Board of Directors

Keith PolkBrandon, MS

Photo of Keith-Polk-Family
Fathers in the Field ministry holds a special place in my heart. It was this ministry where the Heavenly Father nudged me out of my comfort zone and showed me how great the need was and is to reach the fatherless in our nation, my state, my county, my town and in my church. The Smith Wigglesworth quote couldn’t be truer, “God does not call those who are equipped, He equips those who are called.

Fathers in the Field ministry holds a special place in my heart. It was this ministry where the Heavenly Father nudged me out of my comfort zone and showed me how great the need was and is to reach the fatherless in our nation, my state, my county, my town and in my church. The Smith Wigglesworth quote couldn’t be truer, “God does not call those who are equipped, He equips those who are called.”

Keith and the ministry’s founder, John Smithbaker, knew one another through business a few years prior to the breakfast meeting where John shared his vision for a ministry dedicated to fatherless boys. Keith, who had been sensing a call to minister to young boys through the outdoors, initially thought John’s idea was too narrow focused. Afterall, Keith didn’t know any fatherless boys off the top of his head. However, upon returning home and doing a little digging at church to assess the need, he learned that two young men in his Sunday school class were fatherless.
Through the support of his church and several others, Keith has mentored two young men and witnessed several others put their “YES” on the table to step into the life of a fatherless boy. His church, Crossgates Baptist, was one of the first to adopt and implement the ministry outside of the founding church in Wyoming.

More about Keith

  • Married to Danielle Polk
  • Three children – Caleb, Collin and Ben
  • Registered Forester and Real Estate Sales Agent
  • Favorite Scripture – II Chronicles 2:8 – “Also send cedar, cypress and algum logs from Lebanon, for I know that your men are without equal at cutting timber in Lebanon. I will send my men to help.”

Evelyn ThompsonHouston, TX

Evelyn Thompson
There must be a special crown in heaven for godly men willing to pour their time, energy and talents into a fatherless boy. Fathers in the Field provides a trustworthy curriculum that consistently mentors a young man through very difficult times. Certainly God Himself is pleased to see these young men being trained up by their Mentor Fathers.

A board member since Spring 2013, Evelyn’s first experience with Fathers in the Field was through a mutual friend. Evelyn was able to share her story of widowhood and the many struggles of raising a son without his father with the ministry’s Co-Founder Scott MacNaughton.

Evelyn witnessed the loss and struggle first-hand since her son, Matthew, became fatherless at the age of seven when his astronaut father, Commander Rick Husband, died during reentry of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Through this devastating loss, Evelyn has a tremendous heart for fatherless boys who are trying to navigate without their dad.

Evelyn’s goal is to see as many boys as possible paired with Mentor Fathers. From her perspective and experience, Fathers in the Field provides a trustworthiness and consistency important to a young man and his mom. Evelyn knows how profoundly challenging it is to provide a balanced home with just one parent. She appreciates how Fathers in the Field helps offer a balance to enable boys to identify and pursue their dreams with a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.

More about Evelyn

  • Speaker and author
  • Married to William Thompson
  • Two children – Laura and Matthew
  • Favorite Scripture: Proverbs 3: 5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.”

Kyle WeaverMissoula, MT

Kyle Weaver
The effect a fatherless home has on the future of a boy as he progresses through life is detrimental to every part of society. Men should be the provider, the protector and the pastor of the home…If the thousands of young men who are abandoned by their fathers are not taught and modeled this through men serving in the local churches and as Mentor Fathers, it will not happen.

Kyle Weaver has been a faithful member of the Fathers in the Field Board of Directors since the ministry’s inception in 2005. The vision of his closest friend and mentor, John Smithbaker, for sharing the love of Christ to fatherless boys captivated Kyle, as he lived with his own personal wound of having grown up without a father through divorce.

He places utmost importance on this ministry he believes, had he had the opportunity to be mentored at a young age, would have made him “a better man, father and pastor of my home.” Kyle’s burden is great for the thousands of boys left to figure it out on their own.

The time he spent outdoors with his grandfather, sports and the grace of God are the things Kyle attributes to his survival and success. He believes enabling young boys to find themselves and God in the outdoors and through community service projects are the greatest things Mentor Fathers can do. Through all of this, Kyle’s desire is for Field Buddies to understand the love of God and build a foundational relationship with Him that carries them through life and the hard times ahead.

More about Kyle

  • Married with three daughters
  • Works for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as the CEO and President
  • Favorite Scripture reflecting his spiritual journey: Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Josh EttesvoldGlendale, AZ

Countless fatherless boys seek role models, spiritual leaders and father figures who care. Fathers in the Field equips godly men through Christ’s church to “Stand in the Gap”, providing mentorship and discipleship to fatherless boys through hunting, fishing and other various outdoors experiences.

Josh was introduced to Fathers in the Field in 2015. After listening to a podcast message from a Colorado based church that implemented the Mentoring ministry and witnessing the impact, he called to learn more about Fathers in the Field. Within 2 hours, he received a call from Founder John Smithbaker. Josh knew immediately Fathers in the Field would impact his life and countless others. He believes Fathers in the Field can help men step into the lives of fatherless boys. Josh believes this ministry breathes hope, mentorship and spiritual leadership into the lives of fatherless boys.

