Our Board of Directors

  • Katee Withee


    My love of history and public service led me to an education and career in Archaeology, with an interest in public interpretation. I am an Archaeologist for a local, federal land management agency and I am very interested in the relationship to and connections between the Kam Wah Chung Co. and local archaeological discoveries.

    Serving as a board member for the Friends of Kam Wah Chung organization is an incredibly humbling and exciting opportunity that I very much look forward to.

  • Shaniko Cowie

    Vice President

    I am a third generation Grant County resident whose family was here during the time the Kam Wah Chung was open. It is interesting to imagine the John Day Valley at that time. I am excited to be involved with the Friends of the Kam Wah Chung!

  • Karen Jacobs


    My first visit to Kam Wah Chung was a solo tour with Carolyn Micnhimer, nearly 30 years ago.  She brought the place to life and at that moment I knew this was a unique and special place.

    I feel fortunate to serve with this enthusiastic group to help preserve and extend this historical gem to future visitors.

  • Gary Wilson


    As a longtime activist in local non-profits, the opportunity to become involved with this wonderful organization, Friends of Kam Wah Chung, is a dream come true and indeed an honor.  The Friends, this Heritage Site and Oregon Parks and Recreation have embarked on a substantial development effort and I look forward to assisting in this cause over the next several years.

    This local “gem” holds a unique place in Oregon history.  A history willingly shared with visitors who arrive in Grant County from all over the world.  These are exciting times for the John Day Basin, state of Oregon and the Friends of Kam Wah Chung.

  • Taci Philbrook

    Board member

    I am passionate about preserving historical cultures and the historical archives being housed in museums. With information so easily accessible on the web, I fear that one day museums will become obsolete. But nothing can beat a hands-on approach, or getting up close and personal with history. A museum can inspire someone to form their own unique experience with history. They are informal learning centers full of lessons in humanity. Museums preserve legacies of communities.

    I would like to be a part of the preservation efforts in retaining the rich legacies inside the Kam Wah Chung museum. My efforts will directly affect community awareness of the historical icons, and the history housed therein. Thank you for this opportunity.

  • Cindy Dougharity-Spencer

    Board member

    As a lover of history, and an educator, being a board member of the Friends of Kam Wah Chung seems like a logical role for me to take on.

    I first visited Kam Wah Chung in 1980 as an elementary student. To this day, every time I visit, I always find something that I missed on a previous visit.

    I am excited for the opportunity to help ensure that other visitors will continue to enjoy this treasure of Chinese culture and history in Grant County.

  • Kevin Green

    Board member

    A lifelong love of history has continued to grow through my travels and previous work as an interpretive ranger. While on a road trip, my first visit to the Kam Wah Chung helped me realize that the John Day valley could be a place I called home. Now that I am here, I can’t learn enough about all of the people who came here before me!  I am honored to be involved with the Friends of Kam Wah Chung and to do my part to help ensure that this one of a kind museum can share it’s stories and wonders.

Our Staff

  • Chris Labhart

    Store Manager

    I am always excited to welcome visitors to our wonderful diamond in the rough. Visitors are always amazed after taking a guided tour of the museum and visiting the interpretive center before or after their guided tour.  I enjoy answering questions and providing information to our visitors on places to explore in Grant County.

  • Dennis Bradley

    OPRD Regional Manager

    As Park Manager I was involved with the 2005 restoration campaign of Kam Wah Chung and have seen the building and collection come to life due to the many preservation projects that were completed. The most fascinating things to me are all the artifacts and apothecary area.

    Having worked with a number of friends groups I would say the Kam Wah Chung Friends group are very compassionate about their mission and have contributed many hours of volunteer time and sought funding for a number of projects. The most recent and ongoing project involves the translation of documents written in Chinese. These documents once translated could tell many more stories of Doc Hay and Lung On and their prominence in the John Day community and region.

  • Don Merritt

    Museum Curator

    Ever since I could remember, I have had a passion for western history, even through college.  What I like about Kam Wah Chung is not only what we have already learned about this national treasure with the unique archival written histories and documents and unique items in the Kam Wah Chung building, but what we have yet to learn.  The archaeological potential to add more to the story of the local Chinese history in John Day and to the Chinese experience in the west is quite exciting!