Introducing Gordy Fornell, Board of Directors Vice President

Gordy Fornell 2016Lieutenant General Fornell, USAF, (Ret) retired from active duty in the USAF in 1993 with over 35 years of service. He served in senior acquisition leadership positions in AF Systems Command and AF Materiel Command. The general is a command pilot with more than 7,000 flying hours in more than 40 types of aircraft.  His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters and Air Force Commendation Medal.  He also wears the Basic Parachutist Badge and the Missile Crew Member Badge.
He has been a private consultant since retiring and lives in Niceville, FL. He is also a member of the Defense Support Initiative of the Okaloosa County Economic Development Council, Chairman of the Air Force Armament Museum Foundation, member of both the Niceville Chamber of Commerce and Emerald Coast Military Affairs Committee, and member of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority. He is a graduate of the AF Test Pilot School, holds an MBA from the Wharton School and an engineering degree from Michigan State University.

Meet Teresa Halverson, Board of Directors President

Teresa at Duke 2
In addition to her responsibilities as the Director of Marketing & Admissions at The Manor at Blue Water Bay in Niceville, Florida, Teresa Halverson serves as the President of the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Inc. She has been with the Manor for 12 years and joined the FHEC board in January of 2012.
Teresa and her husband Bob relocated to the area after Bob’s retirement from the Air Force in 2000.     She has a degree from the University of Las Vegas, NV in Social Work and is a graduate of the Okaloosa Leadership Program.  She is a Niceville/Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce board member, serving on  various committees, including Military Affairs, and is presently the Vice President of Membership Development.  Teresa is also a member of the Emerald Coast Military Affairs Council, the Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and was recently selected as an honorary with the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.
Teresa and her husband have one son, Garret, who is serving as an officer in the Marine Corp. When not volunteering or working, Teresa and Bob participate in local art shows as glass and jewelry artists.

Costa Enterprises – McDonalds supports FHEC with $1,500 donation

FHEC Costa 3-31-2016Costa Enterprises, which operates 19 McDonald’s locations in Northwest Florida, recently presented a $1,500 donation to Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Inc. through their Coffee for a Cause campaign.  The Costa family donated 50 percent of net proceeds from Monday coffee sales in the month of January to a local non-profit agency.  Donations made to Fisher House enable the organization to continue supporting military families during medical needs with lodging and transportation.   Fisher House, located on Eglin AFB opened in September of 2010, and has saved military families over $1,000,000 in lodging and transportation. The geographic footprint offers services to residents from Pensacola to Panama City.

The check was presented to board members Gordon Fornell and Katy Mitchell, along with board president, Teresa Halverson.  Representatives of Costa Enterprises – McDonalds included Roslyn Snyder, Steven Killebrew, David Costa, Jr., Jackie Wells, Dennis Ealy and Jesse Bell.

“David and his family have always made giving back to the communities they serve a top priority,” said Teresa Halverson, board of director’s president.  “The program that they created has become a trendsetter for other operators and we were honored to be selected again. “

Fisher House of the Emerald Coast hires Administrative Director

Hughes 2016

The Board of Directors for the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast (FHEC) welcomes Mia Hughes as their new Administrative Director. Her responsibilities will include raising funds to support the House, event planning and educating the community about what the Fisher House provides for the military in the panhandle. Fisher House, located on Eglin AFB opened in September of 2010, and began serving its first guests in October of that same year.  The geographic footprint offers services to residents from Pensacola to Panama City.  To date, it has saved military families over $1,000,000 in lodging and transportation.

With more than thirty years of business management and non-profit experience, Mia has been involved with local military families as a community supporter since 2008.  This new opportunity brings that passion and commitment full circle in a formal capacity as she takes the leadership role as the sole staff person.  She was previously Assistant Vice President of the Greater Pensacola Chamber and recently served with the Navarre Area Board of Realtors.  Originally from Panama City, she now calls Navarre home with her spouse, Tony.  Together they have six children, four grandchildren, two horses and a classified number of cats.  They are members of Community Life Methodist Church and enjoy cycling, horseback riding, boating and classic cars.

“Mia brings a tremendous background in non-profit management, fund raising and public relations,” said Teresa Halverson, Board of Directors President.  “As the demand for our services increase, we believe that having someone on board with Mia’s energy and organizational detail is critical to fulfilling our mission, which is to serve those who serve us. “

Operation Hero Miles

Operation Hero Miles

The original concept of Operation Hero Mileswas created by Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersbeger in cooperation with close to a dozen United States Airlines in October, 2003.  Since then, the program has provided over 13,000 airline tickets from over 380 million donated frequent flyer miles, allowing wounded service men and women to visit their families between treatments and transporting loved ones to military medical centers, while their wounded family member receives urgent care.

The program, brilliant in its simplicity, is not just aimed at corporate America.  The most typical donors are retired couples who give a few thousand miles at a time. James Weiskopf the Fisher House Foundation’s vice president for communications comments, “When enough people donate small amounts, it becomes a large amount”.

Operation Hero Miles gives ordinary citizens an opportunity to help our troops in a very direct way that makes a real difference in their lives.  For more information on how to donate frequent flyer miles or credit card frequent flyer points, visit: