Myra Ferechil, Chief Executive Officer
“I am a part of Victim Witness Services for Coconino County because I get to witness the human soul as it transcends from darkness to light. We step into peoples lives during some of their darkest and most stressful moments, but we also stay with them long enough to watch them heal and grow strong again. That process of transcendence is beautiful and rare to witness. I am humbled, honored and passionate to be a part of such an essential agency.”
Myra Ferechil was named the CEO at Victim Witness Services for Coconino County in May, 2013. She came to Victim Witness from Northland Family Help Center where she was the Director of Community Based Services. Myra has been in the field of violence prevention and victim services since 2004.
Her current focus is to drive the sustainable growth of Victim Witness Services in three areas: Vicarious Trauma Prevention, Evidence-Based and Promising Practices, and the Expansion of Geographic Reach in order to serve all victims of crime, especially those in rural areas.
Myra is also a Sociology faculty member at Coconino Community College where she teaches Sociology. She has also taught social justice classes in the Coconino County Detention Center working with men on issues of violence and race/class/gender/orientation. She is very proud to be an Ethnics studies professor in Arizona. On her down time, Myra enjoys yoga, painting, paddle boarding and playing pokemon go with her children.
Myra is the recipient of the 2015 Woman of Excellence Award, 2014 and 2012 Northern Arizona University Community Partner Awards, 2013 Ruby Award, and the 2007 Martin-Springer Moral Courage Award.
To Contact Myra:
Yeti, K-9 Victim Advocate:
“I was in guide dog school with Fanta, I found her to be my inspiration. She would tell stories about the children that she was helping and I wanted to join her at Victim Witness Services. Thanks to Fanta, I have found my calling”.
Yeti joined the Victim Witness Services as a K-9 Victim Advocate in 2015, a few months after Fanta. Yeti loves to work with children and youth. He is a co-presenter in our weekly childrens support group, he attends the sharon manor childrens support group twice a month, we works with high school teens at one of the local highschools bi-weekly and he works with our college students at Northern Arizona University and at Coconino Community College who have been victims of crime.
Yeti is a certified Coco Pups graduate and also attended graduate school at “Guide Dogs for the Blind”. He is a certified working dog and experienced a career change due to his interest working with clients at Victim Witness Services and a great desire to take lots of naps during the day.
During his days off, Yeti enjoys playing with his boy child, going to Trauma Sensitive Yoga class and taking long walks in the woods.
To contact Yeti:
(**Yeti does not speak English; this biography has been translated using a professional certified translator)
Josh England, Chief Financial Officer
“ Victim Witness Services, along with its partners, provides support to individuals at a time in their lives when they may be most vulnerable. I feel privileged to be part of such a capable and caring staff.”
Josh England is the Chief Financial Officer at Victim Witness Services and has held that position since 2013.
In his time with the agency, he has been able to completely revamp and simplify the financial bookkeeping systems and also has assumed the role as the administrator of the Coconino County Crime Victim Compensation Program. Josh has also found creative strategies to save the agency tens of thousands of dollars every year.
Josh moved to Flagstaff in 2003 to attend Northern Arizona University in pursuit of a business degree. After graduating from NAU, Josh began working for Goodwill Industries of Northern Arizona. His experiences at Goodwill- assisting community members in need- led him to apply for the Chief Financial Officer position with Victim Witness Services for Coconino County.
To Contact Josh:
Sarah Young-Patton, Chief Operating Officer
“Having been a victim of crime myself and not receiving the type of support we provide to our clients, I understand the importance of our work. I am pleased and proud to be a part of Victim Witness and look forward to furthering our goals.”
Sarah Young Patton joined Victim Witness Services as the COO in 2016. She comes to Victim Witness with a background in administration and legal services. Currently completing a M.S. in Family & Human Development through ASU, she most recently worked in the Sociology & Social Work Department at Northern Arizona University.
Sarah grew up in the Northeast and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at Drew University in Madison, NJ. After a few years in Boston, she moved across the country and lived in San Francisco for a decade before moving to Flagstaff in 2011.
Sarah learned about Victim Witness through a class in her graduate program and is proud to be a part of the agency. She hopes to help Victim Witness continue to grow and serve clients within a trauma-informed environment while focusing on vicarious trauma prevention and maintaining high levels of self-care for our staff and volunteers.
