Volunteers serve on the Family Promise of Gwinnett Board (FPOG) of Trustees. They usually serve for three years, but it is possible to serve in short-term roles. For information on becoming a Board member, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Smitty Thomas, Chairperson, earned a degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He began his career with the Singer Corporation, transitioning to a food services distributor in the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C., area before becoming employed by Sonoco Products in Norcross. Retiring from his business career last year, he and his wife raised one daughter and have two grandsons.
Smitty has been very involved at First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville for more than 30 years. Through his church, he was one of the first volunteers for Family Promise of Gwinnett (FPOG), serving as a van driver as well as Bed Race volunteer. He also has been involved with the Central Gwinnett High School Foundation and was recently appointed to the Lawrenceville Development Authority.
Bill Blonshine, Vice Chairperson, earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Stetson University and his master’s degree in Aviation Management from Embry-Riddle University. His career began in the U.S. Army as an aviation officer followed by 15 years with Boeing and then 19 years at Cisco/Technicolor where he performed various roles in project management, business development, and customer operations management. He and his wife have three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Bill has been an active member of First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville for the past 35 years. Volunteering to support our annual Bed Race as well as driving our van is where Bill began his work with FPOG.
Jim Kirkpatrick, Treasurer, graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in History then spent four years in the Army. Upon his discharge, he began a 42-year career in the Underwriting and Compliance areas in the insurance industry. He retired from AmTrust Financial at the end of 2019. He and his wife have two children and four grandchildren and relocated from Orlando to Atlanta in 1998.
They have been very active members of Redeemer Presbyterian Church since their move to Atlanta. Jim has served four terms as an elder, heading up at various times the personnel, finance and mission committees. He was a volunteer at the Salt Light Center, a driver for Family Promise, and began working on the FPOG Finance Committee in 2019.
Stephanie Potra, Secretary, is a first-generation Mexican immigrant, is an administrator for the Potra Law Firm in Suwanee. She began volunteering with Family Promise as a teenager following her own family’s graduation from a Family Promise program during her eighth-grade year. After Stephanie graduated from high school with 400+ service hours, she continued volunteering in the community while pursuing a degree at the online Pennsylvania State University campus.
Due to her personal background, Stephanie has a strong commitment to social justice, homelessness, and food sovereignty. She lives with her tree hugging, mountain climbing, free-spirited husband and her always kind, Georgia O’Keeffe-in-the-making, year-round athlete daughter. Stephanie’s hobbies include gardening with her husband and doing her best to see as much of the world as she can.
Valerie Curry is a career, multi-certified, and passionate educator who currently teaches English online to children and teenagers in China on the VIPKid ESL platform. Founder of MS. CURRY’S NEIGHBORHOOD, she also tutors students online and is a Special Education Advocate, working in schools with families to ensure their children’s needs are served. Valerie taught in schools for 13 years; prior to that, she was a Technical Trainer at Bellcore and a Teaching Artist/Actor for Looking Glass Theater. Family Promise is her family’s long-time chosen charity, which they began volunteering with as Overnight Hosts in 1989 in New Jersey.
Valerie’s undergraduate degree was earned with a full scholarship from Brown University, and her graduate seminary work at Drew University was also on a full scholarship. A widow, her avocations include writing and singing for the fun of it — but not in the shower! She is the fortunate mother of one adult son, one adult stepson, and two granddaughters.
Valerie is the FPOG Public Relations Committee Chairperson.
Tressy Harvin works at State Farm Insurance as an Underwriting Service Assistant. She joined the FPOG family of volunteers first in 2016 as an Overnight Host; more recently, she served as an Assistant Coordinator of Family Promise Volunteers at her church, Pleasant Hill Baptist, in 2019. Her extensive community service resume also includes being Vice President of her church choir and five years of volunteering with the American Cancer Society in Decatur — winning a State Farm Good Neighbor Grant for that organization.
Tressy’s blessings include her marriage of 32 years, three adult children, and three grandchildren. She resides in Lawrenceville. Her avocations include choir singing and encouraging residents of Gwinnett Extended Care via her singing.
Bill Lawyer is a business development strategy professional in the aerospace industry where he’s worked for over two decades. In 2019, he volunteered in both the FPOG Bed Race and the Golf Tournament, peaking his interest in Family Promise. That interest, paired with an international mission trip, drew Bill to raising awareness about homelessness in the community and around the world.
Bill and his wife have four daughters. He is active in their church as well as serving their community as a coach and as a board member for youth athletics. Bill hopes to positively impact many lives in our county by raising the awareness of the important mission of FPOG and by supporting its guests.
Darcey Tatum is a retired executive for a defense contractor, Meggitt Training Systems, which he joined in 1992 and where he served as an international program manager. Prior to that, he served for 22 years as an officer in the U.S. army in various positions that included combat tours as an army aviator and working at the Pentagon as a staff officer. He received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and his masters in Systems Management from University of Southern California.
Since retiring in 2015, Darcey has served in a number of leadership positions at his church; in 2019 he was awarded the Bishops Cross from the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta for his leadership and commitment to volunteer service. Darcey developed a passion to help the homeless in recent years as he volunteered to aid a local homeless family at his church, St. Edwards. He and his wife raised four children and have 11 grandchildren.
Darcy chairs the FPOG Transportation Committee.
New Trustees in January 2021 are Imani Mary McClinton-Jackson and Dave Houtz.
Carol Love, Executive Director (non-voting member) came to FPOG from Wilbanks Partners where she focused on marketing, events, and client relationship management. She was the founding Director of FPOG’s SaltLight Center and is excited to come back and work with the churches, donors, and volunteers. Her business career began with Ernst & Young as an Analyst in the Fraud & Investigative Disputes Services Group, and she subsequently became a Marketing Associate in the firm’s Financial Services Advisory Group. Carol earned a BSBA in Accounting from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. Carol’s pride and joy is her son Tristan, who recently gave her the title of soccer mom. She is grateful that the Lord has led her back to Family Promise and is enjoying the adventure.