We Are ND https://weare.nd.edu en Mon, 22 Oct 2018 12:00:00 -0400 Intelligence Chief Preps Presidents, Helps Protect the U.S. Alum sees national security career as a public service Mon, 22 Oct 2018 12:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/intelligence-chief-preps-presidents-helps-protect-the-u-s/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/intelligence-chief-preps-presidents-helps-protect-the-u-s/ <p>In the more than two decades she’s spent working for the CIA, <strong>Amy McAuliffe ’90</strong> has navigated her fair share of demanding situations. </p> <p>But whether it’s rising in the middle of the night to help prepare the President’s Daily Brief, assessing threats from Al-Qaeda or Iran, or coaxing time-crunched policymakers to think strategically, McAuliffe, who now serves as chair of the National Intelligence Council, is up for the challenge.</p> <p>“You don’t quite know what any day is going to be,” she says. “I often have a list of 25 things that I’m going to do and I get none of them done, because all of a sudden we have a big tasking and we have to think about Iran in a way that we haven’t before, or something comes up on China. But it’s very interesting, because in any one day, I could be dealing with 10 really substantive issues.”</p> <p>McAuliffe has led the NIC since 2016. The council is perhaps best known for producing the National Intelligence Estimate—the gold standard of U.S. national security assessments.</p> <p>“Our mission is strategic analysis,” McAuliffe says. “So it’s to write products, develop new insights, and give briefings that help policymakers think about the future. On staff I have the intelligence community’s experts on all regions in the world and all functional topics, including weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and cybersecurity.”</p> <p>The NIC, McAuliffe says, prides itself on providing decision-makers with clear-eyed and thorough analysis that will serve them well—even if they’d rather not hear it.</p> <p>“We really check our political views at the door,” she says. “I have no political views at work. I come in in an unbiased way and look at what’s before me. And some of the best analysis I’ve been involved in has made very senior people very angry, because it’s not what they want to hear. You’re oftentimes going in with a very difficult message.”</p> <p>With the Obama administration, she says, that involved sizing up the Arab Spring and predicting decades of chaos and autocratic crackdowns in the Middle East, rather than the hoped-for flourishing of democracy. With the Trump administration, it’s meant communicating negative assessments from other countries that the United States is withdrawing a bit from its role in the world.</p> <p>Speaking truth to power has long been a part of McAuliffe’s career. She worked on the President’s Daily Brief from 2001 to 2003, briefing General Peter Pace, Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, and she later served as director of the President’s Daily Brief.</p> <p>“It’s really the idea of making sure that the president and his most senior national security advisors have a perspective on what’s going on in the world that can help drive their daily decisions and discussions,” McAuliffe says. “So what I’ve found is that even when we’re telling an administration news that they don’t want to hear, which is fairly frequently, they trust what we say because it’s unbiased, and they use it to set the agenda for the day in terms of the debates and decisions.”</p> <p>McAuliffe, who began her CIA career as an analyst working on European security issues, has also held leadership positions in the agency’s weapons group and worked as director of an office tasked with analyzing the Middle East and North Africa. Her time in the weapons group, when she saw leaders grappling with lessons learned from the intelligence that led up to the Iraq War, still informs her.</p> <p>“It’s the idea of, if there’s dissenting views, we express them in products,” she says. “We really explore how the mainline judgement could be wrong, or what events or drivers could change it. So now for example in every National Intelligence Estimate, I require a box: ‘What if we’re wrong?’ So I think I learned how to do the craft of analysis, withstand really heavy political and other scrutiny, and learned lessons that I could apply going forward.”</p> <p>Now, as chair of the NIC, McAuliffe uses her expertise to help busy people who make policy think strategically.</p> <p>“The world is such a complicated place, and if you talk to policymakers, they’ll tell you they’ve had a hard time seeing beyond their inbox in any one day of the week,” she says. “Our role really is to project out, in many cases three, five, seven years. We’re trying to get people out of their inbox, think long-term, and most importantly, think in a multidisciplinary and interconnected way.”</p> <p>For McAuliffe, her latest role, like her career, has been a deeply satisfying way to serve.</p> <p>“I always knew that I wanted to give back by working for the government, either as as policymaker, or in the intelligence community,” she says. “For people I work with, and the broader cadre of national security officials who serve, really this is our civic duty and a public service. I don’t have a lot of spare time to do volunteer work, and I used to feel badly about it, but then I realized that I view my job as my way of giving back to the country. It’s exciting, and it’s very rewarding.”</p> Sharing Her Love of Reading Peace Corps Volunteer Served Students in Rural Jamaica Mon, 15 Oct 2018 10:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/sharing-her-love-of-reading/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/sharing-her-love-of-reading/ <p>When Peace Corps volunteer <strong>Cymone Wilson ’08</strong> landed in Jamaica in the spring of 2016, she was ready to embrace her 28-month assignment to help primary school students struggling with reading. The only problem? The library at her school was closed.</p> <p>“The books were being eaten by bugs—I didn’t know there were actual bookworms until I saw that,” says Wilson, who was working in Jamaica as a literacy advisor for grades 1-6. “Or they were way above my students’ reading level. We had Shakespeare and Moby Dick—classics, but the kids cannot relate.”</p> <p>The horseshoe-shaped library, which had been created by knocking down the walls and combining three adjacent classrooms, was in disrepair, and there were no librarians to staff it—until Wilson came along.</p> <p>“Every school needs a library, and kids need to know that reading is important—and that it is fun, and it is cool,” says Wilson, a lifelong lover of reading who left a customer service job to join the Peace Corps at age 30.