The Hospitality House Board of Directors works to ensure the agency is meeting the needs of the community in a responsible fashion. If you are interested in serving on the board please email Board Development Committee Chair Adele Dunbar
Chair - Watauga County
Pan lives in Valle Crucis and works as a psychiatric nurse and licensed counselor. She holds a MA in theology and a M.Ed. in counseling. She has served on the board for three years and is the past President of Hearts of Hospitality House. As well, Pan is the chair of the national Board of Archives for the Episcopal Church and is very involved at Holy Cross Episcopal Church. She formerly served as director of the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network in Northwest Arkansas, as a member of the Watauga County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, and worked as a drug and alcohol counselor.
Vice Chair - Watauga County
Jacque is a retired educator and school administrator living in Boone. She has over 30 years of experience in various NC school systems. She holds an MPH and has also worked as a health education coordinator. Having served as a volunteer in Hospitality House programs for five years, Jacque joined the board in 2018. She has supported several other High Country nonprofits including F.A.R.M. Café, Habitat for Humanity, and the Humane Society, and she is active in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair - Watauga County
Russell joined the Board in 2019, and he serves on the Executive Committee, as Treasurer, and as Chairman of the Finance Committee. He and his wife Margaret moved to Watauga County full-time in 2016, but they’ve owned a house here since the early 2000s, and their eldest son graduated from App State. Russell continues to practice law part-time as a consultant for Lathrop GPM, a Kansas City-based law firm.
Russell became familiar with Hospitality House as a member of the Missions Committee at First Presbyterian Church-Boone, and Margaret, a Watauga County Master Gardener, volunteers in the Hospitality House gardens. Both Russell and Margaret are ordained Deacons and Elders in the Presbyterian Church USA. They have both been active in missions work at First Presbyterian Church, and they currently serve as Elder and Deacon there. In addition to serving on the Missions Committee, he is Chairman of that church’s Property and Personnel Committee.
Diandra Lynn Patterson
Secretary - Watauga County
Lynn joined the board in 2016. Having worked for Appalachian State University for the past 26 years, currently as the university program specialist in the office of the Dean of Libraries, Lynn oversees 120 student workers and helps students on academic probation find community service placements in the community. She is a member of the university’s Early Intervention Team, secretary for the Black Faculty and Staff Association, works with the Black Student Association, and advises the National Pan Hellenic Council. Residing in the historic Lake Junaluska area, Lynn is an active member of the Boone Mennonite Brethren Church.
Board Development Committee Chair - Watauga County
Adele joined our board in 2018. She and her husband Charles have lived in Watauga County since 1982, raising two daughters that graduated from Watauga High School. Adele retired from a thirty year career in elementary teaching in Mitchell and Caldwell counties. A member of Rumple Memorial Presbyterian, Adele has served as a church elder, mission’s committee member, Women’s Circle member, and moderator of the local Presbyterian Women’s group. In addition to Hospitality House, Adele stays active in the Blowing Rock community, having been a Girl Scout leader, Blowing Rock Women’s Club member, officer of the Blowing Rock School PTO, and Blowing Rock Cares Food Pantry volunteer.
Personnel Committee Chair - Watauga County
Tom is a retired Federal contracting executive and engineering program manager who worked in the field of air traffic management and space exploration. He holds a BS in business administration. Tom lives in Boone and has served on the Hospitality House board since 2016. He is also a member of the Life Villages board of directors.
Facilities Committee Chair - Watauga County
A resident of Boone, Neil is a semi-retired home and building inspector and electrician. He formerly worked as a building code official for Watauga County, the Town of Boone, and the City of Hickory. Neil has served on the Hospitality House board since 2016 and says he has a heart for people who struggle. He has been active in Boone United Methodist Church and as a member of the Watauga County Planning Board.
Hearts of Hospitality House President - Watauga County
Julie has her BSN and MS in Nursing and practiced as a Critical Care Nurse and Nursing Administrator. She has been involved in Parish Ministry and has designed a Neighborhood Apostolate for her parish in Florida from the ground up. Before retiring to Boone full time, Julie had the unique opportunity to visit Boone frequently from 2007 till 2014 and through meeting friends at her church, St. Elizabeth’s, she became involved with Hospitality House and the Hearts of Hospitality House organization. She had decided that in her retirement she wanted to be “all in” with one volunteer activity and Hospitality House fit the bill.
