SCAA Board of Directors



Ms. Mary Tappe is a two time survivor of sudden cardiac arrest.  She is founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Colorado AED Access for All organization (CAAFA) and founder and past chair of the Iowa AED Access for All organization (IAAA). Mary’s first “save” was by an AED by co-workers and her second “save” was by her ICD while alone in a hotel room.

In addition to being on the American Heart Association’s Speaker Bureau; Mary has served on the AHA 911 / Emergency Public Awareness Committee, the AHA Survivor’s Public Awareness Committee and on the multi-state ECC Community Strategies Council. Mary is certified with the American Heart Association for CPR/AED.

Ms. Tappe is an IT Leader specializing in Quality Assurance & Test and Governance, with an emphasis on strategic process improvement. She has proven success in bridging the gap between technology and business with the ability to break down complex strategies and inspire internal and external parties to align themselves for success. Mary has the unique ability to do deep dives into the details while at the same time focusing on the people and helping them grow and thrive in their positions. Mary has contagious enthusiasm, with leadership qualities that are strategic, honest and pragmatic.  

Mary lives with her husband Joseph in Castle Rock, CO and has two adult children, Jim and Erika. You can contact Ms. Tappe here.

Vice Chair

Fischer Josh

Mr. Joshua Fischer is Vice President and Director of Operations for RWF Enterprises, Inc. where he oversees a staff of 60 employees providing ambulance services and EMS education across western MN and the Dakotas.  He is a paramedic and American Heart Association instructor in the BLS, ACLS and PALS disciplines.  He serves as training center faculty for the MNSCU Multi-Regional Training Center and AHA Regional Faculty in the BLS discipline. He is a current member of the MN Mission: Lifeline Task Force and EMS Advisory Committee.  Josh is also active with the MN Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor's Network, an affiliate of the SCAA. Mr. Fischer is a charter member and co-leader of the Otter Tail County/Western MN Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. With the staffing and support of several local EMS organizations, their chapter provides CPR and AED training to over 5000 people each year through their 'How To Save A Life™' program.

Mr. Fischer has past professional experience in the public and private sectors, including work in the audio/visual, IT and public safety industries. In his spare time he is a musician and songwriter, having performed individually and with various groups both nationally and internationally.  He resides in Morris,MN with Tanya, his wife of 11 years and their two children, Kaedan and Kendal.



Ms. Michele Schirmers is an emergency department registered nurse and paramedic who has been involved with cardiac arrest survivors since 2003.   Ms Schirmers was the coordinator of a new program called Heart Safe Communities, a program of Allina Medical Transportation. She attended the NCED national summit in 2003 with the “original 42” cardiac arrest survivors  including survivors Rodney Koser, Gene Johnson and Kelly Mealman who are now part of the nucleus of the MN Affiliate of SCAA, called the MN SCA Survivors Network.  Ms Schirmers has been Secretary of the Affiliate since its inception in 2003. She provides the infrastructure for this organization which now has 501(c)3 status and a board with 8 members. There are over 150 SCA survivors and 200 ambassadors as part of this Affiliate. The MN SCA Survivors network has a yearly summit; the last was Oct 2013 and had over 35 SCA survivors in attendance.

In her current role as Secretary, Michele organizes the Affiliate meetings and has been instrumental in the Affiliate’s successful fundraising activities. This group has successfully created a supportive environment for SCA survivors to get the word out about CPR, AED use and surviving SCA. Michele is currently working as an Emergency Department nurse and was a paramedic for 15 years. She is an instructor for Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Basic Life Support, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. 


Laurie Ann

Ms. Laurieann Milligan is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Med-Care Ambulance in Western Maine.  Ms. Milligan is the Western Maine Affiliate leader for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. She has served as an affiliate leader and consultant in developing the “Pulse of Your Community” program. She coordinated efforts to bring the Maine’s Heartsafe Community status to the River Valley Region. Ms. Milligan is also an affiliate member with Parent Heart Watch. She has helped successfully implement hundreds of PAD programs through her involvement with Maine’s grant funded AED deployment program through Tri-County EMS and Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute.  Ms. Milligan’s AED work has extended internationally to Nicaragua where she has deployed AED’s, taught local physicians and healthcare workers in CPR and AED use, and provided awareness on SCA to over 600 people.  