</p> <p>She worked with volunteers in Bath, a rural community of around 2,000 residents on the eastern side of the island, to clean up the space. Friends and family in the U.S. donated more than 500 books that were age and reading level appropriate for the primary school level.</p> <p>“A lot of my students don’t have books at home, so they were so excited to come to the library. I had to teach them how to properly put books away on the shelf, and the concept of returning them to me,” Wilson says. “And then I discovered who my awesome readers were, the ones flying through chapter books, and I gave them my own personal stash of books I loved when I was a kid. And when they’d say, ‘Oh Miss, I loved this book,’ my heart would be exploding, so happy that they loved reading.”</p> <p>Wilson took on librarian duties in addition to her literacy advisor job. During the school day, she worked one-on-one with students reading below grade level. After school, she staffed the library and earned a reputation for being involved in all the students’ activities, whether it was spelling bee club, a track meet, or a dance competition.</p> <p>“It became a joke at school: whatever the kids were into, I was into. They’d say, ‘There’s Miss Wilson again,’ at whatever the activity that day was,” says Wilson, who wrapped up her service in July and is now living in Chicago. “I wore a lot of hats, and I was invested. I have been given a lot, and have had so many opportunities. I want to give back, and it is just the right thing to do for another human being.”</p> <p>Wilson, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica, was part of the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to choose their service locations. Given this opportunity, she knew that she wanted to serve in Jamaica. She had spent time there throughout her life, visiting family in the capital city, Kingston, and in resort areas, but wanted to see more of the country.<br>  <br> “I had a feeling not all of Jamaica is like that, and wanted to go find out for myself,” Wilson says. “I got to learn about where my family comes from and my cultural background, while at the same time sharing what I love with these students. It was a perfect fit.”</p> <p>Wilson could speak conversational Patois, Jamaica’s native language, and says that her familiarity with the culture was an asset, but her two and a half years in Bath were not without challenges. The self-proclaimed city girl adjusted to life in a rural community—no AC despite temperatures soaring to 90 degrees, hanging laundry to dry on a line, spotty internet connection. She says her school was more fortunate than others, because they had a copier, a few computers, and white boards.</p> <p>“I didn’t realize what a big difference there is between the beautiful Sandals commercials we see on TV and how 95 percent of the country lives,” she says. “It is rough—it is not an easy place to be. I realized how resilient Jamaicans are, how hard working they are. Some of my students were literally hiking down a mountainside to get to school, and others had to take taxis. Getting to school was not the easiest, but rain or shine, they were coming.”</p> <p>The students are what Wilson misses most since returning to Chicago a few months ago. She keeps in touch with them and her fellow teachers through social media, and has plans to ship more books to the library later in the year.</p> <p>And though her Peace Corps service is over, Wilson’s commitment to education remains strong. She now works for Elevate K-12, an education technology company with a mission of making online learning accessible to students, regardless of socioeconomic status. She remains enthusiastic about the Peace Corps, and wants to help recruit more participants, especially minorities.</p> <p>“It is a great thing,” she says. “The Peace Corps is often referred to as ‘the hardest job you’ll ever love.’”</p> <p><em>To learn more about the Peace Corps, visit <a href="https://www.peacecorps.gov/">peacecorps.gov</a>. To talk with Cymone directly with questions about a Peace Corps service experience, email <a href="mailto:cymonewlsn129@gmail.com">cymonewlsn129@gmail.com</a>.</em><br>  </p> Fighting Poverty And Curbing Corruption She helps world's poorest countries strengthen their economies Mon, 08 Oct 2018 11:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/fighting-poverty-and-curbing-corruption/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/fighting-poverty-and-curbing-corruption/ <p>Each time she prepares to visit a new country for her poverty-fighting work as a senior financial sector specialist with the World Bank, <strong>Cari Votava ’85 J.D.</strong> has a ritual: she reads a book on the country’s history. </p> <p>It’s a small step that allows her to appreciate the country’s traditions and culture before she dives into the hard work of helping it strengthen its financial system to better support the private sector and lift people out of poverty while reducing corruption, money laundering, and terrorist financing.</p> <p>“Every country is unique,” Votava says. “There can be similarities, but to work with government officials, you have to gain their trust. To do this, you have to be very sensitive to the unique characteristics of each country and avoid the tendency to make generalizations. It helps to be culturally sensitive, to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of each country and its people, and to demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of their history.”</p> <p>This approach has served her well. Over the past two decades, Votava has visited more than 65 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and Somalia. She has contributed to the the international standards for fighting money laundering and terrorist financing so countries can enjoy greater stability and grow their economies to improve living standards. And she has worked with local officials across the world to help implement these standards on the ground.</p> <p>“My specific focus is those countries classified as fragile, conflict and violence-affected states, most of which are the world’s poorest countries,” she says. “And that’s by choice. I find this group of countries the most challenging, but also, the most interesting and most rewarding. Every small improvement has a greater impact than in other countries.”</p> <p>Votava recently returned from Afghanistan, where she helped officials as they began analyzing data for a money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment—a process the country began in December 2017. She has done similar work in Azerbaijan, Botswana, Ghana, and Sierra Leone, and is part of efforts underway in Liberia and Gambia. These countries are among the 100 or so that have chosen to use a risk assessment tool developed by the Work Bank.