After 22 years, Vitae Foundation President and founder, Carl Landwehr, will pass the presidential baton of this multi-million dollar not-for-profit media organization to Dr. Pat Castle, retiring Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. The transition will occur on June 1. Dr. Castle is the founder of another national pro-life organization – the National LIFE Runners Team. Landwehr will continue to work with Vitae utilizing his philanthropic and media abilities, but will no longer be the leader at the helm.
“I’ve been preparing for this transition for some time now, knowing it was time to turn over the reins to someone who has the heart and desire to continue the work of changing hearts and minds and making abortion unthinkable,” Landwehr stated. “I was fortunate to work with some pioneers in the pro-life arena dating back to 1974. The work of those courageous individuals helped shape Vitae into the organization it is today.”
Over the years, Landwehr and Vitae have received many public endorsements, from Gov. Mike Huckabee to Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. Highlights have also included hand-written notes of encouragement from Blessed Mother Teresa, President George H. W. Bush (41), and Poland’s former President Lech Walesa.
“This is the man (Walesa) who said: ‘It was in us, in our hearts and minds that something started that changed the face of this earth.’ That is how we felt in those early days of convincing people that media could be used to change a culture of death to a culture of life,” the Vitae president of 22 years stated.
The media strategies and the bedrock of research that make them effective have helped Vitae save thousands of women and their babies from the horror of abortion. The Vitae founder will continue as President Emeritus and work in the areas of Development and National Expansion. He will take Vitae’s message to new pockets of the United States while raising the needed funds for effective media campaigns that reach women in need. “You can’t completely retire from a cause as great as this,” Landwehr noted.
Vitae’s Board of Directors unanimously selected Pat Castle, Ph.D., after a nationwide search was conducted by a board-appointed Presidential Search Committee that included members of the board, donors and trustees. The committee worked for two years on the transition plan including the criteria for the next president and the nationwide search.
“The board is excited about Pat Castle as Vitae’s next president!” Vitae Board President, Pastor Tom Krause, stated. “We set high goals and sought a president with a big vision; who is passionate about life; and who is successful in other pro-life efforts. Pat has a proven record of effectiveness. His leadership style will be an asset to moving Vitae to the next level as a national leader in the pro-life movement.”
Dr. Castle is currently a Lieutenant Colonel and Medical Support Squadron commander at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. He will retire from the Air Force this May and is prepared to serve as the Vitae president.
“Being selected to serve as the next Vitae president is an opportunity to use my Pro-Life ministry leadership experiences, science research background, Air Force command, and all blessings to be given for the greatest of causes—defending God’s gift of Life,” Dr. Castle stated. “I’m blessed to be called to serve as the next Vitae Foundation president, to help Vitae reach even further with research-based media that changes hearts and minds for saving even more lives. With teamwork, we will stay the course to make and keep abortion unthinkable.”
After graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1993, Dr. Castle’s military service took him to Texas, California, Colorado, Turkey, Illinois, and South Dakota. In 2007 he co-founded LIFE Group Devotions; and then in 2008 the National LIFE Runners Team. LIFE Runners, with their 60+ chapters in 46 states and 10 foreign countries, has a membership of more than 1,800 runners and walkers ages 3 to 80. They pray and raise awareness and funds for Pregnancy Help Centers across America. An accomplished runner, Castle has finished 17 marathons. In 2010 he was named the Scott Air Force Base Athlete of the Year (out of 4,250). He is board president of the Rapid City Care Net Pregnancy Center and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for Vitae Foundation since 2012. Additionally Pat co-founded the national Law of Life Summit in 2012 which meets annually in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, Calif.
Already known on the national level in the pro-life arena, Dr. Castle has made a strong impression in just the past few years.
“Dr. Castle’s creative approach to combining the much-loved sport of running and training for marathons with his pro-life ideals has born tremendous fruit – for pro-life runners as well as mothers facing an unexpected pregnancy and their babies,” Jeanne F. Monahan, President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, stated.
“Pat is a faithful Roman Catholic who is also very ecumenical in his outreach. He brings much energy, enthusiasm and intelligence to whatever he does, whether that is his work with the United States Air Force, the Knights of Columbus, the LIFE Runners or other pro-life causes,” Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, noted.
“As I cross the country traveling to various pro-life speaking events—typically 18 per month—Pat’s name comes up often in conversation,” Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director and founder of And Then There Were None, stated. “He has made a large footprint in the movement with the National LIFE Runners organization, but many of us realize that he is actually just getting warmed up.”
Vitae’s new president-elect is thankful for this next opportunity in his life. “I want to give many thanks for the Vitae staff and board, especially founder Carl Landwehr for his true faith, big vision, and great work leading Vitae to be a nationally-recognized team that applies research-based messages for life-saving media,” Dr. Castle noted.
Also making the move to Jefferson City this summer with Pat will be his wife Angi, and daughters Paige and Grace.