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Executive Committee

Lydia Cook


Thomas Munoz

Vice President

Thomas Munoz is an Emergency Manager and Homeland Security Director with 26 years of first responder and emergency management experience. As the Emergency Manager and Homeland Security Director for the City of Texas City, he is responsible for the safety of all its citizens along with managing the crisis communication plan with local industry and major stakeholders. Texas City is home base for 19 low-to-high risk chemical plants. The Port of Texas City is the 7th busiest port in the country. Tom also responded to the Santa Fe ISD shootings where he served as the Liaison and Logistics Officer during this event. He has testified in front of the Senate Select Committee and the House of Representatives on Violence in Schools and School Security.

Prior to his arrival to Texas City, Tom was a 24 year member of the Houston Fire Department in which he achieved the rank of Assistant Chief of Homeland Security and Planning. Part of his duties included planning for major city events, which included the NCAA Finals, Presidential and Dignitary visits, the Houston Marathon and the Olympics Marathon Trials. He was also the Human Relations Chairperson for the International Associations of Fire Chiefs

Tom served in the United States Coast Guard Reserves and retired as Commander. During his time in the United States Coast Guard, he served as the USCG Deputy Incident Commander for Hurricane Katrina-New Orleans Vessel Removal Project, the Texas City Y Spill as a Liaison Officer and most recently served as the Hurricane Maria Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer in San Juan, PR. Tom also served on the Commandants Diversity Advisory Council.

Tom is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston-Downtown where he teaches Safety, Emergency Management and Crisis Communication.

Tom holds a Master’s Degree in Emergency Management and is currently working on his second Masters in Homeland Security from American Military University. He has a BA in Political Science from the University of Houston. Tom completed the Executive Leadership and Management Certification Program from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business. He is also a graduate from the Naval Postgraduate Homeland Security Executive Leadership Program as well as the National Defense University in Washington, DC.

Kathy Trussell


Kathy is the mother of three grown sons, and a resident of League City for 36 years. She is Vice-President of a firm that administers retirement benefits for government entities. She has a Bachelor’s degree from U of H Clear Lake, SEC license, Series 6, and General lines Insurance license.

Kathy has always volunteered her time an energy to causes from Little League to Communities in Schools in the past and learned about CASA from a dear friend. She is proud to be a member of the CASA Board and is determined to assist in obtaining the goals and awareness of CASA of Galveston.

Kathy enjoys spending time with her sons and their families, fishing, and traveling.

Timothy Axt


Tim and his wife, Nora, are residents of Kemah after having lived in Kingwood, Texas for 18 years while raising their three children. He has been with CASA in one capacity or another since 2010, serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, joining the Steering Committee in 2013 to help guide the organization out from under its former umbrella organization as a separate 501 (c) (3) corporation, and is past Treasurer of CASA of Galveston County.

Tim believes that every child deserves an independent voice in the legal system; someone who can help change the trajectory of the child’s life.

A former ExxonMobil / Mobil Controller, Planning Manager and Business Associate with 35 years of accounting, finance and planning experience, Tim earned both a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.B.A. from Boston College,Chestnut Hill, Mass. He has also served in the President and Treasurer capacities of his Kemah HOA for 7 years. Tim is currently serving his community on the Kemah Volunteer Fire Department Emergency Services and Clear Lake Emergency Medical Corps boards of directors.

Tim and Nora are enthusiastic sailors and are active in St. Mary of the Expectation Catholic Church in League City, Texas.


Kurt Gonzalaz

Board Member

Kurt is thrilled to support CASA of Galveston County as a Member of the Board of Directors. Being a part of CASA is a huge honor, as he has an inherent passion for working with and supporting his community, especially those who need it most. Having advocates for children who have experienced abuse is vital in fostering a community where every child is protected.


Kurt graduated from South Texas College of Law and was licensed to practice law in 2014. During law school, he was a member of the Pro Bono Honors program where he found an internship with the Resource and Crisis Center of Galveston County. After graduation, he began his career as a private family law attorney before taking some time off and becoming a junior high teacher. He ended up back at RCC where he became the Director of Legal Services. He is currently an Associate Attorney for McLeod, Alexander, Powel, and Apffel in Galveston.


Kurt and his wife, Taylor Adams, along with their pets live in Galveston and enjoy time with family and friends. When not working, they can be found enjoying the island life and all it has to offer.

Patrick McDonald

Board Member

Patrick McDonald is proud to be serving on the Board of Directors for CASA of Galveston County. His mother retired from CPS after 45 years and that passion for helping neglected children was passed down to him. Needless to say, CASA has been a part of his life for a very long time.

In 2018 he started his volunteer career where he served on two cases before joining the Board.

He studied finance and business at Texas Tech University. During college he volunteered at the Lubbock Children’s Home. He has since been involved with a number of organizations including DePelchin Children’s Center and  SEARCH Homeless Services.

Patrick is a Portfolio Manager and Wealth Advisor for Merrill Lynch in Galveston. He and his family are members of Bay Harbor Methodist Church in League City. In his free time, you’ll find Patrick coaching his children’s sports activities or when there is a sliver of free time, on the golf course.

Linda Stickline

Board Member

Linda is married and the mother of two grown children. She and her husband, Greg, have lived many places as Greg’s job in the energy industry has taken them around the country. Although they are Colorado natives they have resided in Galveston, TX for 11 years.

Linda has always been an advocate for children. Wherever they lived Linda worked in education servings in various teaching and administrative capacities in socioeconomically disadvantaged, Title I schools. She and Greg have also served as CASA volunteers and are very active in their church community.

“Being a part of CASA of Galveston County is an honor and a privilege. What CASA does is such important work. Volunteering gives life meaning and purpose and working on the board to advocate for the best interests of children and be their voice in the court system is critical for the community, life-giving for the children and inspirational for those who experience it.”

Candice Towles

Board Member

Candice is a lifelong resident of Galveston County and currently resides in Texas City with her four children. She currently serves on the Texas City La-Marque Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Candice is pleased to be a part of CASA, because of how this organization supports the needs of the children who need assistance.

Candice is an Assistant Vice-President/Banking Center Manager for Texas First Bank in Texas City. For fun she enjoys spending time with family and traveling.