Edith Bishel Center       https://edithbishelcenter.org

Board of Directors

Dr. Mark Michael - President

Mark bio 2

Dr. Michael founded Mid-Columbia Eyecare Center in Pasco in 1982. He especially values the patient relationships he built in over 36 years of serving the Tri-Cities community. Dr. Michael was a Diplomat of the American Board of Optometry and has won several professional awards over his career.

A few of these awards included serving as President of Optometric Physicians of Washington; serving as a medical consultant and teacher throughout the U.S. and Dr. Michael in 1998 was selected as Doctor of the Year for Washington State.

In retirement, Dr. Michael serves as Board President of the Edith Bishel Center. He has served on the EBC board since the fall of 2016. His desire is to make EBC a resource center for patients and doctors within Washington State, in treating and helping all people who are blind or visually compromised.

Dr. Michael is married with children and has lived and worked in the Tri-Cities for over 38 years. He is originally from Kansas, earned his undergraduate degrees at the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO and his Doctor of Optometry degree at Pacific University in Oregon. In his free time, he loves concerts, hiking, RV exploring, exercise and adventure activities. 

 

Connie Wilkinson - Vice President 

Connie bio

Connie was born and raised in Pasco and after graduating from Pasco High School in 1980, she began her optical career as an apprentice optician for a local independent optical shop. She became a Washington state licensed optician in 1984, and has worked in a variety of optical businesses, optometry, ophthalmology, independent and retail opticals. Connie currently is a vision center manager in Kennewick for a national retailer.

Being in the optical industry for most of her adult life, she has formed a passion for helping people from all walks of life with their vision needs. Whether helping a child with their very first pair of glasses, an adult adapt to "mid-life" with the first pair of progressive lenses, or a senior coping with low vision due to macular degeneration or post cataract surgery, and helping them to feel good and confident with their frame choices.

Connie and her husband have two beautiful daughters.

Connie served on the board of directors and the local chapter chairperson for the Optician's Association of Washington for 10 years and has served on the board of directors for the Edith Bishel Center since 2015. 

 

Steve Watt - Treasurer

Steve bio

Steve has been serving as Treasurer on the board of directors for the Edith Bishel Center since 1997. He graduated in 1977 from Washington State University Pullman with a BA in Business Administration specializing in accounting. Steve has over 40 years’ experience as a Certified Public Accountant and has been self-employed for the past 20 years. He and his wife enjoy spending time with their daughter and granddaughter and eagerly await the second grandchild who is on the way.

Steve is very committed to community service. In addition to his role with the Edith Bishel Center, he has held offices in Kennewick Lions Club (currently Treasurer of both Kennewick Lions Club and Kennewick Lions Foundation), held offices in Zone and Multiple District Lions International, and is the past Treasurer for Friends of Sacajawea State Park. Because of his outstanding service, Steve was awarded the Lions Clubs International Foundation Melvin Jones Fellowship award. The Melvin Jones Fellowship (MJF) Award is the highest recognition from the Lions Clubs International Foundation being given to members who have rendered outstanding community services. Steve also takes immense pride in his boy scout experience earning the Eagle Scout award. He also attended both National Scouts Jamboree at Farragut Idaho as well as International Jamboree in Japan where he rode out a typhoon in a pup tent at the base of Mount Fuji.  

 

Kris Call - Secretary

Kris bio

Kris grew up in a small town in Northern Wisconsin where everyone knew everyone. She was born with albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Growing up in a small town provided her with accommodations throughout her 12 years of education.  Kris went on to get her degree in Vocational Rehabilitation. Most of her jobs after college have been in assisting people with disabilities to maximize their independence in vocational, residential and personal environments.

Kris is now retired and has a strong belief in giving back to our community.  She is a volunteer with the Kennewick Police Dept., serves on the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors and has been serving on the Edith Bishel Center board of directors since 2015. Kris is a strong voice of experience and enjoys sharing the knowledge she has developed through her years of working. Kris says; “The highlights of my life are simple.  It is friends I have made along the way who I now call "family". I do enjoy my home, my dogs, baking, traveling, shopping and just about anything, and of course, I am a huge Green Bay Packer fan.  However, I must confess, my sport I love is.....Professional Bull Riding.”

 

Kathleen Derting - Past President

Kathleen bio

 

 

Joy Kelley - Board Member

Joy has lived around the country including Dallas and Lewisville Texas before moving to back to Spokane in 1988 to be with her children and grandchildren. Joy has been serving on the Edith Bishel Center board since 2016. She also serves as the vice president for the United Blind of Tri-Cities and works closely with the Washington Counsel for the Blind.

Joy brings a unique perspective to the EBC board as she grew up with a brother who was completely blind and later in life, she too became visually impaired. She has a passion for helping to address the concerns of clients and family members who are experiencing vision loss.

Joy has a great love for animals and enjoys caring for her four dogs, a parrot that she raised from ten days old and her growing family of Sugar Gliders.  

 

Bill Hoage - Board Member

Bill bio

Bill was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa and experienced limited vision throughout his childhood and early adult years. In 1971, he had cataract surgery which provided him with significant vision improvement. In 2001, Bill went totally blind within a couple of months. He worked in a plywood mill debarking logs and after 20 years, he quit and went onto disability because of his vision loss. After not working for 5 years, Bill went back to work in the fast food industry and worked there for 10 years.

