How could you find your loved ones, if a national disaster struck? What resources would you have, just to hear their voice and to know they’re ok?   In a world that revolves on instant responses, not being able to get answers on your loved ones can result in the worst time of your life.

Mark V Cerney, Old Boy 1986, is the founder and President of the nonprofit organization, Next of Kin Registry, (NOKR) which is a free resource for the public to register emergency contact information that is only accessible to emergency agencies.  NOKR has over 3,800 volunteers in 50 states and 87 countries to assist when a disaster happens.  Some of the recognized disasters include Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, 2017 Las Vegas shooting to the 2020 Australian fires and currently the Coronavirus Epidemic out of China. NOKR truly emphasizes on daily emergencies, traffic accidents, house fires a missing person.  Over 400 million people have registered in the Next of Kin Registry. 

“It takes many hands to do this work”, stated Mark. Neil Therrien, Old Boy 1986 has been a member of the NOKR military campaign for over 13 years, and John Hill, who attended SJMS, was part of Hurricane Katrina efforts.  Hill was interviewed by Larry King on CNN.

Mark, who resides in California, spends a good portion of his time in Washington DC at FEMA/DHS. NOKR’s CEO is Michael DeWayne Brown who served as the first undersecretary of Emergency Preparedness and Response (FEMA), a division of the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush. NOKR has partnered with Google, Microsoft, the American Red Cross, United States Postal Service and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to name a few. The NOKR was introduced to the 109th Congress as a reference and model resource for Homeland Security and indexed into the library of congress when endorsed by then Senator Obama now former US President, S.1630 – National Emergency Family Locator Act.

The NOKR model is also used by many state Department of Motor Vehicles in the United States. These states have opted to create legislation and use an in state only version of the Next of Kin Registry, South Carolina, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Nevada and Ohio.

Mark stated, “This organization was founded to solve a problem, to assist families.  I have really been blessed to meet and help so many families in dealing with lives across the world.  We need to be proactive, not reactive, when a disaster happens.  The key is self – preparedness.”
Mark graduated from St. John’s, and enlisted in the US Marine Corp and served Honorably with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force 3rd Battalion 1st Marines from 1986-1993. In 1989 the United States Navy Amphibious Forces Seventh Fleet recognized him for his role in saving 16 U.S. Marines survivors of a CH-53D helicopter crash in Korea. Mr. Cerney also served Honorably in the United States Army National Guard as a combat medic from 1994-1997.
Mark, and his wife, Kerri Jo, have four children.