FIRST CONTACT would not exist without our staff & volunteer team of dedicated professionals. Thank you to all our volunteers, who sacrifice their time and efforts to help us make a positive change in our community, and accomplish our mission. The following individuals currently serve on the FIRST CONTACT team:
Craig received his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Religious Education from Gardner Webb University and his Masters of Arts degree in Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been certified by SBIRT (clinical skills training) and is an NAADAC Certified Recovery Coach. He has served as Pastor, Minister of Evangelism, Education, and Youth in over 20 years of ministry. He is a board member of the Blue Ridge Prison and Jail Ministry. Craig has experienced firsthand the struggle and devastation of addiction.He has a passion for those suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder as well as family members who have had their lives dramatically affected by its consequences. He founded First Contact to help those struggling with addictions to formulate a path to recovery, and a plan to return to a life of normalcy. He serves to inform and educate families and provide comfort and support.
Ellen received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration from Western Carolina University. She has been the Executive Secretary for the NC Tomato Growers Association for over 18 years and is a native of Henderson County. Ellen recently retired from the State of North Carolina with 30 years of service in administrative office work. She has an extensive background in managing and organizing casework, budgets, and data for the N.C. Family Court and Dept. of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention systems. Ellen loves her family and enjoys singing in the church choir and playing the piano. She has experienced the loss of a loved one due to addiction. As a volunteer with First Contact since December of 2014, she has a heart for working with families dealing with loved ones in addiction and helping support them through their struggles. She wants to help others understand and deal with the pain caused by addiction.
Barb received her Bachelors of Science degree in Finance from Northern Illinois University. Her career in Accounting has spanned 35+years, the majority of which was for 2 employers: The Gillette Company (part of Procter and Gamble) and ZeniMax Media Inc. (Rockville, MD) , a video game developer and publisher. Barb has experience in most areas of Accounting as well as Financial Statement preparation, maintenance of large databases, and report creation. She retired as Sr. Accountant from ZeniMax Media in 2015.
Barb feels richly blessed by God to be able to retire early and live in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. She is thankful for the opportunity and desire to remain productive in retirement and has been a First Contact volunteer since July 2017. Barb works with our outside Accountants to facilitate the accurate processing of our Accounting and Financial Statement preparation.
Director of Placement,
Barbara has a bachelor’s degree in Christian counseling and biblical studies from Laurel University (formerly John Wesley College). She’s currently working on a master’s degree in Christian apologetics at Liberty University and holds a certification as a First Responder in acute stress, grief and trauma care through Light University. After spending over 20 years in the finance industry, Barbara has served as program administrator and placement specialist at First Contact, in administration and campus preparation at the Bethel Colony of Mercy Women’s campus, and as a Christian counselor for Pierced Ministries and Rehab. She first became acquainted with First Contact when her husband was called to attend Fruitland Bible College in Hendersonville.
Barbara is passionate about helping others find freedom from the bondage of addiction, and the shame that accompanies that lifestyle. She enjoys speaking “grace and truth” into the lives of others, sharing her own story of redemption. Barbara says, “I was a functioning alcoholic. From the outside looking in, my life looked good. I had the sports car, custom-designed home, boat, condo at the ski lodge, etc. But, on the inside, my life was a wreck. Several severe situations occurred simultaneously which brought me to my knees, in addition to the fact that I was tired of the battle with alcohol. I cried out to God, and he showed up. I proceeded to pursue Him, and He pursued me right back. Having a relationship with Almighty God is the most awesome thing ever.”
Barbara serves her community in many ways, including providing program structure and efficiency guidance for various addiction related ministries. In her current role at First Contact, she provides administrative, coaching, counseling, teaching and placement services. In her new role as Director of Strategic Planning, she will also focus her attention on expanding the ministry into other communities.
In her spare time, she loves to read and do research. She enjoys spending time with family, friends and fellow believers. Barbara wants to grow the First Contact ministry into every community in the country,as an answer to the horrific epidemic we are experiencing across the nation.
Chastity has a heart for helping women in addiction. Her desire is to lead them to Christ. She listens to their needs and issues and takes the appropriate action to guide them toward healing and restoration.
Chastity and her husband, John, attend King’s Grove Baptist Church where Chastity sings in the choir.
Chastity has been involved in the Hendersonville County Jail Ministry for several years and has been the moving force to help the women go from jail to a Christ-centered recovery program. She refers them to First Contact who works diligently meet the individual needs of each woman.
Joshua comes from a professional background of manufacturing and engineering. However, he grew up in a family corrupted by addiction, violence, isolation, and incarceration. Adopting these destructive habits, he began his own struggles with addiction and substance abuse around the age of 13. At the age of 32, Josh was an alcoholic, substance abuser and an atheist. Realizing he had come to the end of himself and had nowhere else to turn, he gave his life to Christ.
A few years after his conversion, Chastity invited him to come be a men’s coach at First Contact. Since then, Josh has developed our Overcome curriculum and leads the men’s class while his wife, Kodi, leads the women’s Overcome class.
