Board Members

Ronna Ellis, Client Service Coordinator

Ronna and her husband Jim are two of the founders of ARC. A 37-year-resident of the Hudson/River Falls area, Ronna has been involved as a volunteer in numerous community organizations including Habitat, Turningpoint, Restorative Justice, School-age Mentor programs, Operation HELP, and more. She received her degree from UWRF, focusing on Sociology and Criminal Justice. She places strong importance on being involved with an organization that is transparent, forthright, and volunteer driven.

Judy Perkins, Secretary

Judy lives in Ellsworth. She is retired from the Ellsworth School District where she worked in Early Childhood Special Education and continues to volunteer her time. She is President of the Ellsworth Public Library Board. She has 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

Tammy Pitzen, Member-at-Large

Tammy was born and raised in River Falls. She is a proud member of this community and has a passion for helping others. For 25 years she was an active volunteer and leader in the PC 4-H Program and has been a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is currently involved with The Power of 100 Women, Free School Supply Event, and PC Relay for Life. She has recently taken over as Coordinator of Angels on Earth Giving Tree Program. She works at St. Bridget Catholic Church, is married with 2 sons and 1 spunky dog.

Don Richards, Member-at-Large

Don served as Mayor of River Falls from 2004 to 2012. He was
a teacher in River Falls, Prescott, and UW Whitewater. He is a River Falls native, educated in the River Falls Public School system, graduated from UW-River Falls, and earned advanced degrees at UW-Madison. He is married to Ellie and has four children. Don currently serves on numerous boards and advisory committees in River Falls.

Lori Rodewald, Treasurer

Lori has a master’s degree in School Guidance Counseling and a master’s degree in Special Education. She has strong community ties to both Hudson and River Falls having raised her 4 children in the area. Lori works at Sholom in St. Paul as Volunteer Coordinator and has 5 years in Volunteer Management with non-profit organizations. Lori has a passion for supporting volunteer- based community programs and giving back. She feels strongly that ARC’s mission and purpose in the community is vital.

Sharon Schulze, Chairperson

Sharon has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN, RN). Prior to retirement, she was employed as a Pierce County Public Health Nurse serving in the Ellsworth and River Falls communities for 32 years. She now serves on the Pierce County Board of Health. She has been active with Assistance & Resource Center since 2014 and has served as chair since 2015. Her volunteer time outside of ARC is focused on English Lutheran Church in Ellsworth and with the Ellsworth Public Library.

Cindy Testa, Marketing and Outreach

Cindy is a lifelong resident of River Falls. She is married and has a blended family consisting of 4 children and 5 grandchildren. She spent 26 years employed at a factory in River Falls. After the factory closed, she attended CVTC and graduated with an Associate Degree. For the past 7 years she has been a Property Manager with Meridian Group. While performing duties at work, she discovered ARC and the services it provides in River Falls and Ellsworth. Cindy wants to give back to the community and believes in ARC’s mission.

Leslie Clauss, Phone Volunteer Coordinator

She is a stay-at-home empty-nester who has lived in the River Falls area for 7 years. She strongly believes in volunteering to give back to the community in which she lives. She volunteered services to the school district in which her children were enrolled, volunteers time to the Children’s Theatre Council at The Phipps where she is secretary on the CTC board, and she volunteers on several committees at her church. “I have been blessed with an amazing life; it is only right to give back to those in need.

Board Support

Peter Carr, Grant Writer

Peter is a retired epidemiologist. He most recently worked for the MN Dept. of Health as the AIDS and STD Director. Peter serves on the Pierce County Board of Health and is technical assistance provider for the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Director’s Global Program.

Dianne Hickok, Tax Preparer, Finance Committee Member

She and her husband, Cline, have lived in the River Falls area for 12 years. A CPA, she recently retired from a large public accounting firm in Minneapolis where she specialized in exempt organizations.

Patricia Kjosa, Data-Input

She and her husband, John, have lived in the River Falls area for 41 years. Prior to retiring, she was an Executive Assistant at 3M for 39 years.

Charity Purfeerst, Facebook Manager

She grew up in the Maiden Rock area and has lived in River Falls for about 25 years where she raised her 2 sons. She is the Assistant Director at a local daycare where she has built strong community ties by serving the families of River Falls over the past 6 plus years. For 12 years she has been volunteering for the PC Relay for Life as it is near and dear to her. She has been blessed with the opportunity to build her own home with St. Croix Habitat for Humanity. She put in 250 volunteer hours and continues to advocate for Habitat’s mission. Soon to be a grandma, her life passions are her children and family. In July 2018, she was introduced to ARC by way of a friend and immediately knew this was an organization she wanted to be a part of. Charity took over the Facebook coordination role in mid-2018.

Jim Ellis, Finance Committee Member

He and his wife, Ronna have lived in the area for 37 years. Jim retired from Imation in 2016 as Vice President, Imation Global OEM and Strategic Business Development with nearly 35 years of leadership in the data storage industry. He first joined 3M Company in 1978 and held a variety of technical and business management positions within the data storage businesses of Imation and 3M, including the management of tape, optical and flash businesses. Jim is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where he studied computer science and mechanical engineering. He is on the board of directors and is treasurer of Canvas Health, a Minnesota-based nonprofit chemical and mental health services organization.

Past & Present Board Members