Board of Directors


Board of Directors

Mark Palm

Mark Palm, the president of Samaritan Aviation was raised as a pastor’s son and from a very young age has had a passion for people and aviation. During his high-school years, he had the opportunity to work with his parents who ran Elm Street Mission, which was a homeless mission in Santa Cruz, California.  This experience furthered his passion for reaching out to people in need.

Mark attended Hobe Sound Bible College and later graduated from Miramar College in San Diego with a degree in Aviation Technology.  Mark currently holds a Commercial Pilot’s license with an Instrumental Float-plane rating as well as an FAA Aircraft Mechanic’s license.

Mark has an extensive background in missions having served on teams that flew into Mexico that built facilities for churches and ministries and conducted various medical clinics for over 15 years.  He also has served as a youth Pastor and Worship Pastor for 8 years while Samaritan Aviation transitioned from a dream to  a reality.

 January, 2010, Mark and his wife Kirsten moved to Wewak, Papua New Guinea to begin Flight Operations in the East Sepik Province.  They currently live in Wewak with their three children Sierra, Drake, and Nolan.

Board Chairman

Joey Burns

Joseph “Joey” Burns  is the owner broker of Lone Eagle Land Brokerage, Inc. in  Montrose, Colorado. Specializing in Ranch property sales, Joey strives to establish a Kingdom based  business desiring to emulate the love of Christ and the integrity of His word in all his business transactions. Joey is also the founder and owner of Land Information Systems, a ranch mapping and data collection system. Joey is married to his beautiful childhood sweet heart, Michelle, and now has 5 children from ages 9 to 17.

Joey serves as Missions President at his local church and coordinates short term mission trips that have taken him around the world. He is a board member of San Juan Home Educators and a big game hunting guide. A longtime board member of Samaritan Aviation and current Chairman, Joey joined the Samaritan Team in 2003. He finds that the opportunity to serve Christ as a Good Samaritan through aviation has enabled the salvation message to be heard throughout regions of the US and the country of Papua New Guinea.

Board Member

Dr. Dan Cranston

Dr. Dan Cranston is an emergency medicine physician. He spent his high school years in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea where his father managed a secondary school that provided educational opportunities to local youth.

For past 10 years Dr. Cranston has been working with humanitarian organizations to provide medical services and training. His focus is developing, promoting and maximizing partnerships that assist with medical delivery to remote areas and health centers.
Dr. Cranston has a Bachelors degree with concentrations in Biology and Business Administration. After medical school, he did a residency in Emergency Medicine at Michigan State University. He is board certified in emergency medicine and has been practicing as an emergency medical specialist for over 15 years. He joined the Samaritan Board in 2003.

Board Member

Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones is a captain for Dynamic Aviation, currently flying Dash 8 aircraft in Afghanistan. Daniel served as a missionary pilot in Swaziland, Africa, and was the director of Nazarene Mission Aviation from 1995 to 2004. He has led volunteer mission trips for his local church to Africa and also within the United States. From 2006 to 2009 Daniel worked for the Christian Network Foundation assisting donors with estate gifts to various Christian non-profit organizations.
He’s been married for over 26 years to Annette, who is a special education teacher/school psychologist. She also volunteers with an organization in Mexico advising teachers on working with students with special needs. They have 3 children aged 25, 23, and 21.
Daniel holds an Airline Transport Pilots license, and an FAA Aircraft Mechanics license.

Board Member

Jason Schwitters

Jason Schwitter’s interest in Samaritan Aviation started in 2009. In 2011 he had the opportunity to accompany a group to PNG, which consisted of supporters and board members, to see first-hand how God is using Samaritan Aviation in Papua New Guinea.
Jason has been involved and around production agriculture his whole life. He owns and operates a farm in Clara City Minnesota. His farm includes raising Sugar beets, Soybeans, Corn and Dry Edible Beans.
Jason is married to Stacy and they have two children, Lucas (16) and Kalley (14). He is involved with a local church council and He also has had the opportunity to participate and be involved in other local non-profits. He has a B.S. in Business Administration/Management and a B.S. in Bible from Northwestern College in St Paul, MN.
Jason is also a private pilot and excited to be involved in all that Samaritan Aviation is doing in perpetuating the hope of Jesus Christ through the tool of aviation here in the US and PNG.

Board Member

Matthew Palm

Matthew Palm is a founding board member of Samaritan Aviation. He currently serves as secretary of the board as well as the financial committee chairperson in this adventure in faith. He has served as the lead pastor for Hope Church in Vista, California for the past eight years. He’s been married over 24 years to his high school sweetheart Melissa and has three boys: David, James, and Jason.

With over 20 years of pastoral experience he brings a pastor’s heart to every conversation that the board of Samaritan Aviation has. The message is simply that we should care about the people that everybody else walks by. His heart is that we are truly living out the story of the Good Samaritan as an organization, and we never forget the reasons for why we do what we do. Pastor Matt was one of the original Board Members to start with the Samaritan dream.

Board Member

Jeff Petersen

Jeff Petersen is the President and Founder of Coal Creek Consulting, a firm that specializes in project management and infrastructure development for wireless telecommunication providers.  In the eight years since he founded Coal Creek, he has grown the company to over twenty-five employees, and they have become the gold standard in Arizona for wireless services.  Coal Creek provides services for every major wireless carrier and the two largest tower aggregators in the industry.

Jeff lives in Arizona with Ann Marie, his wife of twenty plus years, and they’re the proud parents of three fantastic children.  The whole family has a love of the outdoors that includes backpacking, hunting, hiking and winter sports.  Jeff exhibits extreme dedication and perseverance through personal challenges such as running twelve half-marathons in one year, hiking rim-to-rim-to-rim across the Grand Canyon (43 miles) in one day and living an entire year as a vegan.  Jeff plays rhythm guitar along with Ann Marie, who sings lead vocals in a band called Daze Ja Vu’.  They provided live music at a Samaritan Aviation event in 2015.

Jeff’s involvement began when Samaritan Aviation rented office space from his company in Scottsdale, Arizona.  In November of 2015, Jeff accompanied Mark Palm on a two-week trip to Papua New Guinea.  Jeff was moved by his visit and his interactions with the people of PNG as well as the Samaritan Aviation families serving in Papua New Guinea.  Through his interaction with the board, Jeff will be assisting Samaritan Aviation with fundraising from major donors and doing strategic management consultation.

“My trip to PNG with Mark was a mountain top experience.  I am proud to be a part of an organization that is both loved and respected by the people whom we help”.

2015 Board Retreat
(Back left to right) Joey Burns, Matt Palm, Daniel Jones, Pat Clowes (Front left to right) Mark Palm, Dr. Dan Cranston, Jason Schwitters, Bryan Yeager

(Back left to right) Joey Burns, Matt Palm, Daniel Jones, Pat Clowes (Front left to right) Mark Palm, Dr. Dan Cranston, Jason Schwitters, Bryan Yeager