Board of Directors
Nina Marie Corona, M.A., C.R.S., Founder and Executive Director
Nina is the Founder and Executive Director of AFIRE™, Inc. and the creator and facilitator of the prequel: We Thirst™. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry at Fordham University, Nina possesses a Master of Arts in Spirituality from Loyola University Chicago and education certification in alcohol and drug counseling from Villanova University where she is currently an adjunct instructor for the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. Nina is also a Pennsylvania Board Certified Recovery Specialist (#9049).
On a more personal note, Nina has experienced first-hand the pain and havoc that addiction wreaks upon families and societies through the trials and tribulations of a loved one's addiction. In her efforts to help her loved one, Nina has been through the challenges of addiction and recovery, as well as the difficulties of navigating the systems that are currently in place to punish and/or treat the afflicted. She also knows that community collaboration can have an invaluable and positive impact during these struggles — on both small and large scales. This experiential knowledge, achieved while simultaneously studying academically, form the basis for all of Nina’s work. Nina has been married to her husband Mark for over thirty-five years and has two adult daughters and one grandson.
Mark Corona, B.S., President
Mark’s lifelong passion for service was fulfilled in a meaningful way when he began working with his wife Nina Marie Corona in 2015 on her popular We Thirst™ series. He continued to work alongside Nina in the early stages of the AFIRE™ ministry while simultaneously working as a senior manager for a Fortune 500 company. In 2018, Mark made the decision to retire early from his thirty-four year corporate career to devote his time and talent completely to the AFIRE mission. Mark possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Montclair State University and has received numerous awards for his outstanding leadership skills. He has been married to Nina for over thirty-five years and has two adult daughters and one grandson.
Robin Rader, A.S.B., Secretary
Christian Ministry has been a significant part of Robin’s life since she began singing Christian gospel music as a child with her family. Sharing her message of faith in various family groups over the years has been her passion. Robin received an Associate of Specialized Business degree from Central Pennsylvania Business School. She has been the proprietor of the freelance court reporting agency Rader Reporting for thirty-three years. Robin has been married to Joe Knaap for thirty years and has two grown children. She can currently be found sharing the Word through song with the gospel group Freely Given.
Sandy Birchmeier, Director
Sandy’s passion up until her retirement in 2014, has always been in the gathered church, “equipping the saints” for ministry. She served as Associate in Ministry, a lay professional position, in her home congregation in South Jersey where she focused on starting adult Christian education classes and new ministries. She did much the same as a staff member of a large congregation in Bellevue, Nebraska. Sandy obtained her M. Ed. in Community Agency Counseling at the University of Toledo and worked as a counselor in a nursing home in Ohio. She returned to the east in the late 1990’s to finish her M. Div. at Lutheran Theology Seminary in Philadelphia. She was subsequently called to serve St. Mark’s Lutheran church in Bethlehem, Township until 2011, followed by another part time call to Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eastern Salisbury Township until 2014.
Since retiring from parish ministry, Sandy finds joy in many ministries outside the church walls: volunteering at two food pantries and other feeding programs; reading to the Head Start kids; presiding at a monthly Communion service in a local retirement community; and teaching two classes each week in the Northampton County Prison’s PEAK classes. PEAK is a faith-based rehabilitation program, which includes many people recovering from addiction. Sandy also enjoys traveling, gardening, spending time with family and friends, and anything outdoors.
Sandy has been married to her husband Ted for forty-nine years and has three grown children, five grandchildren, two step grandchildren, and is blessed to still have her ninety-eight year-old mother.
Joe Knaap, B.S., Director
Joining in his wife’s family music ministry lead Joe on a path of sharing his Christian faith in a way he never would have imagined. Joe has participated in various Christian gospel groups over the past thirty years, and he is now a member of the gospel group Freely Given. Joe received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University in 1987. He has worked as a project engineer and continues to work as a project manager. Joe has been married to Robin Rader for thirty years and has two grown children.
The Rev. Dr. John A. Krivak, Ph.D., Director
Father Krivak was ordained a Catholic priest in 1982. Prior to his priestly ordination he earned his Master of Divinity amd Master of Theology degrees from Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pennsylvania. He was then assigned to high school ministry and earned his Master of Education and Doctor of Education degrees from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
In 1992, Father Krivak was assigned to campus ministry at Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest Colleges in Allentown, Pennsylvania. During his tenure as chaplain, he earned his Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in Contemporary Catholic Systematic Theology from Fordham University in New York City. He has extensive experience educating at the high school and college levels, and he received several awards for his excellence in teaching.
As a theologian and ethicist, Father Krivak’s interests vary considerably and he has participated in national conferences on topics ranging from values education to military ethics. Presently, Father Krivak serves as the Medical Ethicist and the Director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Dialogue for the Diocese of Allentown. He also serves as the Pastor of Saint Mary’s Church in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania. His greatest joy is found in priesthood and the many treasured friendships that have resulted from his ministry.
Robert C. Whitley III, Esq., Director
Robert was born in Doylestown, PA in 1953 and has been a practicing attorney there since 1980, focusing on business, real estate, wills, trusts and estates. He and his wife, Linda, have been married for thirty-eight years and have raised their five children in Solebury, PA, where they live. Robert earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Drew University while doing a double major in Economics and Political Science. Robert went on to obtain his J.D. law degree from Vermont Law School, and later attended the University of Pennsylvania for extensive continuing education in Dynamics of Organization. Robert and his wife attend Crossing Community Church in Newtown, PA. In recent years Robert has been extensively involved, on a countywide basis, in addressing addiction, its stigma, and the opioid crisis in Bucks County, PA, especially in combination with the faith community and governmental leaders. Robert is the founder of the Bucks County Faith Summit, the Bucks County “Blitz”, as well as the Together We Can Convention, all major countywide events addressing addiction issues. On April 18, 2018, Robert was presented, by the Commissioners of Bucks County, with a Proclamation recognizing his work and efforts in Bucks County relating to addiction and the opioid crisis.