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Board Officers

Board Chair

Vice Chair

Cheryl Light
of Dandridge, TN

"The mountains of East Tennessee are home, and nothing restores my soul like time in the park. We have an amazing gift in our national parks, and we have one opportunity to get it right as far as their preservation and protection 'for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.' Service on the GSMA board is a very small way that I can contribute and support this wonderful place.

Herb Handly
of Sevierville, TN

"The GSMA has provided critical financial support to the GSMNP for many years in helping to enhance and improve the education and experience of Park visitors. I volunteered to do what I can to assist this organization in continuing this fine tradition for years to come."



Ellis Bacon
of Knoxville, TN

"The Great Smokies is my home.  I've been fortunate to live in and immediately adjacent to the Park for over 45 years..  The Great Smoky Mountains Association is giving me an opportunity to give back to the Smokies a small portion of what I have received.  I am honored to help the Association preserve and protect this gem of America for my grandchildren and generations to come."

Mitch Crisp
of Sylva, NC

"The park has simply always been a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of family outings to many of the park's favorite attractions. My ancestors are in North Shore cemeteries. I have been fortunate to live most of my life in communities just outside park boundaries. The opportunity to serve on the GSMA board came at a perfect time in my life to allow me to experience the park in new ways. I've always received and given advice to find a career that you can be passionate about. My interactions with NPS professionals and GSMA staff over the past three years have given new meaning to what passionate about your work means."


Board of Directors



Hulet Cheney
of Knoxville, TN

"I was born and raised in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, just as generations of my family before me.  I fondly recall stories my mother told of living in the Sugarlands community during the pre-national park days.  My roots are deep here.  Having the opportunity to serve on the GSMA board and support the preservation of our National Park is special to me.  It's about giving back.  I am grateful and excited to be involved."

Katie Branham
of Maryville, TN

"As a native of East Tennessee,  I fortunately have experienced the park throughout my life. From my memories of family camping trips, backpacking, paddling whitewater, trout fishing and trail maintenance I have found our park to be an incredible place with distinctive beauty, historical significance and cultural heritage. When asked to serve on the GSMA board I was elated that I could serve to help preserve, protect, and enhance our park for the next generations."



Geoff Cantrell
of Raleigh, NC

"For me, my involvement in the Great Smoky Mountains Association is personal. The Smokies were the scenery of my childhood and my family roots run deep there. Thanks to GSMA and its support of the park, every year millions of visitors can enjoy the Smokies as much as I do."

William A. Hart, Jr
of Fletcher, NC

"The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been a vital component of my life. I first camped there with my parents. Hundreds of trips followed these first experiences. I dated my wife, Alice, there; we spent many joyous days in the Smokies with our children and on shared walks and backpacking trips; I frequently visited the park with my Boy Scout troop; and, otherwise, have extensively experienced the Smokies on trout fishing excursions, day hikes and backpacking trips. I volunteered to serve on the GSMA board to in a small way repay the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the pleasures, knowledge and many benefits I have derived from my experiences there. Finally, my service is my tribute to those who worked and sacrificed to make the GSMNP a reality."



George Kimberly
of Jasper, GA

"Being from Western North Carolina, it seems that GSMNP has always been in my life. It has been a venue for me to connect with the natural world and create lasting memories through outings with friends and family. I am excited to be involved with GSMA and be a part of its long-standing commitment to provide vital support for the preservation of this national treasure so that it may be enjoyed for generations to come."

Kelly Leonard
of Hendersonville, NC

"I have been extremely fortunate to have been involved with GSMA since the early 1990s, serving as a board member throughout most of the time. It is an honor to continue as a volunteer as the Association transitions into a new era of leadership and growth. I am confident GSMA will continue to play a vital role as a partner in the education, preservation, and protection of our national park."



Tom Massie
of Sylva, NC

" It is a great honor and privilege to serve again on the Board of the Association.  I know of the tremendous love the people of our nation have for the Great Smokies.  I am proud of the many contributions our Association has  made by improving the visitor experience thru education, preservation and protection of this national treasure.  Because of the support of our members and the public as a whole, the Association will continue to be an important  partner with the National Park Service.  I pledge to do my best to insure that our organization remains strong and continues the proud legacy of providing the best service possible to all parties involved."

Ken Smither
of Maryville, TN

"When I was ask to serve on the GSMA board I did not know the impact that the association had on the preservation and improvements to the Great Smoky Mountains. After much consideration I agreed to serve thinking that after 35 years in the retail business I might bring something to the table.  I have leaned how important this association is to Great Smoky Mountains and wanted to be a part of the process. it has been a real learning experience."

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