MEET THE TEAM
Allen Brasington III
President & Chairperson
A native of Darlington, SC, Allen is a graduate of Francis Marion University, South Carolina Real Estate Academy and Southeastern School of Auctioneering. Being a member of a large and generational military family inspired Allen to work for veterans and their families. He had played an active role in the leadership of Helios Warriors for the better part of a decade as a board member from 2010 to 2014, with two years as Board Chair. He returned to the Board in 2017 as Chairman to prevent Helios Warriors from dissolving. "Service above self" is the Rotary motto, which Allen takes to heart. He is a member of the Asheville Breakfast Rotary Club, serving on their fund raising committee, Public Relations Chair, Board of Directors, and as a Paul Harris Fellow. He is the club's upcoming President Elect. Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Asheville Lyric Opera, is a member of the Asheville Downtown Business Association and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Allen has also worked with a number of local charities to raise funds and awareness to such causes as homelessness, child and domestic abuse, autism, equality and diversity, public education, addiction recovery and minority advocacy, just to name a few. Allen is a communicant of St. Mary's Church. He lives in downtown Asheville with his partner Casey and their furry companion Lucy.
Vice Chairperson & Treasurer
Richard Starkweather is an Air Force Veteran who served during the Vietnam era. He has a PhD in counseling and many years of business ownership. Rick has worked as a rehabilitation counselor at a mental health center, a developer of corporate training systems, human resource management and ownership of a franchise providing support and direction to individuals who were forced to seek employment due to lay offs and involuntary terminations. Rick enjoys carpentry and gardening. He is proud of his three adult sons who currently live in other parts of the country. Rick resides with his wife Judy and their dog in beautiful Hendersonville.
Michele Bernhardt is a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and Reiki Master/Instructor who maintains a private biofield therapy practice in Asheville, NC. Before moving to western North Carolina, she was president of Healing Touch California, a 501(c)3 nonprofit with over 700 members statewide. She founded the Healing Touch Volunteer Program at the San Francisco VA Hospital and served on the Advisory Group of Stanford Medical Center’s Healing Partners Program. Prior to focusing on holistic healthcare, she was an award-winning marketing communications executive with 30 years experience, including Communications Director of The Bay Institute, global PR Director for Schlumberger, and Vice President of several PR agencies in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York City and Chicago. She is a member of the Healing Touch Professional Association and is a volunteer ESL tutor with the Literacy Council of Buncombe County.
Stewart began his mental health career as a school counselor with at-risk youth involving adventure based counseling. He has also worked with youth and families in a residential setting. As an Assessment Specialist, he consulted with the Department of Social Services throughout Western North Carolina. Stewart went on to gain experience in the public mental health system before transitioning into private practice. As a practicing therapist, he focuses on trauma recovery and sees clients in a number of counties. As a musician, Stewart integrates the power of music when visiting with a number of organizations who are serving victims of trauma. He conducts mental health clinics involving live music as a tool for teaching the biology of the nervous system and its role in trauma recovery.
Cathy recently relocated from the Central Valley, California where she was actively involved in fundraising for non-profit organizations including the Stanislaus County Humane Society, the Greater California German Shepherd Rescue, Astro Foundation, Fat Kitty City and the Rotary Club of Salida. Cathy was a Project Manager for Unisys Corporation based out of Sacramento, California after relocating from Toronto, Canada in 1996. Prior to relocation, she was the Business Development Manager for Canada, Insurance Practice for Unisys in Toronto. Her previous experience with Continental Insurance in Toronto was with systems installation and training and mainframe. Cathy is currently volunteering with Asheville Cat Weirdos (ACW) and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. She lives in Hendersonville with her 16 cats and two dogs.
John is a practicing litigation attorney and graduate of UNC Chapel Hill. He moved to Asheville from Charlotte last spring. He is the former Associate General Counsel of Wells Fargo Corporation, Wachovia Corporation, First Union Corporation, Duke Energy Corporation, Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Revenue, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina and an attorney in private practice in Raleigh. He has provided legal services for veterans groups and served with the USO in Charlotte. John is also a Reiki Practioner. He is proud to be a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and the Rotary Club.