After graduating high school, he became involved in Community Social Clubs. He served as president with the Jaycees, the Lions Club, and a Horse Club. Bill is currently retired and involved in different community endeavors including serving on the Edith Bishel Center's board, the Lion's Club, and volunteer with Project Warm Up. Bill enjoys serving on the Edith Bishel Board because being an individual who is blind, he can bring perspective to the needs of this population and can help direct the agency to stay focused on its mission.

Bill says that some personal highlights from his life include meeting John F. Kennedy and going to Alaska and fishing for halibut. But, he says that his greatest highlight is his two wonderful children and grandchildren.

Bill served on the Edith Bishel Board from 2002 to 2014 and again since 2017.  

 

John Hail - Board Member

John Bio

John graduated for the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Architecture and went on to be a licensed Architect in Alaska and California as well as a Certified Energy Manager. He is currently retied and training to be a lay counselor. John has been serving on the Edith Bishel Center board since 2017, he also serves with the Hanford Bible Club and Good Samaritan Ministries.   

John and his wife enjoy spending time with their family and grandchildren, home improvements, and interior remodeling. John also enjoys hiking and outdoor activities.  

 

Amanda Myhre - Board Member

Amanda Bio

Amanda has been in the financial industry for over 13 years and currently works as an Assistant Branch Manager for Numerica Credit Union where she is responsible for mentoring for onboarding new staff for teller, new account specialists, and lenders.  

Amanda is very passionate about the community was honored to be selected as volunteer of the year in 2010 with Numerica. She served on the Edith Bishel Center Board from 2013 – 2014 and currently since 2017. Amanda also serves as a mentor with SCORE, a non-profit that assists in educating and mentoring businesses for free. She has also been involved with the Boys & Girls Club, 2nd Harvest, Tri-City Food Bank, MS Campaign, Make a Wish Foundation, My Friend’s Place and many more.

Amanda greatly values her time with her husband, keeping up with her 9 siblings, supporting her favorite football teams and attending Tri-City American hockey games. 

 

Erick Vazquez - Board Member

 Eric Bio

Eric was born in Mexica and moved to the U.S. in 2000. After high school, he got a job working with irrigation maintenance. Several years later, Erick was in a work-related accident which caused him to lose most of his sight. After losing his sight, Erick attended the Orientation and Training Center for the Blind in Seattle. He learned many skills from the center then he moved back to the Tri-Cities and attended Columbia Basin College.

Eric is an active member of the United Blind of Tri-Cities where he serves as the second vice-president. He is also a part of the accessibility committee at Columbia Basin College. Eric has been serving on the Edith Bishel Center board since 2017 and volunteers much of his time helping with translation and communication for the center. He has a passion to help others learn to adapt to their vision loss just as those who helped him were so instrumental.

Eric enjoys spending time with his family and taking long walks with his guide dog.  

 

Stephanie Pruitt - Board Member

Stephanie Bio

Stephanie has been a leader in the Member Contact Center with GESA Credit Union for over 5 years. She assists with training and coaching teammates to lead them on the path of success. Stephanie has been recognized many times for her outstanding work, perseverance with reaching her goals, and commitment to her team. She volunteers her free time for Junior Achievement by teaching the importance of financial understanding throughout the Tri-Cities elementary schools.

Nearly 15 years ago, her second child was diagnosed with an eye disorder called Nystagmus, which affects 1 in 1,000 people. Typically this does not develop until later in life, but he was confirmed with it as an infant. After seeking out numerous physicians, going to vision specialists, and performing copious amounts testing she was told there was nothing that could be done to prevent her baby from eventually going completely blind. Medical prognosis was difficult to accept, but she fought through all the financial hardships to give her son the best of care. The unwavering commitment she has in her second son has caused an untiring desire to make a mark to contribute as a compassionate experienced voice for others. With this determination and tenacity, Stephanie has eagerly joined the team at Edith Bishel Center. Passionate about fighting for a cause, Stephanie is enthusiastic to see where this part of her journey will take her.

Stephanie is a mother of three children and is committed to her fiancé and extended family. She spends many evenings in basketball courts with her daughter, many evenings in the football field with her older son, and many road trips on sporting events for her middle child all year-round. Stephanie cherishes these valuable moments with her family and friends.

Stephanie has been serving on the Edith Bishel Center board since 2018.

 

Viviana Engel - Board Member

Vivanna Bio

Viviana is devoted to her work with Gesa Credit Union where opportunities have been provided by taking part in Public Relations. She has been involved in the community by completing Poverty Simulations designated for adults to different organizations. Financial Reality Fair throughout the high schools, educating the young community on the importance of money and budgeting for expenses. She currently volunteers with Junior Achievement; is a member of Parent-Teacher Association in her boys elementary and also in her daughter’s middle school. Viviana arrived in the USA at the age of 8, having migrant parents, and a lack of knowledge inspired her to make a difference in the community. She focuses on reaching out to those who lack the education needed, resources, and where there is a language barrier.

Viviana loves spending quality time with family by camping, traveling to new places, and attending many sporting events. She treasures the moments of small talk with her 7-year-old, spends hours in the baseball fields for practice and games for her10-year-old active son and enjoys seeing her 12 year old daughter reading for endless hours.

 

Viviana has been serving on the Edith Bishel Board since 2018.