Friends of the BCSS


In 2009, at the very beginning, the founders of the Buckeye Clinic understood the need for guidance and direction as they began work to accomplish our goals. The Steering Committee was established to provide that direction. Like the clinic itself, the Steering Committee began with a small group of dedicated volunteers, meeting together to steer the construction of our first clinic building in Piol. Soon, the group began to grow. As Bol traveled throughout Central Ohio telling our story, the Steering Committee expanded into double digits, made up of passionate volunteers donating their time and personal expertise in all sorts of areas to help the clinic advance. With the help of the Steering Committee, the Buckeye Clinic achieved the original set of goals we defined back in 2011 and helped officially establish the Buckeye Clinic as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization here in the United States.

In 2021, with the adoption of new bylaws, as well as the solidification of a new set of goals, we chose to make a shift in the terminology and structure of the Steering Committee. We officially retired the Steering Committee and established the Friends of the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan (BCSS)! This decision was part of a much larger initiative as we set our sights on growth and the future. We want to welcome all of our friends, old and new, to come along with us on our journey to provide Maternal and Child Healthcare to the people of Piol, South Sudan!

The Friends of the BCSS is a widely diverse group of people, and we’re growing larger day by day. Being a Friend of the BCSS is not a position restricted to donors, nor does it come with any obligations or duties. We invite our Friends to attend our board meetings and provide ideas and insight throughout. Some of our Friends choose to volunteer on various committees to work with the board on different initiatives, such as fundraising. Others come to the meetings to simply listen and support our cause.

This page recognizes many of our Friends, both past and present, who have supported us along the way. If you are interested in becoming a Friend of the BCSS, we would love to hear from you – Please send us an email at!

Our Friends

Jason Barger:  Has been an advisor and supporter of the development of the Steering Committee from early on and loves the mission. Jason is founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting and writes books, speaks and consults with teams and organizations about mission, vision, leadership development, and culture. He also has been involved with numerous mission projects around the world.

Gracie Bergdoll:  A current student at Ohio University and a graduate of Upper Arlington High School. Gracie was a four-year member of the Strides for South Sudan Club which has raised $56,000 for the Buckeye Clinic. She is thrilled to be taking yet another step forward to help Bol, the people of Piol, and South Sudan in general. She started a Club at Ohio University and can’t wait to do what she can for the Buckeye Clinic in Athens, Ohio.

Kelly Cantwell: A licensed real estate agent with Keller Williams Classic Properties Realty, Kelly has a strong foundation rooted in community engagement. Currently she serves as a board member for the Upper Arlington Education Foundation, is past President of the Northwest Area Realty Association, and served as Chairperson for Columbus Realtors® Realtor Care Day. Kelly met Bol & Jok through her daughter’s global history project at Upper Arlington High School in 2010.

Cynthia Decker: 1973 OSU graduate in Family and Consumer Science. Retired secondary school teacher in 2010 after 35 years. Served as Co-Coordinator of Scioto Ridge U M church homeless meal outreach for 14 years. Currently volunteers for CAPA. Member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Rebecca Doss: Graduate of Case Western Reserve University, 1991, N.D degree (Nursing). Graduate of The Ohio State University, 1983, BS degree EMCE (Early Middle Childhood Education).  Met Steve and Bol at OSU during a conference on South Sudan. Interested in health and education in places of need.  Past medical help in Nepal.

Eszter Gozon: LMT, AHC, RYT – Eszter is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Ayurvedic Health Consultant and Registered Yoga Teacher. She left a 20-year career as a Quality Engineer to pursue a passion for alternative medicine. She owns Pranamyra LLC, a holistic health practice, with her husband Troy Pyles, offering western and eastern massage therapy plus complementary services and products. Eszter is certified in prenatal yoga and has a passion for promoting education on women’s health.

Mindy Hall: Retired teacher (elementary and middle school social studies), Bexley City Schools. Helped coordinate the South Sudan Service-Learning Project at Bexley Middle School (BMS) from 2012-2017 and continues to volunteer working with BMS teachers and students to raise awareness and money for the Buckeye Clinic. Created and operates South Sudan Awareness Facebook page.

Beth Jax: Social Studies Teacher, Bexley Middle School. Lead teacher of the South Sudan Service-Learning Project, 2012-19. In three years, the programs have raised over $51,000 for the Buckeye Clinic.

John Lytle: Former Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil (1974-1975) and a former owner of Stone Environmental Engineering & Science, Inc. A professional engineer, chemical engineering graduate of The Ohio State University, and environmental sciences graduate of Miami University, he has 39 years of experience in consulting engineering and environmental work. Former Treasurer of the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan Board of Directors.

Allison Mellor: Student at The Ohio State University. Currently studying for a major in communication, with a focus in strategic communication. Allison is a graduate of Upper Arlington High School, where she was a four-year member of Strides for South Sudan Club, and President during the 2015-2016 school year. She has loved working with the Buckeye Clinic the past couple of years, and is excited to continue working to improve maternal and child healthcare in Piol, South Sudan.

Angie Plummer:  Angela Plummer, Executive Director, Community Refugee & Immigration Services, a resettlement agency for Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries, which provides social services to refugees and immigrants in Central Ohio. 

Janet Prior: Graduate of The Ohio State University in 1984 with duel majors in Marketing and Transportation/Logistics.  Owner of Allrite Logistics, a 3rd party warehousing and fulfillment service provider in Columbus Ohio.  Met Bol and Jok at Scioto Ridge UMC.  Member of SRUMC.  Board Member for Buckeye Basset Hound Rescue.   Blessed to able to volunteer with this worthy organization.

Troy Pyles: AHC, RYT – Troy is a full-time Manufacturing Engineer at Honeywell. He is also a certified Ayurvedic Health Consultant and Registered Yoga Teacher. He enjoys teaching people about healthy lifestyle one-on-one and in workshop settings with his wife and business partner, Eszter Gozon. He enjoys herbology and creating custom herbal preparations and natural skin care products. He originally served as Treasurer for the Buckeye Clinic and helped establish its status as a non-profit.

Linda Stephens: Retired elementary teacher, received Masters Degree, Reading Recovery and Literacy Coordinator training from The Ohio State University, participated on several mission trips to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico, Member of Scioto Ridge United Methodist Church, Worked with Bol Aweng in assisting him in writing his children’s book, The Journey of Hope. Organized the Lost Boy’s Fun Run that was first held in 2019.

Jenny Walker: Retired elementary teacher and school librarian. Sponsored Bol’s sister in school in Kenya from 2008-12. Member, Scioto Ridge United Methodist Church.

Steve Walker: Retired. Former State Coordinator of Refugee Services for the State of Ohio, and Contract Monitor for the U.S. Dept. of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. Former CEO of a family trucking business. Former YMCA World Service Worker in Uruguay. Member, Scioto Ridge United Methodist Church. Former President, Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan Board of Directors. In 2010, 2013, and 2018, visited South Sudan to assist in the development of the Buckeye Clinic.