Jerry T. Haag, Ph.D., CFP®


Dr. Jerry Haag serves as President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart and The Porch Light. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University and earned a Ph.D. in finance and real estate in 1995 from the University of Texas at Arlington. He served from 1995 to 1997 as an assistant professor at Fort Hays State University in Hays, KS, where he was named the Mortar Board Top Professor in 1995 and 1996. From 1997 to 1998, he taught at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, before joining Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham as administrative pastor from 1998-2000. He also has corporate work experience with AT&T and is a Certified Financial Planner. From 2000-2007, Dr. Haag served as President and CEO of the South Texas Children’s Home in Beeville.

In 2007, Dr. Haag joined the staff at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes as the ninth president in the 110-year history of the Homes. During his tenure as president, he has led efforts that expanded the number of ministry sites from nine to 22 locations across Florida, launched a successful international childcare ministry to help children in countries around the world and established numerous partnerships with churches and nonprofit organizations. These efforts have increased the number of children and families served by more than 900 percent.

Dr. Haag has been appointed by both Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott to serve on the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council, which serves as a formal policy council to the governor and the Florida legislature and is administered by the Governor’s Office of Adoption and Child Protection. He chaired the Child Welfare Workgroup Subcommittee. Dr. Haag serves as a member of the Citizen Review Panel for Florida Department of Children and Families, which was formed as mandated by the Federal Child Abuse and Treatment Act of 1996. He also chaired the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) National Foster Care Initiative – Faith and Foster Care Research Team.

In summer 2009, Dr. Haag was selected to participate in a special summer seminar on Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy, sponsored by the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University. The seminar focused on how beliefs, values and lifestyles affect economic and political developments worldwide, with special attention paid to the role of religion in world affairs. Participants for the seminar were selected from leaders in academia, government, religious institutions, media and nongovernmental organizations, both from the United States and foreign countries.

Dr. Haag has led and participated in humanitarian aid, emergency relief, child care and ministry to children and families in countries around the world. He has preached in churches across Florida and Texas. He and his wife, Christi, also speak at marriage and family seminars.

Additionally, he has authored, presented and published academic articles relating to his business expertise and has been honored several times for his business, professional and civic achievements. He was named an Outstanding Young Alumnus by the Baylor Alumni Association in 2005. He was named Baylor University’s Vice President for University Development in 2011, where he served before returning as President of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Dr. Haag and his wife live in Lakeland, Florida, where Christi is a popular speaker with “Women of Purpose Speak.” Their eldest son, Ben, lives and works in Dallas Texas, and their youngest son, Brady, attends Baylor University. They are members of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland.

Stephen Robert

Vice President of Church Relations and Strategic Operations

Stephen Robert serves as the Vice President of Church Relations and Strategic Operations. In this role, Stephen’s duties include encouraging and providing opportunities for the body of Christ to engage in orphan care domestically and internationally. Previously, Stephen served as Florida’s Baptist Children’s Homes Area Administrator for Central and South Florida and began his ministry as Central Florida’s Director of Development.

Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 2010, Stephen worked in the furniture industry for 10 years. He was the General Manager for an independently owned Badcock & More furniture dealership overseeing multiple retail store locations.

Stephen graduated from Florida State University with a degree in economics and earned a master’s degree in Christian studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Stephen has been ordained into the Gospel Ministry by his home church, Plant City’s First Baptist Church.

He and his wife, Laura, have four children, Rileigh, Landen, Hannah, and Micah and they reside in Lakeland, FL.

To contact Stephen Robert:
1015 Sikes Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone 863.687.8811

Katy Martin

Vice President of Communications

Katy Martin has been with Florida Baptist Children’s Homes since August 2013 and oversees the organization’s branding and communications strategies, media relations, collateral development, website communications and more. She has more than 11 years of experience in public relations and marketing and is a graduate of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Prior to joining the team, she was employed at Lakeland Regional Medical Center where she was the social media and communications manager.

