CASA of the Heartland has announced the addition of three new members to their Board of Directors. New board members include former Elizabethtown Police Department Chief Tracy Schiller, Bluegrass Middle School Assistant Principal Neal Gibbs and local attorney Abe O’Bryan.
“The diverse backgrounds and unwavering commitment to our community among these new board members will undoubtedly strengthen our efforts to support and advocate for area children in need,” said CASA of the Heartland Executive Director Michelle Kail.
Building on an extensive career in law enforcement, Schiller served as EPD Chief from 2011 to 2017. During his tenure, he implemented several programs designed to reshape the relationship between the police and the community, including the youth fishing event, Cops and Bobbers, and Coffee With a Cop. Following his retirement from the department, Tracy opened an ecommerce coffee business, Cupper’s Choice Coffee, which he also utilizes as an outlet for community giving by frequently directing proceeds to local nonprofits and emergency services.
Schiller has served on boards for Habitat for Humanity, the Elizabethtown Police Foundation, United Way of Central Kentucky and the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce. In 2022, he received the Distinguished Citizen Award for Hardin and LaRue counties through the Boy Scouts of America Lincoln Heritage Council.
"After serving 30 years in law enforcement, I saw children suffering daily from crime and disorder. Being aware of these issues, I can confidently attest to the need for CASA’s services in our community,” Schiller said. “CASA steps in and provides resources to help kids in our community thrive despite their situations. It is a pleasure and honor to be a part of CASA's board to provide these services to kids in need."
A U.S. Army veteran who served from 1984 through 2011, Gibbs began his education career at North Middle School in Radcliff, where he served as a Junior Leadership Corps (JLC) Teacher, Head Boys Basketball Coach and Athletic Director. During his tenure at the school, he established the school’s JLC, invited distinguished guests to present to students and coordinated a question and answer session with a panel of African American professionals during Black History Month. In 2018, he was hired as Assistant Principal for College View Education Center in Elizabethtown, where he helped implement programming to reduce in-school official referrals, reduce suspensions and helped return students to their home schools. He took on his current role at Bluegrass Middle School in Elizabethtown in 2022.
Gibbs has served in an official capacity with several community organizations, including Warm Blessings, the Sunset Rotary Club, the Optimist Club of Radcliff and the K.A.R.E (Kindness and Respect for Everyone) Committee. He is a recipient of the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Beacon of Light Award, and in 2019, was presented with a Kentucky Colonel certificate from former Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton.
"As an educator working with youth on a daily basis, I see the need to help youth and their families in our community,” Gibbs said. “CASA is a great organization to assist and advocate for our at-risk youth. There's no better way to give back to our community than to serve children in need."
After four years in the U.S. Navy completing multiple combat missions on various aircraft carriers, O’Bryan worked as an advocate for abused and neglected children with CASA of the River Region while completing his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisville. He graduated from U of L’s Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in 2015 and since then has almost exclusively practiced as a litigator and trial lawyer in complex commercial and personal injury matters representing businesses, consumers and individuals needing to recover money from other individuals, businesses or insurance companies. He is licensed to practice in Kentucky state courts, as well as federally in the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
O’Bryan currently practices law at the Radcliff-based firm Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey Attorneys at Law.
“As someone who is deeply passionate about the mission of CASA, I am honored to now serve on the Board of Directors for CASA of the Heartland," said attorney Abe O'Bryan. "I am eager to contribute my legal expertise and passion for helping others to support CASA's mission of making a positive impact on the lives of local children.”
To learn more about CASA of the Heartland, visit casaheartland.org.
About CASA of the Heartland: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Heartland is a non-profit child advocacy organization based in Elizabethtown, Ky., that serves all of Hardin County, LaRue County, and Fort Knox. CASA recruits, trains, and supports a network of volunteers, who are court-appointed to act as advocates for abused and neglected children under the protection of the County Family Court system. For many abused children, a CASA volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives—an adult who is dedicated to watching out for them and who advocates for their best interest alone.