Jennifer Vestal – President
Jennifer visited her grandparents in Fairhope for almost 30 years before succumbing to its southern charm and settling here with husband, Jason. More than 10 years, two beautiful children and a mischievous beagle later, they’re happy with their little spot on the Eastern Shore. A graduate of University of Central Florida, she owns a photography business specializing in college football, marathons and triathlons, but spends much time homeschooling her children. Before starting a family, she and Jason traveled the globe photographing races and college teams. Their extensive travels make them grateful for their community and determined to make it even better.
Casey Rodden – Treasurer
Casey grew up in Mobile, but college and life took him to a suburb of Memphis. After 11 years away, he, his wife and three kids relocated to the Eastern Shore and now call Fairhope home. Casey walks his kids to school each morning with the Walking School Bus. At his job in Point Clear, he has a view of a busy portion of the Eastern Shore Trail. You may find him strolling the Trail while on conference calls. He is inspired by the walkers, runners and cyclists, and wants to ensure pedestrian access to safe trails and roads remains a priority for Baldwin County. He brings 10 years of financial expertise to his role as Treasurer.
Jeremy Portillo – Vice President
Jeremy is a licensed architect at Watershed, a green building consulting and design firm in Fairhope. A graduate of Florida A&M, Jeremy is an accredited LEED professional, passionate about designing healthy, sustainable buildings. He earned certification as a Fitwel ambassador, the first in Alabama, demonstrating an expertise in healthy workplace design. His hobbies include gardening, tinkering with cars, goofing off at the piano with two young daughters, and designing tiny houses with his wife, Dana, an interior designer. He volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and Prodisee Food Pantry. Jeremy and his family live in Fairhope.
Charlene Lee – Director, Walking School Bus
Under Charlene’s leadership, Fairhope Elementary School and Fairhope Intermediate School have become Alabama’s only daily Walking School Buses. She also championed building the Fairhopers Community Park, and the City of Fairhope named her Volunteer of the Year in 2017. A graduate of Auburn University and former high school PE teacher and gymnastics coach, she directed adventure therapy programs in adolescent psychiatry/ alternative juvenile justice settings. She enjoys walking, cycling, hiking, reading and kayaking.
After retiring as public affairs director of the Mobile County Commission, Nancy chose to move to Fairhope, knowing she could park the car and rely on her bike to live fully and locally. She joined the Trailblazers board, hoping to contribute to preserving and enhancing the trail system. She was community relations coordinator for the Mobile Police Department, and a staff writer for newspapers in Milwaukee, Denver and Colorado Springs.
Ken is a Fairhope native who attended Organic and Public schools. He retired from Regions Bank in the trust and estate administrative area. An environmental activist, Ken is involved in several charitable trusts. He is a Big Brother and supports various programs to aid and advance public education. His primary interest in the Trailblazers is promoting safety education for runners, walkers and bikers who actively use our trails, and programs that encourage walking and litter control. Ken is involved in historic preservation and was active in tree planting and billboard removal programs along the Eastern Shore. He is a graduate of University of Virginia and University of Alabama School of Law.
Josh volunteers every weekday morning to stop traffic on two busy streets, allowing the parade of children in the Walking School Bus to cross safely. He and his wife have one son who attends Fairhope Elementary. After several years of service as a parent-volunteer, Josh joined the Trailblazers because he shares the group’s vision for the future of the community. An alumnus of Troy University and University of Alabama, Josh works in pharmaceutical sales. Previously, he used his skills as a certified athletic trainer to help the athletes on Fairhope High School teams for five years.
Chris is the co-chair of the Fairhope, Pedestrian & Biking Committee. He is an avid photographer, hunter and fisherman. Chris can usually be found by the Bay with his Service Dog, Tonya, photographing the sunset. A graduate of Western Kentucky University and retiree of The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Chris brings a wealth of knowledge in Social Media and ADA requirements to the organization.
Christopher is a professional Landscape Architect with years of experience as lead designer or project manager on planning, design, and environmental projects throughout the Gulf Coast. His passion for creating safe and accessible recreational opportunities for everyone inspired him to join the Baldwin County Trailblazers Board. Christopher lives in Fairhope with his wife, Ginny, and four daughters who frequent the Eastern Shore Trail and Walking School Bus.
Michelle hails from Auburn/Opelika area and lived in several states before settling in Fairhope with her Jack Russell Terrier, Lodi. Her personal and professional passion is the great outdoors. She and Lodi enjoy hiking, kayaking and sailing. For the Trust for Public Land in Chattanooga, she negotiated real estate transactions that make up the Tennessee Riverwalk and other state and national parks. She collaborated with The Nature Conservancy, Rails-to-Trails and other land trusts creating greenways and blueways, and adding acreage to existing green and open spaces. In her current job for the City of Mobile, she acquires property for RESTORE Act projects that add recreational/ open space in Mobile County. She has degrees in Political Science and Law with natural resources and land use emphasis from University of Denver.
Cindy is Director of the University of South Alabama Baldwin County and Chair of Leadership Baldwin County. A resident of Fairhope for over 25 years, she is now helping the next generation of her family enjoy the beautiful environment of Baldwin County. She and her sons and their families enjoy the coastal aspects of the county, as well as walking, biking and the outdoors. She earned degrees at Millsaps College, Texas A&M and University of Alabama.
A longtime Fairhope resident, Elliott volunteers with Read Aloud Baldwin, and teaches taijichuan and swimming to Rotary youth. He traveled as a child, as a U.S. Air Force airman, and as a student of Chinese educational history. For 10 years, he taught at USA, helping non-traditional learners research and design senior capstone projects. In his leisure time, he rides bikes, swims, reads and travels.
Marsha is an avid cyclist who moved from Mobile to Fairhope to join the many cyclists on this side of the Bay. She enjoys riding road bikes, mountain bikes and of course has a “townie,” too. When she’s not actively on wheels, she’s likely to be hiking, kayaking, or doing something outdoors. She’s excited about the possibilities to improve and develop trails in the area. Marsha is a retired marketing professional who was privileged to travel globally. Earlier in life she was a registered nurse at area hospitals.
Tammy Leytham – Administrator
Tammy has been volunteering with the Walking School Bus for the past five years, and this year directed the pilot program at Fairhope Intermediate School. She grew up in Mobile, graduated from Liberty University in Virginia, and worked more than 25 years as a journalist on the Gulf Coast and at newspapers across the South. Now a resident of Fairhope, she writes for various magazines, social media and websites. She loves to tout the wonderful attributes of the Eastern Shore, and volunteers in various ways throughout the community. Most days, you can catch her at Page & Palette, Refuge Coffee or the Fairhope Public Library. She also enjoys listening to live music at local venues, kayaking and paddleboarding.
2013 – 2014
Valery Wiseman DeLaney Smith
2015 – 2018
Molly M. Peterson