The oldest of three boys, Josh grew up in a broken home with his mom, step-father and two brothers. Although he saw his father two weekends per month and lived with his step-father, he didn’t have the spiritual leader, pivotal role model and father figure mentoring and guiding him from boyhood to manhood.

After high school graduation, Josh enlisted in the United States Air Force. Upon completing his first term, he transferred into the Arizona Air National Guard and concluded a 10 year career as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer. During his military service, Josh sought out mentors and learned from good male role models. To this day, Josh remains in contact with the men who poured into him.

In 2009, Josh recognized a void in his life, which couldn’t be filled with material items or money. At that point, he put his trust and faith in Jesus Christ and changed the course of his life. Josh accepted responsibility as spiritual leader, role model and engaged father of his three children. He also saw the importance of forgiveness and forgave his father for leaving.

Josh’s goal is to impact fatherless boys through his story, experiences and sharing God’s unconditional love. He wants them to know there is hope, and though their earthly father maybe absent, their Heavenly Father is present and loves them unconditionally.

Josh’s question for the body of Believers about stepping up in the lives of the fatherless.… “if not us, than who?”

More about Josh

  • Married to his high school sweetheart Maren Ettesvold
  • Three children – Jacob, Erik and Maija
  • Entrepreneur and business owner
  • Favorite Scripture – Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Marc PierceManhattan, MT
Board Member Emeritus

Marc Pierce
The need (to minister to the fatherless) is great. Don't worry about being a perfect Mentor Father or Church Champion. Just jump in and trust God to use you. You will be blessed and rewarded for your faithfulness and most importantly, you will be investing your time in a life that, without your intervention, might be otherwise lost.

Marc joined the board of Fathers in the Field in 2011 after being introduced to the ministry through Founder John Smithbaker, through their mutual work in the hunting industry. Marc was compelled to serve after John shared with him the magnitude of the fatherless problem in our country.

For the avid hunter, life used to be about trophies, pushing his limits and stockpiling worldly accomplishments, but when Marc turned 50, his life took a turn. He realized how fast life was passing by and how little the things he held in such high regard mattered in the end.

Marc’s involvement in Fathers in the Field is helping him pursue “trophies” with eternal value. Marc understands how deep the wounds from abandonment can be by watching his wife deal with the emotional scars of growing up without a father. Through his wife’s experience, he’s witnessed the damage of fatherlessness and the healing that can come by the grace of God.

More about Marc

  • Married with four children
  • Co-owner of Warm Spring Productions
  • Favorite Scripture: I John 2: 17 (NLT) – “And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”

John SmithbakerLander, WY

John Smithbaker
We are giving abandoned boys the Father/Son outdoor experience they’ve never had, and in doing so we introduce them to the true hope that comes only through the love of Christ and an adventure that can only be found in God's great outdoors.

The first four decades of John’s storyline reads like most men’s. He fought hard in his quest for peace and contentment through success, financial gain and accomplishments. And, like many people today, he came from a broken home. There was a break in the cup. It didn’t matter how hard and fast John tried to fill it up.

He built a distinguished career as CEO of Brunton Group, a leading manufacturer of outdoor adventure products. During his 15-year tenure, John adeptly led the expansion of the Wyoming-based company, received accolades for bringing jobs back to Wyoming from overseas and garnered awards for his leadership and innovative product development.

As an avid outdoorsman working in the industry, it was a perfect intersect of John’s passions and pursuits. Although he held the reigns of an international conglomerate, but couldn’t get a grip on his insatiable longing to reconcile the pain, rejection and lack of approval from a father that deserted his family.

John endlessly struggled to make sense of his father choosing to leave the family when his mom was pregnant with him and his sister was three-years-old. The consequences of his father giving up his role as pastor, provider and protector of the family wreaked havoc in John’s boyhood and manhood. Outwardly, his success was envious, but inwardly, his struggles were not. He desperately wanted to leave the bitterness and anger behind and learn to forgive. It took until his 40th year.

That milestone year, John stopped chasing temporal things and embraced God’s eternal truth about love and forgiveness for the first time. While driving a dark, dirt road near his home in Lander, WY in 2002, John cried out to God. Over time and by God’s grace, John began to heal from deep wounds inflicted by his father’s absence. Exhaustion and frustration gave way to fulfillment and the assurance of God the Father’s abiding love.

In 2005, John launched Fathers in the Field to share God’s love with hurting boys dealing with the same abandonment issues he dealt with for so long. His goal is to help prevent the devastating cycle of earthy father abandonment before these boys become men by sharing their Heavenly Father’s staying power, forgiveness and faithfulness.

Seven years of balancing CEO and the growing demands of a National Ministry, God began to prompt John to lean into Him and submit to His calling. After some spiritual wrestling matches with God, John joyously surrendered knowing he was doing the right thing for all the right reasons. In the fall of 2012, John resigned from Brunton Outdoor to focus full-time on Fathers in the Field’s outreach to some of the 13 million fatherless boys in the United States.

John’s desire is to be a catalyst for the Kingdom by “defending the cause of the fatherless.” He knows he cannot be compassionate from a distance. John’s all in, ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work encouraging the church and men to make a stand for the fatherless in their community.