Our Board Members are successful professionals, some of whom are visually impaired themselves. They are caring mentors, teachers and other community professionals who work together to support Club members and their families as they navigate the important transition from dependency to independence as a young adult and beyond. Our volunteers also strive to educate the public about vision loss and to share their direct experiences and knowledge of resources.
Meet the volunteer board
Founder and President
Sue grew up in Illinois and attended Illinois State University where she obtained her K-12 teaching degree. She has worked in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Tennessee as an executive administrator in the YMCA. She has been a National trainer regarding disability and other program services. Sue lost her eyesight in her mid-thirties, but continued to work as an administrator and volunteer in many capacities. She has served on a number of Boards and Task Force Committees regarding disability services and in 2008, she founded Club VIBES, Visually Impaired/Blind Enhanced Services in Knoxville. Sue continues to be extremely active in many leadership roles in Blind organizations locally and nationally. Personally, Sue always strives to outdo herself physically by participating in triathlons and long ultra-cycle rides and races. She hopes through Club VIBES to give other visually impaired people the chance to be active through participation in sports.
Family Advisor and Mentor
Although legally blind from birth, John Buckley was educated in the public schools of Wichita, Kansas. After receiving his M.A. and PhD. in Communication Studies from Northwestern University, he taught at both UCLA and the University of Tennessee. He has served for many years as an officer of the National Association of Blind Teachers and as a board member of the Disability Resource Center in Knoxville and the Tennessee Unit of Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic. He is also a volunteer mediator for the Community Mediation Center. Because of being raised as a legally blind child himself, he has focused on working with Club VIBES parents.
Kathy has been a very active member of the Club VIBES Board since the inception in 2008. She currently serves as the Board Secretary. Kathy is employed part-time by the University of Tennessee Telefund Program. She enjoys fitness activities such as walking and spending time in the outdoors.
Kathy’s daughter, Sarah, is low vision and began early on receiving services from Club VIBES as well as serving as a student Board representative at the onset of our not for profit. Kathy brings energy and a real love of the Club mission in all her work. She is always ready to help out in any capacity.
Cassie grew up in Georgia and received a BS from the University of Georgia. She volunteered for 1 month at a school for the blind in Trujillo, Peru which began her interest in low vision services. In 2009 she moved to Knoxville for a job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and began volunteering with club VIBES. She then moved to Philadelphia, PA to attend optometry school. Cassie now works as a doctor of optometry at Blount County Eye Center and continues to volunteer with Club VIBES as Treasurer.
Arlene Hernandez was born and raised in Southern California where she received her BA from the University of California, Irvine, continuing on to California State University, Los Angeles for dual certifications in Teacher of Visually Impaired and Elementary Education. Arlene and her husband relocated to Tennessee in 1972 to escape the smog and traffic of Southern California. In addition to raising 3 children, Arlene taught in Knoxville as a Teacher of Visually Impaired for 27 years before following her husband on a 10 year adventure while he served as a Country Director of Peace Corps in South America and Africa. During this time Arlene taught at American International Schools as a Resource Teacher. Arlene is now retired and always very busy keeping up with the children and 4 grandchildren all living out of state, tutoring GED students, traveling, enjoying biking and hiking in beautiful East Tennessee and serving on the Club VIBES Board.
Sarah is a founding board member of Club VIBES. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. Sarah worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Ben Atchley State Veterans’ Home. She is attending physician assistant school at Lincoln Memorial University and plan to work as a physician assistant in a primary care practice, pediatrics, or gastroenterology.
A native of New Jersey, Patty McDonough attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee. After receiving her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, she worked with a variety of special needs groups and has been a teacher of the visually impaired for the last eleven years and a member of the VIBES Board since March 2013.
Maggie Webb is a junior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville studying Kinesiology. She hopes to attend graduate school to pursue a career in the medical field helping individuals with disabilities. Maggie currently serves as the Vice President of Foundation for the Delta Gamma sorority at UTK, a position handling all philanthropic and community service opportunities relating to Service for Sight, their Foundation. It is her first year serving on the Club VIBES board.
Linda Bacon is a native of Knoxville, married, and the parent of three children. She earned a BS degree in psychology and MS degree in Guidance Counseling from the University of Tennessee and did post graduate work in Vision at Middle Tennessee State University to complete her certification as Teacher of the Visually Impaired. After teaching for 10 years in the Special Education department in Knox County Schools, she completed another 12 years in Knox County teaching visually impaired students. Linda has been a board member with several other agencies serving the disabled community in the Knox County area. She is currently music director for her church And is enjoying retirement.
Dawn is originally from Kenner, Louisiana. She has a B.S. in Middle grades education from the University of West Georgia. She and her family moved to the Knoxville area 6 years ago after residing in Georgia, where she taught 6th grade math and science. Dawn is currently a homemaker while also helping her husband run their family business.
Dawn is married and has two children. Her daughter, who is a member of Club Vibes, was born prematurely and has ROP and Glaucoma, with only light perception in one eye. They have been involved with Club Vibes for 3 years. As a parent of a child with a vision impairment Dawn addes an important aspect to the Club VIBES Board.
Illya was born in the Ukraine and moved with his family to the United States when he was four years old. They have lived in Knoxville since moving to the U.S. Illya began losing some of his eyesight when he was just 8 years old. After a number of surgeries and a unknown eyesight condition he lost his sight from retinal detachments. Despite him losing his vision he continued his high school education at harden Valley Academy. This did not hold him back. Illya needed to quickly learn many new skills to carry on his education, such as, Braille for his math and science studies along with screen reading software and independent travel with a cane.
Illya joined Club VIBES as a high school studentsoon after his eyesight loss. He quickly began taking on leadership roles. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Club VIBES as well as chairing the student Club group. Illya will be entering college in the fall of 2019.
Tammy Fugatt is originally from Daytona Beach Florida. She has lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, over 25 years. She received her BS degree at Tennessee Wesleyan in therapeutic recreation and worked with children who were severely emotionally disturbed in residential centers as well as the Knox county school system. Tammy has three daughters and six grandchildren that keep her constantly busy. She has volunteered with Club Vibes for almost 9 years as a result of her daughter Mckenzie suffering vision loss from a concussion.
Jacoby is a native of Knoxville, TN and has received a BA in Communications from Carson-Newman University. He has worked in areas dealing with youth and social media. The youngest of five children, Jacoby was raised by his grandmother, Helen Ashe, who was the Director and Founder of the Love Kitchen. The Love Kitchen is a charity that serves home bound and in house meals to needy individuals in the Knoxville TN area. After loosing his sight to diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, he has taken on the adventure to discover new aspects of life, and has been a part of Club VIBES since 2016.