About Us

About Us



Community Emergency Response Volunteers of the Monterey Peninsula (CERV) was formed in 2011 to promote and sustain preparedness, readiness and response to emergencies and critical events by:

  • Supporting local CERT programs in maintaining a full readiness status, their personnel, needed equipment, and supplies to function when activated
  • Working to build public awareness of the importance of planning/preparing for emergencies
  • Promoting individual and community capacity to respond to emergencies and disasters, with a focus on our most vulnerable populations. 
  • Utilizing volunteers to keep the focus of funding on projects versus paid staff and infrastructure

Community Emergency Response Volunteers of the Monterey Peninsula Board

CERV Board of Directors 

President - K. Lee Whitney

K. Lee Whitney CERV Board of Directors

K. Lee Whitney was raised in a military family living in European and Central American countries and on Stateside Army posts. Currently serving as President of CERV, her Home Owners Association, as a Monterey CERT Zone Captain and Advisory Board Member. Lee also volunteers with the Carmel Police Department. Educated in Boston and New York with degrees in fashion and business management. Employed by Macy's in New York and Wells Fargo Bank in Carmel (Ret.). Lee's awards include Lion of the Year, Melvin Jones Humanitarian Service and Woman of the Year of Monterey Peninsula. She has also received honors from the Monterey County Supervisors, the California State Senate and the City of Carmel. Lee previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross, Carmel Lions Club and the Forest Theater Guild.

Secretary/Treasurer - Sarah Blackstone

Sarah W. Blackstone, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Sarah W. Blackstone, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; Speech-language Pathologist; President (Ret). - Augmentative Communication, Inc., Monterey CERT Zone Captain, Monterey County Office of Emergency Services Access and Functional Needs Working Group; United States Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, Co-chair, Disaster Relief Committee/Past President; The Bridge School, Board of Directors/Principle Investigator, Improving the outcomes of children with cortical visual Impairment (CVI) who rely on (AAC) augmentative and alternative communication. Central Coast American Red Cross, Disaster Services Hero, 2017.

Chief Marketing Officer - Sean Brownlee

Sean Brownlee CERV Board Member

Sean Brownlee, MBA, CEO - Ravenox, Mastery Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Special Operations; Washington Retail Association Board of Directors (Immediate Past Chair); National Retail Federation America's Champion Award Finalist 2018; Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey 2019 Alumni Volunteer Service Award Winner; Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal Recipient; Amazon Small Business of the Year Award Finalist 2019; Monterey CERT Logistics Manager, Monterey CERT Zone Captain, CERT Steering Committee, PADI Rescue Diver; FAA Pilot, Civil Air Patrol; Monterey

Vice President - Gene Rizzo 

Gene Rizzo CERV Advisory Council

Gene Rizzo is the director of engineering for Coastal Manufacturing, Inc., where they support the fresh cut industry designing and developing custom food processing equipment. He is also the zone captain of the New Monterey CERT team. Gene received a BS degree in Agricultural Engineering Technology with minors in Irrigation and Ag Business from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo and an MBA from Golden Gate University. He brings extensive knowledge and skills in maintaining essential equipment for the Monterey/PG/Carmel CERT programs. He also supports CERV in sourcing and refurbishing emergency support equipment for citizens in Monterey County impacted by wildfires and other natural disasters.


CERV Advisory Council

 Harvey Pressman

Harvey Pressman CERV Advisory Council

Harvey Pressman, President, Central Coast Children’s Foundation, Educator, CERT Volunteer, Monterey. Harvey Pressman was managing editor at Augmentative Communication, Inc ., and is president of the Central Coast Children’s Foundation . He served as technology editor at Exceptional Parent Magazine, was a founding board member of the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA), and has directed demonstration programs in educational technology, employment of welfare recipients and people with disabilities, urban education, and youth employment . He is the author or coauthor of some 15 books and scores of journal articles in these areas, as well as a former college professor and Peace Corps official.

Michael P. Brassfield

Michael P. Brassfield CERV Advisory Council

Michael P. Brassfield, A retired Chief Deputy, Monterey County Sheriff's Office (36 years), and emergency planner. AS and BA+ degrees. Attended the FBI National Academy ('95). US Marine Corps ('66-'70). Former college instructor. Over the years and currently, has served on various local and state level boards or committees in a variety of specialized and service orientated subjects. Member of NERT/CERT since 1995. Currently serves as a Steering Committee member for Monterey CERT. An advisory board member of CERV. A proponent and instructor of citizen level life and emergency preparedness; "During an emergency or crisis is not the time to plan for what you need to do. Have and work your plans!."

Kim Stemler

Kim Stemler CERV Advisory Council

Kim Stemler, Executive Director, Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association

Kim Stemler has a passion for all things related to Monterey Wine Country - the wines (of course), vineyards, and people. In her role as the Executive Director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association for the last 7-years, she has been a promoter, connector, and barrier buster. Before this role, Kim was a management consultant focused on organizational development, strategic planning, policy, marketing, and communications. Kim earned her Master's Degree in Administrative Science from The Johns Hopkins University. In addition to serving on this Advisory Board, Kim is on the Board of Directors of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) and the Emile Norman Arts Foundation. She is a long-time member and former Board Member of the Rotary Club of Monterey and was named Monterey County Women of the Year several years ago.

CERV's Non-Profit Information:


DUNS Number: 117050199
EIN: 80-0768725