MEET THE LIGHT OF HOPE TEAM
Layla Freeman is a wife, mother, friend, and encourager to all. She is a passionate disciple of Jesus Christ. Layla is the C.E.O. and Founder of the Non-Profit outreach ministry called “Light of Hope”. www.lightofhopeinc.org. This is an outreach to help individuals and families who are struggling with addiction and life difficulties. On Christmas Eve 2013, Layla lost her oldest daughter Ashley. Ashley was only 23 years old. There is no greater pain than child loss. Layla attributes her ability to face each day, to the overwhelming love of Jesus, who carries her through. This very difficult journey has given Layla the desire to help those who are facing difficult times and to help people see the hope. Her love for helping others is the passion behind Light of Hope. Light of Hope non-profit ministry has a vast variety of services that encourage, educate, empower and bring change and hope to the lives of those who need restoration and new life. Layla was awarded the Non-Profit “Leading Lady” award of Rogers County in 2018.
Layla is also an author. Her first book publication, HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE, offers hope in the midst of dark times. Layla is also the author of the encouragement blog “Layla’s Light,” found on Facebook or on her website, www.laylafreeman.com. She has been actively writing since 2001. Layla’s personal experience in the extreme difficulties of life gives her a deep understanding of brokenness. Therefore, Layla’s writing and passion behind her desire to help others are empowered by the truth of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, and the hope we find in God’s promises.
Layla is also a Business Owner/Vice President of Asset Industrial, Incorporated. Her and her husband, Randall, work together providing services necessary for the oil refinery industry. Layla is also a respected Board Member, serving on the Northeast Oklahoma Workforce Development Board.
In addition, Layla is a Stephen Minister, Congregational Care Minister, Lay Servant/Speaker, and a volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (Layla has two daughters who face Type 1 Diabetes daily).
Layla enjoys the opportunity to speak and present to groups, schools, churches, organizations, conferences, etc. She has a passion to bring awareness, education and hope to our society. She believes that working together, and collaboration with others is the key to healthy families and stronger communities.
NANCY PHELPS: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Nancy Phelps’ life mission is to serve others. As a former Educator, Executive Director, Director of Development, and Marketing/Development Professional, Nancy has been an integral component of several non-profit organizations by securing millions of dollars of support through monetary and in-kind donations. Nancy is highly regarded in the State of Oklahoma as a member of numerous organizations, groups, and charitable service providers. She has and continues to serve in the capacity of Executive Director, as well as Director of Development in non-profit management. Her career has afforded her the opportunity to serve on several non-profit Board of Directors for a wide variety of organizations.
Nancy and her husband, Ron, have been married since 1981. They are blessed to have two gorgeous daughters and a successful son-in-law. Their two grandchildren are the light of their lives. Her faith, family, and friends, as well as, those she is honored to serve alongside are incredibly special to her and a gift from God.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
STEVE REGIER: PRESIDENT
Steve has worked extensively with school athletic programs and staff throughout NE Oklahoma. He grew up in North Newton, Kansas attending Bethel College Mennonite Church. Life growing up was focused on church and school. After graduating from Newton High School in 1978, Steve earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Art from Bethel College in 1982.
Steve and his wife Gera live on Lake Oologah where they enjoy spending time with grandchildren and family as well as gardening and other activities.
Steve was drawn to Light of Hope after the death of his son Zachary in 2015. By sharing the experience
of a parent dealing with a child’s addiction, Steve hopes to bring healing to others dealing with similar issues while bringing healing to his own life.
CINDY GRIFFITH: VICE-PRESIDENT
Cindy Griffith is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and served her entire 33-year career in the Cooperation Extension Service as a county Extension Educator for Family and Consumer Sciences. She loves teaching and working in the community.
Cindy is active in the United Methodist Church in Claremore where she is involved in United Methodist Women and the music programs at the church. She serves as District President for United Methodist Women, is treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Cookson Hills Mission in Cookson, Oklahoma, and serves on the Boards of the Wesley Centers at NEO and NSU.
Cindy enjoys quilting and creating beautiful things from fabrics. She loves to cook for others. She sees community service as a responsibility and a ministry which enables her to share the talents and abilities that God has given her.
RENEE WOODWARD: TREASURER
Renee Woodward has been serving her community and working as an Accountant for 10 years. She has an extensive knowledge of the IRS; as well as the proper handling of a non-profit organization.
5 years ago, Renee opened her own business of Renee’s Tax & Accounting Services, in Ketchum, OK. She earned her Bachelors in Accounting from Oklahoma State University.
Renee is married to Kevin, a wonderful husband, and supporter. One of Renee’s greatest joys in life is her family and her grandchildren. Renee loves the beach, as well as the lake. She enjoys fishing and kayaking in her spare time.
Renee has a passion to help people who need encouragement and support in the struggles of life. Her passion, along with her thorough knowledge of non-profit organizations, are of great value to our organization.
SHEILA URBONAS: SECRETARY
Sheila Urbonas is an elementary school counselor and vice principal in Pryor, OK. She lives in Claremore with her husband, Bill Urbonas. They attend Claremore First United Methodist Church, where Sheila is a Stephen’s Ministry Leader. Bill and Sheila have four children (all between the ages of 22 and 25).
Their children are Ethan Cooper, Bailey Cooper, Elyse Urbonas, and Jessica Urbonas. In her free time, Sheila enjoys family board game nights, watching movies, traveling, reading, and crafts. Sheila is looking forward to serving on the Board of Directors and volunteering at Light of Hope!
HERB SMITH: GROUP FACILITATION LEADER/DIRECTOR
Herb Smith was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in the suburbs in nearby College Park, Maryland. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving 21 years, including two tours in Viet Nam before retiring as a Captain in 1977. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration, Magna Cum Laude, in 1979, and a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology in 1983, both from the National University in San Diego, CA. He was licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist from 1983 until2014.
Specializing in the prevention and treatment of chemical dependency, he worked in a variety of settings, including private practice, for more than 30 years. He also designed and implemented an outpatient chemical dependency program for a large psychiatric medical group in San Diego, CA., where he practiced for 10 years. From 1995 to 2000, he worked as a Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist for the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, CA. After retiring in 2000, Herb and his wife, Fran, relocated to Claremore, OK.
Herb attended the Summer on Chemical Dependency for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2000. He then became a member of the faculty, and later the Dean of the School, where he wrote and presented several topics and was a small group leader. The school closed in 2012.
Herb is a recovering alcoholic and has been clean and sober for over 42 years.
RANDALL FREEMAN: FOOD PANTRY DIRECTOR
Randall Freeman is a husband, father, friend, and business owner of Asset Industrial, Inc. Randall has been a small business owner since 2000. Randall and his wife, Layla, have been married since 2001 and have two daughters, Tessa and Savannah.
Randall has a passion to help others. He is a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ. Randall is hardworking and dedicated to his family, church, and business. He has a compassionate heart and is willing to reach out to people who are struggling. He is well known for his kindness and humor.
Randall has a passion for restoring antique cars; and enjoys treasuring the history and value of past memorabilia. His years of experience in business, finance, and management give him a wisdom well earned.
CINDY MCKENZIE: GRIEF SUPPORT DIRECTOR
Cindy McKenzie is a wife, mother, and Congregational Care Minister.
Cindy has the heart to help others. Cindy is a retired nurse and has extensive knowledge in the medical field.