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Support Team

The 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 Salko 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.

Thomas Cooper and his wife, Rebecca, were drawn into the world of type 1 diabetes when one of their children was diagnosed in 2018. Accepting the diagnosis was initially a struggle, but it has gotten easier with informational resources like Children with Diabetes and Friends for Life. Thomas has served as a civilian police officer for the U.S. Marine Corps over the past 11 years, ensuring security and safety at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Before that, he spent eight years as a U.S. Marine. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice with a minor in information systems from the University of Arizona Global Campus and a Master of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Rob Freund, RN, EMT-P, is a career EMS lieutenant/paramedic for the Baltimore County Fire Department. He has also been in the field of emergency medical care for over 20 years as an ER nurse. He attended his first Friends for Life Orlando conference in 2012 and was greatly impressed with the educational programs offered.

Bradley Gonzales met his wife Rhiannon in college at LSU while completing his electrical engineering degree. Rhiannon introduced Bradley to the CWD community in 2021. Bradley will be leaving in January of 2025 for Officer Candidate School for the Marine Corps.

Karol Kutzma lives in Northport, NY with her husband John and their girls Amanda and Emmalie (diagnosed at age nine in 2018). She found FFL 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. Karol is thrilled to be a part of the FFL family as a volunteer.

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 28 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.

John Price began his journey into diabetes advocacy when his daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just days shy of her second birthday in 2014. That fueled his passion for supporting those affected by T1D. In 2016, John retired after just over 20 years in the U.S. Army. Since 2016, he earned two bachelor’s degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Photography from the Art Institute and a Bachelor of Science in Sportscasting from Full Sail University. He's a published photographer with a major publishing company in Detroit, Michigan, and he graduated as the class valedictorian at Full Sail. John spends his free time helping my wife and daughter with audio/visual and sound boards in their theater program as well as running his own college football video podcast.

Rachel Price is bursting with excitement to volunteer at the Friends for Life Conference because of the life-changing connections she's made attending over the years. It's her chance to give back to the community that's given her so much support and friendship. She can't wait to be a part of making a difference for others, just like they've done for her. Her daughter Ella was diagnosed in 2014 and they started attending in FFL in 2017.

Jeffrey Schmidt is father to Brandon, dx’d in 1997, and Rhiannon, dx’d in 2009. Jeffrey was also diagnosed with Type 2 in 2011. Jeffrey retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years of service. He and his wife Brandy have been happily married for 30 years and are expecting their first grandchild in October of 2024.

Trip Stoner (T1) and her husband Doug (T2), have been described as the most effective health advocates in their state. In 2015 they started a Type 1 Diabetes Day at the Georgia State Capitol, where 20 teenagers with type 1 diabetes serve as pages in the chambers and then have lunch with the legislators that serve on both Public Health Committees. This year, their accomplishment includes a new state law that allows schools to stock unprescribed glucagon, which passed both chambers unanimously. In addition, Trip serves on the State Health Benefit Plan Advisory Board and her husband serves on the Committee of Public and Community Health as a State Representative. They both can be found on numerous podcasts with their endocrinologist advocating on numerous health issues. Doug and Trip have volunteered at Friends for Life since 2015 and enjoy meeting new people, and of course, catching up with their Friends for Life.

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Indicates Support Team member with diabetes

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