Skip Navigation | Browsers and Accessibility | Translation
Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living
Empowering individuals with disabilities and seniors to improve the quality of their lives

 Staff

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality. -Walt Disney

Staff

Kirt Toombs, Chief Executive Officer

Kirt has been employed by EOCIL as its chief executive officer since its inception in 2000. Kirt is a graduate of the University of San Francisco (USF), where he earned his executive masters of management and disability services. The development of EOCIL in eastern Oregon was the focus of his dissertation at USF. Kirt received his certificate in employment services in 2005 from Center for Continuing Education in Rehabilitation Western Washington University and Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE).

Kirt began his disability-related service career in 1986, when he joined a company that assists seniors with activities of daily living and developed programs to enhance or maintain their independence. In 1990, he moved on to assisting individuals with multiple disabilities with transitioning from the state residential-based hospital to less restrictive community-based residential environments. In 1993, he started working with an organization that provides employment training for individuals with cognitive disabilities. Overall Kirt has over 24 years of disability-related work experience. Contact Kirt at ktoombs@eocil.org.

Photo of Heidi Eidler

Heidi Eidler, Director, Programs and Services

Heidi Eidler has been with EOCIL since 2002 serving individuals with HIV/AIDS residing in rural eastern Oregon.

She was born and raised in South Africa, graduated from secondary school in Namibia and as an adult went to college in Austria, where she received her bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in psychology. During her college years, Heidi worked in the social services field providing services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Heidi has accumulated extensive HIV/AIDS service delivery experience and knowledge after working in rural communities across Africa, Europe and Brazil in the 1980s. She immigrated to the United States in 2000.

Heidi started working with an organization in Ontario, Oregon, that provides employment training for individuals with cognitive disabilities, as an employment specialist, job developer and job carver. In 2002, Heidi was project manager for expanding EOCIL services in Umatilla, Oregon. In 2004, Heidi was a team leader for the Project with Industries (PWI) grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. The PWI project was successful in obtaining 65 employment placements for people with disabilities.

Heidi has been a member of the HIV Care Coalition and is now a member of the Integrated Planning Group (IPG), a coalition addressing HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections. She is currently on the board of UMALT (Umatilla, Morrow Alternatives), a human dignity group serving minority groups in rural Oregon. She brings to her role a literal world of experience and a passion for advocating for self-management of people living with HIV/AIDS outside metropolitan areas.

Contact Heidi at heidieidler@eocil.org.

Photo of Patty Toombs

Patty Toombs, Director of Administrative Services

Patty began her employment with EOCIL in May of 2000 as an on-call independent living specialist. In June 2004 she joined EOCIL full time and now serves as director of administrative services.

Patty began her career in 1983 providing in-home supports for an individual living with a spinal cord injury. In 1986, she started working with an organization that assists seniors with activities of daily living and developed programs to enhance or maintain their independence. In 1990, she transitioned to a company that provides independent living skills training to individuals with cognitive disabilities, and in 1995, she joined a program that managed two residential homes for individuals with cognitive disabilities. Patty was responsible for the overall management of residential services, which consisted of assisting each resident with developing an individualized plan for acquiring skills and transitioning into a less restrictive home setting. Overall she has over 27 years of disability-related work experience.

Contact Patty at pattytoombs@eocil.org.

Jennifer Bonnell, Independent Living Specialist

Passionate about EOCIL and its possibilities, Jennifer provides services that help people with disabilities receiving Social Security or other benefits make informed decisions about work and benefits so they can be sure that employment will be a good choice! Jennifer Bonnell coordinates with the Work Incentives Network (WIN), as a Work Incentives Coordinator, providing a "one-stop" source of information and assistance on how work affects benefits (for example; SSA, SNAP, Medicare and Medicaid). She provides information to help reduce the fear and misunderstanding of working and benefits and provides follow along services as needed and helps prevent crises when change occurs.

Jennifer has been certified through WIN for 6 years and was nationally certified by Virginia Commonwealth University's WIPA Training Center as a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) in November, 2011.

Before joining EOCIL in August 2007, Jennifer worked for 25 years for a diverse range of organizations, including Head Start and the City of Ontario. Her varied background provides the perfect foundation for her to share with others information on how working could affect public benefits.

Contact Jennifer by:

Photo of Robert Crooks

Robert Crooks, Office Support Staff

Robert Crooks was hired in December 2013 as Administrative Assistant for the EOCIL's The Dalles satellite office.

Robert graduated from high school in 2005 from Valley High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. After high school Robert attended the College of Southern Nevada where he earned his Associate Degree in business. In 2012 Robert moved to the Wasco County area to be close to his eastern Oregon family.

Robert has served as a peer mentor helping others with disabilities navigate public transportation system. Robert has extensive experience with Para transit rules and regulations, ride scheduling, and complaint resolution.

Robert has spent his life trying to better himself, both mentally and spiritually. Robert is an active community member volunteering where he is needed. Robert is always willing to offer a helping hand and believes in maintaining a positive attitude through the "good and "bad" times.

Photo of Carey Kenison

Carey Kenison, Office Support Staff

Carey has been active with EOCIL since 2000 and joined EOCIL in 2010 as support staff.

Carey is an active alumnus of Ontario High School and lifelong resident of Malheur County. She has extensive experience advocating for the fair treatment and rights of individuals in sheltered workshops. Carey enjoys attending sporting events, spending time with her family, and caring for her dogs.

Photo of Raquel Kuehne

Raquel Kuehne, Independent Living Specialist

Raquel Kuehne Join the EOCIL Team in May of 2009. Raquel moved from Montana is 2006 to attend TVCC. While attending TVCC Raquel played softball and worked at Meadowbrook retirement facility. Raquel has many years experience with working with consumers living with dementia. Raquel provides many different services to the consumer such as the mobility management training, recreational training, employment-based services, employer training for individuals who employ homecare workers, and financial management training. When Raquel is not at EOCIL, she loves spending time with her two children.

