Meet the Board of Directors

Founder Mertice W. Kelly
Mertice W. Kelly

Mertice W. Kelly
Founder of Circle of Friends Ministry

  • Freelance writer
  • Speaker
  • An advocate for the disabled

Mertice’s work has been recognized with the 1999 JC Penney Golden Rule Award, the 2000 Eckerd 100 Salute to Women Award, 2005 Nominee for Rosalyn Carter Caregivers Award.

Bob Kelly 01Meet our Chairman

As a Telecommunication Engineer Robert (Bob) Kelly traveled world-wide. He is a WW II Navy Veteran and was Mayor of East Aurora, N.Y. for eight years.  Right out of the Navy, Bob started with Ma Bell/AT&T.  He continued with them even as their name changed to NYNEX (New York New England exchange of Bell/ATT into Verizon International.  After Retirement he went back with Verizon International and traveled for many years throughout the Middle-East and Africa. He moved to Lake Wales, Florida in 1984 where his is actively involved in his community.

Joe HartCo-Chair

Joe Hart was born in McKeesport, Pa April 22, 1939.  He graduated High School in Jennings, Florida then attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he obtained a commission in the United States Marine Corps.  After his service to the Armed Forces he began a career with the Florida Citrus Industry where he held many titles as he climbed the ladder of success. Joe ended his working career with ownership in his own company, Juice Source LLP.  Joe has served his church for the past 45 years. He has also served the following schools and organizations: PTO Eustis Elementary, PTA president of Dale Fair Elementary,  Lake Wales High School Band Association Director of the Graduation Celebrations for 3 daughters,  Chairman of the board, and Community Lay Director for Heart of Florida walk to Emmaus. He still serves as a Consultant for Juice Source on an as needed basis.

Katherine KinlochSecretary of the Board

Katherine (Katie) Kinloch is no new comer to this town. As a native to Lake Wales, Fl, Katherine attended Lake Wales High school. Following her graduation of high school, Katherine then enrolled at Polk State College where she completed her courses. Becoming certified in Water & Waste Water Operations, Katherine then went on to dedicating herself to her career with the City of Lake Wales, where she worked for 40 years. She now volunteers her time and is a member to multiple organizations throughout the community, including the City of Lake Wales Mardi Gras Committee.

rodden-greg-cropThe Treasurer

Meet Greg Rodden. Greg was born and raised in Lima, Ohio where he attended Shawnee High School. After moving to Lake Wales, he then attended Warner and Webber Universities where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management with a MBA. After his studies in college, Greg  then became Controller and CFO at Warner University where he is currently serving.

Board Members


steversonsReverend AJ Steverson was born and raised in Telfair County, Georgia where he attended grade school. After graduating high school, Rev. AJ decided to broaden his horizon in hopes that he would one day, honor the calling the Lord had put on his life. He enrolled at Berry College in Rome, Georgia where he studied for 1 year. Deciding to further his chosen career path, Rev. AJ then served as a Ministerial Correspondent for 3 years. Which in result, led to him earning his Doctor of Ministry Degree through Berean Bible College. Over the past 50 years, Reverend AJ Steverson continues to serve in the ministry. Among those 50+ years, he also served as District Presbyter of Assemblies of God for 12 years and as the head pastor of First Assembly of God of Lake Wales for 22 years.

Joyce Brown was born in Benton Ridge, Ohio. She then later relocated to Winter Haven, Fl where she attended and graduated from Winter Haven High School. Wanting to further her education after high school, she then enrolled into Polk State College where she obtained her Nursing degree and is now currently serving as a Registered Nurse at Winter Haven Women’s Hospital.

Barbara ClevengerBarbara Clevenger was born in Eagle Lake, Fl. Raised in Winter Haven, Fl.  As a Lifelong resident of the sunshine state, Barbara very much enjoys the outdoors! Her hobbies range anywhere from golf tournaments with Colorado Beef Box to caroling in the park with her Wells Fargo Co-workers. When she’s not working as a bank teller at Wells Fargo Bank, Barbara spends her free time giving back to others. Participating in various charity events, such as March of Dimes!

Wayne MillerWayne Miller

Honorary Board of Directors

mayorEugene Fultz is the City’s appointed representative on the LWCS Board of Trustees. He is a graduate of Arkansas Baptist College with a BA in Social Studies and Elementary Education. He is a certified teacher and has taught Intensive Reading, Language Arts, History and Science. He is a Vietnam Veteran who served two tours aboard aircraft carriers in the Navy. First Sargent Fultz retired honorably from the Army National Guard after twenty years of military service. He is a Licensed and Ordained Minister who focuses on issues such as drugs, gangs, violence and teen pregnancy. Eugene and his wife are CEO and CFO of Greater Grace Ministries of Florida, Inc. which serves hot meals to the less fortunate in Lake Wales, Haines City and Ft. Meade. He has many affiliations within Lake Wales and throughout Polk County including Honorary Board member of the Circle of Friends. His “never quit” attitude resonates and he continues to go above and beyond for the betterment of the City of Lake Wales all while serving as its Mayor which he has been doing since 2013. (Term expires June 30, 2017)

25586229-78ec-4af1-9a9d-0e77463fa475James Nelson, M.D was raised in the beautiful town of Lake Wales, Fl where he attended grade school. After completing high school, he decided that he would attend military school. Which then led to his enlistment into the United States Marine Corp. After serving his country, He went to work in the family business as an undertaker at Nelson Funeral Home right here in Lake Wales. Deciding to take a different route, James enrolled into medical school. After earning his Doctorate Degree in 1985, he began practicing medicine at the Lake Wales Walk-In Clinic. In 1987, he joined forces with Doctor Barringer at Lake Wales Family Practice. Over 29 years later, Doctor Nelson now owns Lake Wales Family Practice. Over the years, he has participated in multiple fundraisers and charity events including several international medical mission trips. To this day, he continues to give back to society in attempt to make this world a better place.

12410531_729543457181002_5890810613564175906_nSamuel E. Kipe III graduated from Lake Wales High School in 1972.  He is presently employed as manager of Chemical Containers, Inc. in Lake Wales.  Sam serves as Safety Coordinator and Human Resource Officer for 85 employees.  Prior to working at Chemical Containers, Inc. Sam was employed at Xerxes Corporation in Lakeland for 27 years.  During that time Sam started as a labor janitor and worked his way through the rank to Executive Plant Manager. Sam serves on the Board of Directors at his home church where he and his family have attended for 16 years.  He served on the Lake Wales Little League Executive Board as a Safety Coordinator in 2008-2009. Sam is presently serving as an Honorary Board member of the Circle of Friends for his 6th year.  In 2003 Sam and his son, Troy, began the annual Circle of Friends’ “Owen Hawkes Memorial Bike-A-Thon fund raiser.

12232838_10153287123551818_3431360160975339070_oBarney Moore was born in Taiwan while his parents were stationed with the military when they found out that he was born with Cerebral Palsy Quadriplegia. But his handicap has not deterred his desire to help others.  Barney attended Lake Wales High School and then went on to attend the University of South Florida where he took business classes. Barney partnered with the Kiwanis Club of Lake Wales to open Barney’s Dream Park at the Kiwanis Park in Lake Wales, Florida.