ABLE Board of Directors

ABLE is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors. These individuals come from a variety of backgrounds and experience. Current Board members are:

Sonny Beckley (Board Treasurer) – Semi- retired CFO and franchise owner in the restaurant industry. BS degree in Accounting from University of Kentucky. Served as volunteer, Board Member and Officer for Lexington Habitat for Humanity. Served as volunteer, Mentor and Big Brother for BBBS of the Bluegrass.  Lexington native, married with 3 children and 5 grandchildren.

Rachel Smith Childress – CEO of Lexington Habitat for Humanity. Previously Registrar and Director of Student Services at Lexington Theological Seminary. Worked in the computer software industry and in Kentucky state government. Holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky and a masters degree from Lexington Theological Seminary. Active with many civic and church-related organizations. She has two daughters and one granddaughter.

 Jane Chiles(Board Secretary) Corporate Secretary at eLink Design, Inc., a web design and internet marketing firm in Lexington. She has lengthy experience marketing and communications in the Lexington area. In addition to her service with ABLE, Jane is the Vice-Chair of KYOne Health, a statewide health system. She is the co-founder of the Friedell Committee, a health policy organization that serves as a catalyst for community and health policy change.  Married to Larry Chiles, they have 3 adult children and 3 perfect grandchildren (she guarantees the “perfect” part is true.

Christian Cole – Freshman at the University of Kentucky. Founder of Mission Mowing – a lawn care service that dedicates a portion of revenue to mission projects; sponsors the education of more than 20 students in Haiti; has served on three ABLE mission trips to Haiti, providing primary leadership in the most recent.

Carol Cottrill – Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) University of Kentucky College of Medicine and UK Health Care; President’s Award winner three consecutive years; National Miracle Maker Award (from Children’s Miracle Network – Selected from all pediatricians in the country); YMCA – Woman of Achievement Award; Bishop’s Diocesan Award, Catholic Diocese of Lexington; Humanism in Medicine Award – American Association of Medical Colleges; Sala Dra. Carol Cottrill (Pediatric Ward named for Dr. Cottrill) Regional Hospital Docente Ambato Ecuador SA; Documentary on Medical Mission work for Children of the Americas, “Los Medicos” shown at the Jackson Hole Film Festival; Lumen Christi Award – Catholic Extension Service; Visiting Professor of Cardiac Morphology – University of London; since 1973 has conducted clinics in rural Kentucky; led or participated in two mission trips, with teaching component, per year since 1984 – including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Cambodia,  Africa; has brought home children with complex problems that could not be handled locally and secured care for those kids in the U.S.; she and her husband have been foster parents for 30 children – most with medical conditions. She and her husband, retired UK professor Tom Rolfes, live in Lexington.

Charles Denham (ABLE Co-Founder) – Retired Commander, Naval Civil Engineering Corps; B.A. and advanced degree in Civil Engineering from University of Ky.; currently consultant to construction firms; previously owner and/or executive with multiple coal mining and construction companies; general superintendent for interstate highway projects; owner of bridge design and construction company

 Tom Handy (ABLE Co-Founder) — Resides in London, Ky with his wife, Bonnie, of 42 years. They have two children and three grandchildren. After graduating from Centre College in 1966 and U of Kentucky Law School in 1969, he started a law practice in London and was elected to five terms of service as Commonwealth’s Attorney, 27th Judicial Circuit. He has been active in various tourism businesses and continues to serve as chairman of London-Laurel Tourism Board since 1979. Since retirement from Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2003 he has served in a variety of volunteer positions in State and local organizations. He is a co-founder of ABLE. Enjoyment is found with family and service to others.

 Sarah Hicks – Has been a member of the ABLE Board four and served as Secretary/Treasurer for three years. Holds a BA from the University of Kentucky Employed as a personal assistant to Dr. and Mrs. Edward Todd.  Volunteers weekly with the “Academy” – a mentor program with Breckenridge Elementary in conjunction with Southland Christian Church. Volunteers weekly with Southern Hills United Methodist as the Backpack Ministry Assistant Coordinator for Arlington Elementary. Lives in Lexington with her husband, Tim of 30 years.They have 3 children and a darling daughter in law and will be first time grandparents of a baby boy in March. Enjoys golf, walking, reading and gardening and hanging out with her family.

