Freedom: God Given, Vet Assured
America’s Freedom Lodge Board Members
America’s Freedom Lodge grew out of founder Mark Armstrong’s overwhelming respect for the men and women who have served in the U.S. Military; the defenders of freedom, here at home and around the world. America’s Freedom Lodge gives us all a way to show appreciation to our U.S. Military service men and women – past, present, and future. While he has stepped away from the organization for health reasons, as well as to spend more time with family, you may still see him around camp and Lodge events from time to time.
Chairman of the Board
Rob was born in Knox county, Ohio, in 1967. His father and three uncles served in the the armed forces. Rob’s nephew is a Navy Corpsman and was attached to a Marine logistic group out of Camp Lejeune, who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and is still serving and is stationed in Rhode Island. Rob has served his local community for twenty eight years as a volunteer firefighter, with five years as Assistant Chief, and retired in March 2013 and has got involved with his local Cub Scout Pack 4321 as a Den Leader along with his son . He also is involved with the Pack committee and attends the local round-table. He is also a member of Licking Lodge #291 F&M , is a member of QDMA, NRA, as well as NWTF and Ohio Bowhunters and Clay Lick Bowhunters. Rob is a member of The Utica Church of Christ, where he serves as a Decon. Rob also has four nephews who are Eagle Scouts, with one of them doing his project for America’s Freedom Lodge. Rob loves the outdoors and enjoys spending time with his children and family in the woods. Rob was excited to accept the challenge when asked to be part of America’s Freedom Lodge saying… “If it weren’t for the men and women of our armed forces, I believe many of the things we take for granted would not be possible.” Rob looks forward to giving back to our veterans as this journey unfolds. He and his wife Lisa have two young children and they all enjoy being a part of this project.
Bryan Garno, President was born in 1970 and has lived in Licking county his whole life. He is a 1989 graduate of Utica HS and C-Tec. While he was unable to serve in the armed services himself he is a proud nephew of his Uncle Samuel Franklin Ryan who passed away in 1968 in Vietnam as well as several other family members who served. Bryan is an avid Outdoors-man boasting deer in the Ohio big buck club as well as several other wall hangers. He also enjoys fishing, trapping, and taking others, including children, into the outdoors. He prefers helping others find enjoyment in his passion rather than doing it alone. Bryan has been a staff member since 2011.
Rebekah Garno, Secretary was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio in 1980. She is a Veteran of the United States Army where she specialized in communications operation and maintenance. Rebekah also has several family members who has served in the military including her father and fellow AFL staff member Don Grigsby, brother Steven, Aunt and Uncle, cousins, Grandfathers and Great Grandfathers. Rebekah is also very active with her children, Emily, William and Kylie and husband Bryan Garno. She enjoys coaching softball, helping with the local 4-H Club, and volunteering with her children’s schools. Rebakah has owned her own childcare business, Munchkin Mountain, for 15 years. Above all Rebekah is proud to be a Staff member of AFL and more than happy to step in however asked or needed to support her fellow servicemen and women that have given so much of themselves.
Richard (Dick) Gorney, Corresponding Secretary, was born and raised in upstate New York, where he received his Catholic education and life-long love of hunting, fishing and God’s creation. He is a 1963 graduate of LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, with a degree in business administration. Upon graduation, he received a commission in the Marine Corps and served three years of active duty at several duty stations. Dick and his wife, Loretta (Rett), have been married for 46 years and have 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. Dick and his wife are blessed to live among the hills and valleys of east-central Ohio. Dick’s career was in information systems management where he developed, managed, and implemented computer systems. During his career, he worked at Carrier Corporation, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Ernst & Young (formerly Ernst Ernst, Ernst and Whinney). He retired in 1996 as a partner with Ernst & Young. Since retirement, he has enjoyed working with Rett on their retirement property, participating in ministries at their church, trying his hand at farming, and experiencing the deer and turkey hunting seasons with his two sons and friends. Dick first became aware of America’s Freedom Lodge when he met Mark Armstrong, basically to share their experiences about developing their properties for wildlife. Dick joined the Lodge as a board member in 2007. He describes his experience with the Lodge as the opportunity to combine love of country, love of God’s creation, and love of neighbor, in a mission larger than one’s self. Dick and Rett are communications at The Church of the Nativity in Utica, OH, where he is a member of the choir, lector, Finance Director, and leads the parish’s annual bishop’s appeal.
