MEET THE TEAM
MEET RICK EZELL
Rick Ezell launched Employee Care of America by providing Employee Care for four businesses, three of which he continues to serve as the Chaplain. After serving for thirty years in pastoral ministry, he saw a huge need that was not and could not be addressed by most churches. With religious service attendance down, yet most Americans still consider themselves to be spiritual, they are now less likely to have an outlet or relationship with someone who can help them with emotional matters and personal issues, but are open to help if such a person is present and known. Employee Care of America was born with the intention of meeting that need and providing a missing link in most businesses—providing care for the employee.
Rick is a graduate of Martin College, Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Indiana, Illinois, and South Carolina.
His books include:
21 Days to the Life You've Always Imagined
Forgiveness: A Lovely Idea Until . . .
Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love
Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23
The 7 Sins of Highly Defective People
Sightings of the Savior: Meeting Jesus When We Need Him Most (IVP)
Defining Moments: How God Shapes Our Character through Crisis (IVP)
Cutting to the Core: The Seven Components of Christian Character (Kregel)
Strengthening the Pastor’s Soul: Developing Personal Authenticity for Pastoral Effectiveness (Kregel)
Hitting a Moving Target: Preaching to the Changing Needs of Your Church (Kregel)
He has contributed to other books and Study Bibles. He has written over 1000 articles. He speaks nationally and internationally. He and his wife, Cindy, have one daughter. They make their home in Greenville, South Carolina.
MEET DAVID BLANTON
David Blanton serves as the Director of Chaplains. After serving as a campus minister, missionary to Ecuador, pastor, and Director of Missions, David joined Employee Care of America to recruit, train, and manage the Chaplain team. In addition, David serves as a Chaplain for one of ECA’s clients, requiring a Spanish-speaking Chaplain. David is from Fort Worth, Texas. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Arlington and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. During his time as a missionary, David served as Director of Student Ministry, Seminary professor, Mission Administrator, and member of the Mega-Cities Church Planting Team. David speaks at State, National and International Mission Forums and Conferences. He is married to Norma who is an ESOL (English Spoken as Other Language) teacher in a public elementary school. They have two grown and married children. David enjoys being “Opa” to four young grandsons: Moses, Solomon, Jonah, and Abraham.
MEET HOWARD FOSTER
Howard has served in ministry for over 40 years, much of that time in local churches in both Virginia and South Carolina. He also has served as a hospice and hospital chaplain and Continuing Care Coordinator at a local funeral home. Howard is a graduate of Clemson University (BA in Secondary Education/History), and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry). He also teaches Biblical Studies at a local university. Howard and his wife, Jane, are the parents of two children and three grandchildren.
MEET JUAN RIVERA
Juan serves as Director of Client Services. He served in pastoral ministry for over 35 years in churches in Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio before joining Employee Care of America. Juan is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in Business Administration and a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters in Religious Education. Juan is bilingual (Spanish and English). His strengths are pastoral care, counseling, bereavement services, mission coordination, and project management. Juan is married to Rosa and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
MEET DR. ROD WEST
Rod is the Senior Pastor at Friendship Baptist Church of North Charleston, SC, and founder of Christ-Centered Solutions. He and his wife Teresa moved to Charleston in November of 2013 from Wilmington, NC. Rod and Teresa have been married for 36 years and have two sons, Joshua and Tanner. Joshua resides in Raleigh, NC, and Tanner continues to call Wilmington home. April of 2020 will mark Rod’s 30th year in ministry. Not only has he served as a pastor but also a Church Planter in cooperation with the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. Before entering full-time ministry, he worked as a Behavioral Counselor and Social Worker serving children with severe behavior and emotional issues. He holds several degrees including a BS in Clinical Psychology and a Doctor of Biblical Studies. Rod is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors with an Advanced Certification in Biblical Counseling and is awaiting final approval as a Board-Certified Pastoral Counselor. His passions run deep for God and family, but he gets really excited when Christians are growing in their faith and Liberty University is playing football, (he was a 3-year letter winner for the Flames in the early ’80s).
MEET BILL WESTAFER
Bill Westafer has been a high school teacher and coach in North Carolina, a director of alumni relations for Indiana Wesleyan University, a job developer, and presently serves as a Senior Pastor of a local church. Bill has his doctorate from Ball State University, a Master of Arts from Azusa Pacific University, and a Bachelor of Science in English from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a teacher, a writer of over 170 articles, a runner, and an effective public speaker. He is an experienced counselor and personal coach. Bill is married to Patricia and the father of two grown children.
MEET MARK PEREZ
Mark works as the Spanish pastor of the Bible Baptist Church in Simpsonville. He is also an employee of North American Rescue. Mark was born in Dallas, Texas, but at a young age he moved to Uruguay, South America. His parents have been missionaries there for the past 25 years. He came back to the US to study religious education and graduated in 2017. That same year, he moved to Greenville, SC and later returned to Uruguay to marry his best friend, Yani. Shortly afterward, they returned to the US. Mark is dedicated to loving God, family, and others.
MEET MARK HUGHES
Mark has pastored three churches in Virginia over the past 25 years and now serves as senior pastor of West End Baptist Church in North Dinwiddie, Virginia. Mark is a graduate of James Madison University with a degree in Art (graphic design) and a graduate of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond with a Master of Divinity (1995) and a Doctor of Ministry (2010). He enjoys hearing the stories of other’s life journeys and exercising the ministry of presence with those in need of encouragement, challenge, understanding and grace. Mark is married to Kelly and they have three children.
MEET PACO VALENCIA
Paco was born in Mexico City. For most of his career he worked for several businesses in sales. He came to faith in Christ through an American couple while living in Irapuato. He began growing in his faith, and later received theological and church training through the Bible Institute. He served in a local church by leading Bible Study groups, teaching, and performing administrative duties. He and his wife, Nina, immigrated to Virginia in 2009. They were members of a local church before becoming pastor of a new church start in Petersburg where they continue to serve.