortCare.  A crew of our staff and volunteers came in early and provided her with all the services and information she needed to make a decision to keep her child.  She hugged her friend on the way out of her appointment and thanked her for preventing her from making the biggest mistake of her life.  What a beautiful testimony to how the Holy Spirit works in our lives and in our hearts, orchestrating the right environment to partner with Him in his work.

MELISSA SZULKOWSKI
Vice President of Operations

Family: I am married to my husband of 23 years, Jamie. We have a 16 year old son and two dogs.

When did you start working at ComfortCare?
I started working here in March of 2006.
What inspires you about ComfortCare? I love working here! All of the staff and volunteers make such a great team. Everyone does their own part but if someone else needs help, we always pitch in where needed. I’ve just never worked in such a loving, caring environment before – it’s amazing!

What is your favorite part of your job? While I don’t get to work directly with any of our patients, I love the “behind the scenes work.” I have the privilege of taking care of all the things (buildings, finances, etc.) so that those that minister to our patients can do so without hindrances.

 

What is your favorite patient story? Since I don’t work directly with patients, I don’t have any personal stories. But, I love it when we hear of a patient that’s come in who has challenges with her situation (exactly why we’re here – to listen and help her talk through these issues) and then find out that she’s keeping her baby!

MARY KUHAR
Vice President of Clinical Operations

Family: I am happily married to Glenn Kuhar, who is a worship leader at Lexington Baptist Church in Lexington, Virginia.

When did you start working at ComfortCare?I started working for ComfortCare in the spring of 2012.

What inspires you about ComfortCare? It’s a wonderful ministry that provides assistance for women in all facets of their lives.  It is also because of gracious, loving people, businesses, and churches that our ministry is able to thrive in each of our communities.

What is your favorite part of your job?  Getting to provide hope and resources to ladies who are at a crucial point in their life is a priceless part of my job.

JENN WADE
Vice President of Engagement

Family:  I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Mike, for over 22 years. We are blessed with two amazing daughters.

When did you start working at ComfortCare? Although I volunteered with ComfortCare as a graphic designer for several years prior to becoming a staff member,  I officially started working here in September of 2014.

What inspires you about ComfortCare?  I am inspired by this ministry and the purpose it serves in our community. It always warms my heart to hear the stories from the women we’ve served – the hope, compassion, and love they felt when they came to ComfortCare.

What is your favorite part of your job?  I feel blessed to work among a talented and caring group of women. Our jobs are not easy, but knowing we are all working together, using our unique gifts for a common cause as we serve our Creator, is truly an honor and privilege.

What is your favorite patient story? My favorite patient story was a patient who was very unsure of the timing of her pregnancy. She knew she wanted to be a mom, just not at that time. She’d just graduated college and was starting a new life on her own. She came to ComfortCare for pregnancy confirmation and was given the support and hope she needed to decide to carry her pregnancy to term. She was referred to a local OB/GYN office where she found out through ultrasound that she was not having one, but TWO babies! Twins! Her twin boys were born very prematurely, but they’re doing well now and she is one of the strongest, bravest women I know. You can read Brianne’s full story here.

LOLA WIDENER
Senior Staff Patient Advocate

Family: I’m married to Robert, my high school sweetheart. We just celebrated 36 years together! We have 3 grown children and 3 grandkids who call us Pops and Nana! With that configuration – our life is anything but boring!!

When did you start working at ComfortCare? 1989. I know I started ‘working’ when we were still in the Jewish synagogue – doing stats, of all things.)

What inspires you about ComfortCare? I am inspired on two levels. The first would be total amazement about how the Holy Spirit moves in this ministry to open up the patients and woo them to Himself. The other level would be how volunteers and donors are open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to give of themselves and their money so faithfully – they truly catch the heart of God!

What is your favorite part of your job? The people – whether in the counseling room, at a fundraiser, in a classroom or youth group or training the volunteers – all of these would be my favorite.

