Meet The Team
Ashley has been athletic all her life – playing soccer, tennis and running. She grew up in New York, graduated from Dowling College in Long Island and has a background in payroll and human resources. She and her Marine husband have four beautiful children and are currently stationed in Okinawa, Japan. After years of struggling with addiction, she sought help and found sobriety. She found that running was a major part of her recovery and aided her in finding inner-peace - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In 2018, her brother lost his battle with addiction, which made her realize how fragile life is - and the need for change. With like-minded people, this organization was created to not only benefit the community but to make a direct impact on people by raising awareness for recovery and decreasing the social stigma associated with addiction. Throughout her journey, Ashley has run seven marathons, 50+ half marathons and several triathlons while supporting Runners4Recovery.
Paul is a licensed Mental Health Counselor. As a graduate of UNF, Paul has used his degree for many years as a therapist. Paul has received an Achievement Award for his work with children, adolescents and families. Prior to moving to the USA in 1999, Paul worked in the New Zealand educational system as a teacher. Paul is married to Lydia and has a daughter. Paul loves running and traveling the world to watch elite road races. He got involved with R4R as he loves what running has done for so many people he has come into contact with. Mike (the founder of R4R) and Paul have known each other for a long time and Mike's passion for this great cause meant Paul needed to get on board.
Rex is a person in long-term recovery. He is employed as the Client Service Representative for Stepping Stone Center For Recovery. He is currently working on his bachelor’s degree in human services with a focus on addiction. He hopes to one day become a therapist in the addiction treatment field. Rex is passionate and dedicated to showing the beauties of recovery to others struggling with addiction. Outside of work he enjoys spending his free time with his wife and son.
Russell has been a runner for almost 25 years – from the early days of middle school into high school and then Junior College. Just south of Buffalo, he was raised in Upstate New York. While serving 20 years in the United States Air Force, he continued to pursue intellectual progress. Not only did he graduate from Purdue Global University, he also obtained an M.B.A. from Montclair State University in New Jersey with a focus in project management. His progress has been supported by his amazing wife and four beautiful daughters. For 15 years, he immersed into the alcohol drinking culture that often surrounds military life, but he found sobriety and enjoys the life it has provided for over 6 years now. After retiring from the military and relocating to Florida, he was introduced to Runners 4 Recovery. Over time, he realized he had found the community he was searching for and a way to incorporate his refined skill set to help others.
Kara is a Jacksonville native, mother of two young adults and loves animals. She has worked as an IT Professional for 30 years. Her passion for athletics and a healthy lifestyle began back in high school and she participated in soccer, softball and swimming. Kara started running to spend more time with her son. Her proudest athletic achievement was completing a Half IronMan in Haines City. Kara has another passion, and that is helping others in recovery with alcohol and drug addiction. Kara herself is in recovery and she is excited to serve on the Runners4Recovery Board of Directors. She feels like she can raise awareness for the recovery community and show people how they can benefit from a healthy and active lifestyle.
The social stigmatizations surrounding addiction discourage if not prevent people from seeking help, which encouraged Cheryl to become involved with R4R. After turning 40, Cheryl started running in an effort to become more healthy. Shortly thereafter, she found the runner’s endorphin high that greatly relieved her stress and allowed her to gain self-awareness. Family is everything to her-she is a wife, mother, and grandmother. As a Jacksonville native, she absolutely loves the hot weather. Professionally, she works in advertising and printing, while co-owning an air conditioning company with her husband. By bringing awareness to the issues that stigmatizations present, people will be able to seek help sooner and have a better chance of recovery.
Kim resides in St. Augustine with her husband, Keith Brantly (a 1996 Marathon Olympian), and their two Jack Russels, Scout and Coco Bean. The former University of North Florida runner won national titles in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter events at the 1996 Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, inducted into UNF’s Hall of Fame in 1996, and is a 4-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier.
Kim became involved with R4R because she sees it as a much-needed resource for this community. After working for Runwell, her perspective on addiction changed. Initially, she didn’t have empathy for those afflicted, but now, she better understands it as a disease; not a choice. “We need to change the narrative on addiction. It’s a horrible, destructive disease. Nobody ever wakes up one day saying that they want to be an addict. Ever. We need community-wide support, and we need to provide more opportunities for those seeking a life of recovery."
My name is Lisa Thomas and I am a retired School District Financial Officer. Recently, I worked as the Business Manager for a local non-profit that served victims of domestic abuse. I have over 40 years of experience in all areas of accounting including general ledger, payroll, accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliations and financial statements.
I am currently employed by a local church where I manage the financial affairs of the church as well as serve as the office manager and secretary. This position allows me the opportunity to serve others and keep abreast of current financial trends.
In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband in our RV. I also love to work in my flower gardens, read and float in the pool. My favorite thing to do is spend time with my three grandchildren!