SMDP Board of Directors
Very early Robert became aware of the needs of others who suffer and how they can become victims of medical and emotional related situations in their lives. Volunteering at an orphanage and a retarded children’s center while in College was very difficult for him. Understanding their plight was a wake-up call. Habit for Humanity was an opportunity to help. Soup kitchens and food distribution centers became a way of life. Most rewarding was performing social and religious counseling to those in need. This path brought him to SMDP Outreach where lives are changed, families are counseled, children are taught, and relationships are strengthened. This is a part of his life and the opportunity for Robert to continue helping those in need.
A native of Keene New Hampshire, Tom relocated to Rhode Island to secure employment, where he lived for 40 years, and where he had actively supported various parish and community initiatives. During those years he recognized the ubiquitous plight of the homeless and underserved. Having retired to Fort Myers in 2015, he has been an enthusiastic volunteer and is meaningfully engaged in advancing SMDP Outreach’s mission serving the homeless of the Tice Community.
Although Betty is a native Kentuckian, she was an army brat and grew up in many different locations. She has strong roots in Monmouth County N.J, spanning five decades. She has a consistent history of volunteerism for various outreach programs associated with the Catholic Church, such as Catholic Charities and the St. Vincent De Paul Society. For thirty years she was a claims representative for Supplemental Security Income, an assistance based on need program. Her life experiences led her to SMDP Outreach, as their mission is in keeping with her lifelong values.
Joe has been a Florida resident since 2010 and fulltime volunteer. He has worked 2 food pantries that have since closed, and now for the last 2 years run a mobile pantry in Bonita Springs. Joe is President of 2 nonprofits and a board member of one which are all based in Bonita Springs. He is a volunteer shelter supervisor for the Red Cross and donates his time as well to SMDP Outreach..
Carolyn, a registered nurse, was raised in upstate New York and worked at several hospitals during her career. In 1994, she began volunteering at Teresa House, a comfort care home for the dying in Geneseo, N.Y. and had the privilege of being named it's Executive Director in 2002. She remained in this position until relocating to Fort Myers with her husband in 2007. Since moving to Florida, she has been a volunteer with the Community Cooperative organization. Carolyn began working with SMDP almost 3 years ago and has been on the Board since 2018. She cooks at SMDP twice a week and has seen firsthand the needs of those we serve and the difference that we make in the lives of our guests, and how grateful they are for the assistance we provide.
For the last 20+ years Giles and his wife, Melanie have actively supported many charities whose primary focus has been on helping poor families better themselves. These charities include Unbound (They currently sponsor 14 persons with Unbound), Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Extensions and Hope for Haiti. We became involved with SMDP three years ago by volunteering to help with the after school homework program. Giles has been a member of the Board of Directors for the last two years.
Dennis recently retired from Price Waterhouse and looking for ways to use his time and resources to help others. Many charities and non-profits seem disconnected from people truly in need. During mass in Feb 2015, Barbara Durkin explained how a small group of volunteers had set up a little operation near downtown Fort Myers to directly help those in need. The staff was entirely volunteer and served people by providing meals, groceries, clothes and language skills. “I was impressed with how they treated everyone with respect and compassion and how they accomplished so much with so little. Our family has been blessed and we believe it is important to share with others.” St Martin de Porres is a great example of how someone can share their blessings easily and have a direct impact in the lives of those in need. There is no bureaucracy or overhead; just wonderful caring volunteers helping humans in need! I believe St Martin de Porres is a great example of how individuals who have been blessed can serve those in need.
Barbara worked for IBM Corporation for 30 years in administrative roles and moving into Management in Personnel and Information Systems. After retirement she worked for private attorney and for Ameriprise Financial Services. Barbara is a former Volunteer Chair of the American Heart Association Board and President of the Lions Club in New York. Moving to Florida full time after widowhood she felt overwhelmingly motivated to assist those who have not had the strong base that she had. Barbara is active parishioner at St. John XXIII, where she is on the Parish Council.
A native of Buffalo, NY but from Texas for 26 years, Steve’s formation revolved around a 30 week JustFaith program that brought him into touch with the plights of others in the Fort Worth area. As a member for 10 years of the Fort Worth Mission Council and through many trips to Cabezas, Bolivia, Steve saw firsthand that difficulties were shared in every community. Since coming to Florida, Steve has been focused on food security, volunteering at the Harry Chapin Food Bank of SW Florida and at SMDP Outreach.
John F. Carlson
Native of Peoria, Illinois. Graduate degree in Public Administration. Served as Public Administrator for 37 years. Retired, divorced father of two adult children and three granddaughters. Cradle Catholic involved in lifelong church activities including participation in Just Faith Program, Eucharistic Minister,etc. Deeply interested in Social Justice. Thus my interest in SMDP.