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Peace Corps Achievements — October 2020

Achievements of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Across the country — and around the world

By Peter Deekle (Iran 1968–1970)


Angell Kim (far right) served in the northern coast of Colombia as a Peace Corps Volunteer in education and community development from 2016- 2018. Picture courtesy of Peace Corps.



Jerramy Dear-Ruel is a candidate for Montana’s House District 6 in 2020. He is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, detention officer, anf law enforcement park ranger. Jeremy is also the founding executive director of Sparrow’s Nest of Northwest Montana, a nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless high school students.




Angell Kim (2016-2018) was selected as a 2020 Donald M. Payne International Development Fellow and upon receiving her master’s degree, she will serve as a U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID) Foreign Service Officer with a commitment of five years.




Maria Patrizio is a candidate for the Orange County (NY) Family Court judge position in 2020. She has twenty years of service exclusively with the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and is now a supervising attorney. She was a teacher during her Peace Corps service.




Trent Blare (2005-2008) has become the newest researcher and assistant professor at Tropical Research and Education Center (TREC) of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).  In his new role at TREC he will facilitate policy development at the local and state level to promote agriculture sustainability that can also preserve natural resources.


Juan David Ospina (2010-2012), a public health advocate and Army Combat Medic veteran, is running for state representative for Connecticut’s 145th district, representing Stamford.




Madelynn Hirneise (2011-2012) is the CEO of Families Forward. The nonprofit, formed in 1984, helps at-risk and homeless families to regain economic independence and find a stable home for their children, among other services.




Dan Weinberg (1968-1970), a former Montana State Senator, donated a personal collection of art books to the Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana in 2018. The museum hosted a new exhibition of his art books in September 2020, lasting into December 2020. The art books were published by the New York-based Vincent FitzGerald & Co., honoring the lifelong work of his friend Vincent FitzGerald, a fellow RPCV.




Jack Allison (1967-1970) was honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award the Governor of North Carolina can bestow on a civilian. He has recently published a memoir (January 2019) entitled The Warm Heart of Africa, documenting his Peace Corps experience as a health clinic Volunteer and unexpected pop star in the country. During his service he wrote a jingle encouraging the use of peanut butter in children’s diets for protein. The tune became the number one hit song on Malawi’s single radio station for three years.




Merle Parise (2007-2009), a Newcastle (ME) farmer and forestry consultant, is the Republican candidate for Maine House District 90 in 2020.





Anne Tulkin (2003-2005) is the founder and director of Accessible College, providing support for students with physical disabilities and health conditions and their families to ensure a successful transition to and through higher education. In September 2020 Accessible College and The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation have announced their new partnership.




Mark Apel (1982-1986) pictured second from left, has been volunteering in his original Peace Corps assigned country of service. He returned to Morocco in 2017 and 2018 as a Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer with the High Atlas Foundation, which he continues in 2020 virtually.




Peter Rengstorf (2010-2012) became the Senior Customer Success Agent at Meister (Seattle) in August 2020. Prior to his current appointment, he was Customer Success Manager at Raken Inc.



Please share your news with us! Email Peter Deekle.

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