Mr. Adkins knows the trauma and hardship that follows losing a loved one in the line of duty. His father, Kentucky State Trooper Johnny Adkins, was killed in the line of duty in 1995 when Tyler was just nine years old.
SUPPORTING HEROES did not exist in 1995. But it did in 2004 when Trooper Adkins' death was finally ruled 'line of duty.' SUPPORTING HEROES then reached out and helped Tyler and his family travel to Washington, DC to see his father honored.
Mr. Adkins is now an attorney in the litigation department of Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC. He focuses mainly on defending police officers and law enforcement agencies in state and federal courts.
Mr. Burns is a litigation attorney admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Kentucky. Mr. Burns formerly served as an instructor at Jefferson Technical College in the Criminal Justice Degree Program. He has been involved in public service since 1985 - first as a firefighter and auxiliary police officer in the suburbs of Philadelphia where he attained the rank of Captain. After relocating to Louisville in 1991, Mr. Burns served with the Lyndon Fire Department and earned the rank of Sergeant. Until his retirement, he served as a Reserve Deputy Corporal with the Jefferson County, Kentucky Sheriff's Office and also served with the Oldham County, Kentucky Sheriffs' Office. Mr. Burns has served on the boards of Broomall Fire Department in Marple Township, Pennsylvania and Lyndon Fire Protection District, Kentucky. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Fr. John Judie Ministries, Inc.
Ms. Dunagan has been a Home Mortgage Assistant for 16 years. She has seen the devastation and financial burden that losing a spouse can have on a survivor and feels strongly about supporting the families of public-safety personnel who make the supreme sacrifice in service to their communities. She has a seven year-old daughter whom she is teaching to respect Public Safety officers and the importance of caring for the families of those who make the ultimate sacrifice. She was previously married to a police officer and has a brother-in-law who is a career firefighter.
Dan Durham currently serves as a Senior Program Director with Air Evac Lifeteam in Campbellsville, KY. He has been a Paramedic for 21 years and previously served as the Director of Campbellsville-Taylor County Rescue. Mr. Durham previously served as a Detective with the Taylor County Sheriff's Office for seven years and with Campbellsville Police for four years. Since 1998, Dan has also served as pastor of the Stewart's Creek Baptist Church in Lebanon, Kentucky. He also currently works part-time with Marion County E.M.S. and Campbellsville-Taylor County E.M.S.
Major Ezell served on the Indiana State Police from 1968 until he retired March 31, 2010. He was promoted to Major in 1980 and served as the Department's Legal Advisor in the year's leading up to his retirement.
Major Ezell is a Master Instructor at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, and from 1991 until 2010 also served as an Administrative Law Prosecutor for Indiana Gun Permit License revocations.
He has maintained a private civil law practice since 1980 and has been an Adjunct Lecturer at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Northwest since 1984.
Major Ezell earned a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology at Indiana University Northwest and a Juris Doctorate from Valparaiso University School of Law.
Leta (Thompson) Gentry is the surviving fiancee of Brown Township (Indiana) Fire Captain/EMT David Sherfick (Last Call: February 4, 2008). Leta lives in Mooresville, Indiana with her husband Brent, a Telecommunications Specialist at AT&T and a part-time EMT for Brown Township Fire Department. Leta is a graduate of Butler University with a degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. She has served many years in Public Relations and Customer Service and now works as a News Reporter for WCBK Radio in Martinsville, Indiana. Leta is also a member of the Purdue Extension Board of Morgan County and is a part-time Vocalist for several R&B and Jazz performing groups in Indianapolis.
Bill has been affiliated with Public Safety in various capacities for over 25 years. He currently serves as a Sergeant/Chaplain with Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire District (Kentucky). He is also a Deacon in his church and serves as a volunteer Director of Safety & Security. Additionally, he is a 1st Lieutenant and Chaplain in Civil Air Patrol.
Bill's first contact with SUPPORTING HEROES came in January 2008 - less than 48 hours after being appointed Chaplain of the Bell County, Kentucky Sheriff's Office - when Deputy Sean Pursifull was killed in the line of duty. It was through that experience that he developed a passion to support the organization and get involved.
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.
Mrs. Calhoun was widowed at the age of 24 with three small children (2, 3, and 5). She knows firsthand the trauma of losing a spouse and the father of her children. She understands the grief and emotional and financial hardships of losing a loved one. Mrs. Calhoun is now married to a Louisville Metro Police officer.
Mr. Rodecap is the father of EMT Jeremy Rodecap of the Middletown Emergency Medical Services in Indiana. Jeremy fell in the line of duty on December 3, 2005 while responding to a motor vehicle accident.
Mr. Rodecap retired from IBM in 2010 with 42 years of service. He is currently on the board of the Adams-Markleville Fire District, Madison County, Indiana.
Lieutenant Colonel Schroeder began his law enforcement career with the Louisville Division of Police in August 1997. He now serves as an Assistant Chief of Louisville Metro Police Department over the Administrative Bureau and oversees a broad array of critical services. He also serves as the departmental liaison for other Metro agencies. Leadership, team building and improvement are key focuses for him. He is also a certified police instructor.
Lieutenant Colonel Schroeder enjoys working with the community. He volunteers in the security department at Southeast Christian Church. He has also volunteered his time for the Louisville Health Kick Festival, which benefits Kosair Children's Hospital.
Lieutenant Colonel Schroeder holds a Master of Science degree in the Administration of Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Louisville. He is a graduate of the 232nd Session of the FBI National Academy. He also attended the 127th Administrative Officers Course at the Southern Police Institute, where he earned the William F. Walsh Director's Award for Academic Excellence.
Mr. Smith currently serves as an EMS District Manager for the EMS Branch of the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
He started his EMS service in 1991 and has served in many capacities since. He also served as a Telecommunications Operator and Communications Trainer/Instructor with Indiana State Police from 1997 until 2008.
In addition to his role with Indiana DHS, he is an EMS Primary Instructor and a member of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) - Region V Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT).
Chief Walsh currently serves as Chief of the McMahan Fire Protection District in Louisville, Kentucky. He joined the department as a volunteer in 1990 and served in various capacities before becoming a career firefighter and then Fire Chief in 2012. He currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the Kentucky Association of Fire Chiefs; Vice President of the Kentucky Firefighters Association; as a member of the Fire Department Steering Committee of the WHAS Crusade for Children; and as a member of the MBA Advisory Board of Bellarmine University. Chief Walsh earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Justice Administration at University of Louisville and a Master of Business Administration in Executive Management at Bellarmine University.