When Robert and Jean Breckenridge discovered that their youngest of two sons, Jimmy, had Downs Syndrome, they began to speculate about the future. Jimmy would never be able to live on his own or take care of himself. How could they ensure he’d be safe and cared for when they were gone? They also began to think about all the other parents who were facing the same dilemma. Was there a way to help not only Jimmy, but some of the other children as well? Robert and Jean began to dream of creating a home for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities – one that was faith-based and provided a warm community of care for those that needed protection when their families could no longer care for them. Together, they purchased 78 acres near their home in Tyler, Texas to serve as the future site of the residential community they dreamed of. Then, without warning, the family lost both Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. in a short amount of time. Jean was overwhelmed with loss and heartbreak. Even in the aftermath of her tragic loss, Mrs. Jean would not let their dream die. Her tenacity and strong will would not let her give up, and she approached Green Acres Baptist Church about the possibility of building a home for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Dr. David Dykes then introduced Mrs. Jean to Mr. Kevin Dinnin, President and CEO of BCFS. Kevin was inspired by her vision and passion to make her dream a reality. Mrs. Jean contributed her land, and under the leadership of Mr. Dinnin and the partnership of the Texas Baptist Men Retiree Builders (TBM), Breckenridge Village opened its doors to house adults with developmental disabilities in April of 1998. Thanks to Mrs. Jean’s gift of love, BCFS, and TBM, the Breckenridge family’s vision became a reality. Through a very generous donation from the Rogers Foundation, consisting of board members Dr. PaulPowell, Sheryl Palmer, and Robyn Rogers, the addition of the beautiful Robert M. Rogers Chapel to the Breckenridge Village campus was dedicated in April of 2000. This chapel was given to honor the life of Mr. Robert M. Rogers. Breckenridge Village has provided services to hundreds of individuals with developmental disabilities, all of whom had families who were at a loss to take care of them. Breckenridge Village continues to be a beacon of hope to families from across our state and beyond.
After earning a business administration degree from Abilene Christian University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Baylor University School of Law, Chelsea moved to Tyler and worked for several local law firms, gaining valuable experience before opening her own legal practice in 2010. While she enjoyed law, it was a family health emergency that steered Chelsea towards her true calling. When her father was diagnosed with cancer, Chelsea took over his role as the primary caregiver for her beloved grandfather. “That was the start of my journey into assisted living and my calling to work with people who often times depend on others to be their voice,” Chelsea said. “I realized that what I wanted most was to serve others and be a true advocate.”
Most recently, Chelsea served as Executive Director of Primrose Retirement Community, a 104-bed facility consisting of assisted living, independent living and memory care patients. Prior to that, she was the Director of Operations for Capstone Healthcare Staffing in Tyler, managing two offices and supervising the work of more than 500 healthcare providers.
Chelsea became the Executive Director of BV in February 2022. With extensive experience working with patients’ rights and managing assisted living communities, Chelsea transitioned seamlessly into her new role at Breckenridge Village where she manages day-to-day operations, ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements and connect with the Tyler community while supervising a staff of over 60 personnel. She will guide Breckenridge Village’s growth in the coming years as they implement new programs and seek opportunities for expansion.
Gerald Ross grew up in the hinterlands of Michigan. Saint Louis is the geographical center of the lower peninsula, and Gratiot County was the least populated and poorest county in the lower peninsula. Those challenges prompted a strong work ethic among the graduating classes. Gerald’s brother Andy was born with Down Syndrome and a myriad of other challenges and introduced him to the world of services and uncomfortable exchanges. Gerald attended Alma College, where he majored in Psychology, and moved quickly onto a master’s program at Central Michigan University. Gerald focused his studies on Neurodegenerative Disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Diseases.
Life is always a pivot and people tend to see things that are hidden from others. A friend suggested that he take a position in the Admissions Office at Alma College, and he spent the next eight years recruiting high school students to attend college. He worked with schools in Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio.
