Who We Are
Columbia Life Network continues its efforts to help our community residents who are struggling – either from homelessness (including families doubling up) to working families who are living paycheck-to-paycheck. The fragile sustainability of these households is threatened by any type of financial emergency.
Columbia Life Network has been instrumental in bringing social service organizations to Columbia for residents who can’t travel to Lancaster, such as Tabor, LHOP, Lancaster Lebanon Literacy Council, PA CareerLink and others. We serve as the fiduciary for the School Supply Drive, Fire Fund, and Power Packs, collecting and distributing their funds when and where they are needed.
Columbia Life Network performs assessments of family needs to start making measurable changes in the forward direction of our community, moving out of cycles of poverty and underemployment and working with our population to improve educational attainment levels, to provide training for living wage jobs and to improve health and safety conditions of our older housing stock.
We perform a function in Columbia that no other organization can do. Without us, our Borough government, businesses and civic organizations will feel overwhelmed by the need to provide these essential services.
Our dedicated Board of Directors and staff members work tirelessly to maximize Columbia Life Network’s impact on the community.
Our Staff Members
Jamie Widener became Executive Director in November of 2017. His past non-profit experience includes working at United Way of Lancaster County, Lancaster County Coalition to End Homelessness, and Lancaster-Lebanon Habitat for Humanity.
In his spare time, Jamie enjoys reading, traveling, and volunteering in the community.
Dolores Cooke has been our Activity Coordinator since March 2015. During Columbia Life Network’s office hours, she works with clients to access community services.
Her previous work experience includes serving as a Healthcare Navigator at PALCO (Project Access Lancaster County). When not in our office, Dolores enjoys gardening and spending time with her family.
Jeff Helm has worked as an appointed public officer in the Borough for over 18 years, overseeing zoning, planning, code compliance, health/food inspections, historic district, and emergency management. His current professional responsibilities include the Borough’s Planning Commission and Historic Architectural Review Board.
Jeff founded the original ‘Safety Net’ organization (now known as Columbia Life Network) as a freestanding, private referral, non-profit partner to assist with resident and community needs identified by the Borough’s Code Compliance Department. Jeff’s education include Columbia High School and Penn State University. He has accomplished skills in engineering, emergency medical service, lifeguarding, paramedic and allied health education. He believes that Columbia can achieve the goal of greater community health and resilience.
Steven M. Kaufhold
Steve was born and raised in Columbia in his early years; then, he eventually graduated from Eastern York High. Steve is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army and served during “Operation Just Cause” in Panama.
After the military, Steve started an engineering careeri n Pasadena, California. However, he eventually returned to the area began working in the engineering department of Highland Tank for nearly a decade. From there, he owned and operated Quality Construction Company based out of Wrightsville.
After it sold, Steve entered the public sector and became the Codes Compliance Manager of Columbia Borough. He has earned certifications as a Building Code Official (BCO) and a Zoning Officer (CZO).
Steve currently works for Lancaster County Housing & Redevelopment Authority as a Technical Services Coordinator where he is in continuous pursuit of the betterment of all housing stock within the County.
Fern Dannis has extensive past experience working with non-profit community organizations to create and access fair, safe and affordable housing.
Her executive leadership has impacted programs to help first-time home buyers, sustainable growth, neighborhood stabilization and property rehabilitation initiatives.
She is currently pursuing new skills in fundraising, marketing and workforce development. Fern holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and is an active volunteer for several organizations in the area.
Mayor Leo Lutz
Leo Lutz has served as a public official in the Columbia community for over 16 years. As Mayor of Columbia Borough, he has overseen more than $30 million in economic development and revitalization efforts.
In addition to serving on the board of Columbia Life Network, Leo’s other community involvement (past and present) includes Chairman positions with the Lancaster County Planning Commission and Lancaster County Transportation Technical Advisory Board; board member of the Columbia Borough School District, Compass Mark, and Columbia Borough Zoning Hearing Board; member of the Governor’s Local Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Bay; Governor’s Advisory Committee for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation; and Columbia Fish and Game Association.
He is a graduate of Penn State University.
Jack O’Neill has more than 20 years of combined business and technical experience in the financial services and insurance industries, with emphasis on Project Management, Release/Change Management, Business Systems / Financial Analysis, Compliance, Implementation, Transformation and Offshore and Onshore Development.
He has earned PMP and Agile SAFE certifications. Jack has over 5 years of experience as Board President and multiple years as a Treasurer for another local non-profit organization.
Tammy Seifried has worked for Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, an organization that has been a longtime partner in the betterment of the community, for almost six years. She has a strong passion for and commitment to helping the underserved improve their quality of life. Tammy currently serves as Manager, Ambulatory Operations for Columbia. In this role, she also serves as Practice Manager for Family Medicine Twin Rose at the Columbia office located in the Columbia Center and the Wrightsville office located on Lincoln Highway.
Tammy has strong ties to Columbia, having married the former Columbia Mayor’s (Dick Seifried) son. She has lived in Columbia for eight years. Tammy started her career as a surgical technologist at Lancaster General Hospital and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management from Lebanon Valley College. Continuing her education, she earned her Masters of Business Administration from Eastern University. Tammy has three children and four grandchildren. She loves Disney, traveling, and spending time with family.
Susan Stone has worked for Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine for over 16 years. She currently serves as the Regional Director of Operations for the West Side, which includes the Columbia Community.
As an employee of Lancaster General Health, she has served as a critical partner in the betterment of the community for many years. Susan started her career as a medical social worker, and she continues to realize the importance of working together to make positive changes within our community.
Pastor Fred Thomas
Pastor Fred felt inspired to come to our community around 2000. He began his ministry here by holding an interdenominational bible study and taking prayer drives and prayer walks in Columbia. He and his family attended Columbia Church of God upon moving here, and for several years Pastor Fred taught Sunday school and filled in for the pastor there as needed.
After the senior pastor resigned in 2008, the Church called upon Fred to take over the position in 2009, and he has been serving that Church, the Columbia Ministerium and the greater community in that capacity ever since.