Ms. Milligan is the sole proprietor of The Next Step Education and Business Consulting Company, which specializes in education and business solution programs offering continuing education for managers, supervisors, and career minded professionals. These programs focus on ensuring healthy and safe working environments for employees as well as identifying and eliminating liabilities.

Ms. Milligan is a selectman for the Town of Peru.  She is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Past President.  Additionally, she is a Maine Chapter Leader for Risk Watch Safe Communities focusing on injury prevention for all. 


Sharon At Toastmasters Spring 2014 Cropped

Sharon M. Bates - Computer Programmer – For 30 years Sharon Bates was a computer programmer for midrange computers.  Retiring at the end of 2014 has allowed Sharon to dedicate 100% of her time to the nonprofit work of the Anthony Bates Foundation.

Sharon founded the Anthony Bates Foundation ( Fifteen (15) years ago this cardiac screening education program and grass roots organization was formed by Sharon after the death of her only child, Anthony, at age 20.  Since the inception of ABF, Sharon has organized 70 cardiac screening events across Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Washington.  Over half of those events were offered FREE to the public.  All told, 9,700+ young people had echocardiograms (sonograms) and well over half received EKG (electrical tests) tests to detect undiagnosed cardiac diseases.  More than 12% of the young people screened (1,251) had abnormal results and needed further cardiac evaluation.  Of those, 206 young people were at risk of having HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), the condition that took Anthony’s young life. 

The Anthony Bates Foundation has created a training program that offers training to communities nationwide that are interested in building a “Cardiac Screening Program.”  At the time of Anthony’s death, there were only two groups offering cardiac screenings. As of 2014, there are well over 450 organized non-profits, sports and medical programs providing cardiac screenings for youth.  ABF and Sharon Bates have created the only copyrighted Training Program for non-medical groups to provide cardiac screenings.  Sharon has trained over 50 family community organizations and medical professions in 29 states and four countries.  With the help of the ABF training program these national groups have screened over 325,000 youth and the numbers keep growing. Estimates for 2015 conclude that the active ABF trained groups could top over 400,000 youth screened.


Robyn G. Nietert , a native of Huntington, New York currently residing in Bethesda, MD, holds a B.A. from George Washington University (GWU) and a J.D. from the National Law Center at GWU. For over 25 years she was a member of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Brown, Nietert and Kaufman, which specialized in telecommunications law, focusing on innovative wireless technologies. She was also a founder and principal of American Capital Partners Company, which specialized in mergers and acquisitions of high speed broadband facilities. During her career, Ms Nietert has represented pioneering telecommunications industries before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies, and has participated in crafting federal legislation and agency rules. She is a member of Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, where she directs mission outreach projects.  She has organized several non-profit education foundations and served on their boards of directors, including the Walt Whitman High School Education Foundation. In 2007, she founded the Women’s Microfinance Initiative (WMI), which provides village-level financial services to rural women in East Africa, and serves as its president. You may visit the website of the amazing organization founded by Robyn of which she is president.


Terry Moehnke is an Automation Solutions Architect for Principal in Des Moines, Iowa. Terry has worked in the field of Software Quality Assurance specializing in Test Automation for over 20 years. He has been an active member of Iowa AED Access For All since the beginning, and is the current chairman of the board for the organization. He designed and built their web site and continues to maintain it.

Originally from California, Terry moved to Iowa in 2003. In 2004 he was present when Mary Tappe, his friend and supervisor, suffered a cardiac arrest in a business meeting. The company they were working for had an AED on site, and Mary was saved. He got involved in Iowa AED Access For All when Mary founded it. 


Carol Moehnke was a Medical Technologist for 32 years, before retiring in 2012. Carol has been an active member of Iowa AED Access For All since it was founded in 2005, and is the current Secretary for the organization. She helps maintain the SCAA web site.

In 1997 Carol suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while working at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. She was having lunch when it happened, and her co-workers performed CPR until a Defibrillator could be brought down from the 6th floor to save her. She was diagnosed with long QT syndrome, and an ICD was implanted. Carol got involved in an ICD support group, where she met Mary Tappe, who founded Iowa AED Access For All. Iowa AED Access For All eventually took on running the support group, and Carol is active in keeping it going to this day.

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