</p> <p>Such work requires extensive travel over a number of years, but Votava sees indications that it continues to pay off. Within the past year, she heard from officials in Sierra Leone, with whom she had been working for a decade, that the country recorded its first conviction for money laundering. For one of the world’s poorest countries, this was a huge legal milestone—one that required adopting new laws and providing training to help officials handle the technical complexities of such a case.</p> <p>Earlier this year, Votava <a href="https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/29809/9781464812712.pdf">published a book</a> aimed at helping poor but resource-rich countries to improve transparency and accountability in the licensing process in mining sectors. The idea, she says, is to help ensure mining is done in a way that creates jobs rather than padding a corrupt official’s pockets, laundering illicit gains, or funneling cash into terrorist activities. As a result of her work, she’s been invited to moderate a panel at a conference of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Senegal later this month. </p> <p>Votava discovered her professional passion while attending Notre Dame Law School. As a second-year student participating in the University’s London Law Program, she enjoyed a course on international institutions. One day, the professor began class by describing the World Bank’s work to fight poverty, and she knew she had found her calling.</p> <p>She had an opportunity to develop crucial expertise early in her career, after the fall of the Iron Curtain. The deputy finance minister of the Czech Republic asked her to help rewrite the country’s financial laws during the transition from a centrally planned to a free market economy, and Votava, whose grandparents were Czech immigrants to the United States, gladly accepted. The experience helped her to build skills she uses today and taught her to appreciate just how differently financial and legal systems worked across the world. </p> <p>That realization continues to inform Votava’s approach to each new country. Each visit is a chance to learn new things, analyze new problems, and work with others to solve it. </p> <p>“You really have to stretch your brain in a lot of different directions,” she says. “I very much enjoy my work. It’s always challenging, and I love having so many friends and colleagues in so many different countries.”</p> Serving His Country Taylor's work has covered national security, peacebuilding Mon, 01 Oct 2018 10:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/serving-his-country/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/serving-his-country/ <p>Since graduating from Notre Dame, <strong>Frank Taylor ’70, ’74 M.A.</strong> has served the U.S. government for almost 50 years and traveled to more than 65 countries.</p> <p>He helped the United States craft its counterterrorism policy following 9/11, and has worked to improve security in the the private sector. </p> <p>And now, he is giving back to his alma mater as an educator who works with an emerging generation of peacebuilders. </p> <p>The common thread for his long and distinguished career is what first drew him to Notre Dame: a desire to serve his country.</p> <p>“This notion of how you continue to serve the nation in different roles at various times during a career,” he says, “has been something that has been very important to me.”</p> <p>Taylor arrived on campus in the fall of 1966 to study government and international relations and joined the Air Force ROTC program. As an undergraduate, he navigated the challenges of life as a black student while pursuing an education that would shape his future path.</p> <p>“When I look back on my undergraduate years at Notre Dame, this was not a campus that had seen many people of color,” he says. “It was not what I would consider a welcoming place for people of color. This was during a time of change in our country, so there were demonstrations at football games and lots of disruptive activity. But what was most important here was the quality education, which shaped who I became as an adult. It made me appreciate even more the value of coming here despite what the social circumstances might have been.”</p> <p>That education, he says, came both in the classroom and through his ROTC training.</p> <p>“I met Professor Peter Walshe, who introduced me to Africa and African area studies,” he recalls. “That became a life-long interest of mine, and led to my getting my first job in the Air Force as an analyst for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia in the counterintelligence division. The Air Force recognized that background and skill, which got me into the counterintelligence division. The rest is history.</p> <p>“I think ROTC was part of my formative leadership experience. For me it was leadership and exposure to people and things I hadn’t done before beyond campus. It really helped me to grow into the leader I think I’ve become.”</p> <p>After returning to Notre Dame to earn his Master’s degree in 1974, Taylor began his long career of government service in the Acquisition and Analysis Division of the Office of Special Investigations’ Directorate of Counterintelligence, eventually moving up the ladder in counterintelligence in the Air Force. For his final active duty assignment, he worked as Commanding General for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.</p> <p>In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated him to be the Coordinator for Counterterrorism for the Department of State. In this role, he was responsible for implementing U.S. counterterrorism policy overseas.</p> <p>“9/11 defined that position,” Taylor says. “I led the State Department task force responding to 9/11 for three months. I traveled to Moscow to get the Russians to help us as we were going into Afghanistan. I actually did the briefing to the North Atlantic Council that led to it invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an attack on one NATO nation is an attack on all nations. I visited kings and queens across the world to take our counterterrorism message to them. We needed their support and we needed them to be in the fight. It was really an interesting and exciting time.”</p> <p>In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell asked Taylor to move into a new role as the Head of Diplomatic Security.</p> <p>“I was thinking about how to protect the State Department,” he says. “It’s the law enforcement and security arm of the State Department, doing all protection for foreign visitors that come to the United States. It protects the ambassadors overseas. We have embassies and consulates in 250 locations around the world, so coordinating the security standards and execution across all those entities was my job.”