Christy Rodeniser, Treasurer, was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1971. Christy has volunteered with America’s Freedom Lodge since 2009 at hunts and events. She was introduced to the Lodge when her husband, Kevin, became involved as a volunteer and board member. Christy has been employed by the Ohio CSEA Directors’ Association in Columbus, Ohio for the past 10 years as their Program Manager. Along with the Treasurer duties, Christy also maintains and updates America’s Freedom Lodge website. Kevin and Christy have been married for 20 years and have 2 children, Owen and Olivia.
Renee McDaniel, Accountant, has been a Certified Public Accountant for nearly 20 years. She has worked a variety of accounting positions including public accounting, private for-profit corporations, and not-for-profit organizations. She loves accounting and enjoys helping others to understand financial statements or situations. She also values education and has earned a master’s degree in business administration. During her career, she has managed the accounting department, as well as worked independently. She is a hands-on manager who is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and work hard. She enjoys serving her community in leadership rolls. She currently serves on the East Knox School Board and has just been elected to her 3rd term. She has served on the Knox Energy Cooperative Board since its inception in 1998, and is currently the board President. Renee has been the treasurer for America’s Freedom Lodge since the beginning and was instrumental in obtaining the 501 (c) 3 status. Renee has been married to her high school sweetheart, Don, since May 1987. They relocated to Knox County in 1996 to raise their family in the beautiful Apple Valley community.
Sergeant in Arms
Craig Pargeon, Trustee Born and raised in Utica,Ohio. Works as a CAD Tech with the Fishel Co. in Columbus, Ohio. His father served in the Air Force for four years during the Korean conflict. An Uncle served in the Navy at the same time, and his Father in Law was a Veteran of WW II (Army) Besides the many things he does for AFL, he is also on the Cemetery Board for the Village of Utica, Deacon and Trustee at the Utica Church of Christ and a Trustee with the Utica Historical Society. He and his Wife also Volunteer with other organizations when they are able. He has been married to his wife Tina for 29 years, and have two children Emily and Daniel and four grandchildren. His son and nephew are Eagle Scouts. He enjoys being outdoors doing many activities, with AFL being just one of those. He feels our Veterans don’t always get all the recognition and respect they deserve, and by helping with AFL is just a small way of giving back. Craig’s whole family enjoys being a part of America’s Freedom Lodge.
Food Coordinator & Historian
First of all, thank you for reading my profile and being involved in the AFL. My name is Lisa, and I am married to Rob. We are the proud parents of our two children, who love our family’s involvement with this organization; it’s definitely a family thing for us. I was born and raised in our small town of Utica by two great, faithful parents. My father served in the Air Force and was a hard worker. For as long as I can remember, my mother has volunteered her time with a little bit of everything. I suppose that is why I help out as much as I can with our church, The Girl Scouts and the Cub Scouts, PTO, and the historical museum.
With AFL I coordinate the meals that we serve to our Veterans during the hunts and events that we hold. I ask for donations either in food or monetary form and then use those resources accordingly to help prepare the meals. That way everyone can contribute in whatever way they can, either preparing food themselves or donating money or time to our Veterans. It’s amazing how it always comes together and is always a great meal! I think the special ingredients of caring and compassion are also why these meals are such a success. People may gain a few pounds from eating at our events, but I like to believe it’s because they are filled with our loving support instead of due to a full belly (smile).
As a last note, I also do the photography and keep the scrapbooks up to date in an effort to preseve the history of this group. My roots in this organization go deep, and I look forward to being involved in the continued growth of America’s Freedom Lodge.