Abby Grace, that's our 5 year old precious daughter, the inspiration and drive to spread support and awareness for water safety. As horrific as the accident was, she is a rare survival story - a reason for Hope that other accidents like hers can become not only less frequent, but more optimistic as far as outcomes. Survival Swim, Supervision - including clear communication, Barriers and First Aid are our mission; but also we'd like to reach out a supportive hand to families devastated by a drowning loss. The reality is, it happens so quickly, so easily and these families are left with incredible emotional grief and in rare survivals, often times a child of special needs.
The good news is, in most cases drowning can be prevented and we can all work together to accomplish this goal by spreading awareness and supporting drowning prevention initiatives! AGH Programs: Survival Swim Scholarship Program, Abby's Friends Annual CPR Event & our Community Outreach Program.
Please join us in our quest, visit the Current Initiatives page and Contact us for more information
Most folks probably don't realize just how much work goes into an organization like this and even more don't realize that all the work that goes into AGH is completely volunteer based. These incredible folks you'll meet below are the driving force behind all the efforts of AGH!
More About Our Founders:
Michael and Rachel Warren are married with three precious children. The youngest is Abby Grace. Abby was suspected of Leukemia in November of 2012, hospitalized before making a miraculous recovery. Then her water accident took place mere months following her recovery. Abby has had a very difficult first few years of life resulting in developmental delays and other challenges. Through it all, her sweet, fun spirit still lights a room and fills those around her with incredible joy, she is HOPE.
Rachel is a very busy mother to these children and also serves as a Guardian ad Litem for Polk County and volunteers spare time whenever possible to safety awareness events and supporting local schools. She brings Business Management, Elementary Education and Special Needs experience to AGH currently serving as it's Executive Director.
Michael is a Lineman with Duke Energy - working incredibly hard to support his family and all of their initiatives! He's known for speaking at various internal company events and more regarding the importance of CPR skills following his daughters near drowning. Together, Michael and Rachel have shared the importance of water safety and first aid through various means over the years and are looking forward to seeing their mission reach the next level through Abby Graces Hope and the wonderful partnerships being built along the way! *Mike is incredibly thankful of Duke Energy's support in the AGH Missions.
Blaise Dillman: Firefighter and Medic with Polk Fire Rescue. Blaise joined our team after one too many calls responding to childhood drownings. There's no other explanation than divine intervention as he was led to our team at exactly the same time our team was in need of someone with his passion and experience. He and his wife Amy share an incredible passion to considerably reduce drowning in our community, helping on many levels in the organization. Blaise really made some news when he hit the road to end drowning - literally- running 90 miles in the month of June, raising $2,000 alone towards AGH Swim Vouchers. He's directly responsible for 5 children receiving swim lessons and many more led to water safety through his continuing efforts!
Judy Goodridge: Registered Nurse and Assistant Director of Nursing. Judy brings a love for wellbeing and safety for all ages with 15 years experience as Kindergarten Teacher, CPR Instructor on up to Dementia/Alzheimer's Education. She and her husband Brad support AGH on many levels and lead our CPR Initiatives.
Donna Stewart: Buisness Manager, Survival Swim Instructor - - Abby's Mimi--. Donna brings with her, a passion to prevent drowning, assisting AGH pilot an instructor training course after witnessing Abby's accident first hand and the lasting effects. Her 30+ years of accounting and business management skills benefit the organization in countless ways.
Denise Waggoner: High School Teacher, Survival Swim Instructor. Denise brings over 20 years of experience in survival swim instruction. She has been involved with AGH from the beginning on many levels and plays a crucial role in our Swim Scholarship Program.
Because of the direct impact Abby's accident has had on members of her family and close friends, many of them are involved in the organization as well and we could never express our gratitude for all involved!