Alyce Knaflich, Director/Founder
Alyce Knaflich served in the US Army for 19.5 years. Five years after her military discharge she lost her job and was diagnosed with PTSD. At age 41 the VA Medical Center declared her unfit to work. Without income Alyce became destitute and remained homeless for nearly 10 years while struggling with her health concerns. Alyce finally saw light at the end of the tunnel when she reached 100% service connected disability and received alternative health care. Today Alyce volunteers with numerous Veteran related organizations and advocates for Veterans at Charles George VAMC. She received two National awards for her work with Veterans, NAC VAVS Female Volunteer of the Year 2014 and AMVETS Volunteer of the Year 2015. Alyce’s passion for the past nine years is assisting homeless Women Veterans and founded Aura Home Women Vets a shelter under renovations in Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Dan Palmer, Treasurer
Dan Palmer currently lives in Hendersonville with his wife Priscilla. Originally from Yarmouth, ME. Retired from 47 years in finance and banking. Board of Aura Home for Homeless Female Veterans; Nat’l Ambassador, STAR Touring and Riding; Asst Mountain District Capt for Patriot Guard Riders of NC. Dan currently goes on motorcycle trips with friends.
Betty Sharpless, Secretary
Betty Sharpless has been a board member for Planned Parenthood and Loving Food Resources. She has volunteered with W.A.C.A.P since it's inception. Betty is a children's reading volunteer at Claxton Elementary. Betty is a free-lance gardener and writer.
Yvonne Cook-Riley, Governance
Yvonne Cook-Riley is truly a pioneer of the Transgender movement. She worked with advocacy organizations in the early 1990s to incorporate the word “transgender” and its associated concepts, and that effort took off into the “transgender movement” that we see today.
She became involved with others in what we would now call the transgender community in 1981 and started organizing support groups in 1983. In 1985, Yvonne became active with the International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) and served that organization in numerous capacities, including Director of Operations, Treasurer, and a Member of their Board of Directors. She appeared on dozens of television talk shows, over 200 talk radio shows in the late 1980’s and 90’s and made eight appearances on behalf of IFGE at the American Psychiatric Association’s national conferences. Yvonne helped in the establishment of other conferences in the U.S., such as Southern Comfort, Texas Tea Party, California Dreaming, and Be All. Also, she has been involved in numerous other trans-related organizations, including Blue Ridge Pride, Kindred Spirits, and Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA).
Yvonne Cook-Riley’s dedication to the Transgender movement has been recognized many times, including the Outreach Institute’s “Outreach Medal” in 1991, the IFGE’s “Trinity Award,” also in 1991, and the IFGE Virginia Prince lifetime service award in 1995.
Deb Love, Member At-Large
Deb Love is the organizational heart and soul behind Love the Green Team. She handles the property management end of the company as well as all the back office and administrative functions, including finances and marketing. She loves reaching out to the community and finding people who are looking for their green dream home. Deb loves helping people find their rental home in the greater Asheville area.
Her background was in the medical field where she worked as an RN for 30 years. Her career began in the military and she served in Germany, working on the pediatric floor of the hospital. While there, she also played softball for the Frankfurt team. After the Army, she went into the California Army National Guard where she completed Nursing School. She was activated for fires, earthquakes, and the 1992 LA Riots. She was also a Master Fitness Trainer helping people achieve fitness and weight requirements for the military. She enjoyed her time in the service where she learned many of her core values. Deb then shifted gears into Naturopathic Medicine. She completed her Clinical Doctorate and had a private practice in the greater Asheville area for a few years. At that time, she was a Consultant with Love the Green Team.
She realized that, along with her wife Mary’s vision of green housing, Love the Green Team could help people align mind, body, and spirit in their lives and their homes. They truly walk the talk when it comes to their company and values. Deb Love served on the Buncombe County Enviornmental Advisory Board for 2 years, volunteered with the Campaign for Southern Equality, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and Aura Home which helps homeless women Veterans find housing and other resources provided by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
When not working, Deb and Mary love to travel and have been all over the world. A highlight in their travels was the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.
Above all else, Deb loves the sense of pride they have in the work they do. To go above and beyond to ensure that every client has a home they love to live in.
Leslie Stevens, Member At-Large
Leslie grew up in a large family as a military brat. Her father was in the Air Force, sister in the Navy and little brother in the Coast Guard. She’s worn a hat of many colors: Mother, Electro- mechanical Draftsperson, NC Legislative Aid, Corporate Attorney, Real Estate Broker, Paralegal Chair and Instructor, and has practiced law in Asheville, NC since 1988. She represents Veterans, sets up Non-profits, Corporations, Business Transactions and creates Wills and Trusts for Estate Plans.
Paula Easton, Member At-Large
Paula is the owner and designer of Asheville Creative Designs. She moved to Asheville from California in 2010. Paula has been creating web sites for over 25 years.
Paula’s philosophy is that a customer’s first impression of a company is critical. In many cases the web site is the customer’s initial introduction to the company; therefore, it is important to her to get to know the company, their philosophy and their customer base in order to design a web site that captures the imagination and passion of each company.
Paula has developed Internet sites for a diverse base of companies. Paula’s creativity and passion for graphic design and web site design has successfully captured the imagination of many businesses. She has developed logos, graphics and web sites for high-tech engineering companies, health and wellness companies, authors, travel agencies, hydroponics, and sports coaching.
Paula holds a degree in Computer Science from Phillips College in Carson, California. She also has considerable training in graphic arts. Paula’s background is 25 years experience at an aerospace company and worked as a Software Engineer as well as a member of the corporate Web Team.
Ellen Gayle Sovinee, Advisor
Ellen Gayle grew up with several family members serving in the military but it wasn’t until 2005 when she and a team of holistic health practitioners volunteered to offer their services to returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that inspired her to create something after her move to Asheville in 2006. In 2007 Ellen Gayle helped co-create a business which offered a number of services to our veterans and in 2009, Ellen Gayle spent the year turning the business into a 501(c)3 nonprofit which is still active to this day. Currently Ellen Gayle is serving as an Advisory Board member for Aura Home.