Katy’s first job in the field was working as a Public Information Officer for the Polk County Emergency Management Division, where she was integral in the county’s crisis communications recovery initiatives during Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jean. During her time with the county, she also produced and hosted a show called Dateline Polk, which aired bi-monthly on Polk Government Television.

Pursuing her accreditation in public relations, Katy is Past President of the Dick Pope/Polk County chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association and in 2013 was awarded the chapter’s Professional of the Year award for her contributions to the profession. In 2014, she was recognized as President of the Year at the state level for her achievements in leading the chapter’s initiatives.

Katy has been married to Clint since 2006, and they have two children, Lila and Carter. Katy is involved in the children’s ministries of her church at Trinity Presbyterian in Lakeland, and she is passionate about communicating messages that will help change the lives of children who have been abandoned, neglected and abused.

Katy has a heart for international missions and recently became a Women of Compassion member to help touch the lives and change the hearts of “the least of these.”

All media inquiries should be directed to Katy Martin at 863.687.8811 (office) or 863.608.1050 (mobile).

Averitt Ennis

Vice President of Development

As Vice President of Development at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart and The Porch Light, Averitt serves as the chief fundraising strategist to help meet the needs of children and families throughout Florida and the developing world through philanthropy. His passion is to ensure our organizations remain fiscally strong and continue to meet our goal of always helping one more child.

A graduate from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in medical record administration and a master’s degree in health sciences, Averitt has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership.

Prior to joining FBCH, Averitt was employed by Orlando Health where he was Vice President within their Foundation and provided oversight for the capital campaign, annual fund program, donor relationships and policy development. He is noted for his visionary, effective and results-driven leadership. Averitt was instrumental in the development of the Orlando Health Foundation’s vision and mission, and he is a known mentor in philanthropy throughout the Southeast.

Averitt is a graduate of the Fund Raising School of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University where he received a certificate in fundraising management. Prior to taking on the Vice President role at the Orlando Health Foundation, he served as the Capital Campaign Director and the Development Director.

Averitt is a member at First Baptist Church Windermere. He and his wife, Renee, have three daughters: Whitney, Kristen and Sarah.

Averitt believes his role at FBCH is a unique way to love and serve those in the most vulnerable positions and to be the hands and feet of Christ.

To contact Averitt Ennis:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Kim Bedwell

Vice President of Finance and Administration

Kim Bedwell is the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and had the honor of being one of only two students selected from the United States to be an accounting intern for a semester in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  After graduation, Kim worked for this same firm – which is one of the Big Four — in their Chicago and Atlanta offices.  In addition to Big Four accounting experience, she also has over 10 years of public and private accounting experience and has performed compliance, attestation, internal audit, income and sales tax services for individuals and organizations during the course of her career in Texas, Mississippi and Florida.

Kim has been married to Mark since 1997. Mark is the Senior Pastor at Ardella Baptist Church in Lakeland, Florida.  Mark and Kim have led youth camps around the world including South Korea, Hawaii and New Mexico.  They have two teenage children, Christian and Shelby, and are currently hosting Abby, an exchange student from China.

To contact Kim Bedwell:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Ron Gunter

Vice President of International Childcare

Ron currently serves as Vice President of International Childcare for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and coordinates the work of Orphan’s Heart. Ron was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and grew up in Clarksville, TN, where he received his bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay State University. In 1989, he received his master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.

Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 2008, Ron served as a Southern Baptist pastor in Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. He and his wife, Cynthia, and their three sons, Samuel, Lee and Andrew, served with the International Mission Board in Eastern Europe. Ron was the Strategy Associate for the Central Europe Field, overseeing work in Romania, Hungary, Moldova, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. After returning from the mission field, Ron served with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, first as Regional Associate for the Greater Houston Area, and then as COO/Associate Executive Director.

