Board and Staff

Presently the Board of Wars’ Voices consists of 3 members who oversee the operations and the director of the non-profit.

Chair:  Dane Burgess, President, Bellingham, WA
Dane is the Associate Pastor for Redeemer Church in Bellingham, Washington. His educational, organizational and fundraising skills have built and sustained Redeemer through his many years of service. He also serves families and children in his role there. Dane offers Wars’ Voices an opportunity to grow through his leadership, organizational knowledge and keen understanding of raising funds.

Secretary/ Treasurer:  Jerry Burgess, Sheridan, WY 
Jerry provides over 20 years of management and bookkeeping skills to the foundation. Burgess has attended several Stalag Luft III and 5th Air Base reunions and has participated in numerous oral histories throughout the years. In 2009, Jerry walked with 12 other family members of the former POWs some 50 of the 65 miles of the “Re-enacted Forced March” the men were forced to complete starting at 11PM on January 27, 1945. This trek and subsequent re-enactment took the group to Zagan, Poland, Spremburg, Nurnberg, and Moosberg, Germany where the men were finally liberated on April 29, 1945.

Lynn Gordon, Board Member, Sheridan, WY
Lynn is a committed community member that continues to serve people as a Licensed Personal Counselor. Her vast knowledge has aided many in changing their lives forever. She is a licensed teacher, yoga instructor, and licensed personal counselor, and provides specific therapies to veterans locally. Her father was a veteran of World War II and she is committed to aiding veterans to live valuable and productive lives.

Val Burgess, Sheridan, WY
Val Burgess is the Executive Director of the Wars’ Voices Foundation. She is the researcher, designer and operations officer for this organization. For the last 27 years, Burgess has recorded over 170 oral histories of former American prisoners of war (POW) held in Europe from the “Great Escape Camp”, Stalag Luft III, and Stalag Luft I, IV, VI, and several men that survived the Bataan Death March and other POWs held elsewhere in the Pacific.

For years, Burgess spent time with and years studying the 5th Air Base –  American prisoners held on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Most recently and in 2013, she received some 327 Radio Tokio [Tokyo] Letters and 5000 messages without letters, given to her in an old suitcase. This website is based on research from a few of the letters.

In 2017, Burgess taught the history of WWII, through the stories of prisoners held throughout the globe. These educational programs were provided in 51 classrooms across the State of Wyoming. Additionally, Val co-taught four English 1010 English courses at Sheridan College. In these classes the students learned WWII Pacific POW history as well as writing throughout the semester-long courses. As part of the coursework, each student chose a POW and were taught how to research primary resources in order to write about and publicly tell their POW’s story. Students still approach Burgess about how grateful they were to learn this history that was not covered in their High School US history courses.

Burgess continues to work with incarcerated youth at the Wyoming Boys and Girls Schools teaching World War II history and research of primary resources.

Additional information, personal accounts and primary resources from POWs held in the European Theater soon will be added to this website.