About Us

Our History

Miracle Travel Works was founded in September 2010 by a group of close friends who witnessed firsthand the financial difficulties experienced by family and good friends as they attempted to cope with their childrens’ terminal and chronic illnesses. We realized the great need that these, and many other, families have and we also realized that we can do more than just make a small donation. For this reason we formed Miracle Travel Works to ask for your help, too. Together, we can help even more families through their difficult times.



Nate, Joy, Linda, and Kiley



Matt and Travis



Trish (and husband Dan)


Aaron Horn




Sue (and husband John)



Joe (and father Jim)


Our Mission

Our Mission from Miracle Travel Works on Vimeo.

Who We Are

Miracle Travel Works was founded in 2010 by a small group of friends and family members, and has been growing ever since. Everyone associated with MTW completely volunteers their time to help this great cause. We currently consist of a Board of Directors with 7 members, and a few other dedicated volunteers, and are always looking for more volunteers!

Our current board members and officers are:

  • Nathan Burk (Vice President, co-Founder) – Nate graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He works as a Risk Management Consultant at INTL FCStone where he helps originate feedstocks and manage risk for renewable fuel plants. He is married to Joy Burk and has three daughters, Breslyn (6months), Tiernan (6 months) and Ellerson (2). Nate and his family reside in Ankeny, IA.
  • Matthew Patitz (President, co-Founder) – Matt earned his B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science from Iowa State University, then spent 5 years working as a software engineer in Redwood City, CA. He returned to Iowa State and spent the next 5 years earning his Ph.D. in theoretical Computer Science. He is now an assistant professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where his research is focused on algorithmic self-assembly and natural computing. He is married to Andrea Patitz and has two daughters, Josie and Vivi.
  • Patricia (Trish) Patitz (Treasurer) -Trish graduated from the University of Missouri, Kansas City with a B.S. in Accounting, then earned a C.P.A. and held various positions in middle and top financial/accounting management for both private and public companies during her career. She and her husband Dan retired to a home on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri in 2014.
  • Jennifer Castenson – Jennifer serves as director of thought leadership content at Hanley Wood. Previously she served as VP of Marketing for Organized Living and in various marketing roles at other global and national nonprofits such as Easter Seals Work Resource Center and Society of Petroleum Engineers. Jennifer graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in public relations and a B.A. in Spanish.
  • Sue Kmet (secretary) – Sue earned her Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics with minors in Aviation Safety and Business Administration, as well as her Master’s in Business Management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She also holds certifications in Aviation/Aerospace Safety, a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR), a Global Professional of Human Resources (GPHR) and an OSHA Training Certificate. As for outside the classroom, she has an extensive background in Human Resources, Business and Management.
    In an effort to serve her community, she served as President of the Board of Directors for Bras for the Cause, set on the Foundation Board for Eyerly Ball Mental Health Facilities and is a voting member, representing employers, for the Iowa Workforce Development Board.
    She is married to her husband of 32 years, John, and enjoys spending time with their family, relaxing at Lake of the Ozarks and traveling.
  • Aaron Horn – Aaron earned his degrees in Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurial Studies from Iowa State University.  Aaron is the Director of IT for the Iowa Interstate Railroad in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and serves as Board President of three nonprofits (BeatCancerToday.org, CandlelightersNYC.org, and Newbo.co) in addition to serving on the board for Men’s Style Lab and Miracle Travel Works.  Aaron’s oldest son Eli (www.elihorn.com) battled cancer for four and a half years and the Horns were beneficiaries of MTW while they traveled back and forth between Iowa and New York for Eli’s treatments.  Aaron understands firsthand the valuable service that MTW provides families like his.
  • Stephanie Kennebeck – Stephanie is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center. She has worked at CCHMC since 2002 as a Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician. She is board certified in both Pediatrics and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She is the physician director of the Electronic Health Record for the CCHMC emergency services group. Her research interests include, biomedical informatics, interplay between human factors and the electronic health record, and family centered care. She is also the mother of three children, Allison, Madelyn and Ryan, and wife of Greg Kennebeck.

Our previous board members:

  • Travis Burk (co-Founder) – Travis graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, then went on to get a Law degree at the University of Iowa. He has primarily practiced personal injury law in Kansas, and recently moved back to Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Joe Burk – Joe earned a B.S. from Iowa State University, a Masters in Natural Sciences from Hamline University, and PhD. in Educational Leadership from Capella University. Joe has been a high school science teacher in South St. Paul, MN for 14 years and is happy to work with a group that helps children. Joe and his wife Nikki’s second son, Ethan, was in the NICU for 10 weeks and they understand the stress that comes from having a sick child and spending a lot of time away from home.
  • Joy Burk – Joy graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and received her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in Curriculum and Instruction. She has taught elementary education for 8 years in Iowa and Arizona.
  • Linda Burk – Linda graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Education and received her master’s degree from Viterbo College in Education. She has taught business education and technology classes for 35 years at the high school, middle school, and college levels.
  • Kiley Skadburg – Kiley graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in Public Relations and a focus on Journalism and Marketing. She has 7+ years working in the advertising industry and currently works at Two Rivers Marketing, where she serves as an Account Executive for a global business-to-business client. Kiley is also actively involved in the Junior League of Des Moines, AAF of Des Moines and St. Boniface Catholic Church.