</p> <p>In 2005, Taylor joined General Electric as Vice President and Chief Security Officer, moving for the first time from government work into the private sector. He oversaw GE’s global security operations and crisis management process, trying to convince the government that collaboration between the private and public sectors would help the overall security of the nation.</p> <p>“My big concern in transitioning was that the government saw the private sector as an afterthought and not as an institution that could really inform government policy and help the government understand what the issues were that were really threatening our country,” Taylor says. “Eighty-five percent of all the critical infrastructure in our country is in private hands, not in the government's hands. When you really start to think about economic security and even national security, it all come through the private sector.”</p> <p>Following his stint at GE, Taylor served as under secretary for intelligence and analysis for the Department of Homeland Security from 2014 to 2016. In 2017, he joined <a href="https://news.nd.edu/news/former-homeland-security-official-francis-taylor-joins-keough-school-of-global-affairs/">Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs</a> as an Executive Fellow of the school’s <a href="https://keough.nd.edu/research-policy-and-practice/global-policy-initiative/">Global Policy Initiative</a>.</p> <p>The role, he says, allows him to continue giving back, this time by drawing on his peacebuilding and security experience.</p> <p>“We’re trying to add some practical experiences of challenges to help future practitioners understand the perspectives that people bring to the table about issues,” he says. “We talk about how you can influence policy to make the world better and to make conditions for humans better. You can only do that if you listen and understand more broadly the varying ways in which people come at the issue.”</p> <p>Taylor’s role with Keough is the latest expression of his desire to make a difference—a passion that has guided him throughout his career. </p> <p>“My interest has always been in serving the nation,” he says. “I’ve told people that every day in government I went home at the end of the day feeling like I’d done something to serve this nation. There’s no feeling that is stronger than to have that kind of feeling every day.”</p> Surgeon Serves Needy Patients He gives back on medical mission trips Mon, 24 Sep 2018 10:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/surgeon-serves-needy-patients/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/surgeon-serves-needy-patients/ <p>Each year, for the past decade, <strong>Jim Kilway ’90 </strong>has taken a week away from his work as a general surgeon in Vancouver, Washington, traveled to the Philippines, and performed life-changing surgeries for patients who can’t afford to pay for them.</p> <p>The annual trips, during which he might perform up to approximately 30 procedures, have become a deeply meaningful way to give back.</p> <p>“I’m able to make a difference,” Kilways says. “It’s extremely rewarding to know that I’ve helped a person.”</p> <p>So far, Kilway has taken trips with <a href="https://hhmm.org/">Helping Hands Medical Missions</a>, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people through medical care. In addition to the Philippines, the organization offers missions to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and countries in Central and West Africa.</p> <p>During each trip, Kilway tackles a variety of surgeries. He often removes cysts and performs hernia repairs and thyroid surgeries. Procedures like these, he says, have a direct impact on patients’ quality of life.</p> <p>“Some patients have enlarged thyroids, and they may have swallowing or breathing issues,” he says. “That can really affect the body and its metabolism and energy, and removing a large portion of the thyroid gland can improve their lives. The same goes with hernias and pain, especially if they’re a laborer and need to work. To be able to change their experience on this planet is a good thing.”</p> <p>Kilway says his interest in medical mission trips developed over time. As an undergraduate at Notre Dame, he drew inspiration from the life of the late Dr. Thomas A. Dooley, who attended the University in the 1940s before working as a doctor in underserved areas of Southeast Asia.</p> <p>“I always felt like I should go to places where I could make a difference, places that could use some help—medical missions, that sort of thing,” Kilway says. “When you get that seed planted, you’re kind of sitting there waiting for an opportunity.”</p> <p>That opportunity came about a decade ago, shortly after his father, a fellow surgeon who has since passed away, retired. Kilway knew a medical mission trip might provide a tangible way for the two to give back—and it did. Father and son made several trips together, and Kilway has continued going back to the Philippines ever since.</p> <p>“We had spoken many times about doing this, and when he retired, he had time for it,” Kilway says. “I felt that it was a good area in which our relationship could grow, and a unique experience to have. My dad had just retired from active practice, and I wanted to do something with him before he got too far away from his practice that he wouldn’t feel comfortable. So that was the impetus.”</p> <p>The trips may continue to be a family tradition: in the coming years, Kilway says, he’d like to take his wife and the couple’s sons, ages 15 and 13, as well. </p> <p>For Kilway, these trips help to stoke his passion for making a difference—the same passion that inspired him to become a doctor in the first place.</p> <p>“When I’m there, I don’t have to worry so much about paperwork—we can focus on the patients and providing medical care,” he says. “You’re just dealing with the patient and don’t have to deal with the extraneous concerns or pressures. You just focus on what you do. It is awe-inspiring to see 50 to 70 people waiting to see a doctor, and to know what a difference you can make for them.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about how Helping Hands Medical Missions serves needy patients around the world, please visit <a href="https://hhmm.org/">hhmm.org</a>.