Meet the Staff

Valentine familyMark and Bekah Valentine 

Mark has been the director of CRU at App for 18 years. He went to the University of Kentucky where he was involved with Cru, He has been married 18 years to his sweet wife Bekah, who attended UNC-Chapel Hill, which can make it a little tough around the house during basketball season. She is kind, wise, and enjoys baking, running swimming and volleyball.  Mark has never met a stranger, is a gifted speaker, and loves fly fishing, hunting, and Kentucky basketball.  They have 3 children; Michaela, Jenna, and Silas.

Contact Mark if you’re interested in Men’s Community Groups. (mark.

Eric Heistand family pic summer17smallerand his wife Mason have been serving with Cru for over 20 years. They have a huge heart for the world and have lived in Eastern Europe, Russia, and South Africa. Eric loves all things mountain and can be found building or running trails here in the High Country. Mason loves to develop and coach women and has a great listening ear. Eric and Mason serve Cru nationally with strategic initiatives that weave together good news and good deeds. They live in Valle Crucis with their 3 children, Clement, Haines, and Anna Brooks.


LeAnn Gregory graduated from The University of Tennessee before joining CRU staff in 1990.  Her first assignment was at Auburn University. She later moved to Croatia to help start a campus ministry in the capitol of Zagreb and there she met her husband Carey.  They spent 11 great years in Croatia with CRU before Carey took a job in Boone at Samaritan’s Purse.  She has three children: Lydia, Logan, and Ella.

Contact LeAnn if you’re interested in a Women’s Community Groups. (

Chris and Allicia HughesDSC_0220 (1) are both natives of the Raleigh area. They first met while attending a summer camp when they were 15 years old. Both Chris and Allicia attended Appalachian where the first got involved with campus ministry. After graduating in 2012, they served with Cru in Haiti for a semester. They joined staff with Cru in 2013 and worked in the Upstate of South Carolina from 2014-2017. They now live in Boone with their big goldendoodle, Waffle.

Contact Chris ( if you’re interested in Men’s Community Groups. Contact Allicia if you’re interested in Women’s Community Groups.


Cory Keehn and his wife (Alexandra) moved to Boone last August. They originally grew up in eastern Kansas and both graduated from Fort Hays State in western Kansas. He is passionate about living his life sold out for the Lord and following Him where ever He leads. Cory is also easily convinced to join a crazy outdoor adventure expedition (especially if it involves running). He used to be a collegiate runner and loves using physical activities to share the peace and joy he has in Christ.

Contact Cory if you’re interested in Men’s Community Groups. (

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Larry and Teresa Freeman – Larry grew up in Wyoming and graduated from the University of Wyoming and The University of Texas at Austin.  He has served with Cru over the years at the University of Minnesota, Texas A&M, UNC Charlotte, NC State, and on several international summer missions.  He is steady, patient, a good listener and enjoys reading, hiking, and biking.  He and Teresa met in California while serving at Cru’s headquarters.  Teresa is from North Carolina and graduated from Appalachian State.  She loves being back in Boone.  She has served in various roles at several campuses with Cru.  She loves people, music, creativity, the outdoors, and being with family.  Larry and Teresa have three grown children.  Jason and Tyler graduated from Appalachian State and Sara is a senior here.

Contact Larry ( if you’re interested in men’s community groups, or Faculty Commons. Contact Teresa ( if you’re interested in a graduate student bible study.

Amy Wilson graduated from Appalachian State in 2016. She interned at App State Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 1.33.21 PMduring the 2016-2017 school year and joined staff the summer of 2017. She majored in Elementary Education and loves kids, but fell in love with college ministry while interning with Cru after college. Amy grew up in the small town of Mount Airy, North Carolina. She loves fuzzy animals, crafting, and calligraphy. She also enjoys recreational activities like kayaking and skiing.

Contact Amy ( if you’re interested in Women’s Community Groups.

Christopher and Paige Ward Ward have been working for Cru since 2013 where they first met while serving in London, England. Paige graduated from Florida State University and loves FSU football and Christopher is an App State Alum! He is excited to be back at his alma mater! Before App, Paige served with Cru’s ministry to international students (Bridges) at Georgia Tech and Christopher was working at the University of South Carolina. They got married in May 2017 and are excited to work together at ASU!

Contact Christopher ( if you’re interested in men’s community groups. Contact Paige ( if you’re interested in women’s community groups.



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