Staff and Students

Portrait of Bonnie Ballard

Bonnie Ballard, Administrative Associate, joined the Pastoral Care Department in January, 2009. Prior to joining the Pastoral Care Team, she worked in the Registration Department for almost two years. Before coming to Covenant HealthCare, Bonnie worked as a customer service representative/supervisor for many years. She received her Associates Degree in business from Delta College and became a certified professional secretary in 1985. Bonnie is a member/past president of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Bonnie can be reached at 989.583.6042 or bjballard@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Kathy Bonn

Kathy Bonn, Director of the Pastoral Care Department, is a deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She brought a variety of experiences to the role of director in July 2007, including being a high school math teacher, college professor, and Hospice volunteer. During her chaplaincy training, Kathy did her CPE internship at Gunderson Lutheran Medical Center (in La Crosse, WI) and her CPE residency at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center (in Toledo, OH). For her Master of Arts in Diaconal Ministry she specialized in hospital chaplaincy, and her Ph.D. is in Curriculum & Instruction. Kathy can be reached at 989.583.6037.

Portrait of Anne Breitag

Anne Breitag is a Roman Catholic Dominican Sister who has worked on Covenant's Pastoral Care Team since August 2000 after completing her Clinical Pastoral Education studies. Before joining Covenant, she was in active parish ministry for 33 years as a teacher, principal, religious education director, and pastoral minister. Sister Anne became a certified chaplain in the summer of 2002. Sister Anne can be contacted at 989.583.4398.

Portrait of Ruth Estell

Ruth Estell, a 2018-2019 Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Resident Chaplain, grew up in Taiwan where her parents served as missionaries. She completed a B.A. in Christian Education and an M.A. in Intercultural Studies and TESL from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. For the next ten years, she served in China teaching English to college students. She then returned to Taiwan where her areas of ministry included teaching English at a seminary, prison ministry, and special needs ministry. She returned from the mission field and completed an M.Div. from Western Theological College in Holland, MI. During that time, she completed her first unit of CPE at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids, MI. Ruth is ordained in the Reformed Church in America and is excited to be at Covenant. Ruth can be reached at ruth.estell@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Jodi Grimaldi

Jodi Grimaldi,Summer Intern Chaplain, is currently completing her MDiv in Clinical Counseling. A Canadian citizen, Jodi relocated to Michigan in 2017. Jodi has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton University in Ottawa. Receiving a call to enter seminary, Jodi left her position in education to enter full-time master’s studies at Tyndale University in Toronto. She has a strong desire to provide emotional, mental, spiritual and physical support to those in need. With a compassionate and empathetic heart, she approaches all individuals, and their unique situations, families, and communities, with an understanding that everyone is purposefully and equally loved by the Creator. Jodi feels eternally grateful and tremendously blessed for the opportunity to share in life’s experiences with all persons she encounters. She can be reached at Elizabeth.Grimaldi@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Curt Norman

Curt Norman serves as an occasional employee at Covenant. Curt was ordained deacon in 2001 and priest in 2002 in The Episcopal Church, and has been Rector of a local congregation since January 2017. Before arriving in Saginaw, Curt served congregations in California, New Mexico, and Texas. Curt completed one unit of CPE in 1999 at the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital. He earned his Master of Divinity from the University of the South School of Theology in Sewanee, Tennessee in 2001. Curt received his Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of North Texas, and worked for the CBS Radio News affiliate in Dallas before entering full-time ministry. Curt can be reached at Curtis.Norman@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Mark Oswald

Mark Oswald is serving as an occasional employee at Covenant. He completed his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) internship in August of 2016. He is a Lay Minister with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 2008 and has been trained in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing. Mark was also a licensed nursing home administrator and has 19 years of experience in firefighting and rescue. He is the leader of the St. John Jail Ministry Team and is married with 3 grown children. Mark can be reached at Mark.Oswald@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Larry Osweiler

Larry Osweiler, Summer Intern Chaplain, was born and raised in Iowa. He completed his B.B.A in Business Administration from the University of Iowa and was in business until 1992. His spiritual journey allowed him to serve in pastoral care ministry for 26 years, serving the last 17 years in Michigan. He completed his M.A. in Education from Saginaw Valley State University in 2008. He also served as a Hospice Care Chaplain while living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. His heart is in serving the needs of everyone and he is passionate about caring for people in a compassionate and helpful way. He believes all of God’s people are of sacred worth. Larry and his wife of 42 years are blessed with two grown sons and five grandchildren. He can be reached at Larry.Osweiler@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Katie Polzin

