Staff

Rebecca Buzick

Survivor Outreach Coordinator
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Rebecca started serving our organization as volunteer shortly after the still-unsolved murder of Bardstown, Kentucky Police Officer Jason Ellis in May of 2013. The tragedy rocked the small town and, as a citizen and friend of the Ellis family, affected her personally. She volunteered in memory and honor of Officer Ellis.

As her love for the cause and organization grew, she eventually joined the staff on a part-time basis. It was undeniable that she was passionate about honoring fallen heroes and caring for their survivors. “Being a part of service for the greater good is where my heart is. I saw Supporting Heroes make a difference in a family that I love and wanted to be a part of that.”

Having a heart for Law Enforcement comes naturally. Rebecca’s husband, Chris, works for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. Together they have two beautiful children, Aidan and Claire.

Rebecca left her 15-year career as a dental hygienist to join the staff full-time as Survivor Outreach Coordinator in October 2018.

Scott Hopkins

Public Safety Support
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After serving 22 years with the Kentucky State Police, Scott retired as a Sergeant on August 1, 2012. He served in many roles with the State Police, such as: Narcotics Investigator, Public Affairs Officer, Administrative Sergeant, and Regional Supervisor for the Driver Testing Branch.

While serving with KSP, Scott represented the agency as a board member for several non-profit organizations, participated in anti-drug committees and held numerous fundraising events for KSP's Trooper Island, a camp for disadvantaged children. Having served on the KSP Honor Guard for over 11 years, he has experienced the importance of honoring our fallen heroes and strongly believes all fallen public safety officers should be honored and their families supported in their time of need.

Scott was a member of the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard team that won the National Honor Guard competition at Police Memorial Week in Washington, DC in 2010.

Scott's service to his country started before his time with the KSP. He served three years with the United States Army (active duty) and 13 additional years in the United States Army Reserve and Kentucky National Guard.

Eric W. Johnson

Executive Director
Trustee
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Eric retired after serving 15 years with the Louisville Division of Police/Louisville Metro Police Department on July 31, 2004 as a Police Sergeant. He previously served nine years with the City of Louisville Emergency Medical Services where he held the rank of Lieutenant.

He is a member of the founding Board of Directors of the Kentucky Chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) and served as the Chapter Director from the time of its formation in 2000 through June 2005. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky EMS Memorial Foundation, the Board of Directors of the National EMS Memorial Service, as the Team Leader of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial Team, and as Team Leader of the Indiana Local Assistance State Team ("L.A.S.T") of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (also known as the "Indiana Fire and Emergency Services Memorial Team").

Eric earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Justice Administration at University of Louisville and graduate hours in Non-Profit Management from Capella University.

As the principal founder, he serves as Trustee as well as being the Executive Director.

Trina Johnson

Office Administrator
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Trina earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University. She has experience in retail management and served as Office Administrator at two local churches. She worked in health insurance auditing before joining the staff of SUPPORTING HEROES in June 2012.

Sonny Lynch

Public Safety Liaison
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Sonny Lynch has been in law enforcement since 1985. He served in the United States Army as a Military Policeman. Following his military service, he served the Clinton Police Department for over 29 years and retired in 2019 at the rank of Deputy Chief.

Sonny has been a trainer for the National Law Enforcement Training Center since 1994. He is a National Trainer and has conducted training sessions throughout the United States. He also serves as President of the Executive Board of Directors. He travels the country conducting trainer certification courses for NLETC.

Since 1999, Sonny has been a police academy instructor for the Central Missouri Police Academy which is located on the campus of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. He teaches academy recruits patrol tactics, officer survival and all reasonable control option skills. For approximately seven years Sonny taught defensive tactics during in-service classes throughout the state for the Missouri Sheriff's Training Academy. These classes focused primarily on deputies and officers who work in rural environments and techniques and tactics that could be used successfully by the lone officer.

Sonny recently became certified in Force Analysis by the Force Science Research Institute to further his efforts as a trainer and consultant. He is an accomplished author, having been published in several professional journals and has served as an expert witness in both civil and criminal court cases.

Sonny first became involved with Supporting Heroes following the tragic line-of-duty deaths of two of his officers just seven months apart. Experiencing tragedy as a law enforcement leader and seeing the organization work, he joined the staff shortly after retirement.

Tracy Shacklette

Assistant to the Executive Director
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Tracy graduated with a degree in Communication from Berry College in 2008. She has a background in marketing, communication and event planning. Originally from north Georgia, Tracy moved to Kentucky in 2014 and now lives in Mount Washington, Kentucky with her husband, Nicholas, and son, Benjamin.

Kyle Smith

Public Safety Liaison
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Kyle began his career in the fire service in 1986 as a volunteer firefighter in Hindman Kentucky. In 1991, he began working as a firefighter/paramedic with Frankfort, Kentucky Fire & EMS. After a 21-year career with Frankfort Fire, he retired in July 2012 as a Battalion Chief with the Training Division. In October of 2012, Kyle was appointed as Fire Chief of Campbellsville, Kentucky Fire - Rescue.

In 2014, his department suffered a tragic line of duty death. "I honestly don't know what our department would have done without the assistance of SUPPORTING HEROES following our department's LODD. They were there for the family when the incident occurred and they are still there today."

Kyle left his position with Campbellsville Fire in January of 2016 for the opportunity to join the staff at SUPPORTING HEROES. Having been a member of the organization since 2006, he is extremely passionate about the work of the organization and how it serves the families of public safety personnel who make the ultimate sacrifice.

Brian Zinanni

State Director Missouri
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Brian has been a member of the Fire/EMS service for 31 years - starting in his hometown of Rock Falls, Illinois. He currently serves as a Lieutenant/Medical Officer with the Clayton Fire Department in Missouri. Brian is the founder and State Coordinator of the Missouri Fire Service Funeral Assistance Response Team which also serves as the Local Assistance State Team (L.A.S.T.) for Missouri of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He also serves as an advisor to the Missouri EMS Funeral Assistance Team and the Missouri Law Enforcement Funeral Assistance Team. Brian is a Board Member of the Firefighters Memorial Foundation of Missouri and Regional Director of the National Honor Guard Commanders Association.