Susanna Kavanaugh is the Executive Director and co-founder of The Least of These Carolinas. She has a heart for children and is a great advocate for their needs. Susanna and her husband, Sean, became involved in orphan ministry in 2009 when they became foster parents. They have fostered long term placements and have grown their family by adoption through foster care. She and Sean live in Gastonia with their three daughters and one son who is in college. Susanna has a desire to help the children of her community and help restore hope in their broken lives. Her prayer is that these children and their families would feel the love of Christ through this ministry. Susanna and her family attend Flint Groves Baptist Church.
Jim Gallagher --- Gastonia City Councilman. He & his wife Charmaine have made Gastonia their home for the past 20 years. They have raised 2 children both in College, Jordan & Caroline. Jim has a servant’s heart to help and serve the people of Gastonia and Gaston County especially the Foster children that live among us --- the Least of These
Pastor Ronnie Bowers
Pastor Ronnie Bowers was called to serve as the Senior Pastor of Flint-Groves Baptist Church in February of 2000. Pastor Ronnie was ordained to the Gospel Ministry by Mulberry Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. He received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake forest, NC. He also received a Bachelors of Science from Gardner Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC. Ronnie has a passion for orphans and is excited about being a part of this ministry. Pastor Ronnie and his wife Norma have four children.
Mamie Thomas Rudisill
Mamie Rudisill was raised in Gaston County and now resides in Lincoln County with her husband, Gary Rudisill. She is the founder/CEO of M.R.Printing and Design, Inc., and provides consulting for cost effective printing and marketing with various businesses. Mamie and her husband are members of Bethlehem Church in Gastonia, where she is the Women’s Ministry leader. Mamie considers it an honor and a pleasure to be able to serve on the Board of the Least of These Gaston, and to follow as He commands in James 1:27: "Here are the kinds of beliefs that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows and children who have no parents are in trouble, take care of them."
Dona Murray Goforth - Chairman
Dona lives in Belmont with her husband, Roy, and their four daughters, Caitlin a 3rd year Law Student, Abby a Junior at Liberty University, Mary-Madison a Senior, and O’Neil an Eighth Grader at Gaston Christian. Dona and Roy are the owners of Home Instead Senior Care where she is a certified ALZ trainer. She was a former Second Grade teacher for twenty years. Dona is a Women’s Speaker with In HIS Presence Ministry. Along the way she has mentored married couples, college students and hurting women who are desperate for HOPE. She served as President of Parent Teacher Fellowship with Gaston Christian. She is a member of Steele Creek Church of Charlotte. In her free time, Dona loves to read, watch her daughter’s play volleyball and cook for crowds.
Kris Smetak has been a therapist with Genuine Counseling Services since 2009. Kris and his wife Jodie Smetak have been active in supporting the children and families in the child welfare system since 1997. Kris is honored to serve on a board that identifies needs and advocates for the children in the foster care system. Kris is even more honored to serve on a board that provides wonderful experiences like Bridge Camp to children in foster care. Kris and Jodie have a middle school son Matthew who was Gaston County Citizen of the Year in 2014.
Blake Harris is from Lowell, NC and has been married for 8 years to his wife, Stephanie, and has a 3-year-old son, Hayden. Blake is a 2003 graduate of UNC‐Chapel Hill majoring in Business Communication and minor in Spanish. Blake has been living in Gaston County since 2007 and attends Venture church in Dallas, N.C. Over the past several months, he recently became more aware about what Least of These Carolinas is doing in the community and excited about the opportunity to become more involved. His wife volunteered at the Shoes of Hope event in 2015 and was very impressed with the organization and excited to see how they are impacting the community in such a positive way. Blake is a regional production director at Cintas Corporation.
Lauren Salinas Layne, lives in Charlotte with her husband and two children but was born and raised in Gaston County, where she works for her family's car dealership, McKenney-Salinas Honda. Lauren has always been called to serve and help others and feels most passionate about advocating for our foster children. She feels honored to be part of such a wonderful organization that can make such a positive impact on these children.