One of the statements that Gerald frequently told students focused on adaptability. He would say, “in this modern world, people are going to have at least three careers (not jobs, different careers). And there’s a good chance that the career that you will have at the end of the path, you aren’t even aware it exists.” And to prove his point, he pivoted again, taking a job as a QIDP (although at the time, we still used the MR designation), with Independence, a small agency in Ravenna, Ohio. During his time as a Q, Gerald worked with some of the most engaging and challenging individuals in the system. He spent the next eight years challenging a system that regarded people as a series of tasks, goals, and achievements. It called it “person centered,” but rarely took anything personal into account. Despite the Quixotic nature of his quest, Gerald continued to encourage, listen, learn, grow, and engage.
Gerald took his fight to the trenches then, becoming a “Staff Development Coordinator” and training new folks in the field about the very basic and somewhat specialized ideas. Later he moved to Echoing Hills Village, first in Coshocton, then in Dayton, to be the administrator for large Intermediate Care Facilities. During his time with EHVI, Gerald oversaw day to day operations, and some unusual happenings, like when the EF1 tornado slammed into the front of the home, displacing 32 people and starting a year long trek to get everyone home.
The last few years, Gerald spent in Michigan, experiencing the world of the Adult Foster Care system and gaining perspective and insight into different foci and patterns.
Along the way, Gerald has opened new homes, downsized homes into Supported Living arrangements, written behavior supports and eliminated them. He is a good listener, seeking to understand the details of any challenge. He has made some incredible friends along this journey and is eager to continue his trek towards the future when human beings (who happen to have unique and wonderful challenges in their lives) are treated like human beings.
Cassi was born and raised in East Texas and graduated from The University of Texas at Tyler with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing. She strengthened her experience as a communicator through various marketing positions at Tyler Junior College and went on to work as Marketing Manager at CWJ Strategies. In this dynamic role, she gained diverse experience in community engagement, political campaigning, fundraising, digital marketing, and business strategy.
Guided by one of her life verses found in Proverbs 31:8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” Cassi was led to combine her faith and professional experience to take on the role as Director of Community Relations for Breckenridge Village. She works to strengthen the connection between Breckenridge Village and the greater East Texas community while advocating for a dignified and abundant life for all.
Cassi is a proud member of Leadership Tyler Class 36 (best class ever!). Cassi is active in serving at Grace Community Church, where she volunteers as a worship leader and in the college ministry alongside her husband, Jake.
Nora grew up in East Texas and received her B.B.A. from LeTourneau University in Longview. Her goal is to make sure that residents are eligible for all the great things that Breckenridge Village has to offer. She enjoys being involved with the wonderful residents, parents, and staff at Breckenridge Village. In her spare time she loves spending time with her family and traveling.
Brittani grew up Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her parents taught her by example how to live a Christ-centered life and show love to everyone no matter their circumstance and she strives to embody those principles daily. She is passionate about helping her community and is active in her local Kiwanis club. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family, especially playing with her nephew Judah any chance she gets. She is grateful for the opportunity to serve the residents at Breckenridge Village and the joy she receives from seeing their smiles every day is immeasurable.
Marque is a native of Tyler, Texas where she graduated John Tyler High School and Texas College. She has a love for education and finds her niche preparing Life Skills lessons for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Marque has worked at Breckenridge Village since 2002 and has served as the Director of Day Habilitation for two years. She is the mother of one son and enjoys teaching Sunday school and serving in her church.
Sheila feels so blessed to have the opportunity to work at Breckenridge Village. She has worked in the social services field for many years and knows this is her calling to serve others. After hours, Sheila loves spending time with her husband of 30 years, along with other family members.
Rachel grew up in Lindale, Texas. She received her associate degree in social work from Tyler Junior College and her bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Texas at Tyler. She felt a calling from the Lord to work with the special need population from a young age due to helping care for her two brothers with IDD. She spent her summers serving individuals with IDD at a local school district and summer camps since 2006. In 2013 she found out about Breckenridge Village and knew this is where she felt called to be. She has served in many capacities here from part-time direct care staff to house manager, to day program group leader, and currently serves as the day program coordinator. She plans and manages the activities for the day program as well as being the case manager for the community participants. When not working, she enjoys time with her family, friends and finding different creative outlets.
Sharita is caring and compassionate, and had 15 years of experience in working with individuals with disabilities before joining Breckenridge Village in May of 2022. She has three children and one grandchild whom she adores. Sharita has a passion for cooking and looks forward to teaching Culinary Arts.
