Life and Wilderness Experience

Maintaining competency in the leadership of VOW has been a priority since 1973. Through continued experience in wilderness skills and programming, by maintaining the up to date emergency medical certifications needed for these trips and also training and study in biblical principles, the staff of VOW is truly committed to excellence in Christian backpacking.
Our dedicated staff maintain their employment in various professional careers, including the medical profession, petroleum industry, computer technology, various business, and financial occupations, as well as ministers and teachers. Each guide is  handpicked based on his or her background, experience and training in wilderness activities and adventures, his or her desire to serve and teach others, and conviction to communicate the reality of Jesus Christ and the principles found in the books of the Bible. In addition to their experience in wilderness skills and leadership, this unique group offers a wealth of knowledge in life experiences that can relate to the roles of the business professional, parent, and student.

 
 
Adam Bechtel

Adam Bechtel

Boundary Waters
"I've loved the outdoors my whole life. After my first trip with Voice in 2013, I immediately wanted to become more involved with this wonderful organization. I had an amazing experience hiking from rim to rim in the Grand Canyon while learning to appreciate the awe inspiring relationship between myself, nature, and God. It is refreshing to get away from the chaos of everyday life and experience worship in the peaceful wilderness. These are the reasons why continue to serve as a guide. I now lead the Boundary Waters Canoe trip in Ely, MN. I currently live in Indianapolis, IN where I own and manage a painting company. I'm excited about my engagement to my wonderful fiancé, Haley, and I'm looking forward to our wedding in October 2016. I'm excited to start my life with Haley, and I hope to be able to bring her on Voice trips in the future."
Allison Lanzillotti

Allison Lanzillotti

Colorado Mountains Couples Trip
Amanda Wertz

Amanda Wertz

Father Daughter Adventure
Originally from Texas, she is now an actress living in New York City. Her degree is in Musical Theatre and is passionately pursuing those dreams. When not singing and dancing, she splits her time between working at a gym and taking care of wonderful young children. She has been leading trips with VOW since 2012 and so enjoys the time she gets to spend out on the trail, escaping from the concrete craziness to reconnect with the Lord, the Word, and those along side her for the journey. Is so thankful to have the experiences she's had with VOW and is excited for all to those still to come.
Ana and Tracy Bennett

Ana and Tracy Bennett

Couples Retreat
Brent Phillips

Brent Phillips

Mountain Light Music Festival
My wife, Meredith, and I have been married since 1995 and have two boys Anderson (15) and Keyson (13).
I studied trombone performance at Rice University and graduated in 1991 with a BM and 1993 with a masters. I won a position with the "President's Own" US Marine Band in Washington DC. My most memorable performance was a private church service at Camp David for the POTUS and family following 911.
Upon leaving the Marine Corps I began a teaching position at Baylor, teaching trombone, pedagogy, chamber music. I perform and tour with the Dallas Symphony as well as the Houston Grand Opera. I am principal trombone of the Abilene Philharmonic and the Waco Symphony Orchestra.
I have been participating on VOW trips since I was in the 8th grade. I am an avid fly-fisher and bow hunter. My family and I have climbed several of the Colorado fourteeners while I have climbed two of the largest volcanoes in Mexico and Orizaba. My boys and I race dirt bikes in the Texas Off-Road Racing Nationals (TORN) and enjoy mountain biking in Cameron Park, Waco TX.
Casey McKown

Casey McKown

Men's Fly Fishing
Chet Russell

Chet Russell

Founder and President of VOW
I camped out for the first time when I was approximately 6 years old and placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when I was eight. At that time I lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and have been loving the mountains and committed to sharing God's word with others in His wonderful creation ever since. Over the last 40-plus years, I have had the opportunity to guide many on backpacking/mountaineering trips throughout the Rockies (as well as a variety of other places). I taught History, Political Science, and Entrepreneurship in the public school system for 20 years, owned backpacking/mountaineering stores for 25 years, and designed and patented a number of specialty backpacking products. But the greatest privilege I have had is to share God's Word in His majestic creation and witness the power of the Lord Jesus Christ transform and restore lives.
Darin Unruh

Darin Unruh

Trail Life
Harold Andrade

Harold Andrade

Rocky Mountain Marathon
Jason Cone

Jason Cone

Father Child Adventure
Jason Gray

Jason Gray

Boundary Waters
"My name is Jason Gray and I live in Carmel, Indiana. I work as a nurse for Express Scripts. My wife's name is Sarah and we have 4 children: Alex (16), Libby (8), Matthew (6), and Caroline (3). I work as a guide for VOW because I love the Lord our God and I love being outdoors. This role is the perfect opportunity to share both of those things with others."
Jesse Crawford

Jesse Crawford

Camp Joshua, Eyes On Me, We Students, Rocky Mountain High, Trail Blazers
"My name is Jesse Crawford. I am 31. I was born in East Texas and Grew up with a love for the Outdoors. I didn't really understand what a relationship with Jesus was like until I was 20. After high school and into College I realized that my choices were not getting me anywhere and that I needed help. That was when Christ reached into my life and got a hold of my heart. Life has never been the same since. He has blessed me with the privilege being able to love people and experience his creation at the same time!"
Joe Lanzillotti

