Deb McGrath is executive director and co-founder of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. She has dedicated the past 24 years to developing the Foundation’s strong programs and services and has a deep passion for making a difference in the lives of children, adults, and veterans living with and impacted by epilepsy.
This passion comes from her daughter, Victoria, who developed epilepsy 29 years ago. Deb's commitment to advocate for those whose civil and ADA rights have been violated has proven beneficial in supporting the special needs of the Foundation’s clients many times. Deb was awarded the Excellence in Advocacy Award in 2002 and the Advocate of the Year Award in 2007 from the national Epilepsy Foundation for the conviction she has against the discrimination of person’s with epilepsy.
Deb’s commitment to providing vital support services to everyone impacted by seizures is evident with the expansion of services and development of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana (EFKY). In 1993, the Foundation went from being a local support group to a program of the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, to then becoming an independent 501 (C)(3) health related organization in 1996. She pressed on to reach the goal of affiliation with the National Epilepsy Foundation in 2001 and Deb did not stop there – she felt convicted to expand services to most all of Kentucky counties (with the exception of Boone Campbell, Grant, and Kenton in northern Kentucky, which are served by the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Cincinnati). Deb is married to John and between them they have three adult children and eight grandchildren with another due in January. She enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, cooking, golfing, and living life to its fullest! Deb has a warm spirit and knows this journey would not have been possible without the love and support of many who have selflessly provided help and support along the way.
Beth Stivers joined the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana on May 21, 2007. She received her Masters of Science in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Louisville in 2001. Following graduation, she worked at the Louisville Science Center (now, Kentucky Science Center) as the life sciences coordinator developing informal educational science exhibits and writing/presenting informal science curriculum to school age children, science educators, and the general public. Since joining the Foundation staff in 2007, she has provided educational training programs to thousands of school nurses, school personnel, child care workers, students, law enforcement officials, EMS personnel, as well as, individuals directly affected by epilepsy and their family members.
Gary A. Zortman joined the team in October 2013 as the agency's Events Manager. He began volunteering for the Foundation in 2009. In 2011, he became the Chairman of the Walk Around Kentucky for Epilepsy Planning Committee and eventually joined the board of directors in early 2012. Gary was also instrumental in the planning and execution of the inaugural Walk in Paducah, Kentucky in 2013. Since his volunteer work with the agency began, Gary has had a growing passion to make a difference in the lives of those living with epilepsy on a more daily basis. When the Events Manager position became available, he jumped at the chance to join the team and the staff could not be more excited to have him on board. When asked about joining as staff, Gary said, "I am excited and thrilled to be part of the Foundation and to be able to provide more support to individuals and families dealing with epilepsy and seizures. I look forward to growing with the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana." Gary's duties as the Events Manager include Fundraising, Youth Groups and Social Media.
Gary is a western Kentucky native. He moved to Louisville in 2008 and has since settled in Mount Washington with his wife Ashley and their 15 year old daughter, Hailey. Gary knows first-hand the challenges those living with epilepsy face as Hailey has been living with epilepsy since age 1. Ashley shares Gary's passion in serving individuals with epilepsy, and has also been volunteering for the Foundation since 2009. When not a work Gary enjoys spending time with family and friends, landscaping and creating marketing materials.
David Pettit, joined the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana in April, 2013 as the Western Kentucky Education Coordinator. In the past, the Foundation has strived to provide quality services to the far-reaching areas of the state, but due to proximity has not had an ideal presence in western Kentucky. In an effort to provide more epilepsy awareness and response programs, as well as meet client needs, David will be working as a dedicated satellite employee in western Kentucky, providing all of the Foundation's trainings offering and assisting clients in this region.
David recently retired after teaching for many years in middle schools and juvenile facilities in the Owensboro and Daviess County school districts. He has also served as community education director for both districts and as the Newspaper in Education coordinator for the Messenger-Inquirer. David and his wife, Betty Jane, have three children and six grandchildren. In their spare time, they enjoy gardening, landscaping, and spending time with family. David was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy in his fifties, and looks forward to raising public awareness of the neurological condition.
The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana is thrilled to announce that Amy Collier has joined our team as a social worker. Amy has over 15 years of experience in the field of social work, working with children, adults, and families in the community, school, and various settings. Amy earned her Masters of Social Work at Spalding University and is a Certified Social Worker (CSW) in Kentucky. Amy is looking forward to serving our clients and help support, advocate, and partner with others to get individual needs met and bring the community together.
Amy lives in Louisville with her husband and two elementary-age children. Amy enjoys being active and spending time with her family. Amy is excited to join the team and is eager to learn and be a part of the many valuable events and activities at the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana. Please feel free to contact Amy with your questions and she will work diligently to support you and help you find solutions. You are not alone, and together, she can work with you to improve knowledge, find acceptance, and move forward to reach a positive and hopeful outlook.
Donald Bow, USN, MCPO (Ret) - Veterans Outreach Coordinator Donald joined The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana in February, 2018 as the Veterans Outreach Coordinator. Donald is retired from the United States Navy after 20 1/2 years of service where he served as a Hospital Corpsman, a Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Instructor, Recruit Division Commander, and Command Master Chief. Donald earned his Master of Health Sciences from Trident University and is a graduate of various military leadership schools to include, the Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA) and the Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat course. Donald is looking forward to being an advocate for our veteran community and raising awareness with veterans, their families, and medical providers.
Donald lives in Mount Washington with his wife Hayley and their two sons. Donald and his family enjoy being outdoors, hiking, and spending quality time as a family.
Connie joined the Epilepsy Foundation in August, 2000, working as the Administrative Assistant/Office Manager. Connie's positive and caring attitude flows throughout the office setting as she handles the many day-to-day activities and is eager to support the needs of the staff. Connie prefers working behind the scene and her devotion to persons with epilepsy is heartfelt and instrumental to the Epilepsy Foundation.