</em></p> Police Officer Is Wired to Help People Quick-thinking officer helps protect Los Angeles Mon, 17 Sep 2018 10:15:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/police-officer-is-wired-to-help-people/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/police-officer-is-wired-to-help-people/ <p><strong>Joey Getherall ’01</strong> knew what he was getting into. His father and sister were detectives. Two brothers-in-law and his godfather were also in law enforcement. It’s the Getherall family business.</p> <p>And yet, when he joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 2005, Getherall couldn’t have fully prepared for what would happen a little over a year later, at 3:45 a.m. near the corner of 12th and Alvarado.</p> <p>Serving in an anti-gang violence unit, Getherall and another officer were wearing plain clothes and driving in an unmarked car. As they passed by four men, one said something to the undercover officers, took out a gun, and shot at them. </p> <p>Getherall and his partner fired back, and the men went off in different directions. The officers called for backup. Two assailants were apprehended, arrested, and charged with attempted murder, and one wide receiver-turned-police officer was given a lesson in the dangers of his new profession. </p> <p>“As a young police officer, I don’t think you’re ever told that people are going to try to kill you,” Getherall says. The shooters had thought Getherall and his fellow officer were members of a rival gang. “It's sad that we live in a society where they shoot at people just because you're wearing the wrong color or you're in the wrong neighborhood.”</p> <p>After a standout career as a receiver and punt returner at Notre Dame, Getherall briefly pursued the NFL. When that didn’t work out, he was offered opportunities to remain in football by entering the coaching ranks. But, to his surprise, he found himself drawn to follow in his father’s footsteps, knowing it would give him the flexibility to devote a lot of time to his family and the opportunity to serve others.</p> <p>“That's the biggest thing, to help people in need . . . helping out in any way, knowing that in a second's notice, that we have to risk our lives for people,” he says.</p> <p>Getherall has faced his share of life-threatening situations. One early morning in January 2007, he was one of five officers who responded to a call reporting an assault involving a knife in an apartment building. One of the other officers subdued the man, took the knife away, handcuffed him, and took him into the hallway. But the suspect had a gun in his back waistband and was able to pull it out with the handcuffs still on and start shooting the officer. A scuffle ensued, and Getherall rushed into the hallway toward the sound of the gunfire.</p> <p>“When I ran out there, he was just saying, ‘He's shooting me! He's shooting!’ and it's one of those things where you have to be able to process things at warp speed, and you’ve got to make that quick decision on what you have to do because time is of the essence.”</p> <p>Getherall and two other officers fired at the assailant, who later succumbed to his injuries. Their fellow officer had been shot multiple times but survived thanks to his colleagues’ quick action.</p> <p>The same traits that made Getherall one of the best punt returners in Notre Dame history allow him to thrive under intense pressure as a police officer. As a senior, he returned two punts for touchdowns and averaged a whopping 16.3 yards per return—and it wasn’t all thanks to his considerable speed and quickness. Getherall trusted his instincts, made quick decisions, and, standing 5 feet and 7 inches, was fearless, refusing to fair-catch punts.</p> <p>Getherall now works as a K-9 handler in a bomb detection unit. His partner, Trav, is a veteran who served in Afghanistan and lives at home with Getherall, his wife, Jennifer, and their two sons. “He’s a great dog,” Getherall says.</p> <p>Together, Getherall and Trav work at high-risk locations, like Los Angeles International Airport, and important events, like the Oscars, trying to detect and prevent bombings. They get called into action when visiting dignitaries come to Los Angeles, and Getherall has to be ready to respond in the case of any suspected terrorist activities. He is proud of the work he does to keep his native city safe.</p> <p>His dedication to service extends beyond his full-time job. He and Jennifer also own and run homes for men with intellectual disabilities. Jennifer, whose mother and grandmother did similar work, grew up around individuals with developmental disabilities who became like family, and she has a passion for helping them.</p> <p>“Our focus and our mission is: Teach our guys to make great decisions,” Getherall explains. The Getheralls spend as much time as possible with the men, who refer to them as “Mom” and “Dad.” They help them reach their full potential and seek to empower them to feel included in the community. It’s a large time commitment on top of his police work, but Getherall is grateful for the time he and his family get to spend with the men.</p> <p>“I guess I am wired to help people," he says. “Because at the end of the day, I think our goal, as people of faith, is service. I think everyone needs to take a long, hard look at themselves and see: What have they done? Have they made a difference? Have they changed a life?</p> <p>“And I personally think I have.”</p> Healing Injuries And Creating Opportunity Alum uses physical therapy, literacy, to help others Mon, 10 Sep 2018 10:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/healing-injuries-and-creating-opportunity/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/healing-injuries-and-creating-opportunity/ <p>Whether he’s slogging through the science courses he’ll need to become a physical therapist or bringing books to underserved students in his adopted hometown, <strong>David Bruton Jr. ’09</strong> has one thing on his mind.</p> <p>“It doesn’t matter what it is, I just love giving back,” says Bruton, a former Irish safety who went on to play for the Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins.</p> <p>Bruton has now seized the opportunity to make giving back his full-time job. He retired from the NFL in 2017 after suffering six concussions in eight seasons. Having worked with physical therapists to recover from sports-related injuries since childhood, he’s developed an appreciation for the profession and the opportunity it offers to make a difference.</p> <p>At the same time, he looks forward to continuing the sorts of charitable endeavors he was known for during his NFL career—most notably by empowering low-income children to become strong readers through <a href="https://brutonsbooks.org/">Bruton’s Books</a>.</p> <p>“Whether it’s through my foundation, whether it’s through school now, whether it’s eventually through physical therapy—I just love helping other people to get better, no matter what it is,” he says.