Jennifer’s love for working with the residents at Breckenridge Village grew from a love taught by her daughter, Katherine Grace, who was born with intellectual disabilities. She inspired Jennifer to seek out opportunities to serve other individuals with similar circumstances. She started out working in special education and has now joined the Breckenridge Village family. While Jennifer has so much to offer these individuals, she has come to realize that they have had a far greater impact on her life.
Kim has a passion for working with people with disabilities. She started in her career field as a direct care service professional in 2014 and over the years has been a house manager and a foster care provider for people with disabilities. She joined the Day Hab Team at Breckenridge Village in March of 2022. Kim is close to her children and enjoys visiting them. She is passionate about going to church and being a part of the Christian community.
Sydney Fortune was born in Dallas Texas and raised in Tyler. She graduated from Tyler Junior College with her associate in social work and is planning to pursue her bachelor’s in social work from SFA. She is married to her high school sweetheart and has one child.
Sydney loves to sing and has been able to use her talent to direct the BVT ensemble. She has a passion for caring for people, and working at Breckenridge Village has allowed her to do what she loves and that is to take care of others and help residents in their everyday lives.
Lisha Hackney grew up in Frankston, Texas. One of her favorite childhood memories was riding four-wheelers and imaginative play in the deep Piney Woods. After graduating high school, Lisha enrolled at Baylor University.
Because of her passion for public speaking, her early ambitions leaned towards law. She earned a degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice at Baylor. During her freshman year, she started working with at-risk and disabled youth. What originally started out as a temporary work-study opportunity quickly turned into a passion. Lisha spent the next five years serving and creating opportunities for those with developmental disabilities to thrive. She is excited to now be a part of the team at Breckenridge Village!
Allison is from Jacksonville, Texas and has two sons and four grandchildren. She enjoys cooking, crafting, gardening, playing with her two rescue pups, and volunteering at animal shelters. Allison began working in the residential department in November 2019 and joined the Day Program team in April 2022. In Day Hab, Allison is enjoying teaching Culinary Arts and Candle Making.
Armi was born in the Philippines and completed a bachelor’s degree in education. She immigrated to the United States in May of 1991. She holds a Dental Assistant Certification and has been working at Breckenridge Village for 14 years. At first, she was not sure what to expect from her career path in the special needs community, but now it is very clear that Breckenridge Village is where she belongs. She loves coming to work every day to have a fun time with the residents and is very thankful for her husband finding Breckenridge Village and introducing her to a new home away from home.
On weekends, Armi loves spending time with her family going fishing, riding the boat across the lake, or just being at home.
Bio coming soon.
Leticia was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She has three adult children and nine grandchildren whom she adores. She has worked with individuals with intellectual disabilities for 20 years and loves it. Upon meeting Leticia, it becomes apparent that she is patient, creative, and has a heart for service. When not working, she enjoys fishing and bowling. Leticia joined our Day Program team in September of 2022 as a Day Program Group Leader.
Carla has worked in the social services field for over 13 years. She loves working with everyone at Breckenridge Village, and feels great joy connecting with the residents and day program attendees. She can be seen all over campus offering a helping hand or a cheerful smile. In her free time, she likes to go fishing, camping, and boating.
Linda was born in Tyler and has enjoyed living in the East Texas area all her life. She is a graduate of Whitehouse High School and the Federal Institute of Business. She later attended Richard Joseph’s School of Hair Design. After graduation, she owned and operated a Hair Salon and Health Food Store for 25 years. In 1999, Linda joined the Breckenridge Village family where she served in various roles including Houseparent, Community Relations Coordinator, Director of Development and currently as Associate Executive Director of Advancement. She is honored to be part of the Breckenridge Village team and says, “it has been a joy to have spent the last twenty-four years serving the amazing individuals that God has entrusted to our care.”
Linda enjoys spending time with Morris, her husband of 55 years, their two children and their families. She also loves being “Moppy” to five awesome grandchildren, and her first great grandson, Cyrus.
Brad grew up in Charleston, SC and moved to Tyler in 2013 with his wife and three children. He has worked in construction management for over 25 years. His goals center around creating and maintaining a safe and functional environment for the residents of Breckenridge Village. He and his wife, Holly, enjoy spending time traveling to new places.
