Ministry team members and their BIOS

What makes 12 (or more) men give up their 3 weekends in a row during the King Salmon season to take all these men on trips like this?  It certainly isn't for relaxation, because the guy’s work very hard to make these trips such a success.  It also isn't to go fishing since most times the team doesn't get to do much fishing. To be a ministry partner with Copper River Float Ministry you must have a goal to see God’s word challenge and change men to what God wants them to be. These men are very committed to men’s ministry. These guys will work tirelessly to make this a trip that the men will remember for a long time, and hopefully the trip will encouraged their faith and challenge them to live for their Savior.

       Dave & Michelle Lemaire

The Founder, and organizer of Copper River Float Ministry. This is a nice way to say "the ring leader of the circus."  Dave is an avid white water rafter, he owns 5 of the rafts used by the ministry. Dave is also very passionate about men's ministries.  He is the the camp chef, who has the reputation of cooking (with the team's help) some outstanding meals.  He is also "on the move" most of the time the trip is going on.  If you want to talk to Dave you will have to run along with him.  In spite of this, Dave's heart is for men to hear God's Word and allow it to work in their lives.  Everything Dave does to make these trip a success is for the men to meet with God.  Dave and his wife Michelle are in the process of selling out their business in Alaska to move into full-time christian service.  Their ministry will include expanding CRFM in the summer and during the winter months volunteer construction work on Churches, children homes, and church camps throughout America.
Michelle doesn't get to go on the trips, but she is the unsung hero to the ministry.  Michelle does all the shopping and chopping for the trips.  Each week she travels 400 miles round trip to Anchorage for supplies for the next week.  She spends 2 days in the kitchen chopping, precooking, sealing and freezing the food items that the team cooks out on the river.  The meal time on the river would not be as easy without her.  Michelle and other ladies bring lunch to Gulkana River Ranch on Saturday.
Pastor Jason Severs

Jason is the Pastor of Old Paths Baptist in Glennallen. He has became a very valuable asset to our team. Jason helps with shuttling the rafts to the launch site on the river, and many logistics before any of the passengers arrive for the float trip. Pastor Jason is always ready to help where ever he is needed in the work load at the camp, or as a camp pastor if needed.


               Jared Palmer
ared is the business manager for Alaska Bible College and KCAM radio in Glennallen. 
 He is always in the middle of the work, kitchen area, camping area, cleaning fish, or where ever he is needed and also a great encourager for the team.

Jared wrote: "
Maybe it shines, maybe it rains. Maybe the river runs slow, maybe it's fast. Maybe we catch fish, maybe we don't.  We cannot command the skies or river, or the fish it contains, but one element of the Copper River Float Ministry remains a constant: we always do business with God, allowing Him to conform our hearts and minds a bit (or a lot) closer to the purpose He intended for us. 

As a guide for the men's ministry, my heart is impressed with the men I get to spend time with.  They come from various walks of life, yet we engage in conversations that lead us to encounter God's wisdom and enjoy God's creation.  At times, we share stories of life's journeys and, at other times, we openly share our hurts or spiritual failures. Through these conversations we are fulfilling what our Father has directed us, as men, to accomplish in each other: to encourage each other toward righteousness".


Rick Bendadict
Rick has been with CRFM since may of 2012. Rick is a great oarsman and a great team member.
We enjoy Rick's work efforts and his insights in decussions on the river.


              Dale  Varra
ale is a former criminal investigator from Colorado who moved to Glennallen, Alaska in 2008.  Dale has been serving the Lord in various capacities since 1982 and joined the ministry team to continue fellowship and witnessing.  He and his father have guided fishing and float trips over the past several years on the Gulkana and is excited to extend his passion of the river and Christ to others.  Dale currently works security on the Trans Alaska Pipeline and owns some of the equipment which is used as needed.   Dale is a certified ETT for the State of Alaska.


                  Bill Lieno 
KA "Mr. Bill" currently serves as the Human Resources Coordinator providing member care to the bush missionaries of SEND North.  Bill has a passion for fly fishing for trout, a long history of canoeing while fishing for Pennsylvania's smallmouth bass and has an abiding affection for tying and fishing the soft hackled wet fly.  He enjoys listening to and talking with folks to encourage them in their life journey with Jesus.  Bill has a servant’s heart that takes him to where ever his help is needed.  He sleeps well after trying to keep up with the “young pups” on the team.  Bill is a great counselor and an extremely valuable person on the team.

