John A. Jacobi, P.E., President
HGA Board Member since 2009. John is a manager with Community Assistance/Technical Services (CATS) and USDOT Office of Pipeline Safety – SW Region. He has also been a pilot for over 35 years and a pilot with Houston Ground Angels since 2006. In his prior lives he has participated in church and youth activities and served on the boards of numerous for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. A registered professional engineer and a licensed attorney, he has a long record of helping others. Mr. Jacobi resides in Houston with his wife of 41 years, Jane. In his spare time, he enjoys his grandchildren, flying, golf and bridge.
Anthony “Tony” Castiglie, Vice President and Treasurer
Board Member since 2011. HGA is thrilled Tony has agreed to join the Board of Directors. He comes to HGA with a wide-range of executive management and professional business experience. He has worked for some of the top companies in the oil and gas and banking industries. Plus, he has the business experience of running his own successful company, which in many ways parallels running a non-profit such as HGA. Tony has been the Treasurer of the Houston Ground Angels since 2006 and so he is well versed in the details of our organization, including the financials. He also led the project team in designing our new logo. Tony has also continued to provide his leadership skills in many capacities within HGA and has attended all board meetings since 2006 where he has provided solid business advice. Tony was elected to the Board of Directors in 2011. He is a native of Brooklyn, NY and has degrees from Milwaukee Schoolof Engineering and Louisiana Tech. Tony and his wife of 44 years, Sheila, have called Houston home since 1969. They are members of St. John Vianney Catholic Church.
Martha Harrer, Secretary
Board Member since 2014. Martha joined Houston Ground Angels as a volunteer in 2007. Martha is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Texas. She currently works in the Compliance Department at Ensco. She is a native Houstonian and an avid world traveler. She also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Linda C. Higgins, Board Member
Linda C. Higgins joined Houston Ground Angels in July 2016 and became a Board Member in 2017. She has been employed with Baylor College of Medicine in the Urology Department for over 22 years. As the Manager of Regulatory and Clinical Research Affairs, she is responsible for helping to maintain regulatory compliance for all clinical research trials. Linda has been very active in the SoCRA (Society of Clinical Research Association) since 1997, became a CCRP (Certified Clinical Research Professional) in 1998 and has successfully recertified seven times. She has held various positions with the Greater Houston/Galveston SoCRA Chapter. She was elected to serve a 3-year term on the SOCRA Board of Directors in 2002. She is serving as a member SoCRA’s Certification Committee and in April 2004, became Recertification Auditor. In 2013, she was the recipient of the SoCRA President’s Distinguished Service Award. She is very active in her church and is a Daughter of the King.
Aryn Knight joined Houston Ground Angels Board in 2018. She is a native Mississippian that moved to Houston in 2001 to work in the Texas Medical Center. Today, Aryn is the Assistant Administrative Director for Clinical Research at the Texas Heart Institute. She is also the Society of Clinical Research Association (SoCRA) Houston/Galveston chapter chair since 2013. Aryn is an active member in the community. She is a Girl Scout leader, as well as, a PTO member at Mark Twain Elementary. Aryn is married to a native Houstonian, Jimmy, and they have a daughter, Abigail. Aryn also has a wonderful step-daughter, Avery.
David R. LaFargue, Board Member
David is a native Houstonian and alumni of the University of Houston. After a long career as an independent engineering consultant, he is now retired. Some of his most memorable projects include the Statue of Liberty, Panama Canal, Missile Cruisers and Trident submarines for the
U. S. Navy, offshore drilling rigs, bridges, and oceangoing ships, which allowed him to travel the world. His Mother’s employment as one of the first nurses at M D Anderson helped him develop an empathy for cancer patients. From the early days when MDA started as a group of wooden army barracks, she would share stories and even allow him to meet some of her cancer patients for over 35 years. He has been flying and then driving patients for over 20 years. He became a Ground Angel when the Angel Flight ground crew merged with HGA. David has been associated with or still actively supports the following organizations: Be An Angel, Mercy Ships, Humble ISD Foundation, Patriot Guard rider, and is a life member of Disabled American Veterans and the 100 Club.
David and his wife Deanna have been members of
First United Methodist Church of Humble for almost 40 years.
They have two children and four grandsons.
Mary Hutto, Board Member and
Mary Hutto, Board Member and Mission Coordinator
Mary has been a Ground Angel since July 2009 and was appointed Mission Coordinator in 2011 to assist Kathy Cardiff with the ever increasing number of mission requests. All who call Houston Ground Angels find Mary’s warmth welcoming when she answers our phones. Mary is a retired school teacher, with a spirit of service and sincere caring. She is also a volunteer, and completes many Missions each month.
Kathy Cardiff, Mission Coordinator
Kathy has been a faithful Ground Angel for more than six years and has served as Mission Coordinator since 2007. Those who email Houston Ground Angels will have a quick response from Kathy, as she works with patients regarding their Missions. She also forwards all emails from the general public to the department best to handle any request, if it is not regarding a patient’s Mission. Kathy’s warmth and sincere caring serves as an inspiration to all she works with and the patients she serves regarding their Missions. Kathy is a retired school teacher, and brings her many talents to Houston Ground Angels.
William “Bill” Barnes, President Emeritus
Board Member since 2012. Bill brings so much more to Houston Ground Angels than his exceptional experience and business sense to the office of President. He also brings his passion to serve, a sincere caring for people, and common sense. Bill is one of our Arch Angels, a title given to those volunteers who have completed an exceptional number of Missions with Houston Ground Angels.
Bill is a native Texan, and has lived in Houston for 55 years. He retired from the University of Houston Political Science faculty in 2010. Along with his many talents and skills, he is also a Licensed Private Investigator. Bill has a long history of involvement in non-profit organizations, such as Past President, Westbury Homeowners Association, Past President, Rotary Club of Copperfield, Past President, and Harris County MUD #186. He also is, or has been, been associated with Taping for the Blind, Bear Creek Food Bank, Volunteer Houston and Vietnam Veterans of America.