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Board of directors

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Ralph Thompson

Executive Director, President, & Treasurer

In addition to serving as the Executive Director and Lead Chaplain for Emergency Chaplains, Ralph also works with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina seeking to increase participation in the area of Public Safety Chaplaincy.

Prior to establishing the ministry of Emergency Chaplains in 2008, Ralph served for ten years as Pastor of Administration and Discipleship at Bethesda Baptist Church in Durham.

He is a graduate of Danville (VA) Community College, Southeastern College at Wake Forest, Louisiana Baptist University and received his Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling from Master’s International School of Divinity.

Ralph has been married to Carter since 1986. They live in Durham with their son, Carl, and an amazing dog named Gracie.



Eric Burmahl

Chair, Board of Directors

Eric is from Durham, North Carolina, and is married to Sharon. They have two Yorkies named Hershey and Rolo. Before his ministry calling, Eric spent several years in manufacturing management across the United States. 

He is currently Senior Pastor of Shallow Well Church in Sanford, North Carolina, and an instructor at the Air Force Chaplain Corps College in Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Eric is a graduate of the Community College of the Air Force (AAS), Campbell University (AA, BA), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv), and Liberty University (D.Min). 

On bi-vocational ministry, he shares that "being a pastor helps me to be a better chaplain, and in turn being a chaplain helps me to be a better pastor." Eric loves to study the Bible and seeks to live out Colossians 1:10, which encourages followers of Jesus "to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (ESV). 

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Carter Thompson

Board Member

Carter is from Danville, Virginia but has lived in Durham for over 30 years.  She is married to Ralph and they have a son, Carl.

While working as an Administrative Assistant at Duke, she felt the Lord leading her to become a Christian Counselor.  She enrolled in an online program at Louisiana Baptist University, where she completed both her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Psychology and Christian Counseling.  


Ralph and Carter founded Emergency Chaplains in 2008 and she has served as our in-office Counselor since that time.  Carter has also been a volunteer counselor for Pregnancy Support Services in Durham, North Raleigh Ministries and 2nd Mile Ministry at Grey Stone Church.  Carter has been married to Ralph since 1986. They live in Durham with their son, Carl, and an amazing dog named Gracie.


Michael Perra

Board Secretary

Michael is co-owner of Cakes By Faith in Durham. He is currently working on an Associates Degree in Biblical Studies through Masters International School of Divinity. He is married to Edie and they have two daughters, Morgan and Skylar.

​His desire is to live a life that is pleasing to God and to introduce others to the life changing power of Jesus Christ. Some of Michael’s favorite Bible verses are Numbers 6:24-26, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 23:12 Mark 12:32-34 and 1Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.



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