Trish Morris - President & CEO
From the beginning, the leader who has been at the helm of Courageous Faces Foundation is Trish Morris, President and CEO. She maintains the direction and vision of the only foundation of its kind that provides comprehensive, continuing, and personalized care for people with rare and severe medical conditions to enhance their quality of life.
EXPERIENCE WITH A HEART
Trish has had more than a decade of compassionate caring for people with differences. Before launching Courageous Faces Foundation, Trish became the Director of Programs at the Global Downs Syndrome Foundation in 2011 after two years of volunteering there. She initiated the development and operations of a host of programs, including Dare to Play Football and Denver Broncos Cheerleaders, Dare to Cheer, the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Class with the Colorado Ballet, and the Dare to Play Soccer Camp with the Colorado Rapids and Regis University. She also launched Be beautiful Be Yourself Fitness program with Pure Barre and the foundation’s World Down Syndrome Day Celebration at Children’s Hospital of Colorado.
She has also championed better futures for people who are differently abled, coordinating hundreds of athletes with unique needs on the Rocky Mountain Special Olympics Team, and she’s served on multiple boards and committees with similar vision.
A CAREFUL MONEY STEWARD
As a bonus, Trish also brings a savvy and strategic sense of financial management to the Foundation so donors can be assured their dollars are being allocated in the most carefully planned and cost-effective ways. Prior to embarking on her philanthropic journey, she served as Associate Vice President and Portfolio Manager at Wells Fargo Advisors. In 2010, Trish retired from the position to fully embrace her passion for helping people who have unique medical conditions to not just survive but thrive.
She is married to Rick and they share their home with their dogs who are adoring enough to let them continue living there.
Marcus Jackson - Board Chairman
Little did Marcus know earlier in life how much he would embody the name of the Foundation he founded and now directs: “Only the Strong Foundation.” His earlier life was on a winning trajectory. Born and raised in Denver Colorado, he is a proud graduate of the Montbello High School class of 1993. Marcus stamped his presence prominently at Idaho State University on a football scholarship where he received All-American accolades.
Then in 1996, it all changed. Marcus suffered a paralyzing neck injury during a football game in his senior year. Triumphing through adversity, he returned to college in a power-assisted wheelchair in the fall of 1997 and graduated two-years later with a Bachelor of Business Administration
Marcus’ “Only the Strong Foundation,” launched in 2005, promotes a life-long crusade not focused on him, but of giving back to the neighborhood in which he grew up, encouraging kids to pursue education and excellence in the Montbello – Green Valley Community. He hosts hundreds of children and their families at the “Burger and Bags” event in the neighborhood where he provides back packs filled with school supplies and burgers for all that attend this great event. In addition, he volunteers his time with Boys & Girls Club and True-Life Baptist Church.
His efforts have been publicized and lauded repeatedly, and even his football career respectfully honored with his induction into the Idaho State Hall of Fame in 2005.
Becky LaBrant - Board Treasurer
Becky has hardly met a time when she wasn’t helping someone. Born & raised in Colorado, she retired from King Soopers grocery operation (a division of Kroger) in 1998. Since retirement, Becky has enjoyed traveling and volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation, Special Olympics Colorado, Nine News Health Fair, Children’s Hospital Blood Drive and Lipbar Inc. Becky resides in Colorado and shares her home with her dog Minnie. Becky is a proud advocate of the Courageous Faces Foundation and dedicates time to increasing the awareness of the foundation to others.
Chris Lynn - Board Secretary
Chris is a Realtor at Metro Brokers – Paramount Properties. He has been selling the Denver Metro Area for 13 years, representing Sellers, Buyers, and Relocation clients. Prior to his wife’s death over a decade ago, Chris was a Commercial Pilot at Continental Airlines.
Chris is a Colorado Native & graduated from Metropolitan State University. He is currently a part of the South Metro Denver Board of Realtors and Toastmasters International. Chris volunteers for the Leukemia Society and Multiple Sclerosis. He is the father of two daughters and enjoys spending time with them, his grandson and his 2 dogs.