Manny Gutierrez is a native Texan but has worked all across the U.S. in prior positions. He is married with five children and almost seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Manny enjoys hunting, fishing and motocross with his nephews. He is excited for the great opportunity to work at the amazing Breckenridge Village campus and help the residents that call it home.
Morris grew up in the East Texas area and has lived in Chandler for the past 50 years. He is a graduate of Brownsboro High School. After graduation, he began a long career in the plastic industry with USI Films Products, which later became Bonar Packaging. He worked in various departments of the industry including production, product development, ink and printing. He completed 33 years of service in the plastic industry.
He came to work at BV in 1999 with his wife Linda, where they served as house parents. Currently he works part time in the Breckenridge Village maintenance department, where he oversees 5 mowing groups that volunteer to keep our campus looking beautiful. He also maintains and services all the lawn equipment. Morris loves spending time with Linda, their two kids, and five grandchildren, who call him “Poppy.” He also really enjoys watching football and baseball games.
Robin is a graduate of University of Texas at Tyler with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Business Administration-Healthcare Management. She is a Texas native and has lived in the Tyler area since 2003. She helps care for her 95-year-old grandmother and her 7-year-old cousin. She enjoys work, church, and volunteering.
April grew up in Shreveport, LA but moved to Tyler in 2005. She has a degree in Psychology and has worked in social services with both individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as those with mental illness since 2007. April has a passion for working with people with disabilities and working in a Christ Centered environment is very important to her. April’s husband, Jack, is very supportive of her drive to serve others and also volunteers at Breckenridge Village functions.
Danielle is an Associate Program Director and QIDP with Breckenridge Village and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She has been in this field serving amazing individuals like our residents for 12 years but has been here at Breckenridge Village since 2016. Danielle loves Breckenridge Village’s residents, staff, the Christian environment, and the work she does here.
In a nutshell, she is a case manager for the residents of houses 4, 8, and 9 and supervises the staff in those homes. It can be tough and demanding, but it’s much more than just a job. Danielle enjoys assisting the residents in becoming more independent and coordinating with staff and families to ensure they are meeting their goals and being cared for in line with state regulations and Breckenridge’s amazing standards. She loves being at our many events because the residents are always the best part of every day! In her personal life, you’ll find Danielle taking part in summer activities like going to the lake or beach, camping, seeing friends, drinking good coffee, eating great food, and attending her small church in Athens.
Nicole’s interest in mental health began at a young age, which led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UT Tyler.
Nicole started her career as a Service Coordinator at Andrew’s Center, where she had the opportunity to serve the IDD population for five years. She then joined Breckenridge Village in August 2020 as a Day Program staff member and later transitioned to become a Qualified Intellectual Disabilities Professional (QIDP) in 2022. As a QIDP, Nicole advocates for our residents’ best interests and collaborates with families and their teams to create plans that achieve each resident’s individual goals through active treatments.
In addition to her work at Breckenridge Village, Nicole enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially her two sons. She has been a scout leader for the past five years, and she loves volunteering and giving back to the community, with her favorite event being “Day of Caring,” which she has participated in for ten years. Nicole also loves traveling and being outdoors.
Diane has a background working with children with behavioral issues within the Henderson school system and has been at Breckenridge Village for 4 years. She feels blessed to be a House Manager for the 6 amazing men she serves.
Linda started her career with Breckenridge Village as a PRN House Manager in 2009. She has since been promoted up the ranks from that position to Weekday House Manager. Through the years Linda worked as a Foster Provider for children under the age of 18 in the foster care system. She has been a recipient of the Bair Foundation Foster Parent of the Year award. Linda enjoys painting and, as a member of the Breckenridge Village Ladies Auxiliary, has assisted throughout the years with various craft projects.
Bonnie was born in Louisiana but has lived all over the world, including in various places like Arkansas, Texas, Illinois, Alabama, and Germany. She is the mother of 2 children, but her most favorite people are her 2 grandchildren that call her “Mimi.” Bonnie has worked at Breckenridge Village since October 2016. She enjoys working with the residents of BV who give such unconditional love and acceptance.
Ken wasn’t born in Texas, but he did get here as soon as possible! He arrived in Texas in 1978 and has enjoyed making Texas his home. After retiring from his career as a warehouse manager and a former school bus driver, he and his wife Benita began working at Breckenridge Village. This new path has given him an opportunity to be of service to the wonderful residents that live at and attend the campus.
