Why Love Surrounds
Why the name “Love Surrounds” and how did we come to exist?
To answer the first question, our name and logo represent the very heart of what we hope to provide to women and families aching from the unseen wounds of losing a baby. It is our belief that when we are faced with the hard things in life, we heal most completely when we are surrounded by the love of our friends, family and community.
When we decided to create Love Surrounds, we envisioned a community of support and encouragement available to every woman and family going through the heart wrenching, and often lonely process of pregnancy loss. I distinctly remember picturing this hurting woman sitting and crying in the middle of a small group of other women who surrounded her. They just held her and loved her. That was the moment when I first saw our name. Shortly after, with Jeff’s help we created our logo, which so beautifully illustrates that vision.
Love Surrounds came to exist in December 2017, shortly after the loss of our sixth child. We had experienced our six losses in four different states. After each miscarriage, we would leave the hospital or doctor’s office with no resources, no phone number, no information about coping after we were home. We didn’t know how to ask for help from our family and friends, and for the most part they were uncomfortable and unsure of how to console us. We would withdraw from our community and silently struggle with our individual and shared grief, while continuing on with the daily demands of life. We would talk about how great it would be if our doctor or nurse could have directed us to a place or group or something, to connect us with others. I would scour the internet reading the stories of others to help relieve some of the loneliness. It helped at first, but I would eventually desire more than online support. I wanted a real person who understood. I wanted someone to sit and cry with me while I processed the mental and emotional pain I was going through.
What’s truly sad is that miscarriage is such a common occurrence, happening to every 1 in 4 women at some point during their child bearing years. This often goes unnoticed, because as a society we don’t know how to talk about it, and all too often we just don’t.
It is our hope that Love Surrounds can become a place where women and men can find love, support, and a community that understands what it’s like to go through pregnancy loss.
Sarah Gail, Co-Founder / Executive Director
Sarah Gail is the CO-Founder and Executive Director of Love Surrounds. She and her husband Jeff created Love Surrounds in December 2017 after experiencing their sixth miscarriage. With so many loses over many years and in four different states, Sarah unfortunately knows all too well how devastating losing a child can be. She is also uniquely aware of how much our medical world and culture need to change in order to better meet the psycho-emotional needs of women experiencing miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
Sarah strongly believes that she and Jeff have been gifted with the humbling honor and responsibility to create Love Surrounds so that other women and their families suffering from pregnancy loss have a community of support to rely on. Sarah understands the negative impact pregnancy loss can have on a woman and her loved ones when there is not access to healthy support systems. She and Jeff hope to create a community of support and encouragement for bereaved families so that no individual affected by pregnancy loss has to suffer alone.
In addition to helping families directly, Sarah hopes to see Love Surrounds become an organization that has a major role in creating radical change in the after-care patients receive from medical providers related to their mental and emotional needs.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Central Washington University. Before having children, she worked for various non-profit organizations in the Domestic Violence field as a Children’s Advocate, Volunteer Coordinator, and Community Outreach Director. After becoming a mom, Sarah left the non-profit world to stay home full-time with her boys.
When not juggling the many demands of life, Sarah enjoys learning and growing in her faith while adventuring with her family and their two dogs. She is most at home in the wilderness camping, hiking, canoeing, and serving as resident fishing assistant/camp cook to her ever-growing boy tribe.
Board of Directors
Jeff Gail, Co-Founder / President
Jeff Gail is the CO-Founder and President of the Love Surrounds board. Jeff and Sarah have three beautiful boys here on earth and 6 babies waiting for them in heaven. He and his wife created Love Surrounds in December 2017 after experiencing six miscarriages in four different states. Jeff is originally from Wasilla Alaska, he left after high school to attend college in the lower 48 where he met and married his wife Sarah. Jeff and his family moved back to Alaska in 2009. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation Management from Metropolitan State University of Denver. He loves being outdoors with his family, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and canoeing. Jeff is so excited to be able to walk alongside his wife Sarah, as they see their dream of helping others struggling with pregnancy loss receive the help and support that is so important. Jeff also hopes to see Love Surrounds be an organization that will help blaze the trail in changing how the medical community responds to the psycho-emotional needs of patients experiencing pregnancy loss.