What is your favorite patient story? When you have worked in patient services as long as I have, it is hard to pick a favorite but two unusual ones that always stay with me are: (1) I had a patient who was considering abortion mainly because her boyfriend wasn’t supportive. She changed her mind and then continued to keep in contact. She actually brought me one of her ‘pregnancy pictures’ and continues to invite me to her son’s birthday parties every year. (2) I did the KISSN program at a county high school and met a young man who made a point of showing me that he took the KISSN Challenge. Then for the next 3 years when I would go to do the program at that school, he would see me, pull out his wallet and show me the card, reminding me that he was still taking the challenge – that was amazing!

JERELYN ANDERSON
Director of Events

Tell us about your name and family. Jerelyn – a name with purpose: Jerelyn is from the Hebrew language and means, “Living for God.” There’s an old song that states my philosophy of life. It goes like this, “We are the reason He gave His life and He is my reason to live.” From birth, I knew my purpose was to “live for God.”

Commitment to service was at the core of the Christian home where I was raised. My father never missed a Sunday preaching in over fifty years. My mother was equally dedicated to her husband, children, home and service. In my heart, there is nothing as special as Christian ministry.

I have been blessed with one son who proudly serves our country, a loving daughter-in-law, three beautiful grandchildren, and two adorable great-grandchildren.

What inspires you about ComfortCare? I have been inspired by ComfortCare’s ministry to women. What ministry do you know that touches the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of an unplanned pregnancy? ComfortCare does and that inspires me! The programs give help to the women that enter the doors and support to the family, friends, and guys that are also going through this experience.

Since you are new to ComfortCare, tell us what you are looking forward to doing in your position. In serving at ComfortCare, I will be part of a team that brings hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the discouraged, support to the one who feels all alone, light to the darkness, and shares God’s love that offers a brighter future.

Our fundraising events will promote the true, positive image of the agency to churches, the community, and individuals. When they embrace our mission and when they know of lives changed, support will be there: both financially and through volunteers.

All of this is to the glory of God, not to ourselves, but oh what fun to serve Him.

EMILY BELL, RN
Staff Nurse

Tell us about your family I have been married since 2015, and have 3 children, although we have a beautiful Australian shepherd who feels like a 4th.

When did you start working at ComfortCare? I have been working in emergency services since I became a nurse, and while I loved it, I longed to have more time to spend with my patients. I wanted to feel that I had the time to sit and connect with them. I was able to join ComfortCare in the fall of 2021 and I look forward to what the future holds.

What inspires you about ComfortCare? I often feel that business decisions are driven and motivated by financial revenue. I am so thankful for the generous donors that allow us to provide free services. Many of the women who come to us are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Removing financial complications allows us to meet anyone and provide services they really need.

What is your favorite part of your job? When I first became a nurse, I loved that my primary role was advocating for my patients. I have often advocated for them when no one else was there. I want to provide unbiased education that endorses and empowers women simultaneously.

CHRISTIANA KING
Staff Patient Advocate

Tell us about your family I have been married to my husband since May 2020. We met in college and he is my best friend. We have a goldendoodle puppy who is full of energy and has quickly become part of our family.

When did you start working at ComfortCare? I started working the first week of May 2022!  I look forward to being a part of this incredible ministry.

What inspires you about ComfortCare? Even if it is just sharing a smile as these women walk in the door, everyone at ComfortCare makes sure that all are welcome and treated with respect.  Many come in afraid, ashamed, and alone and ComfortCare strives to be that safe place to offer accurate information, support, and, most importantly, God’s love for them as his creation.

What brought you to ComfortCare? Several years ago, someone asked if I would be interested in working at a pregnancy resource center in another state.  Since I was in school at the time, it did not work out, but that has always stuck in my mind.  In college, I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to help girls and women in some of their most difficult times.  Moving forward about 5 years, my husband and I were visiting a new church on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday when Stephanie (President and CEO) spoke about ComfortCare and the work that they did.  My husband, knowing where my heart was, told me to go talk to her.  So, after church, I did, and from that moment on, God made every step so clear that this is where he wanted me.  From my first phone calls, emails, and interviews, I knew that God was doing incredible things through ComfortCare, and I am so excited to be a part of that work.

BOARD MEMBERS

Chairman: Cheryl Nester

Secretary: Danielle Wolfe

Treasurer: Amy Yoder, CPA

Members:
Scott Risser, Michelle Spivey, Pastor Steve Paulus
Patricia Taylor, Dr. Steven Kator, Pastor Vanessa Johnson