Brooke Fulton, Felony Victim Advocate
“Early on, I realized that not everyone’s voices are heard or acknowledged equally, and knew I wanted to help people who have been marginalized by the social system; in this work I've developed a passion for working with victims of sexual and domestic violence. As the Felony Advocate at VWS I have the honor of advocating directly for victims of crime.”
Brooke is originally from Pleasant Hill, California. She moved to Flagstaff to attend Northern Arizona University, and in 2014 received her Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Brooke began her career with Victim Witness Services as a volunteer in 2012 as an undergraduate and quickly realized that victim advocacy was something she wanted to do professionally. She began her journey at VWS as the Volunteer Coordinator, and in 2016 she took on the Felony Caseload.
Outside of her work at VWS, Brooke serves as an Advisory Board Member for Girls on the Run of Northern Arizona. In her spare time, she enjoys Cross Fit, teaching a spin class at the YMCA, running Ragnar Relays, and traveling with her partner and dog.
To Contact Brooke:
Deborah Fresquez, Domestic Violence Victim Advocate
“My parents were phenomenal role models and I learned that not everything is what it seems. Education is vital, be grounded by your faith and navigate your life in a non-judgmental way. If I can apply my experience to my work and family it is a tribute to them.”
Deborah Fresquez has been the leading expert Domestic Violence Victim Advocate for Victim Witness Services since 2005. In this time period, Deborah has taken the lead position in a number of major system improvements. She co-established a County/City fatality review board reviewing domestic violence homicides, revitalized the Coordinated Community Response Team to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, and created the first Domestic Violence Support Group for woman and children in Coconino County. She holds a Bachelors in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Psychology from Northern Arizona University.
Deborah also facilitates the Domestic Violence Impact Panel for Coconino County bringing restorative justice to offenders and reducing recidivism thus bringing secondary prevention to VWS. Further, Deborah was appointed and served as the Coordinator of the Fatality Review and Safety Audit for Coconino County which lead to many systems improvements and the closing of gaps for victims. In 2014, Deborah served as the co-chair of the Children of Incarcerated Parents task force. In 2015, Deborah was accepted on the Arizona Committee on the Impact of Domestic Violence and the Arizona Court.
Prior to Victim Witness, Deborah worked as a Deputy Sheriff for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department, where she held the position as Detective until her retirement in 1995.
In 2009, Deborah was awarded the Coconino County advocacy award, and in April of 2015 was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Arizona Attorney General.
To Contact Deborah:
Hollie Vargas, Sexual Violence Victim Advocate
“My experience as a jury member in a sexual assault case ignited my interest in victim advocacy.”
Hollie Vargas is the Sexual Violence Victim Advocate serving both adult and child victims of sexual violence. She has been providing compassionate and heartfelt cutting edge services for seven years. In this position, Hollie has worked hard to ensure regular self defense work-shops for women and teens and regularly provides community education presentations. Hollie is the Co-Chair of the SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) where, alongside other first responders, she works to identify gaps in the system and to implement improvements.
Hollie is also the official handler of the VWS courthouse dog program. Her partner (Fanta- see below), assists Hollie with her complex and special caseload.
In 2013, Hollie was awarded the Coconino County Response Team advocate of the year and in 2015 was recognized for the work she does with child victims by the Coconino County Coalition for Children and Youth.
Hollie graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in criminology. She spent 10 years as rock climbing instructor but decided it was time to step in a new direction after she was selected to be a juror on sexual assault case. The experience helped shape her understanding of the legal system and guide her into her role at Victim Witness.
To Contact Hollie:
Fanta, K-9 Victim Advocate:
“When I first began my education as a guide dog, I knew that I was destined to help people, after all, my best friends are humans. While in graduate school,
I realized that my true passions lay with working with children- especially children who had been hurt”.
Fanta started at Victim Witness Services as a K-9 Victim Advocate in 2015. Her primary job is to work with children who have been hurt; however she has developed a passion for helping all people who cross her path. While it is obvious that the clients benefit from Fantas’ calming and loving attention, many of our first responder partners also find comfort in Fantas’ care. It is common for members of law enforcement or from the prosecution team to come to Fantas’ office for a visit. Also, VWS staff can often be found taking Fanta for walks or cuddling with her on the floor.
Another of Fantas’ goals is to raise awareness around child abuse issues and is dedicated to community outreach in this area. Fanta is a certified Coco Pups graduate and also attended graduate school at “Guide Dogs for the Blind”. She is a certified working dog and experienced a career change due to her interest in children and in food.
