It was Ryan’s vision that makes the Little Al Foundation the success it is today. While he and his wife Holly were in Michigan with their son Alan, a.k.a. Little Al who was born with a severe heart defect, they watched so many families who were separated because one of them had to stay home and continue working. One day while eating lunch on the campus of the University of Michigan, Ryan said “we need to do something to help these families”. And so he did. While we lost Ryan suddenly in November of 2020, his dream will live on through the board of directors and their work to make the Little Al Foundation bigger and better than he ever dreamed it could be. The Little Al Foundation is Ryan's amazing gift to the world, inspired by his love for Little Al.
Chairman of the Board
Al jumped on-board with the Foundation as soon as Ryan presented the idea to him. He is Ryan’s older brother and known to many as Big Al, he is Little Al’s namesake. He has served as Chairman of the Board from the beginning. Al and his wife Marcia have organized fundraisers and participated in most others. He has always had an interest in helping kids, he has been a Sunday school teacher, youth group leader, school board member and Commander-Sons of American Legion Squadron 627. Farming and contractor work keep him busy along with being the mayor of Fenton, Ia. He fills his free time enjoying traveling, fishing, camping and riding his motorcycle.
President and Co-founder
Holly is Ryan’s wife and mommy of Little Al. She has served many different roles on the Board, President being her current role. She lives in Pleasant Hill with her dogs, Airman & Bequia. Holly is Vice President and co-owner of Hamilton’s Funeral Home where she has been working for over 20 years. As a funeral director and member of the Little Al Foundation, she fulfills her love of helping others; doing that in memory of her son is a great honor for her. In her spare time, she loves reading, traveling, going to races, and spending summer days on the lake. What makes her most proud is being an Air Force mom and Oma to her grandsons Levi and Wyatt.
Michelle became a Board Member in 2013 and was elected Vice President in 2016. Michelle is Ryan and Holly’s oldest niece and Little Al’s cousin, and since the beginning has been an avid supporter, volunteer, and event planner. In recent years, Ryan asked Michelle that she promise to keep his dream of the Foundation alive, no matter what, and she is committed to keeping that promise. Michelle works at Nationwide Insurance and lives in Urbandale with her husband and two young daughters. They keep her very busy but she still tries to find time to enjoy traveling, golfing, camping, and shopping!
Brittney became a Board Member in 2016 and was elected Secretary in 2018. Prior to joining the Board, she had learned of the Foundation through Michelle and actively participated in many fundraising events. Brittney eagerly took over the role of Facebook admin and helps to keep our wonderful supporters aware of our activities. Brittney works at Nationwide Insurance and she and her husband live in West Des Moines with their son and daughter. They love attending ISU sporting events, the zoo, and traveling around Iowa to visit family.
John has been a Member of the Board since 2014 and was elected Treasurer in 2021. He has been supporting the Foundation as both a sponsor and participant in the annual golf outings from the beginning. John and his family own Watts Vault and Monument in Des Moines, IA, and he also serves as a consultant for Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions. John lives in Ames, IA with his wife Lisa, and his two kids Josie and Taylor. In his free time, he loves to attend his kid's sporting events, any Iowa State athletic event and playing as much golf as possible.
Jimmy became a Board Member in 2020 and was elected IT Admin in 2021 to handle the tech side of things. Prior to joining the Board, he actively participated in many fundraising events since his wife Brittney was a Board Member. Jimmy works at GoEngineer as an Applications Engineer. He enjoys attending ISU sporting events, attending his kid’s activities, and playing with his pets.
Tom has been serving as a Board Member since 2016. He and Ryan are lifelong friends and graduated from Sentral Community High School together. Residing in northwest Iowa, Tom brings a new geographic area to the Foundation and is actively working on spreading awareness of our cause to that region. He is a Regional Sales Director for Elekta, selling radiation oncology equipment and software. In his free time he likes to golf, fish, and read.
Marcia has been involved with the Little Al Foundation since it was “just an idea” and is honored to have been considered by Ryan and Holly to help make their idea a reality. Marcia is married to “Big Al” and the mother of three daughters. She is a twenty plus year employee of Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company in Algona, Iowa and a member of Lone Rock Presbyterian Church. She served as Sunday school music leader when her children were young, and as co-director and secretary of a joint community summer vacation bible school program for many years. She enjoys camping, fishing, genealogy, traveling, and spending as much free time as she can with her grandchildren.
Mary became a Board Member in 2019. Prior to joining the Board, Mary volunteered at many LAF events. Mary currently works in Human Services for Mid Iowa Family Therapy Clinic and has been working with families across the Des Moines metro for over 7 years. Mary lives in Altoona with her husband, Sean, and their three children – Brynlei, Adrian, and Brooks. Mary enjoys spending time with her family, drinking coffee, and cheering on the Iowa State Cyclones.
Brian became a Board Member in 2019. Brian attended Sentral Community High School with Ryan prior to attending Wartburg College. Brian and his wife Dena moved to Denver, CO after college. Brian reconnected with Ryan in 2002 when Brian and Dena moved to Norwalk, Iowa with their two children Kaleb and Kendal. Both kids attend the University of Iowa. When not making the trip to Iowa City to see the kids, Brian enjoys bicycling and working on the yard.
Joe joined the Board of Directors, after retiring from Terrace Hills Golf Course, in 2020. Joe had worked with the foundation for seven years in helping organize successful golf outing events and wanted to continue this relationship by accepting a board position in retirement. Joe has been married to Leann for 38 years, has two daughters, and four grandsons. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, golf, and spending time with family and friends.
Jason became a Board Member in 2020. Prior to joining the Board he learned about the foundation through his friend and fellow Board Member, John Dukes, and participated in a number of the golf and bowling outings. Jason works in the banking industry and lives in Huxley with his wife Emily and two sons, Kemper and Penn. Jason is an avid Cornhusker fan. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and coaching his son's sporting activities.
Lanae became a Board Member in 2021. Lanae is a close friend and colleague of Holly’s for 10 years now. Lanae works at Hamilton's Funeral home. In Lanae’s spare time, she enjoys camping, boating, and vacationing in Cozumel with her family. Lanae’s family consists of two step kids, chase and Carly, her son Jayden, her husband Sean and their two pugs, Wilbur and Tuesday.
Gene became a Board Member in 2021. Gene is a retired local church pastor and church executive. He is Ryan’s oldest brother. Gene lives in Fenton, IA with his wife Teri. Gene now works as a freelance author writing books and magazine articles. He is also a columnist for the Kossuth County Advance newspaper.