Jeff Carter - Board Vice President
Jeff’s love of flying brought him his greatest fulfillment, and his most difficult challenge. Born as a Denver native, his early years were immersed in baseball, football, gymnastics and diving, leading to national recognition in Springboard Diving at the University of Hawaii where he earned an economics degree.
Jeff graduated from the Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School as a Navy helicopter pilot, serving out of Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, including a tour in the Persian Gulf in 1988. He advanced to become a helicopter flight instructor in the Naval Aviation Training Command in Florida and was also a back-up pilot for the Grand Canyon National Park Service.
It was during that assignment, in 1994, that he’d been called to fly with the Forest Service battling wildfires near the Tucson area. A mechanical malfunction led to a catastrophic helicopter accident that left him with third and fourth degree burns over 57% of his body. Years of recovery and reconstruction presented challenges few will ever face.
Still, Jeff has focused his life on his family, on the Foundation, and on raising his two sons, who are avid hockey players.
9NEWS special report: Fueling the fire Read Story
Hannah Medved - Board Member
Hannah is a Financial Advisor with the RHY Group at Robert W. Baird & Co. Prior to joining The RHY Group, Hannah was Miss Colorado 2012 and an ambassador for the Miss America Organization and numerous charities including Kiwanis, Children’s Miracle Network and GDSF.
Hannah received her BA in Business from the University of Northern. She is a former President of the Denver Tech Center Kiwanis Club and has remained a volunteer for the Miss Colorado Organization and their philanthropic partners.
She and her husband Chris live in Parker with their dog.
Alison Hradek - Board Member
Alison Hradek, graduated from Mountain Vista High School in Douglas County. Upon graduation Alison was hired by the district and began her career in the food service department as a Kitchen Assistant. She continues to be successful after ten plus years working in elementary school kitchens. She enjoys her job, her coworkers and all the students. When not working, Alison enjoys staying busy with social opportunities. She thrives when she is with others, sharing laughter and fun with friends. She is involved in bowling and basketball through Special Olympics and serves on the Young Professional Board for Tall Tales Ranch. In addition, Alison likes to read, listen to music, dance and travel.
Sandee Walling - Board Member
For over 20 years, Sandee has been the embodiment of passion for every non-profit organization where she’s been involved, lending her knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to everything she does. Currently serving on many boards, Rocky Mountain M.S. Center, Co Uplift, Family Homestead, University Library Association, Denver Center Alliance, Volunteers of America Guild, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists and the Courageous Faces Foundation, keeps Sandee busy and her finger on the pulse of the needs of people and how best to help them. In addition, she has added Firefly Autism to the list of places where she supports. Her desire to make a meaningful impact to help others is a sign of her faith and strength.
In the mid 1990’s Sandee was diagnosed with Multiple Scleroses. She continues to be active with the Rocky Mountain MS Center and has been honored with numerous awards for her dedication, commitment and personal contributions. She is particularly proud to have played a part in attracting to Denver, Dr. Tim Vollmer as Director of Neurosciences Clinical Research at the University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Center, who has completed multiple clinical studies in Multiple Sclerosis.
Sandee holds a master’s degree in speech pathology and a masters in psychiatric social work. She has worked in rehabilitation hospitals, day care programs and takes great pride in her work with youth and adults with intellectual and physical challenges, all while raising her two young children after divorce.
Sandee is one of Colorado’s most beloved activists and an avid sports fan.
Francis Smith - Board Member
Whether it’s academic achievement, excellence in the arts, or science fiction, Dr. Francis Smith has done it all, studying biology at Purdue University & craniofacial embryonic development and facial birth defects at King’s College in London, England, where he was given great career opportunities that had been denied in the US. He received his doctorate in craniofacial embryology at the University of California-San Francisco in 2012 and then went on to do a postdoctoral research fellowship in craniofacial 3-D imaging and morphometrics at the University of Calgary from 2012-2015. Dr. Smith authored a book, “Wonderfully Made” where he shares his story of living with a rare craniofacial syndrome, Treacher Collins. Dr. Smith is a life-long learner and is exploring options for his next adventure with his career after completing his second postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus in craniofacial biology. Francis is an artist, musician (piano and violin), avid traveler, reader, and Trekkie, with an ever-expanding range of interests.