After retiring to Boone in the fall of 2014 and getting her feet on the ground in Hearts she talked to Tina and Todd and offered her help. Since 2015 she has been a “permanent administrative volunteer” in the Development Office a few days a week. One of her ongoing tasks is to assure the documentation of all “gifts-in-kind” and to process thank you notes from administration recognizing the generosity of our donors, helping with administrative tasks and chairing the silent auction as Ways and Means Vice-President of Hearts. She is now the President of Hearts of Hospitality House. Julie is married to Tom Trueman, also very active with Hospitality House, and their 3 children, with their spouses and 2 grandchildren all live in North Carolina.
Barbara attended Florida State University and earned her Institute for Organization Management certification from the US Chamber Institute for Non-Profit Management. She currently works as the Director of Community Development for Mystery Hill and for Intercultural Student Affairs for Appalachian State University. She joined the board in 2019 and has an extensive history of working with local non-profits, organizations, and businesses. Her experience includes but is not limited to: United Way Watauga County, Hunger & Health Coalition, Club 12, Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, Boone Chamber of Commerce, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, Yadkin Valley Heritage Trail, Highlands Union Bank, Watauga Women in Leadership, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, and High Country Host. Barbara has also collaborated with multiple regional non-profit organizations to partner with and benefit corporations to enhance community awareness of non-profits.
Kristin is Assistant Director of General Education at Appalachian State University. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary and a Master’s in Library and Information Studies from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She also worked with Appalachian’s Freshman Seminar Program. Kristin joined the board in 2019, after having volunteered with Hospitality House for a few years as a dinner server and baker. Other experience includes working as a volunteer coordinator for the Watauga County Democratic Party and with Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
Pete and his wife Yvonne moved to the area in 2016. Shortly thereafter he began volunteering in our Community Kitchen. Born and raised in a small town just north of New York City, Pete joined the Navy in 1969 and continued as either a contractor or as a civilian Navy employee until retirement. In 2015, Pete began volunteering with Low Country Food Bank in Charleston, SC, cooking Meals on Wheels for 250 recipients and assembling an average of 500-700 after-school meals per day. Additionally, he has been co-lead in six Cooking Matters classes and assisted the Asheville YMCA in getting their Cooking Matters classes started. He and Yvonne are members of St. Luke’s Episcopal and consider everyone at Hospitality House part of their extended High Country family.
Mary Anne Caplinger
Mary Ann joined the board in 2018. She resides in North Wilkesboro and is an artist, teacher, and author, specializing in fiber art and textiles. An alumna of Appalachian State University, she earned a MA in art education. Mary Ann has supported Hospitality House for several years in various roles. She has also been active in St. Paul’s Assistance Ministry, St. Paul’s Vestry, Wilkes Art Gallery, Wilkes County Quilters, and the Historic Downtown North Wilkesboro Partnership.
Sgt. Casey Miller
A member of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Casey became very familiar with Hospitality House through many hours spent patrolling and working to improve and strengthen relationships in the community surrounding our facility. He holds a BA in Business Management from Appalachian State, as well as various law enforcement certifications, such as drug recognition expert and standardized field sobriety testing instructor. Casey has also been involved with Middle Fork Baptist Church, the Masonic Lodge, and RISE of the High Country.
Nanci Newton worked with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence for over forty years, retiring in 2017 from the University of South Florida as Director of the Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention. A native of Tampa, FL, she directed rape crisis centers and battered women’s programs in Wisconsin and Georgia; co-founded the Child Advocacy Center in Athens, GA; and developed the Stop Violence Against Elders program for the City of Jacksonville, FL and the Women’s Center of Jacksonville.
She co-wrote and served as Executive Producer of the award-winning interactive CD-ROM Stop Violence Against Elders: A Comprehensive Training for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Professionals. She has extensive experience in training law enforcement, prosecutors, medical mental health professionals, and advocates as well as lecturing at universities and state and national conferences. Ms. Newton has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and is ABD for a doctorate in Human Services.