Katie Polzin is completing her first CPE unit this summer at Covenant Hospital as an Intern Chaplain. In 2017, she became a licensed minister within the Church of the Brethren denomination. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary. Upon seminary graduation in May of 2020, Katie hopes to become ordained and pursue a career in chaplaincy. Previous employment has included several years of crisis intervention roles with adolescents and most recently a nine-month chaplain internship at Good Shepherd Retirement Home in Fostoria, Ohio. She was born and raised in Traverse City, Michigan and attended college at Saginaw Valley State University. She now permanently resides in Defiance, Ohio with her husband who serves as the senior pastor of the couple’s church. She enjoys spending time with her husband and other family, being outdoors, and serving others. Katie can be reached at Katherine.Polzin@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Elaine Raymond

Elaine Raymond is a Mission Sister of the Holy Spirit and has been an occasional employee at Covenant since 1984 when former director, Ray Dice, was the only full-time chaplain. Ray saw the need for round-the-clock chaplains and prepared four ministers for this ministry on a volunteer basis. At that time Sr. Elaine was a full-time pastoral associate at St. Andrew Catholic Church after which she was appointed Pastoral Administrator at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Merrill from 1989-1999. During this time she continued her chaplaincy with Covenant. She also directs the Special Religious Education Program (SPRED) for developmentally disabled people throughout the Diocese. In 1999, Sr. Elaine returned to St. Andrew and continued there for nine years before retiring. She continues chaplaincy at Covenant, the SPRED program, and is also a hospice chaplain for the Visiting Nurses Association of Covenant. Sr. Elaine can be reached at eraymond@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Rob Schmidt

Rob Schmidt serves as an occasional employee at Covenant. Rob is an ordained clergy in the ELCA and serves as pastor to a local congregation since 2006. Rob has completed one unit of CPE as part of his seminary education at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH, where he earned his masters of divinity. Prior to ministry Rob earned a masters in counseling education and psychology from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s of science with secondary education teaching endorsement. Rob served in the public school system in the state of Michigan where he taught, coached and served as a counselor prior to pursuing his ministerial credentials. Rob can be reached at robertschmidt@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Lafayette Simpson

Lafayette Simpson, an occasional employee, joined Covenant’s Department of Pastoral Care & Education in October 2015. In 2014, he completed a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) internship and received his CPE Certification from Covenant’s CPE Program. In 2014, Lafayette was installed as the second pastor of the 63-year-old congregation of the historic Bethlehem Baptist Church of Saginaw. Along his journey serving in ministry for 16 years, he has been ordained and appointed as the Chairman of the Deacon Board, licensed and ordained as a minister.  Lafayette gained ministry knowledge by attending Midwest Bible College in Pontiac, Michigan. He can be reached at lsimpson@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Robert Smith

Robert E. Smith, Jr. is a Resident Chaplain (2018-2019) and a native son of Flint, MI. Robert matriculated through Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, receiving a Bachelors of Arts degree in Pastoral Theology, and The C. H. Mason Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA, earning the Master of Divinity Degree in Pastoral Counseling. Robert is an ordained Elder with the Church of God in Christ, Inc. (COGIC) since 1983, and formerly served as Senior Pastor of the Zion Hope COGIC, Dublin, GA and the New Hope COGIC, Columbus, GA. Robert has joyfully served in several leadership capacities in COGIC, including Administrative Assistant to the Jurisdictional Bishop in the historic First Jurisdiction of Georgia, and Vice President of the COGIC International Sunday School Department. Robert was also employed with the Muscogee County School District, Columbus, GA. In August 2018, Robert began serving as the Resident Pastor of the historic “Mother COGIC Church” in Flint, MI, The New St. James Memorial COGIC. Robert enjoys singing, teaching and serving others in the loving spirit of Christ Jesus. He can be reached at rober.smith@chs-mi.com.

Portrait of Carol Wesolek

Carol Wesolek is serving Covenant as an occasional employee. She has completed 4 units of CPE at Covenant, which included a year residency. She has been a licensed ordained chaplain through the International Fellowship of Chaplains since 1999, with emphasis on trauma, grief and loss. Carol is a member of a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Management team, having taken training through ICISF (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) of which she is a member, and the IFOC (International Fellowship of Chaplains). She also attended Mid-Michigan Bible Institute. She can be reached at cwesolek@chs-mi.com.


Portrait of Betty Zeestraten

Betty Zeestraten serves as part of the Pastoral Care Team after many years of ministering in Saginaw area churches and in children residential foster care facilities and substance abuse recovery programs for adults and teens. Her background includes a BA in Education from the University of Toledo, an MA in Pastoral Studies from Marygrove University and another MA in Counseling from Spring Arbor University. She has additional educational experiences in Clinical Pastoral Experience (CPE) units through Covenant’s CPE program. Chaplain Betty enjoys ministering to patients, staff and visitors at Covenant with the WE-CARE values. Chaplain Betty can be reached at betty.zeestraten@chs-mi.com.