ABOUT US

Sr Chaplain Ken Schlenker


Sr Chaplain Ken Schlenker is the founder of CAREForce.us, a non-profit based in Houston, Texas. CAREForce.us provides Crisis Training, Response and Organizational Development for first-responder and community based organizations through its three agencies: National Center Chaplain Development, California Law Enforcement Chaplain Consortium and Christian Crisis Care. Chaplain Ken is an Expert Witness and Diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and the National Center for Crisis Management holding board certification in crisis chaplaincy, emergency response and stress management.

Chaplain Ken is an approved instructor with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, a United Nations recognized organization and the Resilient Sciences Institute. Chaplain Ken attended the California Peace Officer Standards and training (POST) Instructor Development Institute Master Instructor Program and is the author of the CA POST Law Enforcement Basic Chaplain Course.

Chaplain Ken was honored to work with Chaplain Steve Ballinger of Living Shield Ministries to develop the first District Attorney Chaplain Program in Riverside, California where chaplains serve alongside victim advocates to provide compassionate care for victims and their families.

Chaplain Ken presented at the  International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association annual conference in 2016 with John Avery and Major Chaplain Ken Koons on Breaking the Silence: Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide.

Chaplain Ken has also served on the education committee and is a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains. He is also a Master Trainer for LivingWorks.net, which provides the international standard for Suicide Intervention.


Chaplain Shelly Pinomaki

Sr. Chaplain Shelly Pinomaki is a chaplain with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) and National Center Chaplain Development. Chaplain Pinomaki is a family survivor of one of the most extreme forms of trauma, the brutal murder of her beloved sister in 2011. Her experiences during that time led her to seek ways to transform how families are treated in the aftermath of tragedy. As a result, Chaplain Pinomaki is impassioned to help others who wanted to help those in emotional pain. This led her to join CAREForce.US developing Christian Crisis Care which trains volunteers in the physical, emotional and spiritual elements of crisis intervention.


Sr. Chaplain Steve Ballinger

Steve was employed with the Riverside City Fire Department for 19½ years. In 1993 he resigned from the department, at the rank of Captain, to go on staff as an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside , CA.  In 2001 Pastor Steve led a team of lay counselors from the church, in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, to New York City and spent 16 days at ground zero.  It was there that God began changing Steve’s heart from the pastoral-ship to chaplaincy. 

In 2002, Steve became a chaplain with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and was with them for 3 years.  In 2005 Steve began a chaplain program with the Riverside Police Department and the Riverside Fire Department at the same time.  He has been the lead chaplain for the past 12 years. 

In 2008, Steve stepped away from the pastoral-ship and began his own 501(C)3 chaplain organization.  Chaplain Steve is the Founder, President, and Senior Chaplain of Living Shield Ministries, which allows him to be a fulltime volunteer chaplain.  He is also lead chaplain for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Southern Chapter of the California Concerns for Police Survivors (COPS), as well as a chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. 

Chaplain Steve has personally been involved with 15 line-of-duty deaths involving our law enforcement and fire service personnel.  He has responded to local, national and international disasters over the years. 

He is a member of the Cal-Fire Chaplain Corps, OES Chaplaincy, International Conference of Police Chaplains, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), National Center of Chaplain Development (NCCD), and The Counseling Team International (TCTI).

Chaplain Steve is an Approved Instructor with the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), and teaches seven different classes in Critical Incident Stress Management (Assisting Individuals in Crisis, Group Crisis Intervention, Grief Following Trauma, Pastoral Crisis Intervention I & II, Law Enforcement Perspective to CISM, and Strategic Response to Crisis). He also teaches a 40-hour School of Chaplaincy and assist in teaching POST Law Enforcement Chaplaincy across the state of California. 

His desire is to train up an army of chaplains across our nation so they can help others whose life is in a state of chaos. 


John Avery

John Avery retired as a Sergeant from the Salinas Police Department after 24 years in service. The majority of his time was in the Patrol Division and held positions as a canine handler, crime scene investigator, latent print analyst, school resource officer, field training officer and street supervisor. He was also a member of the Crisis Intervention Team until his retirement in September 2009.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from St. Mary’s College, Moraga, CA, earned his Master’s Degree in Emergency Services Administration from California State University, Long Beach and holds a part-time teaching credential for the State of California. 

He is a graduate of the California POST Instructor Development Institute having attained Master Instructor status. He has been an Instructor for the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium teaching classes in the Field Training Program.  He is the author and lead facilitator for the California POST certified course “Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide - PLES”.

He is member of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) and has received training in Peer Support, Group Crisis Intervention, Advanced Crisis Intervention, Line of Duty Death, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention, Resilient Leadership and is an Approved Instructor for Individual Crisis Intervention and Peer Support.  John has been an active member of the Georgia Critical Incident Stress Foundation GCISF and responds as part of a CISM response team.

He has completed additional training in suicide prevention and intervention having attended training at the “In Harm’s Way” Suicide Prevention Conference, the Georgia Suicide Prevention Coalition of Stakeholders Conferences, attended the National Police S.U.I.C.I.D.E. Foundation’s course on Police Suicide Awareness PLES, attended Traumas in Law Enforcement training, and is a Certified Instructor for QPR Gatekeeper training through the QPR Institute.  He is a member of American Association of Suicidology, participated on the First Responder Task force and actively promotes and teaches the “Breaking the Silence: Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide” suicide prevention program developed by the task force.

John has obtained his Georgia POST Instructor certification and is an Instructor/ Facilitator / Coordinator in the NAMI Georgia CIT program and a NAMI volunteer.  John is also a NAMI GA State Trainer for the NAMI Homefront program as well as a co-facilitator in the NAMI Homefront Program. 