</p> <p><strong>Helping Athletes Recover</strong></p> <p>Bruton has long admired the work physical therapists do. Since his earliest playing days, they’ve helped him bounce back from injuries.</p> <p>“When I was in middle school, early high school, I built relationships with my physical therapists, and they definitely helped me through a lot of issues, whether it’s hip flexor issues, knee issues, back issues —they were just able to do so much for me in such little time, and I just know that I can make that difference as well,” he says. “It’s just something that’s always stuck with me. I also think my career definitely geared me toward wanting to focus on the vestibular aspect of physical therapy—so dealing with concussions and vertigo and things of that nature—something that definitely played a huge role in my retiring.”</p> <p>Now, Bruton is working toward his own career in physical therapy. A political science and sociology major during his undergraduate days at Notre Dame, he’s now in his final semester of science pre-requisites at University of Colorado Denver. He then plans to complete a three-year physical therapy program that will require two years of classes and a year of clinicals.</p> <p>Once he completes his training, Bruton plans to serve a diverse range of everyday athletes in Colorado, where active lifestyles are the norm.</p> <p>“I’m talking about every athlete, whether it’s someone who plays high school football to a snowboarder to somebody who <a href="https://www.colorado.com/articles/what-are-14ers">hikes fourteeners</a> on the regular,” Bruton says. “It’s just a very active state and putting our bodies through that beating, that wear and tear, is eventually going to lead to complications. No matter what type of athlete you are, you’re going to run into some type of issue.”</p> <p><strong>Building Opportunity Through Literacy</strong></p> <p>As he works toward a new career in physical therapy, Bruton also remains active with <a href="https://brutonsbooks.org/">Bruton’s Books</a>, his initiative that teaches low-income children in grades K-3 to become strong readers through tutoring and by providing books to underfunded schools, libraries, and classrooms. Bruton’s Books has a presence in Denver, where Bruton now lives, and in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio.</p> <p>“The mission is not solely to put a book in their hand,” Bruton says. “It’s also to educate them so they’re reading proficiently and able to comprehend what they’re reading. I’m taking the approach that it doesn’t matter what they read—it could be a comic book, it could be a textbook, it could be <em>Junie B. Jones</em>, it could be whatever—as long as they’re able to read and comprehend it, then we’re reaching our goal.”</p> <p>Bruton sees reading as a way to help underprivileged children set the table for success in life.</p> <p>“We want to foster that love for reading, because again, there are studies especially with <a href="https://unitedwaydenver.org/">Mile High United Way</a>, that show the number of kids who not reading proficiently by third grade approximately equals the number of inmates in prison in Colorado,” he says. “So using that data, we are trying to set the kids up for success by getting them to read proficiently at grade level by third grade. I think our focus has been geared to K-3 because that’s when your brain seems to be the most moldable. You’re able to learn a lot faster, and you’re still learning those basic skill you’ll need for educational survival and career longevity.”</p> <p>Bruton loves seeing students overcome early their early school struggles to become strong readers, building skills and confidence that will serve them well in the years ahead.</p> <p>“It’s just rewarding to see a kid who, when you start at the beginning of the school year, is reading at a first-grade proficiency level and he’s in third grade—and then that student is reading a fifth-grade book by the end of the year,” he says. “You’re making leaps and bounds within that school year. Having somebody who cares, who’s pushing them, that’s going to breed success.</p> <p>“It’s rewarding in a sense where I want to keep going, I want to keep making a difference. And I know the fellow students that I’ve worked with, the other individuals I’ve partnered with, we all feel that reward, and the reward is driving us to keep doing more, to keep bringing more kids and putting our arms around more kids, and to keep feeding them the tools for success. That’s our motivating factor.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about how Bruton’s Books empowers low-income children to read and succeed, please visit <a href="https://brutonsbooks.org/">its website</a> or follow <a href="https://twitter.com/brutonsbooks">@BrutonsBooks</a> on Twitter. </em></p> He Leads Life-Changing Treatment for Troubled Youth His residential treatment center provides high-quality care Tue, 04 Sep 2018 11:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/he-leads-life-changing-treatment-for-troubled-youth/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/he-leads-life-changing-treatment-for-troubled-youth/ <p>The young people who come to <a href="https://www.wernle.org/">Wernle Youth &amp; Family Treatment Center</a> in Richmond, Indiana arrive in desperate need of help. They may have suffered abuse or neglect, gotten into legal trouble, struggled with substance abuse or behavioral disorders, and fallen behind in school.</p> <p>But when they leave a few months later, their lives are transformed. They’ve received much-need counseling, built crucial skills, and begun the process of building a better future for themselves.</p> <p>This transformation is a joy to witness, says <strong>Darrell Gordon ’88, ’89 M.S. (Administration)</strong>, Wernle’s president and CEO. Gordon, a former linebacker known to Fighting Irish fans as “Flash,” played on the 1988 national championship football team and has spent the last 17 years leading Wernle as it works to make a difference.</p> <p>“The kids who come to us are sent traditionally by the judicial system,” he says. “And as a result of us being the last stop, many of the kids who come have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, and the key to their coming is whether they are amenable to treatment. If an agency or department feels like this kid can be saved, and we want to give this kid an opportunity to be saved, then they will invest in that child to come to our facility. And when they come to our organization, we have folks to really wrap their arms around our kids.”</p> <p>As Wernle’s CEO, Gordon oversees a staff of 170 who serve 90 to 100 young people, most of whom come from Indiana or Ohio.