Joe Lanzillotti

Colorado Mountains Couples Trip
Serve as Men’s and Marriage Pastor at WoodsEdge Community Church
Married to Alison Lanzillotti for 8 years.
Have two boys Leo age 4 and Chance age 3.
Our family is constantly on the go. We love to play outdoors together to include: nature walks, fishing, going to the Zoo, boating, camping, and just hanging out in the sun.
One of my passions in life is inviting others into the outdoors and sharing in God’s magnificent creation.
Joey Barclay

Joey Barclay

Nazarene
Kalen Houck

Kalen Houck

WoodsEdge Students
I grew up in Texas and have been married to the greatest wife in the world, Lindsey, since 2011. We have two precious children, Mark and Layla, who are quite possibly the cutest kids in the known universe. I am the Associate Student Pastor at WoodsEdge Community Church and I love getting to teach students what it means that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. In my free time I enjoy working out, playing sports of all kinds, hunting, fishing, being in the wilderness, and eating meat – especially bacon.
Marcos Omelanczuk

Marcos Omelanczuk

Adult Challenge 2
Oliver Phillips

Oliver Phillips

Rocky Mountain High
Phillip Butler

Phillip Butler

Adult Challenge 2
Rick Wertz

Rick Wertz

Father Son Adventure, Father Daughter Adventure
Rick Wertz, Founder & President of FFIT, has been married to Linda for 35 years and they have a daughter, 29, and a son 27. Rick earned a B.S. Mechanical Engineering
University of Kansas, 1980 and completed Graduate Course Study - Dimensions of Fathering
Abilene Christian University, 1996
Scott Funderburk

Scott Funderburk

Trail Life Group Trip
Scott Green

Scott Green

Trail Blazers
Seth Cagle

Seth Cagle

Nazarene
Sharon Barclay

Sharon Barclay

Wilderness Skills
"Hey, I’m Sharon. I’m a mom, nurse, teacher, memaw, but most importantly, I am a chosen child of my Father. I’ve been involved in outdoor activities – backpacking, canoeing, climbing, etc. since I was a teenager (you can see from my picture several years have passed). I was active in Scouts, but God kept nudging me to do more and laid it on my heart to be involved with outdoor ministry; Voice of Wilderness was an answer to this calling. It is so fulfilling to take a group out into the mountains and share in the awe and wonder when they experience the carefully crafted world that our Father has created. Psalm 98 talks about praising God for His righteousness, it says the seas will roar, the rivers will clap, and the mountains will sing together for joy. It is so cool that we can join in nature and praise Him in joy."
Tim Cagle

Tim Cagle

Men's Fly Fishing
Todd Bryant

Todd Bryant

Rocky Mountain Marathon
Todd Bryant has been involved with Voice of Wilderness since 2011. He serves as a trip guide, and in the off-season he volunteers on various projects for Voice of Wilderness. Todd is involved with Voice of Wilderness because it gives him the opportunity to be in the midst of God’s creation in the mountains and share how God is working in his life and in the lives of others. He believes being in the wilderness and having quiet time allows for a deeper relationship with God – Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”

On the professional side, since 1994 Todd has been involved in the employee benefits arena. He is Founder and President of SB&K Benefits, LLC, a benefit consulting and brokerage firm. SB&K Benefits helps business owners design, implement, and maintain employee benefit plans and commercial insurance protections. In his spare time, Todd enjoys cycling, running, and other outdoor pursuits. He is a former bicycle racer, professional bike mechanic, and has competed in ultramarathons. Todd is married to Pati Bryant and they are raising two daughters, SaraBeth and Kate.
Tom Wertz

Tom Wertz

Father Son I
Tom Wertz was born and raised in Texas with a passion for sports and adventure. He has been a part of Voice of Wilderness since 2013, and professionally is a design engineer for OneSubsea in Houston.

“I grew up playing sports and witnessed how competition forms a brotherhood between teammates. Early morning workouts, coaches pushing us beyond our limits, and intense competition has forged lasting friendships. My first trip into the wilderness revealed how the freedom from all the distractions, all the noise, and all the barriers in our lives fosters an ideal environment to heal, form, and deepen relationships. I’m thankful to be able to see and be a part of God using the sunrises over mountaintops, physical exhaustion on the trail, and campfire chats under the stars to nurture relationships between Him and His sons and daughters."
Warren Rumpel

Warren Rumpel

Camp Joshua
Born in the mountains of Santa Fe, NM, son of an international artist, Warren has always been interested in people, culture, and travel. Warren degreed at New Mexico Military Institute and New Mexico State University. He served in the military as an officer, worked 16 years in retail, business consulting and mid-level management. Warren has led many mission trips to Honduras, Ecuador, Malawi, Kenya, Mexico and has been highly involved in ministry around his community The Woodlands, Texas. Warren is married to Donna for 24 years, and they have 4 children, one adopted, ranging from college age to elementary. Warren has a passion for young adults to find their identity in Christ, a Christian calling in life and to get plugged into ministry as soon as possible.