To contact Ron:
P.O. Box 8190
Lakeland, FL 33802
Phone: 863.577.4488

Pam Whitaker, Ed.D., LMHC

Vice President of Programs

In 1999, Dr. Whitaker joined Florida Baptist Children’s Homes as the Director of Campus Ministries and later served as the Central Florida Administrator. She is currently the Vice President of Programs where she oversees the various program operations throughout the agency, ensuring excellence in the delivery of services to children, families, volunteers and other community partners. Prior to her work at FBCH, Dr. Whitaker worked at Peace River Center for 11 years serving as a Therapist/Coordinator for children and adolescents in the residential psychiatric services center. She has worked with children and families in crisis for the past 30 years.

Dr. Whitaker has received a Bachelor’s of Science (B.S.) in Social Work from Florida Southern College, earned a Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Counseling Education  from the University of South Florida, and holds an Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.)  from Nova Southeastern University, majoring in Organizational Leadership with a minor in Conflict Resolution. Dr. Whitaker has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 1997 and is a Qualified Supervisor for counselors seeking licensure.

For the past 15 years, Dr. Whitaker has served as the 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School Teacher at Kathleen Baptist Church, Lakeland, Florida. She also active in assisting the homeless through the church ministry and also works in the church nursery. Married to Gary Whitaker since 1986, they have an adult daughter, Tierney.

Dr. Whitaker is passionate about bringing creative, Christ-centered services to children and families in need and reaching the “least of these.”

To contact Dr. Whitaker:
1015 Sikes Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811 or 863.577.4468

Don Whitman

Don Whitman

Vice President of Properties

Don Whitman is the Vice President of Properties at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes where he oversees the timely, efficient and effective construction of new facilities across the state to serve children, as well as the maintenance and renovation projects for all existing assets. In his role, he is the point person for those desiring to give additional property and assets to enhance and expand the ministry of FBCH.

Don attended Auburn University, and spent a brief period working for the F.B.I. He later went on to work in the insurance industry for 26 years where he was promoted to senior management at his company in Lakeland, Florida – the youngest to be awarded this position at that time. Don has completed all the course work for the Certified Financial Consultant Designation and received the Chartered Life Underwriter Designation from The American College.

Don later took an early retirement and became part owner and CFO of Alabama Medical Services, Inc., a regional durable medical equipment supplier headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama.  Upon returning to Florida in 1997, Don founded several private companies, became a consultant to the DME industry and made private investments.

Previously, Don served as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes and chairman of the Orphan’s Heart committee. He is currently the managing member of AgriQuip LLC, AgriQuip Services LLC and Athens Land Company LLC.

Don has a private pilot license and enjoys flying, fishing and hunting.  Most of all, Don enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, their children and grandchildren.

Melissa Poole

Administrator of North Florida

Melissa Poole has been back at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes as the North Florida Administrator since January of 2013. She previously worked for the Children’s Homes for eight years as the Director of Community Ministries. Melissa has been a Certified Behavior Analyst in the state of Florida since 1993 and has also been a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida since 1995. Additionally, she is a qualified supervisor for counselors seeking licensure. Melissa has more than 20 years of experience, working with children, youth and families in crisis and has received specialized training in trauma-informed care as well as infant mental health. Melissa is a member of Chets Creek Church and volunteers in both the preschool and children ministries there. She has been married to Ray Poole since 1991 and has a young daughter, Hannah, a stepson, Blake, and two grandsons, Addison and Colton.

Melissa is a wonderful speaker and topics for your group include: Trauma Informed Care (effects of abuse and neglect on children/youth), Infant Mental Health, Discipline/Behavior Modification, Emotional and Spiritual Needs of Children, Adoption-Related Issues, Foster Parenting, Volunteer Opportunities on FBCH campuses

To contact Melissa Poole:
2300 Bartram Road
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
Phone: 904.721.2711

Jonathan Hasel

Administrator of Panhandle

Jonathan Hasel returned to the Children’s Homes as Panhandle Administrator in November of 2013. He had previously worked for five years with the Children’s Homes. Jonathan received a bachelor’s degree in Family and Child Sciences from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Human Services and Executive Leadership from Liberty University. Jonathan has worked and supervised in various child welfare fields, including foster care recruitment and licensing, adoptions and residential services. Jonathan is a member of Thomasville Road Baptist Church, where he leads the children’s worship ministry. Jonathan is married to Melissa (Missy) and they have two children, Hailey and Westin.

