Meet the Board


Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div.; pgudaitis@nydis.org

Mr. Gudaitis was elected Chair of New York VOAD in May 2017. He has over 30 years of expertise in disaster chaplaincy/spiritual care, emergency medical services, interfaith coalition building, long-term recovery, and religious literacy and competency in crisis settings. Currently, he serves as Executive Director and CEO of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) and President of the National Disaster Interfaith Network (NDIN). Mr. Gudaitis is a member of the Faith-based Caucus of the International Association of Emergency Managers; Guest Lecturer and Advisory Board member for the Metropolitan College of New York, Emergency and Disaster Management Program; Contributing Fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California; and Adjunct Professor at Hartford Seminary. Mr. Gudaitis resides in New York City.

In 2012, he was appointed to the New York State Respond Commission by Governor Andrew Cuomo. And, in 2015 he was appointed to the New York City Charitable Organization & House of Worship Recovery Task Force by New York City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito. He is the Co-Chair of the NYC Faith Sector Community Preparedness Program Advisory Board of the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and on the Board of Directors of New York City VOAD.


Vice Chair

*Mr. Rich HajerisRichard.Hajeris@dhses.ny.gov

Mr. Hajeris serves as the State Relations Disaster Liaison (New York State) for the American Red Cross. In this capacity, Rich builds relationships across New York State agencies to support disaster preparedness and response activities. He has extensive leadership experience working to support multiple Red Cross regions across the state, in roles including Interim Chapter Executive, Sr. Disaster Program Manager, and Assistant Director. He currently serves on the state’s Disaster Preparedness Commission and Senior Advisory Council, as well as representing the Red Cross as a co-lead for State Mass Care. Mr. Hajeris works out of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), Office of Emergency Management. He is working to complete a Master of Public Policy from Marist College, and holds a B.A. from SUNY Cortland. Mr. Hajeris resides in Albany, NY.



*Mr. Zack HodgsonZachary.Hodgson@USE.SalvationArmy.org

Mr. Hodgson is Director of Emergency Services for The Salvation Army Greater New York Division and has been a member of the Emergency Services staff since 2005, following four years in the United States Navy.  In his current role, he oversees emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for The Salvation Army throughout Long Island, New York City, and the Lower Hudson Valley.  As such, Zack played a key role in the response and recovery efforts of The Salvation Army for Hurricane Sandy over the last four years. As co-chair of the NYCVOAD Board of Directors since 2014, Zack has also provided leadership to that network during Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts in NYC. Zack has been deployed by The Salvation Army for emergency response outside of the greater New York area including international deployment to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, and domestic deployments including to Oklahoma City following the 2013 tornadoes. Mr. Hodgson resides in West Orange, NJ.


Board Member

Ms. Deb Palumbosdpalumbos@pandionalliance.com 

Ms. Palumbos is Program Director, RSVP at Lifespan of Greater Rochester. Her involvement in emergency preparedness began in 2004, when she entered National Service in AmeriCorps and VISTA. Deb has maintained an active presence in VOADs, volunteer management and community preparedness ever since. She founded the Rochester Regional VOAD in 2006 and is also a core member of Western Region Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Coalition. She lives in Rochester, NY.


Board Member

*Ms. Gail Farnhamweisprin@ptd.net

Ms. Farnham is a member of the National Response Team, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Since appointment to this role in 2007, Ms. Farnham has responded to over two-dozen natural and man-made disasters, including flooding in Binghamton, Schoharie, Prattsville, Breakabeen, and Stony Point, NY. Her leadership in PDA includes responsibilities as Lead Ministry on Church Damage and Chair of the PDA Annual Meeting Planning Team. Prior to her time at PDA, she served as an American Red Cross disaster responder as well as a volunteer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While a resident of Pennsylvania, she attended local Pennsylvania VOAD meetings as a member of the NEPAVOAD.  She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Buffalo State College, a SUNY campus, and is a retired public school and college educator and administrator. Ms. Farnham resides in Ithaca, NY.


Board Member

Ms. Mallory Brown; mbrown@spinglobal.co

Ms. Mallory Brown is a Disaster Preparedness Specialist with SPIN Global, a DC-based emergency management consulting firm. She previously served as the Executive Director of the American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley from February 2014 – April 2020. Her disaster response experience started 8 years ago as a Disaster Action Team volunteer with the American Red Cross of Central NY. Since then, she has responded to over 300 home fires and other local disasters, and has completed 12 deployments to national disasters including Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and the 2019 Dayton mass shooting. Ms. Brown also serves as co-chair of Herkimer Oneida Organizations Active in Disaster (HOOAD). Ms. Brown holds a B.A. in Political Science and Gender & Women’s Studies from Le Moyne College, and a M.A. in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Arizona State University. Ms. Brown is a native of Syracuse, NY, and currently resides in Brookfield, NY, south of Utica.


Board Member

*Ms. Wilhelmina Murray-Daviswmurraydavis@ccdisaster.org

Ms. Murray-Davis is the Program Director for the Catholic Charities Disaster Response and Recovery Office. In this role, Wilhelmina leads a team providing disaster case management (DCM) services to the survivors of the June 2013 flood along the Mohawk region.  The office has clients in Fulton, Herkimer and Montgomery counties.  Before joining Catholic Charities in 2012, Wilhelmina worked for the Family and Children Services of the Capital Region, under contract with the NYS Disaster Case Management Program, as the Logistic and Administration Coordinator.  The program provided DCM services to survivors of Hurricane Irene & Tropical Storm Lee. Passionate about disaster preparedness and its possibilities, Wilhelmina strives to engage communities to adopt disaster preparedness and strong community involvement.  She believes that in times of resource and economic constraints, the pooling of efforts and resources across the whole community compensates for budgetary pressures, not only for government agencies but also for many private and nonprofit sector organizations to provide more services. Ms. Murray-Davis resides in Granville, NY.


Indicates a member appointed in July or August 2017. 


Past Board Members

Nathan Boor, Vice-Chair, October 2016 to February 2018.


Rev. Joseph Auslander, Board Member, July 2017 to February 2019

Rev. Joseph Auslander serves as the Conference Disaster Response Coordinator for the Upper New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMCOR). Rev. Auslander has served as a pastor for about twenty years, and is currently at Averill Park UMC, east of Albany. Rev. Auslander is trained as a volunteer firefighter and EMT, now retired. In his spare time he likes to fish. He lives in West Sand Lake, NY outside of Albany.


*Ms. Jan Tyson, Board Member, July 2017 to December 2018

Ms. Tyson is Office Administrator and Disaster Response Coordinator for the Presbytery of Western New York, Synod of the Northeast, Presbyterian Church USA. She is a founding member of Western New York VOAD (WNYVOAD) and currently serves as its Secretary. Her disaster response experience began in 2008 when she attended a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) workshop in Syracuse.  She has responded to flash flooding in Gowanda and Silver Creek, NY with PDA. In 2014, Jan, accompanied by past-NYVOAD President Joann Hale, traveled to Indianapolis to participate in the National VOAD conference. Before coming to the Presbytery of Western New York, Ms. Tyson worked for over a decade in a CPA firm. Ms. Tyson is a Level I Certified Church Administrator, Certified Professional Secretary, and Notary Public. She holds an A.A.S. from Alfred State College in Executive Secretarial Science. Ms. Tyson resides in Kenmore, north of Buffalo, NY.