About Us

The Defender Foundation is an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit organization working within the realm of anti-human trafficking.  We provide such services as Public Awareness, Prevention, Victim Services (including rescue, shelter and rehabilitation), as well as assistance with Prosecution of the criminals who are profiteering from the criminal sexual exploitation of children. We distinguish ourselves by being one of the only anti-human trafficking organizations in the U.S. that has trained retrieval teams (Shield Teams) standing by.  These retrieval teams are comprised of current and ex-law enforcement and military personnel, along with others who possess unique skill sets which make them valuable assets in the identification, retrieval and protection of potential human trafficking victims.

About Our Board

We are composed of a Board reflecting various dynamics and skills all working together in furtherance of a united mission.

  • Dan Benedict is the Executive Director and Founder of The Defender Foundation. Dan is over the Shield Team side, while guiding the overall organization as Founder. Dan, has served in the U.S. Army, has had extensive experience in business and has a well-rounded world experience portfolio.
  • David Vartanian is the Senior Vice Chair and has an extensive history of volunteer service and crisis youth assistance. He is the Head Volunteer with Builder’s Care, the charity arm of the Northeast Florida Builder’s Association (NEFBA).
  • Pastors Aaron and Suzette Maners fill positions as Vice President and Secretary of the Board. The Maners served as pastors Canvas Church in Orange Park, FL, a dynamic church that challenged people to rethink church. Pastor Aaron had also had a contingent of Canvas Church CERT team certified and wass on the Clay County’s disaster relief resources. Pastor Aaron now has a dynamic ministry as a traveling Minister and Evangelist.
  • Soren Brockdorf serves as Treasurer; is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner who has had family in Jacksonville since the 40s.  He has experience as a Supreme Court Certified Family & County Mediator, State Certified Building Contractor, Florida Certified Sales Tax Auditor, and was accredited in Business Valuations by the AICPA.  Soren’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Florida, and his MBA is from the Florida State University. Soren has also worked for both the Clay County and Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office.
  • Don Love, head of Protocol Investigations Services serves as Sgt at Arms and head of Investigations. Don has assisted in tracking and retrieval of Human Trafficking Victims worldwide, with decades of experience as an Investigator.
  • Dr. Frank Kalas, Phd. (Captain, USN, ret.), serves as Adviser to Logistics and Operations.

Stay tuned for updated bios for each person on our Board.

We also have an Oversight Committee of Non-Defender Foundation members consisting of business professionals, ministers and law enforcement professionals who review all Shield Team cases every three months minimum.

At this time, no one involved with the Defender Foundation is paid or receives funds for their services; everyone serves as a volunteer.  As we initiate funding initiatives, we hope to bring on some paid staff members in order to ensure continuity of services; however, The Defender Foundation will always be structured as a volunteer-driven organization.

It is the stated GOAL of The Defender Foundation that every rescue results in a prosecution. The human trafficking problem will not be overcome by a single prosecution nor one lone mission, but it is our opinion, that one victim is worth every effort it took to rescue him/her, and that every single victim is a furtherance of the cause.  However, with every rescue a potential prosecution of a Trafficker is made possible, and we work to help aid these prosecutions whenever possible, so long as it does not interfere with the safety of an identified victim.  Victim safety is always our first priority in every rescue situation.

Contact Info

The Defender Foundation, Inc. USA.

2220 County Road 210 West

Suite 108-157

Jacksonville, FL 32259



General Information: info@thedefenderfoundation.org

Webmaster: admin@thedefenderfoundation.org


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