Speaking Topics: Foster Parenting and Adoption, Residential/Group Care, FBCH Campus Volunteer Opportunities

Vickie Belcher

Administrator of Statewide Programs

Vickie Belcher joined the ministry of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in 1999. For more than eleven years, she served as the residential counselor for the Lakeland Campus — providing for the therapeutic needs of the children and families served. She transitioned into a role with the state office in 2011 as a programs analyst, working to research and develop new program expansion across the state while enhancing existing programs for FBCH. She worked closely with the Vice President of Programs, and in 2014, Vickie assumed a new role within Florida Baptist Children’s Homes ministry as the Administrator of Statewide Programs.

In her role, Vickie provides oversight for statewide programs including The Porch Light, adoption services and Caring Families. Vickie is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Florida and is a qualified supervisor for counselors seeking licensure. Vickie has more than 20 years of experience working with children, youth and families in crisis. She has received specialized training working with young children, obtaining credentials as a Registered Play Therapist, and she is certified as an Adoption Competent Professional. Vickie is a member of First Baptist Church in Fort Meade and volunteers and teaches in both the preschool and children ministries there. She has been married to her husband since 1988 and they have three children, two biological sons and an adopted daughter.

To contact Vickie Belcher:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Angel Bates

Director of Church Relations

Angel Bates has known from the age of eight that she would grow up to serve children in need. She graduated from Nova University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and taught underprivileged children in elementary school, as well as children with special needs, for 20 years. During that tenure, Angel served as a classroom and district resource teacher, helping others in the profession rise to their full potential. Angel was also the recipient of the Chappie James Most Promising Teacher Scholarship, acknowledged as Teacher of the Year and listed in the “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” publication.

Angel also has a heart for teenage mothers and serves on the leadership team of the First Baptist Church at the Mall’s Teen MOPS program. It was the decision of allowing a 26-year-old mother who had an 18-month-old child to live with her family for 10 weeks that the Lord used to bring her to Florida Baptist Children’s Homes to successfully launch the Caring Families program in Central Florida in August of 2012. Angel saw firsthand how being the hands and feet of Christ to others in need could radically change lives for eternity.

In Angel’s new role as director of Church Relations, she is able to do just that — and on an even broader scale. Angel is a mentor-minded leader who is responsible for enlisting and providing individualized and comprehensive services tailored to churches primarily in the Central and South Florida regions. Through speaking engagements and meeting with church staff, Angel utilizes her gifts and talents to help churches catch the vision of changing the life of ONE MORE CHILD both across the state and around the world through FBCH and Orphan’s Heart.

Angel and her husband, Andy, have been married for 25 years and have four children and one grandchild. The Bates have been members of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida, for more than two decades.

To contact Angel Bates:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802 1015 Sikes Blvd.,
Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Sundy Goodnight

Director of Church Relations

Originally from Central Oklahoma, Sundy Goodnight graduated college with a degree in communications and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to work in the entertainment business. After three years in the music industry, Sundy’s desire to make a difference in the lives of youth led her to the Graduate School of Campus Ministry in Los Angeles, California. Sundy served on staff at her local church for 10 years. She pioneered Every Nation’s Graduate School of Youth Ministry and served as a director for that institute.

In 2005, Sundy joined Mercy Ministries in St. Louis, Missouri, a nonprofit organization committed to helping young women with life-controlling problems such as eating disorders, drug addiction, self-harm and child abuse. During her time as a counselor at Mercy, she also became involved in orphan ministry. She has served short-term missions in the Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine and Colombia, as well as volunteered for various humanitarian organizations.

This passion for the broken and hurting children of the world brought her to the anti-trafficking organization, Stop Child Trafficking Now, where she served five years as the National Director. Sundy loves her big, blended family of eight siblings. Two are adopted internationally.

