SCAA Board of Directors



Ms. Mary Tappe is a two time survivor of sudden cardiac arrest.  She is founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Colorado AED Access for All organization (CAAFA) and founder and past chair of the Iowa AED Access for All organization (IAAA). Mary’s first “save” was by an AED by co-workers and her second “save” was by her ICD while alone in a hotel room.

In addition to being on the American Heart Association’s Speaker Bureau; Mary has served on the AHA 911 / Emergency Public Awareness Committee, the AHA Survivor’s Public Awareness Committee and on the multi-state ECC Community Strategies Council. Mary is certified with the American Heart Association for CPR/AED.

Ms. Tappe is an IT Leader specializing in Quality Assurance & Test and Governance, with an emphasis on strategic process improvement. She has proven success in bridging the gap between technology and business with the ability to break down complex strategies and inspire internal and external parties to align themselves for success. Mary has the unique ability to do deep dives into the details while at the same time focusing on the people and helping them grow and thrive in their positions. Mary has contagious enthusiasm, with leadership qualities that are strategic, honest and pragmatic.  

Mary lives with her husband Joseph in Castle Rock, CO and has two adult children, Jim and Erika. You can contact Ms. Tappe here.

Vice Chair

Fischer Josh

Mr. Joshua Fischer is Vice President and Director of Operations for RWF Enterprises, Inc. where he oversees a staff of 60 employees providing ambulance services and EMS education across western MN and the Dakotas.  He is a paramedic and American Heart Association instructor in the BLS, ACLS and PALS disciplines.  He serves as training center faculty for the MNSCU Multi-Regional Training Center and AHA Regional Faculty in the BLS discipline. He is a current member of the MN Mission: Lifeline Task Force and EMS Advisory Committee.  Josh is also active with the MN Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor's Network, an affiliate of the SCAA. Mr. Fischer is a charter member and co-leader of the Otter Tail County/Western MN Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. With the staffing and support of several local EMS organizations, their chapter provides CPR and AED training to over 5000 people each year through their 'How To Save A Life™' program.

Mr. Fischer has past professional experience in the public and private sectors, including work in the audio/visual, IT and public safety industries. In his spare time he is a musician and songwriter, having performed individually and with various groups both nationally and internationally.  He resides in Morris,MN with Tanya, his wife of 11 years and their two children, Kaedan and Kendal.



Ms. Michele Schirmers is an emergency department registered nurse and paramedic who has been involved with cardiac arrest survivors since 2003.   Ms Schirmers was the coordinator of a new program called Heart Safe Communities, a program of Allina Medical Transportation. She attended the NCED national summit in 2003 with the “original 42” cardiac arrest survivors  including survivors Rodney Koser, Gene Johnson and Kelly Mealman who are now part of the nucleus of the MN Affiliate of SCAA, called the MN SCA Survivors Network.  Ms Schirmers has been Secretary of the Affiliate since its inception in 2003. She provides the infrastructure for this organization which now has 501(c)3 status and a board with 8 members. There are over 150 SCA survivors and 200 ambassadors as part of this Affiliate. The MN SCA Survivors network has a yearly summit; the last was Oct 2013 and had over 35 SCA survivors in attendance.

In her current role as Secretary, Michele organizes the Affiliate meetings and has been instrumental in the Affiliate’s successful fundraising activities. This group has successfully created a supportive environment for SCA survivors to get the word out about CPR, AED use and surviving SCA. Michele is currently working as an Emergency Department nurse and was a paramedic for 15 years. She is an instructor for Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Basic Life Support, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. 


Laurie Ann

Ms. Laurieann Milligan is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Med-Care Ambulance in Western Maine.  Ms. Milligan is the Western Maine Affiliate leader for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association. She has served as an affiliate leader and consultant in developing the “Pulse of Your Community” program. She coordinated efforts to bring the Maine’s Heartsafe Community status to the River Valley Region. Ms. Milligan is also an affiliate member with Parent Heart Watch. She has helped successfully implement hundreds of PAD programs through her involvement with Maine’s grant funded AED deployment program through Tri-County EMS and Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute.  Ms. Milligan’s AED work has extended internationally to Nicaragua where she has deployed AED’s, taught local physicians and healthcare workers in CPR and AED use, and provided awareness on SCA to over 600 people.  

Ms. Milligan is the sole proprietor of The Next Step Education and Business Consulting Company, which specializes in education and business solution programs offering continuing education for managers, supervisors, and career minded professionals. These programs focus on ensuring healthy and safe working environments for employees as well as identifying and eliminating liabilities.

Ms. Milligan is a selectman for the Town of Peru.  She is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Past President.  Additionally, she is a Maine Chapter Leader for Risk Watch Safe Communities focusing on injury prevention for all. 



Olson Cheri LDr. Cheri Olson is a survivor of sudden cardiac arrest (2008) and the founder and president of the Seven Rivers (western Wisconsin) Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association.  Olson is a family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan LaCrosse where she practices full scope family medicine and has been a faculty in the LaCrosse-Mayo Family Medicine Residency for 24 years.  Olson has also been active in multiple administrative roles including Clinic Director, Assistant Medical Director for Safe Care, Assistant Medical Director for Hospital Outcomes, and is founder and Medical Liaison of the Patient Advisory Committee.  She is a sought after professional speaker and has spoken on numerous topics locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.  Olson has served as the Medical Director of a partnership with Guria,Georgia to retrain physicians in family medicine.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, the Board of Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association, and as Chair of the Continuing Medical Education and Professional Development Committee of the Wisconsin Medical Society.

Dr. Olson is also active in her community, serving on numerous local advisory committees and boards.  She lives in 

LaCrescent, Minnesota with her husband and has three children. 



Sharon At Toastmasters Spring 2014 Cropped

Sharon M. Bates - Computer Programmer – For 30 years Sharon Bates was a computer programmer for midrange computers.  Retiring at the end of 2014 has allowed Sharon to dedicate 100% of her time to the nonprofit work of the Anthony Bates Foundation.

Sharon founded the Anthony Bates Foundation ( Fifteen (15) years ago this cardiac screening education program and grass roots organization was formed by Sharon after the death of her only child, Anthony, at age 20.  Since the inception of ABF, Sharon has organized 70 cardiac screening events across Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and Washington.  Over half of those events were offered FREE to the public.  All told, 9,700+ young people had echocardiograms (sonograms) and well over half received EKG (electrical tests) tests to detect undiagnosed cardiac diseases.  More than 12% of the young people screened (1,251) had abnormal results and needed further cardiac evaluation.  Of those, 206 young people were at risk of having HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), the condition that took Anthony’s young life. 

The Anthony Bates Foundation has created a training program that offers training to communities nationwide that are interested in building a “Cardiac Screening Program.”  At the time of Anthony’s death, there were only two groups offering cardiac screenings. As of 2014, there are well over 450 organized non-profits, sports and medical programs providing cardiac screenings for youth.  ABF and Sharon Bates have created the only copyrighted Training Program for non-medical groups to provide cardiac screenings.  Sharon has trained over 50 family community organizations and medical professions in 29 states and four countries.  With the help of the ABF training program these national groups have screened over 325,000 youth and the numbers keep growing. Estimates for 2015 conclude that the active ABF trained groups could top over 400,000 youth screened.


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