Jennifer was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, but moved to Texas at the age of 5. She was then raised in Whitehouse, Texas where she graduated in 1996. Jennifer has worked in memory care and assisted living, worked privately with families to take care of their loved ones and has her licenses in esthetics from the Institute of San Antonio.
Jennifer enjoys crafting, gardening, and visiting her family in Louisiana. After hearing the wonderful things about Breckenridge Village from members of the community she felt that Breckenridge Village was where she needed to be. Breckenridge Village is glad to have Jennifer as part of the family!
Hayley is originally from Minnesota, but doesn’t call that her home. Hayley and her family have been obedient and have listened to God which has led them to moving 28 times in her lifetime. Out of any place, East Texas is where she feels most at home. God has always had a huge influence in their lives. God has put working with kids on her heart, resulting in her earning her associates in social work. She plans on returning for her bachelors in hopes of one day being able to become a CPS worker. After spending a short amount of time up north in her aunt’s host home and in another home assisting a teenage girl, special needs became a passion of hers. She is so grateful and feels so blessed to be here at Breckenridge Village and plans to stay as long as God’s plans let her.
Donna is a transplanted Texan after being raised on a farm in Arkansas. She married and was blessed with two wonderful boys and beautiful twin girls. She loves caring for her ladies at Breckenridge Village and spending time with friends, family, and especially her grandchildren.
Pam is a native Texan who loves the Lord and lives in Tyler with her husband of 33 years. She has two daughters and two grandchildren. She received her BS in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Tyler. She taught special education for almost 10 years at a local charter school. In her spare time, she gardens and plays pool with her dad at the senior center.
Brenda is a Texan, and worked as City Secretary for Van, Texas for 31 years. After retiring, she went to work at Breckenridge Village as Administrative Assistant, and later moved to the role of House Manager, where she has remained for almost 16 years. In her spare time, with her husband Tim, she enjoys their children, grandchildren, and traveling.
Carol is a beloved daughter of God, whose love and forgiveness has changed her life. For 26 years she was a Special Education teacher and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education from the University of Texas at Tyler. Carol enjoys weekends at Breckenridge Village, where the love of Christ shines in residents smiles and on the faces of staff. Carol’s family, including a sweet grand puppy, keep her busy and joyful.
O’Nita grew up in Arcadia Park and Oak Cliff in Dallas. She moved to East Texas in 1978 and attended Van school district. She worked with the Northeast Texas Health Department for 22 years in WIC offices. Her greatest joy is being given six gifts from God, her wonderful children. She has enjoyed numerous moments such as ball games, rodeos , FFA endeavors, dirt bike riding, and school plays with her children. She also enjoys serving at church and spending all time with her children. O’Nita attended TJC and SFA and received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and minored in Psychology. By the grace of God she was brought to Breckenridge Village and is truly, profoundly grateful to God’s guidance and his grace.
Brenda has worked with Breckenridge Village since March 2020. Before working at Breckenridge Village she worked with individuals with disabilities through another residential company in Longview, TX. Brenda has a passion for taking care of God’s special people and loves spending time with people with disabilities. She is a dog lover and always makes sure that there are furry children at home.
Julie is new to BV and is looking forward to getting to know the House 1 ladies in her new role! Julie recently moved to Tyler. She grew up in Dallas. She is currently enrolled at Tyler Junior College as a nursing student. She has a fur baby, and they love to go hiking and kayaking.
Dreka has Bachelor’s degree in Health Education and Physical Education from Texas A&M University. She has worked in the healthcare field since 1990. Dreka began her career at Breckenridge Village in November 2010 as a part time Direct Care Aid and has continued in that position through the years. Dreka is an active member of her church in Longview, TX, where she resides. She enjoys singing and dancing with the residents of Breckenridge Village. Her favorite holiday is Christmas and will watch Christmas movies all year long on Hallmark!
Benita grew up in the Tyler area, and is happy to still call it home. She graduated from UT Tyler earning a B.S. in Education. Teaching in the local area and in the Plano metroplex gave her many diverse opportunities. Providing quality care for the residents at BV is a great passion and love in her life. Breckenridge Village rocks! Benita lives with her husband Ken and several pets.