President – Colonel Don Christensen, U.S. Air Force (ret.)
Colonel Don Christensen, USAF (ret.) served as chief prosecutor for the United States Air Force between 2010 and 2014. He served as a trial counsel, defense counsel or military judge for every year of his 23-year career in the United States Air Force.
Col Christensen has served as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, Area Defense Counsel, Circuit Defense Counsel, Deputy Chief Circuit Defense Counsel, and Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, as a deployed Staff Judge Advocate, Chief Circuit Trial Counsel, and Staff Judge Advocate and as a Military Judge. He has tried over 150 courts-martial as a trial and defense counsel and has presided over 100 trials as a military judge.
He was born in Sturgis, South Dakota and received his law degree from Marquette University Law School. A third generation Air Force officer, he received his commission as a second lieutenant through ROTC and entered active service on 15 July 1991. Col Christensen is licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.
Col Christensen has received numerous awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Director of Programs and Policy – Adelaide Kahn
Adelaide Kahn received her Masters degree in Criminology from George Washington University and is pursuing her passion to advocate for victims of injustice. She worked for various non-profit organizations before joining POD, including the Family Court Assistance Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and the Los Angeles J. Paul Getty Museum. At the Family Court Assistance Project, Adelaide worked to place potential clients with lawyers and law students offering pro bono legal assistance to the larger Madison community. Although hailing from Los Angeles, CA, Adelaide received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a focus on global security from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012.
Communications Director – Brian Purchia
Brian Purchia is the Communications Director for Protect Our Defenders and has been with the organization since its launch. Described by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark as “genuinely innovative,” Brian has served as a spokesman for former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Change.org, Green For All and a number of other social change organizations.
Programs and Services Manager – Gillian Chandler
Gillian Chandler graduated with a B.A. from The George Washington University in 2019 with a major in International Affairs and a minor in Religion, and is currently working towards her Masters in Social Work. As an undergraduate, Gillian worked as a Research Associate at Business Executives for National Security, where she helped to integrate modern business practices into the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Gillian also worked as an intern at the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Office and on Capitol Hill. At GW, Gillian volunteered as a peer-educator, focusing on prevention and response efforts to sexual assault on campus.
Communications Associate – Katherine Helete
Katherine “Kate” Helete has a diverse background in marketing and communications and has helped organizations across the political, healthcare, technology, and retail spaces find their voices and tell powerful stories. Kate graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Economy.