To contact Fanta:
(**Fanta does not speak English; this biography has been translated using a professional certified translator)
Melissa Skeet, Misdemeanor Victim Advocate:
“My inspiration to become a Victim Advocate came from my mother who was a former Victim Advocate at Grand Canyon. What I saw my mother do inspired me to have that same passion and compassion that she did and I continue to use that gift through my profession and will continue to do so for many years to come.”
Melissa attended Northern Arizona University (NAU) where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. While an undergraduate, Melissa worked as an Assistant Receptionist at the United States Attorney’s Office in Flagstaff, AZ working alongside the Victim's Advocate, Assistant U.S. Attorney’s, the U.S. Probation Office and Federal Law Enforcement. Melissa enjoyed learning more about the Federal System and of the victims of crime field and how to navigate a complicated and fast moving federal system. She also volunteered as a 24/7 Crisis Responder with Victim Witness Services which lead to an internship.
In 2013, Melissa was offered the Misdemeanor Victim Advocate position at Victim Witness Services. In this position, she created a handbook of the federal system, improved the working relationship with the Flagstaff City Attorney’s Office and has started to build bridges with the tribal communities.
Melissa Skeet grew up at the Grand Canyon National Park in Northern Arizona and graduated from Grand Canyon Public Schools. Many people have asked Melissa if she grew up inside the Grand Canyon and the truth is, yes she did. Melissa’s family hiked that beautiful hole in the ground for many years and would even run up the canyon for her High School track team.
To Contact Melissa:
Courtney Taylor, Domestic Violence Victim Advocate:
“We all have crossroads in our life that can cause us to lose our way or change the path of our journey. However, with support, compassion, and a helping hand, the crisis we stumble upon does not have to define our lives.”
Since December of 2014, Courtney has been working with Victim Witness Services as a Domestic Violence Advocate. Prior to this position, Courtney was a Probation Officer for Coconino County working with rural adult offenders. In this position, she worked with a complicated case load in that many of her clients where located literally in the middle of nowhere. She was successful in helping most of them to complete the terms of their probation, but became interested in the victim side of services.
Courtney is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona. She is a graduate of Arizona State University, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Behavior Sciences with a major in Criminal Justice. While attending ASU, Courtney received the J. Edgar Hoover Scholarship and was granted an internship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Upon graduation Courtney began her career with Pinkerton Investigations as a Private Investigator.
In 2006, after living in the Phoenix area for most of her life, Courtney and her husband decided to move their family to the mountains of Flagstaff.
To Contact Courtney:
Jermaine Barkley, Volunteer Coordinator
"I am a firm believer in the idea that no one should have to go through hard and trying times without a strong support system. Victim Witness Services for Coconino County is an organization that provides me with the opportunity to give back to my community and give much needed support and assistance to people through difficult times in their lives."
Jermaine started out at VWS as a volunteer Crisis Responder where he realized his love for the field and the importance of helping victims feel empowered to gain control of their own lives. In addition to Victim Witness Services, Jermaine also volunteers for the Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona at the Sharon Manor Domestic Violence Shelter as a Child Caretaker, as well as a researcher for the Child Welfare Project at Northern Arizona University.
As a child from a military family, Jermaine has lived in 6 different U.S. states as well as completed his high school education in Bavaria, Germany. He moved to Flagstaff, Arizona to complete his degree in Psychology at Northern Arizona University, with a minor in Social Work.
To Contact Jermaine:
(928) 679- 7773
Brianna Barrios, 24/7 Mobile Advocate:
Tatum Covey, 24/7 Mobile Advocate:
LaVera Honanie-Atokuku, 24/7 Mobile Advocate:
Hanna Haran, 24/7 Mobile Advocate:
Kristen Ribich, VictimWitness Advocate at NAU:
"My initial interest in human rights sparked my passion for supporting those in crisis. It is in moments of crisis that we may truly see the endurance and strength of humanity. I feel privileged to be a part of an agency that values crisis response and victim advocacy."
Kristen moved to Flagstaff from Phoenix in autumn, 2015 and began training as a 24/7 Crisis Responder immediately. She has her Bachelor's degree in International Studies with a focus on Development from the University of Arizona and her Master's degree in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University. Kristen's undergraduate experience as a Resident Assistant fostered her interest in community development, social justice, and crisis response, which grew during her internship with the Oasis Program Against Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, and her fellowship with the anti-human trafficking organization Polaris.
In her spare time, Kristen loves to practice yoga, craft, bake, and fervently consume books.
To contact Kristen:
Jeane'e Sabal-Green, Page Victim Advocate