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Board of Directors | Character Camp

Dr. Garry Blackmon
Board Chair

Dr. Garry Blackmon serves on a number of boards and charitable foundations. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Houston Fire Fighters Relief and Retirement Fund, one of the largest pension funds in the country with assets totaling over four billion dollars. Additionally, he serves as vice-president of the Oldham Little Church Foundation. He is a former trustee of the Houston Baptist University, where he served for nine years.

He is the founder and senior pastor of Crossway Christian Fellowship in Houston, Texas. In addition he also serves as chaplain for the Houston Fire Department, a position he’s held since January 1, 1999. He is a thirty year veteran of the Houston Fire Department with fifteen of those years serving as the chaplain.

He’s been a regular seminar presenter for Leaders Edge and the UBA Church Growth Institute. He has provided the invocation at numerous functions throughout the city, including the City-Wide National Day of Prayer, the Mayor’s Breakfast, The Mayor’s serves Award Ceremony, Houston Fire Department graduations, and the City-Wide Metropolitan Baptists Ministers Conference and many other events.

Dr. Kimberly Harden
Medical Director

Dr. Kimberly Harden is a board certified family medicine physician. She is a native Houstonian, currently residing in Chicago, IL. Armed with southern charm, she delivers compassionate care to her patients in the clinic and hospital setting. Dr. Harden is currently on staff at Rush Oak Park Hospital, West Suburban Medical Center and Doctor on Demand. She serves as Medical Director for Character Camp and loves sharing fond memories of caring for campers and chaperones on summer retreat. At leisure, she enjoys cooking, foreign travel, working out and target shooting.

Don Francis
Board Member

Photo and Bio coming soon.

Dennis Bingel
Board Member

Dennis is from Ann Arbor Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Engineering. He has been a transplant to Texas for more than 25 years. He has 35 years of experience in Project Management as it relates to major projects and construction in the Utility (Gas and Electric), Hotel and Petrochemical industries. Currently, he is a celebrated project controls manager with one of our nation’s largest refiners. He enjoys serving on the Character Camp executive team because of the principles on which the organization is founded and because of the vision, passion and ethics of the leadership. Also important to Dennis is the fact that donations to Character Camp are 100% for the benefit of the children rather than to salaries and corporate overhead.

Dr. Gwendolyn Smith-Whigham
Board Member

Dr. Gwendolyn Smith-Whigham, B.S., D.C., is a Chiropractor and professor of medicine. In her leisure, she officiates girls’ track meets, serves on the Alumni Board for Ross S. Sterling Aviation High School and is a very proficient organizer of large-scale events. She and her husband Charles enjoy traveling and an active social life. She has a broad background in executive board service and volunteerism. In addition to her Doctorate of Chiropractic, she holds numerous certifications including L.F.A.A.I.M, F.I.A.M.A., D.A.I.P.M., F.A.C.H.E., C.C.S.P., F.A.B.D.A.

Richalyn Jezek
Board Member

Photo and Bio coming soon.

Dr. Takaya Jones
Board Member

Dr. Takaya Jones, MD is a board certified family medicine physician who currently practices within the Baptist Health System of Florida. Dr. Jones is committed to providing compassionate, patient-centered, quality care for patients of all ages and believes that patient education is key in promoting health and wellness. She is a Jacksonville native who calls Orange Park – just outside of the downtown area- her home.

Takaya is the Co-Chairman of the Pink Ribbon Symposium (PRS), a health and wellness platform for breast cancer survivors and the community of Jacksonville, Florida. Takaya has successfully planned community walks, Rotary Club engagements and has been instrumental in arranging the health and wellness symposium the PRS is well known for. The organization has support of sponsors that range from Raymond Jones and AARP to Walmart and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

With her addition as a board member, Character Camp gains her insight and experience in forming partnerships with community leaders and businesses, organizing and marketing community events and fundraising. Dr. Jones is married to her husband Paul of 9 years and has one son. When she is not treating patients, she is busy with her family life, enjoying small town charms in the big city of Jacksonville, service to the Pink Ribbon Symposium and shopping.

Cora Battle
Board Member

Cora is a State Grants and Work-Study Coordinator for the University of Houston Downtown.  She helps provide State grants to high school graduates in Texas as well as those who just completed their two year degree from a community college in Texas.  She hires college students under the university’s Work-Study Program to allow students to gain work experience while attending college. Cora has been serving as a Board Member with Character Camp for three years, helping children attend Character Camp through her fundraising, volunteering and recruiting. She is enjoying being a member of a caring, hard-working and dedicated board to ensure Character Camp’s success.

Jennifer Hardy
Board Member

Jennifer Hardy graduated from the University of Houston – Clear Lake, with a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2011. She has been working as a teacher of gifted students since that time. She has experience volunteering in the community with a local hospice, where she would visit nursing homes as a clown to help boost morale. She has helped with habitat for humanity building houses, and many other organizations to help people through difficulties. She enjoys chaperoning to build not only the kids’ character but hers as well. In her leisure, she enjoys spending time with her husband and family, doing stand up paddleboard, playing kickball, and painting.

Robin Harris
Board Member

Robin’s distinguished executive-level career is founded upon 22 years of Project Management and Project Controls improvement sciences. The last 12 years have been heavily focused on Turnaround Project Controls. Robin has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a M.B.A. and is a certified Project Management Professional. Occupational accomplishments range from ExxonMobil as a field engineer, project engineer, and cost and schedule engineer to Lyondellbasell as the Cost Control Lead for US Turnaround Management. Robin is currently the Corporate SME for Refining Business Improvement for Turnaround Cost Control and Estimating – a proven results-oriented manager with the multinational energy company, Phillips 66. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc; and Sacred Heart Catholic School Board. She is married, has 3 children and is fond of international travel, reading and cooking in her spare time.