Contact Raquel by e-mail at Raquel.kuehne@eocil.org or by phone at 541-889-3119 or toll-free 1-866-248-8369.

Photo of Heidi Ragsdale

Heidi Ragsdale, Senior Independent Living Specialist

Heidi Ragsdale joined EOCIL in September of 2008. Heidi provides the five core services and serves as EOCIL's American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance reviewer.

Heidi has very strong ties with the community. She has 13 years of law enforcement and corrections. Shortly after the birth of her son, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and become a wheelchair user. During the transition of her health she was no longer able to work in the law enforcement field safely.

In 2008 Heidi made contact with EOCIL to talk about transportation services. During conversation, Heidi made a comment that she had not realized that the community was not readily accessible for her to walk her son to school or other areas for concerns for a wheelchair user. And at that time, Heidi was looking for resources to help make this community user friendly and continued making contact with EOCIL for guidance.

Heidi continues to have strong ties with the communities and serves on several boards of director's panels of different agencies through out the communities. Heidi also provides resources for Healing Pathways for Women, Profession Working Women Social group and provides skills training in budgeting for individuals who want to be independent, self-reliant and to be able to move forward with confidence by managing their own finances.

Contact Heidi by e-mail at heidiragsdale@eocil.org or by phone at 541-889-3119 or toll- free 1-866-248-8369.

Photo of James Tarr

James Tarr - Independent Living Specialist (Certified Assister)

James Tarr, born and raised in Colorado, joined EOCIL in October of 2013 as an Independent Living Specialist. James is a Certified Assister for EOCIL's collaboration project to ensure individuals living with HIV/AIDS receive health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Before moving to Eastern Oregon and joining the EOCIL family, James lived in Portland, OR where he received his BA in English from Portland State University. During his tenure at PSU, James spent three years learning American Sign Language and hopes to continue that education to become an ASL interpreter. His pre and post- graduation employment with PSU's Disability Resource Center gave him experiences and perspective, which has and will continue to affect how he understands and works toward access and equality.

Photo of Linda Valentine

Linda Valentine, Independent Living Specialist

Linda joined EOCIL in 2008 as an independent living specialist.

Linda's early career experience began in Baker City, Oregon, as a fiscal bookkeeper for her family's logging business. In 1985, she began a career in retail clothing sales for larger sizes and specialized in merchandising. She quickly learned the trade and became store manager.

In 1995, ready for something different, she began working at a domestic violence center as a facilitator for their 12-step program, and also worked in crisis intervention and as volunteer coordinator. In 1998, Linda joined a team that taught the cognitive self-change program in the prison system until that program ended. She moved to Pendleton, Oregon, in 2003 where she worked as community resource specialist at a community development program developing a rapport with local service providers and building a library of contacts.

In 2009, a year after first coming to EOCIL, Linda transferred to the position of work incentives coordinator. In this role she provided assistance to individuals receiving Social Security or other benefits to help them make informed decisions about their benefits and employment. Linda successfully provided these individuals information and assistance that reduced the fear and misunderstanding about the effect that working has on benefits. She helped clients prevent crises when change occurs and improved employment and economic outcomes.

In 2011, Linda transitioned back into the role of independent living specialist, where she provides the five core services to people with disabilities and promotes the independent living philosophy.

Contact Linda at lindavalentine@eocil.org.

Photo of Lois Wilder

Lois Wilder, Independent Living Specialist

Lois joined EOCIL May of 2012. Lois worked over 12 years in Oregon and Washington with incarcerated youth. Lois also worked as a recreation and youth counselor for youth living in community based residential group homes for 6 years. In addition, Lois lived in Hawaii for 15 years where she worked as a youth counselor in a community base residential group home. Lois is a graduate from WWCC with an associated of arts degree with a major in criminal justice.

Photo of Norma Munoz

Norma Muņoz, Independent Living Specialist (CNA, Care Coordinator, Intake Coordinator)

Norma joined EOCIL in May 2013 as an Intake Coordinator and Care Coordinator.

She was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States when she was eight years old. She had always been interested in helping people ever since she was young. She would interpret for people wherever possible when she was out and about with her parents.

Norma graduated from Stanfield High School in 2000. In 2011, she completed her Certified Nursing Assistant license (CNA) through Walla Walla Community College. In June 2012, Norma graduated from Blue Mountain Community College with her Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (A.A.O.T) degree, with honors.

Norma's professional journey all started in 2009 when Fleetwood travel trailers, place where she had been working for over three years, shut down completely. She was left without a job but with the opportunity to go to college. Norma took the ride to success and started her journey as a college student. She worked as a caregiver, assisting seniors with activities of daily living (ADL) while going to college. In 2011, she began working at Assured Quality Home Care as a CNA. Overall, she has over 15 years of experience assisting people including when she was young.

Contact Norma at normamunoz@eocil.org

Photo of Sylvia Wenke surrounded by smiling children

Sylvia Wenke, Office Support Staff

Sylvia was one of EOCIL's original board members in 1999 at the center’s inception. In addition to serving on the board of directors, Sylvia volunteered at the EOCIL office answering phones, doing outreach, and taking care of any clerical work that needed doing. She finished her term and then decided to apply at EOCIL for the office support staff position and began working for EOCIL in 2001.

Sylvia is active in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and was named Woman of the Year in 2002. She also serves on the board of directors for St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ontario and volunteers for Special Olympics and Help Them to Hope.

Contact Sylvia at sylviawenke@eocil.org.

Return to EOCIL home
Dream it! Plan it! Achieve It!