Brandy Watts, Vice-President
Brandy Watts serves as Vice-President of the Board. She is a stay at home mom to six lovely children. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from Francis Marion University and a M.A. in Christian Ministry and Worship from Liberty University. Brandy and her family live in Palmer Alaska. She loves sewing when she can find the time, and loves being with her family camping and making music together. Brandy and her husband have experienced many devastating losses, and she is all too familiar with the feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation that often accompany a miscarriage. She has chosen to be a part of the Love Surrounds board because of the love, encouragement, and hope Love Surrounds brings to those who are walking through the devastating experience of losing a baby.
Jill Horsmann, Secretary
Jill Horsmann serves as Secretary of the board. She works in a variety of capacities with InterAct Ministries and is the Director of LEAD Alaska, a residential leadership and discipleship ministry. Jill holds a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. She was raised in northern Illinois, but has also lived in Wisconsin and British Columbia, Canada. She and her husband are now settled in Palmer Alaska. Jill loves being active outdoors, doing things like; hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing, camping, biking, and running. When she must be indoors she enjoys reading, knitting, and playing the violin and piano. She chose to serve as a member of the Love Surrounds board because she and her husband have personally grieved alongside the Gail family through their multiple losses. She has also witnessed such loss in her own family. Jill enjoys using her education and experience to help others. She wants to add value and encouragement to Love Surrounds by assisting with the creation and development of this organization.
Teresa McClellan, Treasurer
Teresa McClellan serves as Treasurer of the board. She is a homemaker, home school mom, and small business owner. She holds an Associates of Arts in Business from Woodland Community College. She was born in California, and moved to Alaska in 2007. She loves living in Alaska with her wonderful husband of 22 years and their two beautiful daughters. Teresa loves has a heart for helping others. In her free time she loves volunteering her time and watching movies with her family. Teresa has personally had two previous miscarriages and can relate to the pain, confusion, frustration, and sense of loss that goes along with pregnancy loss. She chose to join the board of Love Surrounds because she wants to help others know they are not alone as they go through pregnancy loss.
Tess Doak, Director
Tess is a veteran homeschooling mom of three children. With three grown children out of the home, she has turned her time and passion into her work as a Wellness Advocate with DoTerra International. Tess was born in Bellevue Washington and spent time in both Alaska and Washington as a child. She eventually returned to Alaska where she met and married her husband John. The two traveled the world with the Army, until coming back to Alaska, where they have been for fifteen years. She enjoys connecting her passion for essential oils with helping people and spending time hiking, camping, and being outdoors with her family. Tess has chosen to be a part of the Love Surrounds board because she loves the heart of this organization and is excited to see and be a part of the healing Love Surrounds has to offer Alaska and across America.
John Doak, Director
John is the Extended Ministries and Service Ministry Pastor at Wasilla Bible Church. He spent 22 years in the U.S. Army as a Chaplain Assistant after completing a B.A. in Religion from Grand Rapids Baptist College. He was born in Wisconsin, went to school in Michigan, joined the Army and traveled the States and World for 22 years. He is now settled in Alaska (his first duty station, where he met and married his wife). His passion is God’s Word. He loves to read it and discover how intricately it meshes from Genesis to Revelation. John loves how the story of God’s love is displayed on the macro level via his covenant with Israel and how it is displayed on the micro level via his covenant with me. On the hobby side of life: he loves to read about science. The epigenetic tags on the DNA remind him of how the Creator God works within the details of our life. And he has an interest in WWII and enjoys finding artifacts of that conflict. John decided to join the Love Surrounds board because his parents had nine kids. Five girls first, then four boys. As a family, they have experienced loss through miscarriage. As a pastor, John has seen first-hand the need for the support that Love Surrounds has to offer.
Coffee Chat Volunteers
Volunteers provide peer support and encouragement through in person meetings, phone calls, text messaging, and video conferencing.
Book Club Leaders
We are super excited about the behind the scenes work being done to implement this future book lover’s support group! We need volunteers to help with all aspects of this project, including book reviewers, book club leaders, and co-leaders.
Makers of Hope
Volunteers lend their creative genius and artistic talents by assisting with the assembly of different items in our Healing Heart kits and other available loss gifts.