Personally, the Lord has blessed him and stretched him to grow with various opportunities that were never on his radar: he and his wife adopting children from the foster care system, helping others in addiction, and a direction to use the talent to write for God’s glory.
Josh realizes that if it wasn’t for Jesus’ work on the cross, even while Josh rejected Him, none of this would be possible (Romans 5:8). He also wants to thank all of the coaches and volunteers that dedicate their time to help this ministry and everyone who is blessed by it.
Job Placement Ministry Director
Margaret was born and raised in London, England and still has family in that area. She came to the States in the late 60’s, and even after all of these many years here, she has still managed to keep her accent!
During her time in London, England she was working with an employment agency. On coming to the states she purchased an employment agency seeking jobs for temporary and permanent positions.
During her working career, she was self-employed for the majority of that time and owned three separate businesses in Charlotte.
Bob and Margaret moved to Hendersonville in 2001. They will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary in September. They are the proud parents of 4 children, and 5 granddaughters ranging in age from 4 to 23 years old.
She was motivated to volunteer at First Contact after losing a daughter 4 years ago to alcoholism. In addition to working at the Resale Store, she is also the Job Placement Ministry Director for First Contact. Her primary responsibilities include finding job opportunities for those that graduate from the First Contact program. These two volunteer jobs give her a great deal of satisfaction by helping others.
Brooks is a Hendersonville native, and graduate of West Henderson high school. He spent many years working various jobs in the food and beverage industry, but finds his most relevant experience for helping others in his role at First Contact is his own fifteen year struggle with addiction. Brooks first came to First Contact for assistance at the very beginning of his recovery journey when he started attending recovery meetings. He quickly “learned the ropes” at the resale store, and moved up the ranks to First Contact staff.
Over the past three years of sobriety, Brooks has graduated all four levels of First Contact’s discipleship program, and completed the first of a two year program at Fruitland Baptist Bible College, toward earning his associate’s degree in ministry. He successfully completed a 26 week certification class for jail ministry. He now serves as a teacher of FCM’s third level discipleship class, and periodically leads at the combined support group on Thursday nights.
As new placement coordinator, Brooks is most passionate about leading others to Christ, and onto the path of sobriety. He uses his experiences to encourage men seeking help with addiction. He enjoys sharing his message of hope with others, and assisting them in finding and entering available programs best suited for their situation.
In his free time, Brooks loves to cycle on and off road. He’s an avid photographer, enjoys spending time with his loved ones, as well as his “brothers” at Bible college, while learning about God. Upon graduation at Fruitland Baptist Bible College, he plans to attend Southeastern Theological Seminary. Brooks shares he has often found comfort in the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Jessica grew up in WNC, and is a graduate of Brevard High School. She came to First Contact for assistance at the very beginning of her recovery journey through attendance at our classes for women. She has a professional background in the medical industry, previously working as a CNA, as well as a Med Tech, and has earned a certificate in Medical Billing.
She has successfully earned certification as an NC Peer Support Specialist (CPSS), and is a registered, certified Substance Abuse counselor (CSAC-R). Jessica been locally trained by “Thrive” to administer the VI-SPDAT, a survey administered both to individuals and families to determine risk and prioritization when providing assistance to homeless and at-risk of homelessness persons. She is currently attending A-B Technical Community College to obtain her Associate’s degree in Human Services, with a certificate in Substance Use.
After many years in her own struggle with addiction, Jessica feels she found “true” freedom in 2015. Since then, she has felt God’s prompting to come back to First Contact in a professional capacity as a placement coordinator, where she will be using her skills to help women gain entry into treatment programs, and link them to vital community resources. She is passionate about helping clients find a way to overcome their own battles, and develop stronger relationships with God.
In her free time, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family.
Bonnie has navigated the rolls of accounting clerk and office manager for the last forty years within the medical field and the business community. She and her husband Steve retired here in Hendersonville to be closer to their children and grandchildren. They attend Mud Creek Baptist Church where they volunteer regularly. Bonnie has known, loved and walked with the Lord for forty-three years.
Bonnie brings a level of expertise and professionalism that fits perfectly within the First Contact Addiction Ministry family. She loves this ministry and constantly goes above and beyond what is expected in order to ensure that the logistics of the ministry are well attended to.
Denise brings over 26 years of experience in the Health Care Industry in Accounts Receivable Billing and Collection Management. With this type of experience, she is well qualified to serve First Contact Addiction Ministry. Two of those years were with HCA Westlake Hospital and 5 years was with the University of Behavioral Center in Orlando, Fl, both being Inpatient and Outpatient facilities with treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction. She retired after 14 years from an independently owned Compounding Pharmacy which specialized in pain management.
Denise feels that the years of experience, knowledge, and understanding in these areas of health care was simply God’s way of preparing her to be led in July of 2017 to serve the Lord at First Contact Addiction Ministries.
ReSale Store Manager
Geff brings over 10 years of experience from his work at the Salvation Army and Community Aid organizations. His specialties include opening new stores and managing them. He also has valuable experience as an entrepreneur in running his own cleaning business.