Wayne Harris Sr.
Frank Ruggiero is the director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Grandfather Mountain nature park in Linville, N.C.
Before Grandfather Mountain, Ruggiero served as editor of The Mountain Times newspaper in Boone, N.C., where he covered local and regional news, arts and entertainment. Prior to his editorship, Ruggiero served as a reporter for the Watauga Democrat newspaper. During both tenures, he wrote extensively about Hospitality House and its many life-changing initiatives. While he enjoyed telling its story, he’s happier now to play a role in it.
When not handling Grandfather Mountain matters, Ruggiero teaches public relations writing at Appalachian State University, while keeping that journalistic itch at bay through freelance writing. He has lived in Boone since 1999, enjoying and embracing its natural surroundings, welcoming community and progressive culture. His favorite pastimes include writing website bios and spending time with wife Meg, son Milo and wonder-dogs Lola and Barney.
Mark and his bride, Heather Jo, moved to Boone back in 2013 from the Savannah Georgia area after his completion of a Thru-Hike on the Appalachian Trail. Mark is a realtor with Boone Realty. Growing up, Mark would volunteer for many non-profits in his home town and he has continued to seek out ways to volunteer and give back to the community that he calls home.
Mark participates with the Home Delivered Meals program that the Project on Aging offers to our community. He also is a bowling coach with Special Olympics. Mark recently came off from serving on the Blowing Rock Chamber Board where he was on the Membership Committee and he currently sits on the Community Outreach Committee for the High Country Association of Realtors. Mark has a true passion for helping his fellow human.
Stephanie joined the Hospitality House board in 2020. Stephanie has lived in the High Country all of her life. She has worked in the hospitality industry in Boone for nearly 20 years and holds a CHA. Stephanie was previously a Girl Scout leader for 8 years, Awana leader, and was the secretary at her church for several years. In addition to serving on the board, Stephanie volunteers with the Red Cross.
Advisory Council, Founder of Hearts of Hospitality House, Board Chair Emeritus
Kay Borkowski and her husband Frank moved to Boone in the fall of 1993 when Frank was named Chancellor at Appalachian State University. Prior to moving to Boone, Kay had been active with Metropolitan Ministries of Tampa, Florida, serving those in need in Tampa. Within a few short months of living in Boone, Kay was on the board of directors for Hospitality House when the LAMPLighters auxiliary of Metropolitan Ministries came to mind. Within a month, Kay gathered forty women at the chancellor’s house to discuss the possibility of forming a similar group to aid Hospitality House. Kay, an accomplished flutist and retired professor, has the longest tenure of any former Hospitality House board member - having served for twenty consecutive years. It is safe to say that Hospitality House would not be where we are today were it not for her vision and influence.
Dr. Christina May, PhD, MPA, MDiv
After retiring from a 25-year career as a Naval Officer, Chris took up residence in the High Country and has been very active with nonprofit organizations, serving as founding vice president of F.A.R.M. Café and on the Hospitality House board since 2013. She also served as moderator of High Country United Church and on the national board of One World Everybody Eats. Chris holds a Ph.D. in Human Services/Non-Profit Management, a MPA, and a M.Div. in Interfaith Theology. She works as an internship coordinator and adjunct professor at Appalachian State.
Dr. David Kline, MD, FACS
Retired, distinguished neurosurgeon, Dr. David G. Kline, first served on the board of directors for Hospitality House beginning in 2014. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts and M.D., Dr. Kline became at Professor of Surgery at Louisiana Start University in 1975, ascending to Department Head in 1976 and Boyd Professor in 1995. His career included Founder, Secretary, and President of Louisiana, Neurosurgery Society; Founder, Secretary, and President of the Sunderland International Society, Treasurer, Vice President and President of the Senior Society of Neurosurgery, Secretary, then President of Southern Neurosurgery Society; Secretary, Chair and Advisory Council of American Board of Neurologic, member of American Board of Medical Specialties and Neurosurgery residency review committee. He and his wife Nell (Helen) split their time between Blowing Rock, NC and Covington, LA, doing a variety of volunteer work jobs connected to Rotary and churches in both locations. Between they have 5 children and 9 grandchildren.