             Bob Shotz
ob is retired and currently the “old man” of the team.  He snowbirds down south during the winter  months and enjoys the summer back in Alaska.  He has been rafting Alaskan rivers for the past 20 years and always looks forward to being part of the ministry rafting crew wherever he is needed.

Bob drives over 200 miles every weekend to row for the men’s trips and is always ready to help where he is needed;  Bob is “the wise owl” for the group and is seen sharing his insights often.


        Marty Weatherup
Marty has been on float trips either as a passenger or as a team member since the ministry began. Marty joined the ministry after Dave Lemaire invited him to a day class in raft piloting and has been hooked ever since.  He is a Sergeant with the Alaska Department of Corrections and works a week on/week off schedule.  Marty is part of a three man team that lead the men's ministry at First Baptist Church of Palmer. 

Steve Cox
Steve has been with the ministry for a couple years. He has been away from this ministry for knee surgery, and is excited to return and work with the team again.  Steve is a member of Hillside Baptist Church in Anchorage.  Steve's desire to work with the team started a few years ago when he made his first trip with CRFM, and has wanted to help any way he can ever since. Steve (and a partner) own a raft that has been used before in the ministry.

                 Allen Blizzard  
Allen joined team CRFM in 2010.  Allen Says:

"My wife Pam and I have lived in Alaska for 17 years.  Originally from the east coast, we now make our home in Eagle River with 3 great kids, Hannah 15, Gretchen 12 and Lukas 10.  I am employed at Alaska Spine Institute as a Physical Therapist.  We have attended Faith Christian Community Church in Anchorage for the last  11 years and both of us work with the high school age program.  In addition to being involved with the Copper River Float ministry, I also assist in taking a group of high schoolers to Mexico every summer to build houses with Amor Ministries.  Pam and I have very busy schedules and being associated with groups such as Copper River ministries helps us to stay focused on what is really important as well as being able to be around some positive role models and influences for our family".


            Brad McGough
Brad came as a passenger last year on a trip and asked "can I be part of this ministry also?"  Brad also has his own raft and is now part of our team.  Brad has also helped with representing CRFM at churches when they announce their trips and helps at the sign up table.



                  Lou Ulrich      
ou works with Send International Mission in maintenance and guest housing dept.  Lou joined with CRFM last year and is hoping to work with us for years to come.   


                      Pat Minder
Pat is a member of Farm Loop Christian Church in Palmer. Pat is also with the Alaska Men's Ministry. CRFM really fit in his vision forworking in men's ministry.

  Pat Graco 
Pat is a member of First Baptist Church of Palmer. Their church had a Christian Sportsman's Fellowship chapter and asked Dave to help with a CSF trip. That was the beginning of CRFM. So you could say that Christian Sportsman's Fellowship was quite instrumental in helping CRFM get started. Pat was a passenger on the very first float trip with CRFM. Pat came to the rafting school with Marty Weatherup, and has helped CRFM for a few years since. 

                Troy Doldge
Troy is an Operator for the State highway dept, and a volunteer EMT and has been with CRFM since it's first trip and has worked most of the years since.  Troy is another white water enthusiast who is the most knowledgeable of white water on the team.  No trip would be the same without him.  Troy and his familys' heart are to serve in the orphanages in Uganda.  Some of Troy’s equipment is used for the trips. Troy and Dave are in charge of the cooking area.  Troy will be limited in how much he can work with the ministry in the future. He and his leaving this summer to work for 6 months in the orphanages in Uganda.  Troy will be missed by the team, however if there is ever a good way to lose a team member this is it.  His knowledge of white water is extensive, and he is a huge part of the "kitchen team". We will miss Troy, but say "go serve God".  If you would like to see the ministry that Troy and his family are doing checkout this website.   

              Chris Erickson
Chris is Dave and Michelle's grandson (he gets his good looks from his grandma). Chris is the point man for setting up the camp. He knows how all the tents go together and how to situate them on the sandbar. During the week he also sets up all the tents so that they dry out and sweeps out the sand so that they are ready for next week. Chris is a very hard working and responsible young man that is a joy to work with.

               Dave Donk 
Dave is a member of Grandview Baptist Church in Anchorage.  He is a guidance counselor with the Anchorage School District and has been rafting Alaska’s rivers since 1994.  He was invited to float with CRFM this year by Bob Shotz one of the current team members.  Dave found this year’s trip to be lots of work but also lots of fun and very uplifting.  Dave looks forward to being used by God through CRFM.