Meet Our New Team Members

The success of any organization is its team members. Blue Watch is happy to announce the addition of three key leadership positions.

Manuel Zarate, Director of Leadership Development
Manuel is responsible for directing all aspects of leadership training and mentoring. He has traveled the world extensively serving others in more than 30 countries. His audience includes leaders and thinkers of society. Manuel has a passion to help others enhance their thinking and leading abilities so they can succeed professionally without destroying their personal, family and spiritual life in the process. He has addressed men and women from the business, educational, political, military and entertainment industries at Zacharias Trust in India; War College of Columbia, S.A.; CASI Club of Argentina; and Mennonite Club of Canada. Manuel has coached many individuals and organizations from all walks of life including the Columbian National Police and police officers in Alabama. He has a PhD in Organizational Leadership and Entrepreneurship from Regent University; a master’s degree in Philosophy and Theology from Biola University; and a BA in Communication and Biblical Theology from Moody Bible Institute. He is a certified Professional Coach with the Lifeforming Leadership Coaching group in Virginia Beach, VA. Manuel and his wife live in Birmingham and are the proud parents of three grown sons.

Karen Harrington, Director of Hospitality
Karen is responsible for the supervision and coordination of greeters and volunteers at all Blue Watch events. When people arrive at an event, the first thing they want to see is a happy smiling face, and that is exactly what they will get. Her smile and bubbly and infectious personality makes her a natural for this job. Passion for first responders comes natural to Karen. Her father is a retired firefighter from Birmingham and retired Leeds Fire Chief with 40 years of combined service. Karen is happily married to her husband Bill and the proud mom to her son Jay, an investigator with the 7 th Judicial Circuit Major Crimes Unit in Anniston. She is a retired preschool teacher and now enjoys doing all the things she never had time to do. Karen attends Shades Mountain Baptist Church.

Debbie Smith, Director of Communications
Debbie is responsible for the creation the monthly newsletters and other Blue Watch communications. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business and has worked in the communications, training and multi-media fields for 29 years. Debbie is a Senior Communications and Multi-media Specialist at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama in the Corporate Communications Department. She also works part time at her church, Westwood Baptist in Alabaster, creating church communication pieces. Debbie lives in Alabaster and stays very busy raising five children. 

Blue Watch Announces Fall Conference

Our Second Annual Leadership Summit is scheduled for Tuesday, October 22. It will be hosted by Jefferson State Community College at their Shelby Campus on Valleydale Road. We already have a great lineup of speakers. Look for more details that will be coming soon!

To make events such as this possible, it takes community support! If you or someone you know would like to donate to this effort, contact Burke Swearingen.
Auburn Police Receive Copies of “Winning a Gunfight”
Many of you know about the tragic events that happened with the Auburn Police Department this year. On February 15, Officer Justin Sanders was critically wounded when he was shot and left for dead on the side of the road before being rescued by a fellow officer. Then on May 19, Officers Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliot were wounded and Officer William Buechner killed when they responded to a domestic call. Few agencies experience so much tragedy in such a short period.

Recently, Blue Watch sent copies of the book “Winning a Gunfight” to Auburn officers. As you may recall, Tim Rupp, the speaker at our spring conference is the book’s author. Tim does an outstanding job of addressing the emotional and spiritual aspects of gun battle so officers not only know what it is to survive but to win a gunfight. The book concludes about how to truly win by having a relationship with Christ.

Please join me in praying for the Auburn Police Department.