Geff has had his own struggles with addiction, and graduated from the Christian Care Center program in Leesburg, FL in 2016. After graduation, he was on staff at the center as a cook, and then as an intake coordinator. It was during this time that he developed a passion for helping others who struggle with addiction.
While serving in Leesburg, Geff also heard about First Contact’s mission. He recently relocated from Florida to serve as the new Resale store manager where he enjoys serving with his employees and volunteers, seeking to help bring out the best in them.
He comes from a loving, Christian family. He came to salvation at the age of 8, but notes he did not really begin to connect and fall in love with the Lord until 2009. He feels extremely appreciative for all the amazing things God has done, and continues to do in his life.
Geff has five children, three boys and two girls, whom he loves very much. In his spare time, he enjoys being with his family, fishing, and watching movies.
Director of Marketing & Community Development
Adventure! BJ would tell you love for Jesus and a thirst for adventure is the most consistent thread throughout her life. BJ was raised in Miami, Florida, her dad an evangelist and then Director of Miami Youth for Christ.
She asked Jesus into her heart at the age of four. But on her 12th birthday realized that being a Christian meant more than going to heaven, but following and living as Jesus taught, being a true follower, not just a fan. And that has been the best adventure ever!
Her career has been all over. She loved her few years as a flight attendant because of the travel and meeting new people. After getting married and starting a family, her career focused on radio and video production, then marketing and advertising.
BJ has lived in five states, but home is Miami. In 1992, she and husband, Fred, were survivors of South Florida’s Hurricane Andrew. And, BJ’s job was literally “blown away.” This event led both she, Fred and another couple into birthing a disaster relief ministry called Project TeamWork. For the next 20 years, BJ, as VP and then President, helped lead this agency in South Florida, Mississippi, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Caribbean. An offshoot of PTW was a licensed Christian foster care agency called Project TeamWork 4KIDS. It is now 4KIDS of America.
After establishing these two ministries, BJ formed her own consulting firm for non-profits and found herself assisting a ministry in Zagreb, Croatia, travelling there with ministry teams while raising funds and awareness in the U.S.
A member of Lifework Leadership (L2), a Christian ministry that trains corporate leaders in living out their faith, BJ has had the opportunity to travel with the L2 President to Kenya and South Africa to help launch and encourage business & community leaders.
In 2016 she and Fred moved to Hendersonville, NC, because son #2 promised to take care of them in their ‘old age.’ That was enough of a lure to leave the warm weather of Florida and move to the cool mountains of NC.
In December 2018, their eldest son, Matt, lost his battle with addiction. A high-functioning alcoholic and supplement abuser, he moved to Hendersonville to enroll in the First Contact program. Only a few days here, Matt was admitted into hospice and left this life to be with his Lord. BJ feels called to her position here with First Contact as Director of Marketing and Community Development, where her primary duties include: overseeing the “Masquerade Ball” annual gala fundraiser, and finding new resources and community partners to further the ministry.
As a storyteller, she is passionate about finding creative ways of sharing the ministry, the story, of First Contact. Her prayer is that her contribution will help save many lives – and their families.
BJ & Fred are members of Biltmore Church in Hendersonville, where Fred is a greeter. BJ volunteers with WNC Youth for Christ as a Campus Life Club sponsor at East Henderson High, mentoring and walking through life with students.
For fun, BJ says, “I love throwing myself into life – trying new things – especially with family or adventurous friends! I love being outdoors, as well as cuddled up with my hubby and a good book. And movies! Great food! Travel! Dancing with elephants! Laughing til I cry!”
Diane holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cedarville University. She has spent 20+ years working in the communications and marketing fields in the retail, IT, and education industries. Diane is also an entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience running an online business. She first came to First Contact in 2015 as a member of the family support group and knows firsthand the struggles and heartache of loving a child caught in the dark web of addiction. In 2018, Diane lost her son, Justin, who was 26 years old.
Diane has served as volunteer web designer and communications consultant at First Contact since 2015. In her new role as Communications Director, she works to develop and execute new internal communications policies and programs, as well as on marketing, social media, and promotion of First Contact to the outside community. She also serves as web/graphic designer and content creator for the ministry’s various needs. At First Contact, Diane loves the opportunity to observe firsthand the all-encompassing power of God in changing wrecked lives. After losing her son, she uses her work at the ministry as a channel for communicating hope to struggling families and individuals in the community. She also leads a Celebrate Recovery 12 Step class for women at Trinity Baptist Church in West Asheville.
Diane came to salvation as a young child. She grew up in a Christian home, with a Christian family. Her faith has grown over the years through many trials and tribulations, and especially through the tragic loss of her son. She looks to the Lord as her only hope and comfort, recognizing God’s sustaining grace and mercy as the motivation that gets her through each day.
Diane’s favorite hobby is spending time with her grandbaby and her family. She also loves to travel (camera in hand), is enamored with the “old world”, and never turns down a good gelato.