He has affiliated himself with the Armed Forces Mission as a co-facilitator teaching Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and L3 (Listen, Learn, Lead) Suicide Prevention Training, has worked with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) teaching the Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Program and works with Mental Health America of Georgia co-facilitating Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), Youth Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety, Mental Health First Aid for Service Members -Veterans and Their Families courses.


Chaplain (LTC) Ken Koon, US Army

"Chaplain Ken Koon is on a mission; a personal campaign to restore hope for all people.
Follow the leader!" Brigadier General Peter Madsen

In July of 2010 at the age of 47, Chaplain Kenneth Koon returned to military service. He alone, knew his true motivation – get deployed and die by enemy fire. A series of tragic events had put him in a tailspin of darkness and despair, the culminating event being the life flight of his third son after he was burned over 90% of his arms and half his face. Ken was broken from the crushing thoughts that Chad had been hurt on his watch; he felt responsible. 

It was his oldest son, MaCrae, a 19-year-old US Airman that saved his life when he boldly asked, “Dad are you thinking of suicide?” The moment MaCrae asked the question, Ken was filled with an overwhelming sense of hope. He was not alone; someone knew. A strong desire to overcome replaced the thoughts of darkness. It was a turning point for Ken that renewed the Chaplain and set him on a journey to save others just as he had been saved.

Since 2012 Chaplain Ken has conducted more than 800 successful suicide interventions. For five years as the Officer in Charge of Suicide Intervention he led the team that sustained a ZERO suicide rate in a Brigade covering Soldiers in ten states. Because of the success, he was called to a Command serving Soldiers in 40 states. 

Chaplain Koon is the founder of Armed Forces Mission and the Intervene Challenge. More than 13,000 individuals nationwide have participated in the Challenge gaining the skills to save lives.

Ken serves as the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Chaplain for Peachtree City Police Department and is a Chaplain in the US ARMY Reserves. He was inducted into the University of North Georgia Alumni Hall of Fame in 2018 and honored as the 2016 Trinity Awards Emergency Responder of the Year for his work in suicide intervention.

Ken is a Master Trainer of Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and serves as an instructor for the CIT program for law enforcement personnel in Georgia. He holds a Master of Divinity in Education, and Doctorate in Counseling and was trained in Clinical Pastoral Education at Atlanta Medical and Piedmont Hospital.

He is the author of Listen Learn Lead (Courage to Ask Power to Save). In October 2018 Chaplain Koon joined the staff of Behavioral Health Link (BHL) as the Liaison for Community Initiatives. BHL manages the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GACAL) on behalf of the state of Georgia. 


Rodger Ruge

Rodger Ruge graduated in 1985 from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. Rodger began working as a Police Officer in 1986 for the City of San Rafael holding assignments as a patrol officer and member of the Special Weapons and Response Team (S.W.A.T.). In 1990, Rodger left San Rafael to become a Police Officer for the City of Santa Rosa where he held a primary assignment as a detective. Rodger also worked on the Neighborhood Enforcement Team focusing on street level narcotics, prostitution and gang enforcement in Santa Rosa’s most troubled neighborhoods. Rodger also became a member of the traffic division working as a motor officer and accident investigator. Ultimately Rodger was assigned to the training division completing duties as a training manager supervising thirty instructors and conducting instruction in all California POST perishable skills modalities.

During Rodger’s tenure as a training manager he was certified as an instructor in defensive tactics, firearms, emergency vehicle operations, Taser, tactical communications and dealing with emotionally disturbed persons. Rodger also participated in the prestigious California POST Master Instructor Certification Course (MICC). MICC is a yearlong program based in learner centered instructional system design. One of the many demanding requirements of MICC involves developing and conducting a 24-hour law enforcement related training program. Rodger chose to do his program on wellness, focusing on components of nutrition and fitness as well as a specific program for stress management and reduction of post-traumatic stress injury symptomologies and ideations for first responders and communications personnel.

To increase his developing expertise in wellness, Rodger became certified as a personal trainer for law enforcement through the Cooper Institute and he was also certified as a stress management trainer for law enforcement through Dr. l. John Mason, owner and founder of the Stress Education Center (www.dstress.com).

Rodger retired from the Santa Rosa Police Department in 2005 and launched his business, Ready Force Inc. and Hero Talk. Rodger developed his Pathways To Thrive programs with advice and mentorship from Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and Dr. Kevin Gilmartin and has taught his cutting edge programs to Military and 911 Emergency Services Personnel throughout the country.

Rodger is the author of The Warrior’s Mantra, Barricade Books Inc, June 2005. Rodger’s book focuses o teaching the reader how to use the ancient technique of mantras or positive affirmations to condition the mind to survive critical incidents. Rodger is currently living in Nederland, Colorado,


Erin Runnion

Erin Runnion is the mother of Samantha Runnion and Founding Director of The Joyful Child Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse and abduction through programs that unite and uplift our nation's communities in the protection and wonderment of all children. Launched in 2004, Samantha's PRIDE Neighborhood Child Protection program is the first initiative of The Joyful Child Foundation.

Samantha Runnion was a beautiful, bright, joyful little girl with a passion for art. Samantha's life was cut short as the youngest victim of the "summer of abductions" on July 15, 2002. Samantha was kidnapped from outside of her home in Orange County, California; she was found the next day, over seventy miles away, by a hang-glider in the San Bernardino mountains. The Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona led an impressive collaborative investigation with the FBI, nearby law enforcement agencies, the California Highway Patrol and the media to find Samantha and the man who took her.

Samantha's killer was apprehended just over a week later and has since been convicted and sentenced to death.

Erin is dedicated to ensuring Samantha's tragic death continue to be a catalyst for positive change; motivating concerned citizens to be pro-active in our collective responsibility to protect our nation's children from sexual abuse and abduction.

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