To contact Sundy Goodnight:
2300 Bartram Road, Jacksonville, FL 32207
Phone: 904.721.2711

Leon Battle

Director of Compassion Ministries

Leon Battle serves as the Director of Compassion Ministries, a program that serves families in crisis statewide. He graduated from Southeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in theology and a minor in business. Leon served as a Youth Pastor throughout his college career and accepted a pastoral job in Albany, New York, shortly after graduation.

During his time in Ministry, Leon saw the great amount of trauma that families were being confronted with and desired to get a deeper look into the dependency system. He changed career paths and started working for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). During his time with the department, he investigated abuse within families, institutions and later became the Human Trafficking Specialist for Polk County. While there, Leon helped children get out of abusive homes and also helped rescue children from human trafficking rings. He received multiple recognitions from Governor Rick Scott during his time with DCF. Leon is confident that the job experiences that he has received in the church and in the world will equip him to be an effective director at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes.

Leon is currently a part of a church plant in South Tampa called Radiant Church. He is the point person for hospitality and also leads a life group in Lakeland, Florida. He has a deep passion for intervention. He desires to see Christ’s love and restoration brought to families during their times of hurt and crisis. Leon believes that the local church is the greatest asset for families in need and desires to empower the local church to step into the call of Christ, which is to help the widow, the orphan and the hurting families in their time of need.

To contact Leon Battle:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Rebecca Rothman

Director of Development

Rebecca Rothman serves as the Director of Development for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. She is responsible for the statewide strategic direction and management of fundraising initiatives essential to developing, expanding and stewarding annual fund support for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. Rebecca also manages all foundation proposals and mail appeals.

Rebecca earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. She went on to receive her master’s in business administration from Saint Leo University. Prior to joining the staff at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Rebecca was an accountant at Raulerson & Co., where she was responsible for client communications as well as nonprofit tax issues and audits. She also created, developed and led the homeless ministry at Plant City’s First Baptist Church from 2012-2014.

As an adopted child herself, Rebecca has a passion for giving hope and worth to hurting children through the life-changing love of Christ.

Rebecca and her husband, Mark, have been married for nine years and reside in Plant City. They have three children, Layla, Rex and Jacob. In her spare time she enjoys competitive running. She is an active member at Plant City’s First Baptist Church as a youth leader, deacon’s wife and homeless ministry volunteer.

To contact Rebecca Rothman:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Jeff Herig

Adrienne Boyette

Director of Development for North Florida

Adrienne Boyette serves as the Director of Development for the North Florida region.  She is responsible for spreading the message of helping “one more child” through the ministries of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart and The Porch Light. Her desire is to strengthen and extend the reach of Florida Baptist Children’s Homes by engaging donors and connecting them with the tremendous needs of children.

Adrienne is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and leadership development. Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Adrienne served as a high school agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor.  In addition, she worked in customer service and marketing for Boyette’s Pecan Company. In December of 2013, she founded a jewelry company specializing inhandmade fine silver jewelry.

She is an active member of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Live Oak, Florida. Adrienne is close with her family and thankful for their godly influence in her life. In her spare time, Adrienne enjoys cooking, baking, writing, painting and fishing.

To contact Adrienne Boyette:
2300 Bartram Rd., Jacksonville, FL  32207
Phone: 904.721.2711

Erica Hall

Director of Major Gifts for Central and East Florida

Erica Hall serves as the Director of Major Gifts for Central and East Florida. She is responsible for the cultivation of partnerships through donor relations, fundraising events, sponsorships and speaking engagements to enhance the impact of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart and the Porch Light.

Erica also serves as the staff coordinator for the Shine a Light Gala benefiting The Porch Light, a ministry to renew and restore childhood victims of sex trafficking.

Erica is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and leadership development. Prior to joining the Children’s Homes, Erica served as the Grassroots and Coalitions Coordinator for a statewide political campaign and, most recently, served as the Education Liaison for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam.

She is an active member of First Baptist Church Plant City where she serves as a fifth-grade Sunday School teacher and is involved in evangelism outreach. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, canning and traveling. She and her husband Jarrett reside in Plant City.