</p> <p>“Our goal has always been to provide high-quality care,” Gordon says. “We want to be the Mayo Clinic of the world for residential treatment. We try to cover the spectrum. Next year will be our 140th year, and we’ve been known for dealing with the more difficult children in the state, where others may not deal with that population.”</p> <p>A stay at Wernle offers a holistic approach to treatment. Incoming children meet with counselors who assess the traumas and challenges they’re facing and determine which treatments will help them. Staff members create an individualized education program for each child, working with Richmond Community Schools to provide specialized help. Group therapy is provided for a variety of issues, including anger management and alcohol abuse.</p> <p>Specialized programs help sexual abuse survivors or those dealing with suicidal thoughts, allow young people to cope with conduct disorders, and enable young people to build independent living skills. And residents enjoy a variety of extracurricular activities on Wernle’s 100-acre campus, including basketball, football, music therapy, and pottery.</p> <p>“It’s an intense program where they come in and traditionally we try to provide treatment for them for approximately 9 to 10 months, and then we reintegrate them back into their respective homes if in fact that’s the next step for them,” Gordon says. “If not, then we may find another opportunity with kinship care or group homes or independent living.”</p> <p>Wernle also offers family therapy that ensures children who are returning home will have a better chance for success, Gordon says.</p> <p>“So often, we do an unbelievable job transforming a child,” he says. “But a key component to that is, when we transform the child, we send them back to a dysfunctional environment that they left. And now it’s like all the work you’ve done is for naught. So what we try to do is take the family—normally an indigent or non-affluent family—and we transport them in free of charge, we feed them free of charge, and we have apartments on campus free of charge. So there’s no reason why the family can’t be involved in the process. We feel like if the family’s involved, then there’s a greater chance for success with the child.”</p> <p>At Wernle, Gordon says, success means that a child leaves for a less restrictive environment.</p> <p>“If a child leaves us and he goes back home, or to kinship care, or is living on his own, in an apartment, we define that as success,” he says. “And we are now beginning to work on the longevity of that. How long can the kid remain out of the judicial system? The recidivism rate is so important in this process. Scientifically, if a kid does not re-enter the system after more than six months of support and help, the probability of success is greater.”<br>  <br> As Wernle’s CEO, Gordon says he focused on building up the organization’s infrastructure and programming and implementing best practices to make it a national leader in residential treatment for youth. In so doing, he has drawn on support from members the Notre Dame family in raising money and awareness—among them former football players <strong>Tim Brown ’88</strong>, <strong>Mike Golic ’85</strong>, <strong>Joe Montana ’79</strong>, and <strong>Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger ’76</strong>; former head football coaches Gerry Faust, Lou Holtz, Tyrone Willingham, and <strong>Charlie Weis ’78</strong>; and fellow alums <strong>Regis Philbin ’53</strong> and <strong>Nicholas Sparks ’88</strong>, as well as sportscaster and ND parent Dick Vitale.</p> <p>After almost two decades at Wernle, Gordon says, he feels the same way he did when he began. The opportunity to make a difference in his daily work is priceless.</p> <p>“I had the opportunity to tell a close friend of mine that for 17 years, I haven’t gone to work,” he says. “Because it’s that fulfilling. That’s why I’ve stayed. Knowing that when I leave, there’s going to be a child who will come back one day and say, ‘you don’t know who I am, but you changed my life for the rest of my life, and for that I am thankful’—you can’t buy that ever.</p> <p>“That’s what Notre Does does to us. It humanizes us to be able to understand the value not just of money, but of transforming people. When that becomes our priority, everything else falls in line. It’s just been a blessing that I have this opportunity. We’ve been able to transform hundreds of thousands of kids and families and give them a chance at a better life. And for that I’m grateful.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about the work the Wernle Youth &amp; Family Treatment Center does to help troubled youth, please visit <a href="http://www.wernle.org/">its website</a>.</em></p> Surgeon Helps Patients Heal from Traumatic Injuries Handling severe injuries requires attention to detail and calmness under pressure Mon, 27 Aug 2018 09:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/surgeon-helps-patients-heal-from-traumatic-injuries/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/surgeon-helps-patients-heal-from-traumatic-injuries/ <p><strong>Dr. Matt Butler ’02</strong> had planned to spend his day performing previously scheduled procedures when a trauma nurse arrived with chilling news: a bridge beam had slipped and sliced off a worker’s arm above the elbow.</p> <p>Butler canceled his appointments, assessed the patient, whose arm had been placed on ice, and began a rare and painstaking procedure to save the limb. When he emerged from the operating room five hours later, he had successfully reattached the man’s arm, putting him on the road to recovery.</p> <p>The high-stakes surgery was another chance for Butler, a surgeon at the <a href="https://www.handtoshoulderwisconsin.com/">Hand to Shoulder Center</a> in Appleton, Wisconsin, to make a difference in his daily work.</p> <p>“There’s a lot of industry in the area,” says Butler, who performs about 700 surgeries and procedures each year. “We see bad things frequently—mangling injuries, people who put their hands in bad places—but this one was unique. It certainly stands out.” </p> <p>And while the limb reattachment may have been more dramatic than most surgeries, Butler says, he regularly treats serious injuries and has completed a number of digital replantation surgeries.</p> <p>“If someone runs their hand through a table saw and cuts off fingers, then it can be fairly time-intense, meticulous, painstaking work to reattach those tiny structures, including the blood vessels,” he says.