Cody Rials-moved to Advisory Board
Cody is a native of Monroe, LA, and is married to Elizabeth Jaubert, also a native of Monroe, LA. He is a graduate of the then Northeast Louisiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, and he is a graduate of LSU’s Paul Hebert School of Law with a Juris doctorate and Bachelor of Civil Law. Cody is an attorney with the local law firm of Dimos, Brown, Erskine, Burkett, and Garner, LLP. His areas of practice include personal injury, real estate, corporate law, and disability law. Cody and his wife are members of Lea Joyner Memorial United Methodist Church in Monroe. In his spare time, he enjoys anything outdoors, and he is an avid hunter and fisherman.
Antoinette Rodgers Hoard
Antoinette Hoard is a native of Rayville, LA but now resides in Monroe, LA along with her husband Darrell Hoard. They have two boys Jamal and Treylen. As a family, spending time together as a family is very important. The connection with Families Helping Families happened eight years ago when she wanted to know more information about serving children with disabilities in their facilities.Antoinette is employed with Volunteers of America as the Program Director for the Twin Cities Early Head Start program. She earned her Bachelor of Social work from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She has many certifications in Early Childhood and is also a Certified Pathways trainer. She is a member of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Monroe, LA . In her spare time she enjoys shopping, reading, and talking to friends and family.
Suzanne Riggs-moved to Advisory Board
Suzanne Barrios Riggs, a native of Delhi and a graduate of Baylor University, is a long-time resident of West Monroe where she and her late husband, Donny, made their home and became parents of two sons, Donald, Jr., (Chip) and Jordan Riggs. Chip, his wife, Emily, and their three children, Jackson, TJ and Lilly, currently reside in Atlanta, GA. Jackson was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (a developmental disorder caused by a deletion of the short arm of the 4th chromosome) which has inspired Suzanne’s special interest in children with disabilities and Families Helping Families. She has seen personally how families have to fight for the rights of their children with special needs especially in the areas of specialized medical care and educational opportunities. Suzanne’s younger son, Jordy, lives in Ruston, LA, with his three children, Jordan, Josh, and Julianne. He recently married, Julie, who brings three more delightful grandchildren into the Riggs family. Suzanne currently serves as vice president of Trenton Society, and is a former member of the Cancer Foundation League, a member of First Baptist Church of West Monroe and the Vota Vita L.I.F.E Group. Suzanne also volunteers in several ministries of the church. Reading, traveling and enjoying her grandchildren are her favorite activities.
Karl Kaufman-moved to Advisory Board
Karl, with his family, resides in West Monroe, LA. Karl and wife, Lori Ann, have two delightful children, Gary and BritniAnn. Karl is a Physical Therapist at Melanie Massey Physical Therapy in West Monroe. He is actively involved as a member of First Baptist Church of West Monroe through LIFE Group Ministry and Men’s group ministry and anything else his wife might volunteer him for! In the Spring of 2008, Karl joined forces with Families Helping Families. He enjoys running and his family has been instrumental in supporting the St. Jude Hospital through Team Jake at the Memphis Marathon in memory of Jake Raborn. Karl and his family enjoy being together and sharing with other families. Involvement in discipleship and sharing in the Lord’s Word is a priority in their home. Karl’s life verse of 1 Peter 4:10 is evident in his personal life and in his professional life: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Pat Cranford-moved to Advisory Board
Pat and Jimmy Cranford are the parents of Kitty and Josh. Josh is an adult and lives independently in the community. He has cerebral palsy. Pat was involved with the Developmental Disabilities Council when Families Helping Families was established and have supported the organization since its beginning. As a family, they feel strongly that parents need that “connection” that only another parent can give. That is why she is involved with Families Helping Families.Pat has been employed by Graphic Packaging (Riverwood International) for the past 35 years. She has also been very involved in the community through the following activities: former Ouachita Parish Special Education Advisory Council, former Blind/Deaf State Advisory Council, former Developmental Disabilities Council Vice-Chair and Chair, LaCAN member, State Families Helping Families Board, ARCO Board of Directors – President, Vice President and current Secretary, teaches a First Grade Sunday School Class at Cedar Crest Baptist Church and serves on the Ladies Ministry Team. She and Jimmy especially enjoy entertaining their grandchildren, Noah, Anna Beth, and Emily.
Chris DeWitt – Chair
Chris is a native of Monroe and a graduate of St. Frederick High School and LSU-Shreveport with a degree in Elementary Education. Chris taught at Cope Middle School in Bossier City before moving back to Monroe, and now teaches part-time at River Oaks School. She has been married to Gary DeWitt for over 20 years and they have 3 sons: Cole, Tucker and Cooper. The DeWitts became connected with Families Helping Families in 2000 after the birth of Tucker, who has Down Syndrome. She and her family are members of First United Methodist Church in Monroe. Chris spends her time being a wife, mommy, teacher and volunteer. In her spare time (sitting in the mini-van or the bleachers), she enjoys reading.