Jamie Jacobs – Retired cardiologist, having received his BA and MD degrees from the University of Vermont. He practiced general and interventional cardiology in Lexington for 35 years. He was on the full time or voluntary faculty of the University of Kentucky for the same period. He has served  as President of the Board of the American Heart Association’s Lexington Division, Kentucky Affiliate and Ohio Valley Affiliate as well as Saint Joseph Hospital’s Foundation. He and Jean have been married 50 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren. Family activities remain important and a focus for Jamie, who also enjoys fishing, hunting, golf, downhill skiing and travel. He has served in multiple leadership roles with ABLE.

Tom Little (Board President) – Retired U.S. Army colonel and retired Global Product Manager for Lexmark International. Serves as Board Chairman of LeXenomics, Inc. and serves on the Board of the Stoeckinger Foundation. Holds a B.A. from Centre College, as well as a Masters Degree and is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College. Vice President of the Bluegrass Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America. Volunteers weekly with Habitat for Humanity and served on the local Board for 18 years.  Annually coordinates the Catholic parishes’ Habitat build. Lives in Lexington with Marcia – his wife of 46 years. Also enjoys spending time with three children and five grandchildren.

Gayle Morris – Former Dell Computer global sales representative. Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in marketing. Mother of three and married to Lee Morris for 20 years. Member of ABLE Austin and actively participates in the senior programs and missions. Recently led a mission team to the Dominican Republic and has been to Mexico, Bolivia and Africa with ABLE.

Erin Newman –  Board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She holds a Masters in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati, College of Nursing. She is the president of the Austin Chapter of ABLE and has attended many of ABLE’s mission trips including Mexico, Bolivia, Ghana, Appalachia and led a trip to Uganda. She has been happily married for more than 20 years and is also the proud mother of four boys, including a set of twins. She also enjoys kayaking and reading.

Dennis Pike – Partner in Pike and Preston, an Employee Benefits Company.  Financial Advisor and Insurance Agency Manager with AXA since 1967.  Served on numerous Boards  and is currently a Board Member of the UK Sanders Brown Center for Aging.   He also serves with Habitat for Humanity as a Emeritus Board Member.  Dennis  is married to Mary Burkley Pike and they have 6 children and 10 grandchildren.  He lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Rachel Scanlon – Pre-k teacher at Christ the King Elementary. Former English, speech and drama teacher at Lexington Catholic High School. Volunteer with ABLE for five years. Participated in mission trips to Kenya and Jamaica. Coordinates ABLE Youth. Married to Scott, with three children: Madeleine 16, Scott 14, Emily 11 – all ABLE Youth volunteers!

Brian Smith – Partner in Versa Tech Automation, a design & build industrial engineering firm. Brian has been involved as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Lexington, KY for many years, and raising money for the Pat Smith Habitat for Humanity Endowment Fund which is now building a house in Lexington every year from the proceeds. He has traveled on many international mission trips and even a disaster response trip to Sri Lanka after the 2001 earthquake/tsunami in the region. He is married with two active elementary school children.

Marilyn Todd (Vice President) —Previously elementary school teacher in Houston, TX. Has served on 10 international ABLE missions, 3 Appalachian work projects as well as local projects. Has served on the Board of Directors of Lexington Catholic High School and on the Christ the King Parish Council. Worked on local Habitat for Humanity builds and on mission trips to India, San Pedro and Gulfport, MS.  Her late husband, Dr. Ed Todd, was a co-founder of ABLE. Enjoys reading and travel and spends as much time as possible with her family of 5 children and 14 grandchildren.

Emily Ashburn Whitley — Director of Business Development and Marketing for Shrout Tate Wilson.  Previously held marketing and account management positions with other Lexington companies. Very active in community organizations, including Junior League, Lexington Philharmonic Guild, Makenna Foundation, and Sister Cities Commission. She has served on the Christ the King Parish Pastoral Council. She was married in 2016.

OTHER MEMBERS: Jon Cole, Bill Hayhurst, Scott Jacobs, Janie Wilhelmus

Fr. Gino Donatelli (Chaplain and Spiritual Advisor – non-voting) Jesuit priest with bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and American literature, as well as master’s degrees in divinity and counseling. Joined the Jesuit community in 1972 and was ordained in 1982. Served as high school teacher, associate pastor of several Lexington parishes. Served as chaplain of Loyola Hospital. Currently serves as associate pastor at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Lexington.

Gene Wade – (Construction Consultant – non-voting) Retired from IBM/Lexmark as a model-maker, creating product designs from engineering drawings. Master wood-worker. Works for Habitat for Humanity as a Construction Manager. Has taken many University of Kentucky students on spring break mission trips.