</p> <p>Butler also performs free flap or free tissue transfers, surgeries where he must transfer a muscle or a piece of tissue from one part of the body to another. </p> <p>“The most common reason for that is if somebody has a compound leg fracture where the bone has come through the skin and there’s no skin or tissue to cover the fracture site,” he says. “We’ll frequently take a muscle from somewhere else in the body—their leg or their back—and hook it up to the blood vessels in the leg to cover that area. And I’m not a leg surgeon per se, but I’m able to do that because of the skill set that we learned in hand surgery that includes microvascular work.”</p> <p>Handling more severe injuries requires both attention to detail and calmness under pressure.</p> <p>“You have to learn how to control your emotions in those situations,” Butler says. “There are certain personality types that are more cut out for it, and that’s one of those things that you learn about yourself through the process of going through college and medical school. You figure out if you have that emotional component to be able to deal with those situations.</p> <p>“You learn it. There’s still definitely stress involved, and the gravity of the situation is not ever lost on me when I’m in the midst of it, but your hands can’t shake if you’re working under the microscope. You have to control your breathing and your emotions to be able to block those things out.”</p> <p>When he’s not handling more urgent surgeries, Butler tackles a number of routine elective procedures to treat everything from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome to torn rotator cuffs, shoulder and hand arthritis, tennis elbow, and trigger finger—a condition where a finger is stuck in a bent position.</p> <p>Butler has worked in his practice, which serves as a regional hub for northeast Wisconsin, since 2012. After graduating from Notre Dame, he attended medical school at the University of Florida and spent five years at Vanderbilt University for his orthopedic surgery residency, followed by a year in Indianapolis for hand surgery training.</p> <p>He draws great satisfaction from his work to help people who’ve suffered traumatic injuries, providing the expertise they need to begin the process of healing.</p> <p>“It’s tremendously gratifying, and frequently you get to see immediate results from it,” Butler says. “There are people who have long-term problems where you’re seeing them over a period of time, but for the most part, I see people for a very short segment of their life. It happens to be in a time where they have something fairly dramatic going on, and you get to see them through that and see the impact.”</p> His App Keeps Schools, Students Safe Visitor management technology enables schools to screen visitors Mon, 20 Aug 2018 10:00:00 -0400 https://weare.nd.edu/stories/his-app-keeps-schools-students-safe/ https://weare.nd.edu/stories/his-app-keeps-schools-students-safe/ <p>While working on a fee management system for a Miami school, <strong>Rene Perez ’03</strong> noticed there wasn’t any security for visitor management, nothing that kept track of who was picking up kids.</p> <p>That meant the school was vulnerable and essentially open to anyone, from sex offenders to potential school shooters to kidnappers pretending to be relatives. And while some schools have security guards, that’s not always enough.</p> <p>“I spoke to the principal and said, ‘If I can build something that would check who walks into the building, that keeps track of who’s there, who dismisses a child, would you be interested?’” Perez says. “He said yes, so I made a pilot program and it went from there.”</p> <p>Perez developed an app, <a href="http://getconciergepad.com/education.html">CONCIERGEpad</a>, that promotes school safety by serving as a check-in system for schools. Visitors sign in by entering their name and having the iPad camera scan their driver’s license.</p> <p>Each visitor is then cross-referenced with the National Sex Offender Registry and the school’s blacklist. If a person is found on either of the lists, an administrator is notified via text and can handle the situation accordingly.</p> <p>Picking children up from school requires a photo ID and signature. Once everything checks out, a text is sent to the parent(s) on file, letting them know who picked up their child. Other features include printing visitor badges, the ability to flag visitors as suspicious, and an administrator-activated emergency mode that alerts staff members in the building.</p> <p>“We really feel that there is a need, this is definitely a high-alert topic,” Perez says. “I think anybody who has kids would appreciate having some kind of checking mechanism that’s auditing who’s coming in and out of the school. No system is going to stop a school shooting, but schools are putting systems in place to strengthen security. This is just a pillar of a school’s overall security plan.”</p> <p>Perez had received positive feedback from schools using his app. Some are coming from having no visitor check-in system, he says, and the app has improved their security. The app is used in schools from elementary to high school.</p> <p>As a father of three, the cause is close to his heart. The school his children attend uses CONCIERGEpad.</p> <p>“When my mother-in-law goes to pick up my children, I do appreciate the text I receive telling me who picked up my daughter and at what time,” Perez says. “I’m able to enjoy the fruits of my labor with my own experience and my own kids.”</p> <p>Since its conception in April 2015, CONCIERGEpad has spread to more than 250 schools in eight states. Because he’d like to be in all 50 states someday, Perez and his company are constantly taking feedback from schools and parents, and using it to further develop the app.</p> <p>The system is currently available only on iOS, but eventually Perez hopes to venture out to Android devices. He says because of the constant development, it would be difficult to manage two code stacks. </p> <p>The app has also been modified for assisted living facilities and businesses. Those variations of the app scans lists of who can visit a resident and notify employees of deliveries. All variations come with a web-based dashboard that can generate reports on who’s been visiting and when.</p> <p>In the school setting, Perez is aware of several situations where CONCIERGEpad stopped someone prohibited from entering different schools. The offenders were identified from both the sex offender registry and the school’s blacklist.</p> <p>“The problem we’re trying to solve here is school safety, and if you’re a parent, there’s not a lot of things that are more important than that," he says. "Serving schools and keeping kids safe, that’s what we’re most proud of.”</p> <p><em>To learn more about how CONCIERGEpad helps keep schools safe, please visit <a href="http://getconciergepad.com/education.html">its website</a>. </em><br>  </p>