Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Staff

Tom Brodbeck
Senior Pastor
(937)-399-6257, ext. 106

Meet Pastor Tom and his wonderful family, who have been cherished members of Grace since 2007. Tom’s journey began as a lay person, evolving into roles such as our Discipleship Coordinator, then Associate Pastor, and now proudly serving as our Senior Pastor. His passion lies in making disciples and nurturing their growth in faith.
Tom’s love story with Karen, his college sweetheart, blossomed from an onstage kiss during a high school musical. Together, they are the proud parents of three grown children and delighted grandparents to six grandchildren. When not cheering for the Buckeyes, Reds, and Bengals, Tom can be found on the golf course (though he admits he’s not very good) or on the lookout for a new hobby.
Join Pastor Tom and his family in their journey of faith and community at Grace – they’re eager to welcome you with open arms!

Sandy Thompson
Executive Director
(937)-399-6257, ext 108

Sandy has been an integral part of Grace since 2000, joining as Executive Director in 2023. With a 28-year career in physical therapy and as a clinic coordinator, Sandy demonstrates a passion for leadership and her dedication to church outreach and mission work inspires her career at Grace. She is married to her husband Robert, and they have two married sons and enjoy spending time with their granddaughter and engaging in outdoor activities like hiking and kayaking. Sandy’s favorite vacation was following her life changing mission trip to Belize. 

Barbara Cripe-Blackburn
Director of Sanctuary Choir/Handbells
(937)-399-6257, ext. 113

Barbara serves as Director of the Sanctuary Choir, Grace Notes Handbells and the Handchimes Choir. Praising God with music is an integral part of Barbara’s life. She has directed church choirs since her early college days. After earning a degree in Music Education with concentrations in vocal and choral music, Barbara taught public school music for 35 years. In 2002, she was asked to direct the handbells at Grace and later the handchimes. Then, in 2013 and again in 2015, she was asked to also direct the Sanctuary Choir and presently continues to lead all three choirs. She enjoys working with the wonderful group of volunteer musicians at Grace. Barbara has a heart of service, volunteering in several ministries at Grace, including serving as Lector; and in the community, singing in the Symphony Chorale, volunteer teaching at the One Room Schoolhouse for student field trips, and with the 4-H program, just to name a few. You can also find her enjoying being outside, gardening or enjoying nature. Barbara and her husband, Neal love spending time with each other and volunteering together. They also enjoy spending time with their grown daughter, Sarah who lives out of state. One of Barbara’s favorite scriptures is Psalm 118:14, “The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”

Carol Drown
Nursery Attendant
(937)-399-6257, ext. 116

Carol has been a member of Grace since 2003 and started on staff in 2007.  Prior to becoming a staff member, she was a dedicated volunteer in the nursery.  Her job is to provide care, guidance and compassion for the children of our Grace families during services and Sunday school.  She has 2 children, 7 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren, the loves of her life.  Carol loves making memories with all of them.

Bev Kaech
Director of Music and Worship Arts/Principal Organist
(937)-399-6257, ext. 113

Bev has been a faithful member of Grace since 1989 and a lifelong Lutheran. She has been the principal organist and Coordinator of Worship Music and Arts at Grace since 2015.  Bev was a teacher for 35 years.  She has served in various women’s service organizations in our community for several years.  She has enjoyed playing tennis and traveling to many states and countries.  She was married to Noel Kaech until his passing in 2014.  At Grace, Bev led the Children’s Choir for many years and has served in various roles in our Worship Ministries and with the Hope Guild.  She has served in the Parish Care Visitation Ministry for 30 years, visiting our Grace friends who are homebound or live in care facilities, sharing the Sacrament of Holy Communion with them.  Bev has been active with the Grace Praise Team for 20 years, and accompanies our Sanctuary Choir, but finds it a privilege to encourage our members’ music talents so that soloists and small ensembles may share their gifts from God with our congregation in worship.

Darla Kalifoot
Church Administrator
(937)-399-6257, ext. 102

Meet Darla, a part of the Grace family since 1997. From Pastor’s secretary to Church Administrator, Darla has faithfully served in various roles since joining the staff in 2005.

Darla, alongside her husband Brett, is a proud parent to two daughters, Stacey and Kaitlyn. She finds joy in serving in ministries like Altar Care and Communion Assistant, where she feels closest to God and her Grace family.

Committed to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, Darla seeks to touch lives and transform hearts through her service. When not at church, she enjoys vacationing around water, with Norris Lake, Tennessee, being a favorite destination.

And if you ever need someone for trivia, give her a call (Brett claims she has a lot of useless knowledge). Darla eagerly embraces each opportunity to serve alongside her Grace community.

Leslie McKinney
Director of Children Ministries
(937)-399-6257, ext. 110

Leslie has been a cherished member of Grace since 1998. With 37 years of dedicated service in the Springfield City School District, including 27 years as an educator specializing in Preschool Special Education, she brings a wealth of experience to her role. In January 2023, Leslie transitioned to the Grace staff as Director of Children’s Ministry, where she oversees the spiritual growth and development of children from birth to 6th grade.

Her primary focus has been on revitalizing the Catechism program and fostering meaningful relationships with the children and their families. Together with her husband, Rocky, they have raised two wonderful children, Hannah and Sam, who have grown up in the loving embrace of Grace. In their leisure time, Leslie and Rocky cherish family moments and relish trips to the beach.

Janet Rice
Director Lay Ministry
(937)-399-6257, ext 104

Janet has been a dedicated member of Grace since 2006 and joined the staff in November 2017. With over 40 years of experience in Materials Management, Janet brings natural leadership qualities to her role within the church. She is passionate about serving others and actively participates in various church teams, helping others find meaningful ways to contribute to Grace’s mission.
Janet shares a fulfilling partnership with her husband, John, whom she has been married to for 25 years as of this April. They enjoy spending time together exploring their mutual love for corvettes and traveling alongside other enthusiasts.

Robert Thompson
(937)-399-6257, ext 105

Meet Robert Thompson, a Integrated member of the Grace staff who officially joined on November 1st, 2018. Robert has been an active member of Grace since December 11, 2005.
In his role as Caretaker, Robert is behind-the-scenes, ensuring our church facilities are well-maintained.
Outside of church duties, Robert is happily married to Sandy Thompson, whom he credits, along with God, for saving his life. Robert enjoys grilling and beekeeping, and outdoor activities
Robert’s heart lies in mission trips, both with adults and youth, where he finds fulfillment in helping others and making a difference. He also likes taking communion to the homebound and having great conversations with them.
Robert recalls a youth trip to Indiana in 2023, where a youth member came to fulfill service hours and ended up finding much more than expected.
Robert is known for his tendency to bump into things due to his “big head” and a memorable church softball game where he broke his ankle.

Isagrario Gramajo
Ministry Assistant for Communications
(937)-399-6257, ext. 112

Meet Isagrario (Isa), our Ministry Assistant for Communications since May 2023. A graduate of Tecumseh High School and Springfield Clark CTC, Isa is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in digital media design. 

Isa enjoys hands-on activities like crochet, baking, and crafts, as well as playing the piano. Her favorite moments at Grace include meeting members and receiving heartwarming letters congratulating her on her recent graduation. 

Fun Fact: Isa hates to drive when its sunny.