Our Support Team helps us all have a wonderful FFL experience
Manuel Guzman is dad to Manuel (dx January 2007) and Camila. Manuel, his wife Keila, and their two children live in Hatillo, Puerto Rico and have been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2009. Manuel and his wife are both attorneys, who upon their son’s diagnosis began providing pro bono legal advocacy support and representation to T1D families in Puerto Rico; including drafting and passing local legislation in Puerto Rico to ensure that T1D children received the support and care they needed in both public and private schools. Manuel joined the US Army Reserves in 1996 as a Commissioned Officer in the Medical Services Corps, and later transferred to the Judge Advocate General’s’ Corps. After almost 26 years of service, he retired from the US Army Reserves in February 2022. In his civilian career, he was in private practice from 2002 until 2018, where he mainly focused on corporate litigation. In 2018. Manuel left private practice and joined the US Government legal workforce, where he is currently the Supervisory Attorney with the US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Manuel’s has been volunteering with the FFL Support Team since 2019.
Jeremy Meredith was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 2000 when he was six years old. Jeremy has been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2003. He received his Associates of Science in Criminal Justice Technology in 2016, a general AA in 2018, BAS in Public Safety Administration in 2020, and is a certified SCUBA diver. His biggest reason to come to Friends for Life Orlando is that it is a “vacation” from diabetes that is all about diabetes.
Andrew Benn is a police officer with the West Hartford Police Department in Connecticut. He was previously a commercial tanker driver for over 20 years, but made the career change to a police officer in 2017. Andrew's son Aiden was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2012 at the age of three. Andrew attended his first Friend's for Life Conference in 2018 and has been back every year since. The Benn family looks forward to the Friends for Life Conference every year to see old friends and meet new families.
Karol Kutzma lives in Northport, New York, with her husband John and their girls Amanda and Emmalie (diagnosed at age nine in 2018). She found Friends for Life shortly after her daughter's diagnosis while looking for support groups online. They have been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2018. She states, "The girls loved the conference more than going to the parks! The conferences and the people who attend are always so much fun and inspiring. Each of us have made lifelong friends." After working 20 years as a police officer with the Suffolk County Police Department in NY, Karol retired in 2014 to raise her girls. This is her first year volunteering and is thrilled to be a part of the FFL family in a different capacity.
Robert "Bobby" Lukhard is Dad to Megan (dx July 2014) and Christina. Bobby, his wife Melinda, and their two girls live in Virginia and have been attending FFL conferences since 2015. Bobby spent 32 years in the Fire and EMS field, where he served as a Fire Marshal, Director of EMS, and retired in 2017 as an Assistant Chief. Bobby now works as the Hospital Readiness and Response Coordinator for the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition where he works with 17 acute care hospitals and eight free standing emergency departments providing emergency management and preparedness support and training. Bobby has been volunteering with the FFL Support Team since 2018.
Carolyn Meredith is mom to Chelsea, Jeremy (dx’d May 2000), and Bailey and wife to Rich. Carolyn and her family attended their first Friends for Life conference in 2003 and have been involved with CWD ever since. Carolyn works with Rich managing the storage facility and works with the Support Team as central communications during the conference. For her day job, Carolyn is the Data Management Tech at an elementary school in St. Petersburg, Florida. She enjoys meeting and sharing with other CWD families. “Friends for Life is a place where everyone ‘gets it’ and you can share your own experiences to help others newer to T1D.”
Freddie Miller is a Para-Professional at Sparta Lincoln Grade School with Special Education and regular classes with an annual goal to assist and prepare kids for the current and next school year. Freddie is Retired Military and has worked as a Fireman in his town of Sparta, Illinois. He is the dad to Kairi Miller (T1D/celiac), who was diagnosed in 2018, and has attended FFL since 2019. Freddie has type 2 diabetes and celiac, attended his first FFL conference in 2022, and is returning to volunteer. The FFL conference family has given him a sense of confidence knowing that no one is alone in the fight for diabetes. His daughter Kairi has raised his awareness to get further educated and become a part of her team in her daily life.
Mary Mills is the proud mom of Ashlyn, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2015 at the age of 19. She attended her first FFL conference in 2016 and quickly found what she refers to as her “tribe.” Mary and her family have been attending FFL every year since and Ashlyn now works full-time for CWD. Professionally, Mary is retired from the State of Florida after 35 years working with high risk youth and families and is excited to use her background to volunteer with the FFL Support Team. In her spare time, Mary enjoys crafting and camping with her family.
Tim Mills has been involved in the T1D world since 2015, when his Daughter Ashlyn (who now works for Children with Diabetes) was diagnosed. He has attended Friends for Life Orlando since 2018, and has found his tribe. Tim lives in Perry, Florida, with his wife Mary. Tim enjoys camping and spending time with family. He graduated from East Carolina University in 1989, and has worked for the State of Florida since 1996.
Wendi Moldthan, MS, BSN, RN, FF/PM, is a dedicated firefighter, paramedic, and registered nurse. She is an Assistant Chief at Reedy Creek Fire Department, with over 27 years in the fire service. In addition to her impressive career, she is a devoted mother to her sweet T1D warrior, Emma, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2017 at age six. Since then, they have been attending Friends For Life every year, the first one just three weeks after Emma's diagnosis. Wendi graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's degree in public safety administration. She has spent her life in service to others. Despite the many challenges that come with public safety, Wendi believes that being a mom to a T1D warrior is the most challenging of all. As a result, she is passionate about raising awareness and helping new T1D parents manage the roller coaster ride that comes with type one diabetes. Wendi and her significant other, Kevin, are dedicated to helping Emma and other T1D warriors enjoy their best lives through education with humor and compassion.
DonTonya Smith attended Friends for Life Orlando in 2016 as a volunteer on the Support Team and has returned ever since. She is a retired Police Corporal from the Gainesville Police Department. She now works as an investigator at the Office of the State Attorney, Circuit 8. DonTonya loves working with youth and making people smile.
Indicates Support Team member with diabetes