Layne Pace - President
Mr. Pace currently is a Fire Battalion Chief for Orem Fire & Rescue in Orem Utah. He has proudly served his country and his community for over 37 years.
He has a combined 30 years of employment by the City of Orem-Department of Public Safety with ranks of Police Lieutenant and Fire Battalion Chief.
Mr. Pace currently is Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) with the 97th Aviation Troop Command, Utah Army National Guard. He has a combined 37 years of service. He was deployed to Kuwait in 2001-2002 and again deployed to Afghanistan in 2004-2005, serving as the Task Force Pirate Safety Officer (750 Soldier Task Force), Bagram Airfield Manager and AH-64 Apache Pilot for the 1/211th Aviation.
When not on duty, he would visit hospitals on base, bringing humanitarian aid to the children and their families. After learning of a village that had been especially hard hit during the Soviet-Afghan war, Layne organized a group of soldiers who wanted to help and began visiting this and other villages in and around Bagram, Afghanistan.
After the deployment, Layne founded the 501(c) 3 non-profit organization "The Afghan Orphan Project".
Layne's other assignments since returning from Afghanistan have been, 9-1-1 dispatch communications center Supervisor for the City of Orem, and Utah County Hazardous Materials, Special Response Team Supervisor.
He was recently called to serve as a Bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Mr. Pace lives in Orem, Utah with his wife Teresa. They have five children and 13 grandchildren.
Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, Shah was forced to flee to Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan war.
After graduating, Shah moved to New York, where he learned English and became a taxi driver and, later, a limousine driver.
Many of his clients traveled to and from the twin towers - he was at the base of one of the towers when the first aircraft struck on that fateful day. He witnessed first hand the terrible events that followed and assisted others in fleeing from the ensuing destruction.
Immediately following the events that transpired on 9/11, Shah was compelled to return to Afghanistan, working for the U.S Government as an interpreter.
While working in Afghanistan, Shah was given land by the Ministry of Social Work and Affairs and dedicated this land to build what will become the largest orphanage in Afghanistan.
He is returning to Afghanistan to oversee the construction of the orphanage and will be the director of the orphanage, upon completion.
Shah has been essential in bridging the cultural barriers between U.S./NATO military forces and the tribal leaders and government of Afghanistan.
Jill Stevens - Spokesperson
Jill Stevens is a medic in the 1/211th AVN, Utah Army National Guard. She recently returned from a year long tour of duty in Afghanistan, serving alongside Layne Pace and Jared Jones.
Jill treated not only U.S. soldiers, but Afghan men, women, and children. On her own time she would visit the Egyptian, Korean, and U.S. hospital, to assist and comfort those who were injured or ill.
She was instrumental in bridging the cultural barrier between soldiers and Afghans. In a country where women have little or no rights, Jill was a role model to the young women and children that she helped.
Since returning, Jill has won the title of Miss Utah 2007 as well as Miss Southern University of Utah 2006.
Jill Stevens is currently attending Southern University of Utah, where she is pursuing a bachelor in nursing. She hopes to bring laughter back into medicine by putting her costume collection into good work.
Amanda Yates - Administrative Assistant
Amanda is a graduate of Weber State University. She majored in Ultrasonography and minored in Radiography. She currently works for Jordan Valley Hospital and has been employed there for the past 12 years. Although she has an extensive background in the medical profession, she has had many experiences working with individuals, teams, Schools and corporations both as a Health Care professional and volunteer.
She continues to be active in Weber State University's programs as a mentor and student coordinator for students currently enrolled within the Ultrasound program. She has also had the opportunity to present a brief overview of Radiology and its required prerequisites to classes within the local school district and youth groups within the area. In addition, she assists a local elementary school with the education curriculum and regularly works with the Schools Administrative teams in creating successful reading programs.
Amanda was initially exposed to the benefits of the war after Layne Pace returned home from Afghanistan following a military assignment. Upon discovering TAO Projects' objectives and goals regarding the Afghan children and families, Amanda was intrigued by the benefits it provided and became intent on assisting the team in accomplishing its overall goals.