To contact Erica Hall:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Jeff Herig

Emily Petrilli

Director of Major Gifts for Southwest Florida

Emily Petrilli serves as the Director of Major Gifts for Southwest Florida at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. She works with donors to develop and steward philanthropic support for Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Orphan’s Heart, and The Porch Light. She helps tell the story of how our organizations are sharing the love of Jesus through providing for children and families in need. Emily is passionate about connecting people with opportunities to help meet the needs of “one more child.”

Prior to joining Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, Emily worked with youth as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in agricultural and extension education from the Pennsylvania State University.

Emily and her husband, John, are active members of Grace Baptist Church of New Tampa, where she enjoys encouraging women to study the Bible so that they can learn more about our great God. In her spare time you can find Emily playing board games with her husband, tending to her vegetable garden, reading, or learning a new hobby.

To contact Emily Petrilli:
1015 Sikes Blvd.
Lakeland, FL  33815
Phone: 863.687.8811 ext. 2235

Mary Lou Hendry

Director of Sanctity of Human Life

Mary Lou Hendry works with pastors, community groups, lobbyists, Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs), and others to save lives both spiritually and physically for those facing unplanned pregnancies. She joined Florida Baptist Children’s Homes in September 2008; during the previous nine years, she was Director of Life Choice Care Center in Inverness, FL.

Mary Lou teaches on a variety of issues including the Sanctity of Human Life, The Option of Adoption, Passion for Purity and Abortion Recovery.

Mary Lou earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education and Music from The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, FL, and is certified with Focus on the Heart for Biblical counseling.

Mary Lou’s husband, Byron, is the pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Lakeland, FL. The couple has two children and three grandchildren.

To contact Mary Lou Hendry
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Michele M. Newsome

Director of The Porch Light

Michele M. Newsome serves as the Program Director for The Porch Light, a program to rescue and restore child victims of domestic sex trafficking. She is responsible for the oversight of the victims, staff and volunteers of the program’s safe home, as well as education and prevention efforts.

Michele graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Saint Leo University and served in law enforcement as a police officer and detective for 24 years. She worked as a patrol officer, school resource officer and as a detective investigating crimes against children to include emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Michele retired from law enforcement after her tenure in the Office of Professional Standards Internal Affairs Unit.

A graduate of Webster University, Michele has a master’s degree in mental health counseling. She is a registered intern working toward licensure. She has a history of working with victims of sexual abuse, offenders and those with sexual addictions.

Michele is a member of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland and is a member of the F.A.I.T.H. Riders motorcycle ministry. She and her husband, Buddy, are co-founders of F.A.I.T.H. Riders. Michele and Buddy have been married 18 years and have 3 grown children and 5 adopted children they sponsor in Moldova.

Michele and Buddy enjoy traveling and serving orphaned children in Moldova by partnering with Justice and Mercy International to sponsor orphaned and abandoned children into transitional living. Transitional living affords these children hope and the opportunity to succeed while keeping them from entering a life of crime and trafficking.

To contact Michele M. Newsome:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 863.687.8811

Annie Hamerlinck

Donor Relations Manager

Annie Hamerlinck serves as the Donor Relations Manager at Florida Baptist Children’s Homes. She works closely with the Guardian Angels of Southwest Florida in Bradenton, Florida.

She is responsible for donor relations to develop and steward philanthropic support for FBCH’s Manasota Campus. Annie has a heart for children who need love and support and has a passion for connecting them with parents who love them.

Annie holds an associate’s degree in Bible from Lincoln Christian University and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Missouri State University. She grew up in Illinois where she met her husband, Adam. Together they moved to Bradenton in the late spring of 2016. Annie has a passion for mentoring and disciplining young girls and enjoys blending that passion with her love for the game of volleyball. On many evenings you will find Annie coaching the JV high school volleyball team at Bradenton Christian School.

To contact Annie Hamerlinck:
P.O. Box 8190, Lakeland, FL 33802
1015 Sikes Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
Phone: 217.816.4945