Meet The Board
I am Elizabeth Garza and I live in Murray, KY with my husband and 5 boys. I work at FNB Bank as a commercial loan assistant and have been with the company for 6 years. Autism is still very new to us as our son was diagnosed early 2021 at 4 years old.
We have seen the many struggles that come with finding resources, support, and advocacy for autism. When I was led to Families on the Spectrum I knew I
wanted to be a part of this amazing organization! I am honored to be on the board and look forward to advocating and bringing the autism community and families together. I look forward to the many opportunities and friendships that Families on the Spectrum will bring me and my family.
I'm Aimee Thorn and I currently work at Paducah Bank. My husband Aaron and I have two wonderful children. Autism has become a very passionate topic for our family as our youngest child was diagnosed in 2019. I am honored to serve on the FOTS board and continue to be an advocate for local families in our area. My goal is to help educate others and bring awareness to our community. This organization cares about our families and truly nurtures each and every person who is a part of our group. I'm so excited to be joining this journey and help to provide our personal experiences where it matters.
Hello! My Name is Jacob Rivera. I currently reside in Mayfield, Ky with my Daughter Ariana who is 8yrs old and was diagnosed with ASD when she was 2 years old. I have always had a passion for working with children and children with special needs, but this gave me a drive to help those who don't have a voice of their own in any way I can. When I was working at a local Dr's office and was told about FOTS I joined immediately as this was a safe space to talk and offer my guidance and my experiences with ASD that I have gone through with Ariana. I am glad to have this opportunity to serve on the board with so many amazing people and for something that I have always been passionate about personally and professionally!
My name is Anne Sisti and my journey with autism began many, many years ago. My mother was a special education teacher working primarily with autistic children. I used to beg her to let me go to work with her so I could play with the children in her class. I didn’t understand why some of them didn’t speak or had mannerisms that were different than me. My mother explained that those children were special and different. They didn’t look at the world the way I did. Her explanation was enough for me. Years later, I worked with Autistic children at a state-run facility in Huntington, New York. I worked with a great team of professionals trying to find ways to communicate. We developed a program using music and ASL.
My niece Melissa has a daughter, Zoey who has Autism. Zoey is the light and love of my life! When my husband and I decided to leave Florida for a new adventure; Melissa suggested we come to Paducah. We hadn’t seen them in a year and I was nervous Zoey wouldn’t remember me. When we came in she smiled and came right over, my heart melted. We now live close and I get to see the kids often.
When Melissa told me about FOTS, I was excited that she found a group of supportive families who understood the daily struggles and who without judgement offer a place to talk, to exchange ideas and to help each other through the challenges that come from caring for someone with autism.
FOTS not only offers support to its members but it also offers hope and I am proud to be on the Board of Directors and to lend whatever help, compassion and hard work I can to assist anyone who needs it.
Hey y’all, my name is Shay Tyler and I am so excited about serving on the board for FOTS. In 2000 I graduated from Paducah Tilghman High School and 15 years later I earned my Bachelors Degree from Murray State. In May of 2018 I graduated from Bethel University with a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice. I am currently employed by Paducah Public School as a Social Worker and I have worked in this district for over 8 years. I am the proud single mother of two amazing boys Vic 18 and Kam 11. Kam was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months old so being apart of FOTS means a lot to us and we hope to meet some amazing people and families along the way.
My name is Chris Freeman and I live in Benton Kentucky with my wife Hollie and our Great Dane Suede. I am the 911 Director in Marshall County and I have been in public safety for over 25 years. In my experience in public safety I feel like we can do more to assist our community members with autism. I am a certified Law Enforcement Training Instructor in many areas including Crisis Intervention. I use those skills and training to make interactions with the 911 center as efficient and effective as possible for our citizens.
My journey with Families on the Spectrum began shortly after moving to Marshall County in 2019. I was contacted by a board member and made aware of an issue regarding a public safety response for assistance. After hearing her story I committed to doing what I could to help better serve our citizens who are on the spectrum and helping the families through times of crisis. I feel everyone should be treated with respect so they know their emergency is important to 911 personnel. When a spot opened up on the board I was honored to be selected to fill it. I enjoy helping people, and look forward to the future growth of the board, so we can help make a positive impact. If you have questions concerning public safety or resources to assist you in an emergency please feel free to reach out.
I am Rachel Lane and I live in Marshall Co. My husband Jason and I have a beautiful, smart 17 year old Daughter Alivia. I have been in EMS as a Critical Care Paramedic for over 25 years . I have a passion for helping people. I believe I am made to be an advocate for those who do not have a voice or for those that need a helping hand or just being the strength for someone who is struggling.
I learned about the FOTS when I went to a safety training they provided for First Responders. I learned so much from the course and wanted to do more. I wanted to help provide more education for responders and improve on what we can do to make a bad situation better for an ASD family and patient.
We have 2 wonderful ASD family members with around 12 years between. I have seen the progress that has made and research that has been down through the years .
I want to help continue that progress and push for more public education and for first responders. I want to help provide the best care and comfort for families and those than need us .
My name is Justin Rudesill and I live in Mayfield KY. I am married to my wonderful wife Emily Rudesill coming upon 20 years soon. I am blessed to have two sons Gavin and Mason. I am the Store Manager for Kohls and Territory Ambassador for our Diversabilities campaign to aide those with disabilities. Our families journey on the spectrum began when Mason was diagnosed with Autism in 2014. As many families the journey has been one of emotion sharing highs and lows but it’s one that I would not change for anything. I have often said that Mason has taught me more about life than anyone I ever met.
I began working with Families on the Spectrum in 2015 and have been happy to see the growth in the organization over the years. I want to see us become a great resource in our area for those on the spectrum and their families. I know when we first got the diagnosis it was a scramble to learn all we could and identify resources. I believe our FOTS team can do great things in our community.
My name is Haley Willie and I live in Mayfield, KY with my husband Jackson and our 3 children. We are expecting another bundle of joy due to make his appearance in the spring of 2023.
I graduated from WKCTC in 2019 with an Associates in Arts and again in 2020 with an Associates in Science. I hope to one day join the nursing program and follow my dream of becoming a nurse.
My son, Noah, was diagnosed with level 2 Autism in March of 2022 at the age of 2 (31 months). We began the process of getting his diagnosis when he was 15 months old and had to jump through a lot of hoops and wait lists to finally receive his diagnosis so we could get him the therapies he needed.
This is one of the many reasons that I am so excited to join FOTS as a board member so I can help local families through the crazy process that comes with getting a diagnosis and everything that follows. I truly could not have done everything I was able to for my son without the community of FOTS being by my side.
It takes a tribe to be a parent and it takes a stronger tribe to be an autism parent. Being a part of a group that understands and has walked a mile in my shoes means so much to me. I am eager to bring awareness to our local community and to play a small role in advocating for our children.
My name is Erika, I’m the mom of two amazing young adults, one of which was diagnosed with ASD at the age of 18. I reside in Western Kentucky and am a Site Manager and Trainer for Finish Line Car Wash.
As I continue to learn more daily about ASD and the effects it has on teens and young adults, I want to help educate parents and families as their children age into young adults with Autism. I am happy to be a resource of support for impacted families! I have a passion for serving others and hope that I can be a voice for our children, while also advocating for inclusion and equality for all.
I am so very honored and excited for the opportunity to serve individuals and families of our communities as a Board Member for FOTS!