Henry currently works for LATAN. He completed a bachelor’s degree in Finance/Economics at Northeast Louisiana University. Henry has 10 years experience in the non-profit field (disability resources/Assistive technology) and has given many presentations on topics such as Assistive Technology in the Classroom and Reduced Interest Loan Programs. He has also written newspaper articles about the Americans with Disabilities Act and Universal Design/Universal Access and developed multi-million dollar programs. Henry has presented college classroom lectures at the University of Louisiana Monroe on the general subjects of Assistive Technology and the Emotional Impact of Disabilities, and also conducted radio and television interviews on subjects related to Assistive technology. He has worked untiringly to disseminate important information about services and supports available to people with disabilities in Louisiana. He currently serves on The Statewide Independent Living Council, Twin Cities Mayor’s Committee for the Disabled, Families Helping Families of Northeast Louisiana Board, and participates in several other disability related councils, committees and boards.
John E. Wilson
John is retired from the United States Army and Rayville High School. He served in various positions in the Army. A Louisiana Native, he began his career by enlisting in the Regular Army in June 1964 after graduating from the Franklin Parish Training School in Winnsboro, LA. He also attended the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Maryland. During his active military career, he has served mainly in Vietnam, Alaska, Germany, and the United States Virgin Islands. After his retirement from active duty, he was a JROTC Instructor at Rayville High School.He is married to Angie Jackson-Wilson, and their youngest son Justin has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. He is a member of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, where he serves as co-chair of the Hospitality Committee. In addition he is involved with other civic organizations including the American Legion, Veteran of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.
Brenda P. Mason
Brenda is married to Kenneth Mason. She has two children, Kenneth and Brelynn and one grandchild, Brennan. Brenda has been a citizen of Monroe all her life. She acquired her educational background from Monroe City Schools System. Her career experiences includes NICU, HomeHealth, and the School based Clinic at Carroll Jr. High. Currently, Brenda is employed with St. Francis Healthy Kids Clinic. In the 22 years working at St. Francis, Brenda has mainly worked as an administrative Tech. Presently, her position at St. Francis is a Patient Access Associate. Holding a position on the Board is such a great opportunity for her. As a member on the Board she can lend her knowledge towards the issues that may come before the Board and also gain insight of the issues that are affecting families in our community.
Lynn Wilson is a native of LaSalle Parish but has been a resident of West Monroe since 1988. He and his wife, Donna, have three sons Josh, Justin and Jacob. He graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe with a degree in Clinical Laboratory Science and also obtained a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences Management from LSU. Lynn has been employed at E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe since 1988, both in the clinical laboratory and for the past 6 years as the Assistant Hospital Administrator. Other community activities that Lynn is or has been involved with include serving on G.B. Cooley’s Human Rights Board, mentor in the Ouachita Parish Juvenile Drug Court program, West Monroe Dixie Youth baseball and football programs, United Way Heart Walk, Susan Komen Race for the Cure among others. The Wilson family have been members of Cedar Crest Southern Baptist Church since moving to West Monroe where Lynn has served as deacon, Sunday School leader, and on various committees. Since 2009, Lynn has spent at least one week each year participating in pastor and church leader training in the European country of Bulgaria. He is an avid sports fan of all types, loves to read and work in his yard. “FHF is a tremendous community resource. They have assisted my family directly in the past by providing some special playground equipment for my son with special needs. Any way that I may assist the mission of this organization is my pleasure. I am honored to be associated with FHF”.
bio to come …
Deanne Groves would like to see all persons treated with dignity, respect and person centeredness. In her prior career as a social services professional, she learned from individuals she met to appreciate and not be afraid of differences between us. She also learned that all persons want to receive affection, feel useful, and be respected. Through interactions with persons with disabilities, Deanne has gained a richer, deeper gratitude of life and the little successes a day can bring.
Deanne grew up in Monroe and now makes her home in West Monroe with her husband and two yappy Doxies. She is in her second career encouraging persons to record and save their life stories. She loves spending time playing tennis, attending church activities and playing with her grandson.
A native of Richland Parish, Philip received his Bachelor Degree from ULM in 2001. In May of 2007, he earned a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center, where he graduated cum laude. He was admitted to practice law in October of that same year. Philip is a member of the 4th Judicial District and Louisiana State Bar Associations. Additionally, Philip is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana and is a licensed title agent for Continental Title Agency, Inc. Philip married a native of Monroe, Elizabeth Sparks. Philip and his wife Elizabeth have two beautiful daughters, Sarah – age 6 & Meme – age 3. Philip is a former president of the Downtown Monroe Lions Club and serves on the board of Greater Ouachita Water Company.