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Executive Committee

Thomas Munoz


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.

Patrick McDonald

Vice President

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.

Lydia Cook


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.

Kurt Gonzalaz

Assistant Treasurer

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.


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.

Sheila Meritt

Board Member

Sheila is committed to passionately supporting the CASA of Galveston County staff and volunteers to help ensure every child that needs a CASA is provided one.  Sheila is extremely excited and honored to be appointed to the CASA Board of Directors after beginning her journey as a trained CASA advocate in September 2017.

Sheila has had a “servant’s heart” from a very young age, starting at 14, volunteering as a soccer coach in Omaha, Nebraska and continuing with her volunteer work as a ‘Big Sister’ with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas.  In addition, while living in the Middle East, she served as first Vice President of The American Women’s Group of Muscat, Oman. During her tenure, Sheila helped raise money for the Bedouin Women of Oman and helped support an Omani all-women’s coop that created and marketed handmade products for sale in western hotels of Muscat.

In various schools around the world, Sheila continued to volunteer until a move took her to Rio De Janeiro.  There, after finding it difficult to locate a volunteer organization that focused on the immediate needs of her local community, Sheila committed herself to assisting the local beach workers living on the streets of her neighborhood by cooking and distributing food several times a week to the homeless workers in her neighborhood.

Sheila has been married for over 36 years to her husband Gerald. They met while working and attending school in Wichita, Kansas. Sheila and Gerald are the parents of two sons Christopher (30) and Aaron (26).

Rose Lazo

Board Member

Rose Lazo is more than honored and excited for the privilege to serve CASA of Galveston County. Rose has been serving Galveston County for the greater part of 13 years. Rose attended University of Texas San Antonio studying Early Childhood Education. After college she accepted a position in a local shelter, later, working directly as a Child Advocate/ Case Manager. She became passionate after seeing the dire need for advocacy on behalf of abused and neglected children. Rose has partnered with many local nonprofits and schools as a preventioneer and educator, speaking on body safety, bystander intervention, domestic violence, and sexual assault. She has a huge, beautiful and hard beating heart for her community, especially children, the abused, and marginalized. She has an incredible drive and determination to make the world better around her in any way she can.

Rose Lazo is an accomplished advocate, preventioneer and educator; however now she is also an accomplished businesswoman. Rose is the Co-Founder and Development Director of Aveo Creative, a local content creating company and co-host of Launching Us Podcast.

She and her husband, Juan Lazo, currently reside in La Marque with their 2 incredible children John Texas and Sophia Rose. In her down time, Rose loves to cuddle up on the couch with her family to watch movies and eat popcorn.

Kelli Schuessler

Kelli joined CASA in 2018 as a trained advocate and served four cases. She joined CASA of Galveston County’s Board of Directors to help ensure that every child’s voice be heard in court while increasing child abuse awareness in Galveston County.

Kelli holds a Masters in Library and Information Science and retired after working in the
Houston public school system. She now lives in Galveston with her husband and two dogs
and practices acts of kindness daily.

June Dempsey

June has served as a CASA for 5 years and she is dedicated to serving CASA as a Board member. For over 40 years June has worked as a Speech Pathologist in Houston and League City, with a few raising-family gaps along the way. She grew up in El Paso where she received her BA in Speech Pathology from the University of Texas at El Paso. After graduation she moved to Houston with her husband and went on to receive an MA in Speech Pathology at the University of Houston. June lived in Europe for 8 years then returned to Texas with her expanded family in 1988.

Her work for over 30 years since returning from overseas has been primarily as a self-employed speech therapist specializing in very young children with special needs. She has worked with hundreds of families facing life-changing challenges caring for their children. Sharing these challenges with so many families has forged her commitment to empathy for children in troubled circumstances.

June’s other passions include forming and leading Stephen Minister groups for over 20 years. This is an organization associated with churches of various denominations that is comprised of care providers for people who are in crisis. June has also volunteered in helping resettle Afghan refugees in the Houston area and for 15 years with Sailing Angels, taking veterans and disabled persons sailing on Galveston Bay.

June has a daughter in League City, a son in New Zealand and recently celebrated her 51st wedding anniversary. She has lived in League City since 2006.